Although I mapped everything out a few days in advance, it almost felt like I was a contestant on the reality television game show, The Amazing Race. I was under pressure at the train station with five hours until park closing; my partner had a glazed look on his face. But, after seeking help from the station's ticket booth, everything finally fell into place. We're on our way to see the newborn white tigers and the Gundam World 2013 exhibit at Tobu Zoo today!
Tobu Zoo, a hybrid amusement park settled in Saitama, is located 40 minutes from Asakusa Sta by express train. Part amusement-themed and part zoo, the park is fun for all ages. Upon arrival at the Tobu-Dobutsukoen Station, a glimpse of the roller coasters and ferris wheels on the horizon will begin to pump you up. Unfortunately, that feeling dissipates after having to walk 15 minutes by foot to arrive at the East Entrance of Tobu Zoo. And I'm here to warn you to not be discouraged by the park entrance. Pay for your entrance fee & ride pass to discover the glitz and the glam located in the heart of the park. Besides, the animals are anxiously awaiting your visit!
The amusement park is sectioned into three areas. Liberty Land has a county fair feel to it and its prize possession is the bright yellow roller coaster, カワセミ, or Kawasemi. This coaster is a Mega-Lite model manufactured by Intamin AG, known for their high quality and innovative ride systems. Whether you’re seated in the front, rear, or middle of the train, its high speeds and air-borne qualities will have you going back for more. Pleasure Land is best suited for small children, but as soon as mom or dad hear the roar from the first wooden roller coaster built over a pond, Regina, they will find each other taking turns to watch the kids in order to catch a ride. Be prepared to brace yourself amid the rickety track and unbelievably high speeds. Afri-cart is a two-seater go-cart circuit with an expansive track along the water. There are no center safeguards to keep you aligned, so be sure to pay close attention to the wheel and on the lookout for vultures and roaming goats. Finally, if you’re lucky enough to visit during springtime, cherry blossom trees line the train tracks heading into Heartful Land and they are such a sight to see! Your toddlers will enjoy the carousel type rides; round and round they go. The large, cheese-themed Ferris wheel is fairly new and provides great birds eye views from East to West.
The Zoo consumes the west side of the park and was the highlight of the trip; the roller coasters were a bonus. On March 16th, four white tigers were born! Mother, Carla-chan, and cubs are being cared for behind the scenes while the park streams live video of them at the White Tiger exhibit. Father, Rocky-kun, guards the area by posing on the large rock for daily visits from paparazzi. Keep an eye on announcements posted to the website for opening day viewing of the adorable cubs. You can even follow the keeper’s blog for more detailed information. Other exhibits available are giraffes & zebras in the Africa Sabanna, the Pride of Lion in DokiDoki Street, the white pelican, capybara & the hornbill birds in the walk-in bird cage of Honobono Street and Monkey World. So much to see, but there’s also so much to touch, pet and feed. Interact with little chicks, guinea pigs and cuddle with bunnies. Across the way you can find owls and red kangaroos. Peek at the Burmese Python and if the time of year is right, visit the firefly exhibit.
Now through May 12th, Gundam World 2013 in Tobu Zoo lets you experience all of Mobile Suit Gundam, from the original series aired in 1979 to the newest episode of Mobile Suit Gundam UC. Take a souvenir photo sitting on the shoulder of a life-sized RX-78-2 Gundam bust, see the history of Gundam’s in a series of 1/10 scale statues, experience exciting dioramas, and pick up event-exclusive Gunpla and more!