Many of Okinawa’s zoos, animal parks and aquariums can be a lot of fun but most do not lend themselves to brief and spontaneous visits. A small zoo along the city limits between Okinawa City and Uruma City though is perfect for a quick, fun and free visit. The Mini Mini Zoo and Zukeran Egg Outlet features more than 200 creatures ranging from mammals to birds to fish to amphibians and also has a fresh egg, pastry and ice cream shop.
True to its name, this little zoo is extremely small by zoo standards. The zoo side of the property is approximately the size of a large Japanese grocery store – perhaps 150 by 150 meters. The animals are predominately small in size. The longest visit to include a stop for ice cream or cream puffs will take a couple of hours. Its intended niche is as a zoo for families with small children. All animals appear to be well cared for and healthy; the property is well organized and clean.
The animals are organized into four rows of pens, cages, enclosures, ponds and aquariums. The largest animals featured are a donkey, land turtles, two horses, a pig and two ostriches – the two most photogenic large birds that I have seen on Okinawa. The smallest are fish, finches, parakeets, and snakes. There are more than 200 animals of dozens of different species by my count. More than half of the animals can be seen from covered walkways making the Mini Mini Zoo a great destination during any type of weather.
Kids will love seeing the animals up close. Children can pet rabbits, guinea pigs, horses, a pig, and a donkey. There are a few monkeys, tropical birds, snakes, amphibians and an owl that are fully separated from zoo goers by distance or plastic glass. None of the animals look or act ferociously in any manner that would concern parents. Parents may want to watch their children carefully as they approach the parrots, turtles and monkeys but everything else within reach appears to be extremely safe. There is a small playground and picnic area beyond the peacock enclosure and farm animal stalls. There are four large Little Tyke’s style play houses as well as wooden and stone picnic tables and chairs. This is a great spot to let the children play.
The egg and pastry shop await famished zoo goers looking for a snack on site . The shop has various displays of fresh eggs and freshly made pastries, a side room where workers are making baked goods, a larger room where workers are seen sorting eggs that were brought from the local farm for packaging, an ice cream and pastry sales counter, and about a dozen tables for enjoying a quick snack. The cream puffs are not only delicious but are made in western sized portions. The ice cream served is Blue Seal, a brand originating locally shortly after the end of World War II.
Admission is absolutely free. Eggs, ice cream and pastries or modestly priced. The Mini Mini Zoo and Zukeran Egg Outlet is located on Route 16 in Uruma City. Take Route 329 to Route 16 in Okinawa City. Turn east and proceed about 2 kilometers. The property is situated on the left side once entering Uruma City. There is ample parking on the property. Bring a camera or video camera to capture your visit. Open: Mon~Sat 8:30~19:00, Sun 10:00~ 18:30.
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