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Southeast Botanical Gardens' Summer Wonderland

By: Takeshi Yokokawa

Date Posted: 2003-08-15

The Southeast Botanical Gardens is currently presenting an exotic eco-entertainment and education program called "Seven Big Bangs" featuring attractions that will provide a perfect summer experience for you and your children.

The Wonderland of World Insects showcases the world's largest beetle, the Hercules beetle, along with rare insects from all over the globe including the world's strongest beetle, the Caucasus beetle. The five-horned beetle, the elephant beetle and the Kumejima beetle are also making their debut at the Wonderland of World Insects. The Petting Zoo introduces children's favorite animals such as prairie dogs, tropical birds, hedgehogs and hamsters as well as various reptiles. The fennec fox joined the Petting Zoo this year. Water Paradise is a science-oriented activity in which you can experience the wonders of waterpower. With attractions that include the water gun and the water tunnel, it's advisable to bring your own towels and extra clothes. An ice slide and a penguin house await you at Ice World, where you can experience freezing temperatures in the middle of Okinawa's hot summer. Enjoy playing with unique items from around the world at the Kaleidoscope and Music Box Gallery. The Rabbit Island Tour is a raft trip to an island inhabited only by rabbits where you can pet and feed the furry creatures. Rabbit food is not included in the fee. Several fun summer courses provide an opportunity for children's independent study, overseen by the school "principal," a blue-and-yellow macaw named Coco.

Seven extensive programs make up this year's summer courses. A class on animals is put on by veterinarians who explain animal breeding, animal physiology, illness prevention and how to handle animals. This course is held at 3:00 p.m. on Sundays. Students learn how to breed and observe butterflies in the butterfly course, which is put on at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. on Thursdays. During the clean energy course, which demonstrates the basic ideas behind clean energy and hybrid technology, you can ride a hybrid tramcar. Fare is not included in the course fee, which takes place at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. on Fridays and 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays. The recycling workshop is an opportunity to experience the recycling process with your own plastic bottles. This course starts at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and at 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. An additional charge for course materials is required. During the hibiscus class, various types of hibiscus are studied and participants are also given a chance to sketch the beautiful flower. The plants course explores the wonders of the Okinawan mangrove and is held at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. on Wednesdays and 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The gardens' curator runs the insect specimen course in which you can learn the art of collecting insects and preparing insect specimens. Classes start at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays and 2:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. There is an additional charge for course materials; reservations are required.

The Southeast Botanical Gardens' summer wonderland is open until Aug. 31. Whether you've visited there in the past or not, don't miss out on this great opportunity for you and your children. Admission runs 1,200 for adults and high school students and 700 for children three years of age to junior high school students.

The Southeast Botanical Gardens is easy to find. From Naha, take Highway 58 towards Kadena, and proceed east on Route 74 from the Kadena Rotary. Turn left at Kadena's Gate 3 on to Route 26. Follow the signs to the Southeast Botanical Gardens. Open seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. For more information, call 098-939-2555, e-mail info@sebg.co.jp or visit www.sebg.co.jp

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