Okinawa zoo counted over 450,000 visitors in 2015
The number of visitor to Okinawa Zoo, known as “Kodomo-no Kuni,” reached 457,868 for the year 2015 that is an increase of 32,301 over the previous year, and is the highest visitor count since the facility was renovated in 2004. It’s also the second largest number since the zoo opened in 1972.
According to zoo officials, the biggest contributor to the record was the baby elephant Rubi that was born in the zoo and introduced to the public last April. Another reason zoo officials cited for the increasing numbers is the 2014-renovated Wonder Museum that’s a facility within the zoo where children can experience the wonders of light, color and air. Exhibition panels in the zoo were also increased, and many events were held that all added to the numbers.
According to zoo staff, more than 60% of visitors are adults over 18 years of age. Especially, couples in their 20s through 30s, and seniors over 60s who are usually escorting their grandchildren make a large portion of visitors.
Masaru Takada, the recently appointed curator of the zoo, says that he wants the zoo to become more specifically Okinawan. He is aiming at housing and displaying more native Okinawan animals in the future. Recently they added the Ryukyu dog and Yakushima monkey to their animal list. “We try to make the whole visit experience to our zoo more uniquely Okinawan,” Takada explains.
Currently, 90% of visitors are locals, and Talada says the goal is to get more mainland Japanese visitors. “But of course, first and foremost our mission is to take care of local children and make the Zoo loved by every child and adult.” Takada says.