There are many healing places on Okinawa (沖縄), and the Okinawa Tourism “Mecca Ocean Expo Park“ (メッカ海洋博公園) is one of them. One of the residents is the Manatee. It is known as the model for the Mermaid. They are large creatures that can grow to be 9 to 14 feet in length. They have a very rounded, smooth body and their movements are powerful but calm. They are adorable creatures, just looking at them is healing.
Dugongs and manatees are close relatives.
There are other marine mammals that can be observed in the waters near Okinawa. Humpback whales and dolphins playing is a familiar sight! There are some animals here that are on the endangered species list, the dugong is one of them.
The dugong was once seen often in the waters around Okinawa. They would feed on the algae along the rocks, but unfortunately many were getting caught in fishing nets and dying. More recently you will find them in the Ohura Bay of Nago city, the East coast of the Motobu Peninsula and around Kouri-tou Island (古宇利島).
The Ocean Expo Park’s popular manatee’s closest relative is the dugong. It has been nicknamed the “baby fish” by the local fishermen. Despite the fact that that dugongs were once a familiar sight around Okinawa, nowadays a sighting is more rare. Because they are an endangered species they are not on exhibit in the Aquarium. But the manatee attraction is very popular here.
The manatee attraction is a small, two-storey building with an outside window overlooking the blue sea and Ie-jima Island (伊江島).
At the entrance there are panels that exhibit characteristics of the manatee’s body, ecology, and the similarities and differences with the dugong. There are easy to understand photos and illustrations that explain all about the manatee. There are two tanks that you can look into the from the top to observe the manatee. They sometimes surfaces to breathe. When they do they look somewhat like a seal. Despite their large body, there is no need to feel intimidated. They are
noble and gentle creatures full of innocence. Just like how everyone seems to love looking at babies humans or animals, seeing the manatees brings a smile to people’s faces.
Manatee magic is healing!
In one corner of the basement floor there is a Q & A and video description area that is very popular. Also a lot of people gathered in front of underwater viewing room on the other side.The manatee swim by rotating their body while everyone’s eyes are glued to them. Their movement is very smooth and looks like a slow playing video.
The same people who like watching little kids love looking at the manatees. They really are adorable and they appear to be filled with love for all people. Their relaxing auras, heal the heart.
After you visit the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium and Dolphin lagoon, take the time to check out the manatee tank. It is a pleasant contrast to the dynamic energy of the everyday world. Next door to the manatee tank you can observe sea turtles who live in Okinawa waters at the turtle Museum.
- Car park P7 (North Gate parking lot) is useful. They have charger for electric vehicle (EV) available for free.
- Admission is free to see the Manatees.
When leaving the manatee pool if you go out the back and down a flight of stairs you will come to a small beach called Turtle Beach. It is a comfortable beach with fewer people and a lot of good spots to take photos.
- Spot name(Ja)
- 424 Ishikawa Motobu-Cho Kunigami-gun (Ocean Expo Park) Cl
- 8:30a.m. to 7:00p.m. (March-September) 8:30a.m. to 5:30p.m. (October-February)
- On the first the Wednesday of December, and the next day
- Parking lot
- HP : http://oki-park.jp/kaiyohaku/