If you are spending a few days in Okinawa and want to do something else besides enjoying the island’s many gorgeous beaches, check out these fun (half) day trips. There are of course famous tourist destinations such as the aquarium and Shurijo Castle, but there’s so much more to do. Here are 5 fun day trip destinations in Okinawa main island that are slightly lesser-known and family-friendly!
This park is perhaps best described as a ‘natural playground’. It’s not quite an amusement park, but it is definitely more interesting than an average city park. There’s a large water area where you can rent a kayak or do some SUP, and you can ride around the park behind a buffalo. Next to the water, there’s a very large swing which is fun to use for young and old. There are also various play attributes around the park, and nice spots to take a rest such as hammocks and benches with a view.
The flora and fauna of the park are a large part of its charm, and there are various ways to interact with the animals. You can ‘rent a goat’ and take a walk with them, there are free-ranging chickens everywhere that you can feed, and there are cute pigs. The park is very green with many types of trees and flowers. It even feels a bit like a jungle in some parts. One corner of the park is designed like a maze, which is fun to walk in especially if you are a bit shorter.
Check Bios Hill’s homepage for current fees and opening hours.
Southeast Botanical Gardens
We love the Southeast Botanical Gardens, it’s usually pretty quiet, very green with many flowers, and you can get close with a number of animals. There are two parts in this park, the part outside the ticket gate is mainly a garden with a large square for activities like unicycle-riding and a splash pool in summer. This is a nice place to check out and enjoy the greenery, but the main part is behind the ticket gate.
In the main part, there’s a petting zoo with guinea pigs, rabbits, and lizards (in cages). There is a fishing pond where you can try to catch and release tilapia. In the back of the park, there are cages that you can walk in with large birds, monkeys, capybaras, tortoises, and rabbits. All animals can be fed, and the food is sold for 100 yen nearby.
There are a few creative activities as well such as painting. In the evening, they often have events with music and dance performances, and they do beautiful illuminations after dark between late November and March. The park is open until 10 pm on nights before a weekend day or national holiday.
Check Southeast Botanical Gardens’ homepage for current fees and opening hours.
Comprehensive Water Park
Are you coming with the kids? Or do you just want to indulge in your water slide guilty pleasure? Between May and September, the outdoor Comprehensive Water Park is open on the eastern coast of Okinawa Main Island. You can float along the ‘lazy river’, they have several water slides, and there are multiple smaller pools. Of course, there is a shallow kid pool as well.
It is a good idea to be prepared well, and not wear any jewelry, cover up any tattoos, and bring a normal swimsuit. Also, they don’t allow t-shirts so it’s best to wear rash-guard type swimwear.
The non-water part of the Comprehensive Park has a great large playground that kids between 4-12 will love. You can also rent bicycles and boats for the pond and there is even a camping site.
Check Comprehensive Water Park’s homepage for current fees and opening hours.
Legend Sports Heroes Okinawa an Indoor Day Trip
If it’s a rainy day and you don’t want to just sit around your accommodation the whole day and still not get wet, the indoor activity center Legend Sports Heroes Okinawa is a great place to spend a few hours. The place is geared towards kids aged 6-16, but adults can also have a lot of fun here. There are many kinds of activities here ranging from archery, shooting, darts, batting, pitching, and table tennis.
There is also a great trampoline part with many professional-grade trampolines. For the smaller kids, there’s a pretty awesome ball pool.
The nearby Rycom shopping mall is modern and huge and has many options for lunch and dinner. So you can easily make a visit to Sports Heroes and Rycom a day trip that’s fun for the whole family.
Check Legend Sports Heroes’ homepage for current fees and opening hours.
Sunabe Baba Park for Skateboarding
This is an awesome public park not far from American Village in Chatan. There is a nice playground that includes a small zipline. Just behind the park is a beach where locals like to chill and take a swim. But its best feature is the skate park, where you are allowed to use skateboards, BMX bikes, and scooters. There are a few halfpipes, railings, and the floor is super smooth.
Didn’t bring your skateboard? No problem, for a few hundred yen you can rent a skateboard and helmet from the park’s supervisor. Entrance to the skate park is free. You just have to write down your name at the supervisor’s little building on the site.
The skate park is open every day except for Monday (or Tuesday is Monday is a National Holiday). It opens from 3 pm on weekdays and 9 am on weekends. It closes at 6 pm between October and March and at 7 pm between April and September. The park is closed between December 28 and January 4.
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