For those of you looking for a family friendly outing while in Japan, look no further than Kobe Animal Kingdom (神戸動物王国). This is a perfect place for children to spend time indoors learning about animals through an interactive experience, or for adults who just want to see some cute animals. Located on Port Island (ポートアイランド), about 15 minutes away from Sannomiya (三宮), this is a great place to spend half a day while you’re in the Kobe (神戸) area.
Kobe Animal Kingdom is split into an indoor and outdoor section. The outdoor park has kangaroos, horses, miniature horses and ponies, alpacas, sheep, and camels―as well as mountain goats and penguins. Between 10:30am-12:30pm and 1:45pm-2:45pm, horse rides are available in the outdoor park. Check out the dog stage in the outdoor park to see dogs perform different tricks and see them herd the sheep.
Don’t forget to check out all the indoor park has to offer. The indoor park is also split into a variety of fun zones. There are the African wetlands and Asian forest, as well as a tropical bird zone. In the petting zoo section, there are some adorable sheep, alpacas, and rabbits that you’re free to play with for as long as you like. Located in the water lily area, the bird stage offers you the chance to be up close and personal with a variety of different birds like owls, hawks, and colorful macaws. In the tropical forest, there are many colorful birds and an abundance of wildlife. There are sloths so close that you can almost touch them and huge birds fly overhead in the forest.
The highlight is getting to feed the toucans. For an extra charge, grab a cup of blueberries and hold out your hand. A toucan will fly onto your arm and perch there while it enjoys a blueberry or two. This is fun for adults and children alike. When you get tired of feeding the toucans, head over to the parrot park. For an additional charge, you can handle different breeds of cute parakeets and cockatiels.
When you've had enough fun with all of those birds and want something a bit softer to cuddle, stand in line for the dog and cat petting areas. This closed off section is filled with adorable cats and dogs. Be careful though. They keep a gate between the cat and dog sections because the dogs like to sneak in and terrorize the cats.
Before you leave the park, make sure to take a look at the Pelican Lagoon. There is a huge variety of beautiful birds that call this lake home. Look out for black swans and scarlet ibises. There are also mandarin ducks and great white pelicans. The lagoon isn’t just for the birds. See if you can spot a ring-tailed lemur or sitatunga.
If you get hungry during your visit, there are a few different restaurants to choose from. “Joey” has curry rice and there is a hamburger shop near the indoor petting zoo that also serves ice cream, and french-fries.
Don’t leave without a cute stuffed toucan from the souvenir shop next door!
When planning your trip out to Kobe Animal Kingdom, buy your tickets from the ticket shops near the Sannomiya Port Liner Station. You’ll get round trip tickets and the entrance ticket for the same price as the entrance ticket alone.
Hours: Weekdays 10am-5pm; Weekends 10am-5:30pm
Fees: ¥1,500 for entrance tickets. Various attractions inside will cost extra.
Address: 657- 0047 Hyogo Prefecture, Kobe City, Chuo-ku, 7-1-9 Minatojima-minamimachi
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