I have recently returned from a trip to Okinawa, Japan and I just have to say to all world travelers and adventure seekers to visit Neo Park in Okinawa. Sure there are many other things to do in Okinawa but I highly recommend adding Neo Park to your list of things to do.
Neo Park is a simple botanical park and zoo that also features a train ride that takes you around the entire park. The admission is totally reasonable. When my family went there the admission plus train ride came up to around $10 per person. We were all adults. There are children’s prices as well. If you have children, they will surely appreciate spending some time at this park. In addition to admission into the park, you can purchase food to feed the animals for $1-2 per bag and the bag lasts pretty long if you use it wisely. There is also an optional petting area that costs $3 to enter. However, even just paying for regular admission will guarantee a great time strolling through the park seeing the animals.
There are vending machines around the park to purchase drinks and there is a snack stand about half-way through the park. So, be sure to have yen on hand if you think you’ll be purchasing snacks and drinks. I’m not too sure if you’re allowed to bring in your own food and drinks. There are benches and tables throughout the park to take a break from the walk around the park.
I am also going to be honest and say that the maintenance of the park facilities is a little sub par but still worth the adventure. Seeing and interacting with the animals and the train ride makes up for the park’s inadequacies.
The first thing to do is purchase your admission at the park entrance. There are restrooms in the area and it would be a great idea to make a quick “bathroom break” before you begin your walk around the park. There are restrooms around the park as well though.
If you purchase train tickets, you have the option to do the train ride before you walk around or you can do it after. The train begins and ends in the same place so it is up to you. We didn’t know this so we took the walk first and the train ride last which was fine with all of us. The train station is located on the second floor of the building.
Before I continue on, I would like to let you know that there are signs all along the trail that give information about all the animals and plants in the park. You will also notice that you’ll hear the sound of the birds all through the walk. My husband and I were debating about whether it was a recording of the birds or were they sound of the actual birds all around. So, you can be the judge when you visit Neo Park.
The first thing that you see as you exit the building to begin your walk through the park is Flamingo Lake. It is amazing! What makes it more incredible is you get to feed all the birds! There are pelicans, cranes, storks and flamingos. You are surrounded by the lot of them and they feed off your hand. It’s so exciting that you end up staying in Flamingo Lake for a few minutes not realizing that you have just started your trek around the par
Although you want to stay and feed the birds, you continue to walk along the trail and come into the Amazon jungle. It’s so quiet and serene. You ‘ll see a few turtles, fish, spoonbills, scarlet ibis, and more flamingos. You can feed them as well if you haven’t finished the bags of animal food. Before you exit the jungle there is a picture board where you can place your face into one of the animals and take some photos.
Next, you’ll go through the Underwater Tunnel. Here you will see huge pirarucu in their natural amazon environment. Pirarucu is the “prized fish of the Amazon”. It is one of the world’s largest fresh water fish.
As you continue to walk on, you will come across Friendship Square which is the petting zoo area. However, to enter you will have to pay around $3. We opted not to pay the extra fee. This is the area where you can play with the dogs, horses and goats. I believe this is where the giant tortoise was to be found but we never came across him and we figured he was no longer available at the park. We also figured, after riding the train, that there is also a fishing house where you are able to go fishing.
After the petting zoo is the African Savannah. Here you will be entertained by the ostriches and storks. I have never see a live ostrich before so this was a treat for me. They are quite huge birds!
Parlor Baobab/Lemur Island
Half way through the walk through Neo Park is a snack bar called Parlor Baobab. You are able to find lots of convenient snacks and drinks. Across the way is the restrooms and a nice covered area to sit and give your legs a break. There is also a separate smoking area. You can enjoy the plants and cool breezes here and appreciate the view of Lemur Island.
By the time you reach Peccary Ranch, you probably have run out of animal feed but no need to despair because you can buy some more at the ranch. You are able to continue to feed the peccary. I’ve never really heard of peccary and so at first I thought they were wild boars or pigs. There are so many of them and they love people.
After seeing and feeding the peccary, you come across Llama Hill. They is the cutest ever but be careful because they are known to spit. So, be sure not to get too close.
Oceanian Flora and Fauna
Australia, New Guinea and New Zealand are well represented in the Oceanian Flora and Fauna. Here you will see wallabies, peacocks, cassowaries. There are also baby wallabies that shy away from the crowds but seem to accessible for feeding. This is by the way the last chance to feed any animals. There is a sign that reminds you of this before you exit.
Species Survival Research Center
Lastly, you come across the Species Survival Research Center building. This was an unexpected treat because there cages upon cages of so many different animal species. You can either view them from the outside or inside which we choose to do because it was a really sunny day. The Species Survival Research Center is a facility to study the breeding and protection of rare wild animals in the world. Some animals included is the great horn bill, squirrels, monkeys, and sloths. They are all a delight to watch. The center took a few minutes to get through.
The last thing you’ll enjoy watching is the two monkeys who have their own little island in the middle of a lake oblivious to all the people watching them.
Okinawa Light Rail
After the long walk through the park, you come across the train station for the Okinawa Light Rail. The train runs every 30 minutes. If you weren’t able to purchase tickets at the entrance, you are still able to purchase tickets at the train station. While you wait, there are vending machines that provide snacks and drinks. There are also nearby restrooms and an area for kids to keep entertained while they wait.
The route of the train…
Nago Train Station – Flamingo Lake – Bridge – African Savannah – Bridge – Llama’s Hill/Peccary -Oceanian Zone – Amazon Jungle – Multi Purpose Field – Nago Train Station
It is a wonderful train ride.
Towards the end of the ride you will notice a little amusement park area for kids. There are other rides for them to experience. We didn’t go there so I’m not able to tell you prices for the amusement park rides.
As you exit the train station, there is a little air-conditioned rest area and gift shop to purchase souvenirs of your time at Neo Park.
It was a fun-filled day at Neo Park. It really brought out the inner-child in each of us which is such a joy. If you haven’t been to a zoo in years then Neo Park is the place to be.
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