New at / news for the Saitama Children’s Animal Nature Park, Autumn 2019.
Saitama Children’s Animal Nature Park is the official name for Saitama Children’s Zoo, a 46 hectare zoo in the hills of Iwadono in Higashimatsuyama. Saitama Children’s zoo is one of the top attractions of the prefecture and also one of the most versatile.
Children’s Animal Nature Park
The name “Children’s Animal Nature Park” was chosen to reflect that the space is more than just a zoo. There are large parts of the zoo that are the original natural landscape of woods and marshes of the Hiki hills. And the park has more than just animals with seasonal flowers, four playgrounds, a water splash area, restaurants and event spaces.
New at the Zoo
The Eco Hauchu is an enclosure for small animals. It replaced the old barn type enclosure that was torn down earlier in the year. It is the first and only of its kind in the whole of Japan. And it houses animals that can’t be seen anywhere else in Japan. The zoo prides itself on being home to several animals that aren’t (or weren’t) in any other zoos in Japan.
New to the zoo and to Japan: Northern Luzon giant cloud rat, Yellow spotted hyrax aka Bush Hyrax, Gundi
The new Eco Hauchu is an indoor enclosure for small animals including several types of rodents and mammals. There are some birds too. The Eco Hauchu is divided into an area for nocturnal animals and one for diurnal animals. The latter allows in natural light, the former is in darkness. No flash photography is permitted in either.
All the animals in the Eco Hauchu are behind glass. But thanks to the set up of the enclosure it is possible to get a good view of the animals, even in the nocturnal animal section. The enclosure isn’t actually that big. I think it is smaller than the old enclosure, but it is very well done and a great addition to the already excellent animal nature park.
The Eco Hauchu is after the red panda enclosure and before the pudu and penguin area. The Pudu is the world’s smallest deer and when Saitama Children’s Animal Nature Park introduced them in 2016 there was nowhere else in Japan that you could see them.
Baby Red Pandas
Red Panda are an endangered species. Saitama Children’s zoo has gone to great lengths to do their part to create awareness of the perilous situation of the red panda. Every year the zoo mark the international red panda day with several events. And they periodically give talks about red panda in the wild and captivity.
This year they had an extra special reason to celebrate red panda day with the birth of two red panda in the zoo earlier in the year. They are currently inviting visitors to the zoo to vote on the names for the baby boy and girl red panda. At the red panda keep you can pick up a form and elect your favorite names for the red panda. From what I understand, entries with the winning names will be put in a draw for a prize.
Children’s Animal Nature Park Halloween
The zoo holds Halloween events annually. Each year they change slightly so that, like much of the zoo, there is something new to enjoy. The Halloween decorations and some of the events will be on until October 31st. But the main celebration is this weekend; Saturday October 26th and Sunday October 27th 2019. You can read more information in English about this year’s Halloween celebrations here (click).
Peace Museum Collaboration
The zoo and the peace museum of Saitama are running a campaign together. If you visit the peace museum after the zoo and show them your zoo entry ticket they will give you a free eraser of your choice. They are cute animal and food erasers.
There is no entry fee for the Peace Museum of Saitama and they have toys and activities laid out for children to play with for free. Also, the observation tower gives panoramic views of Higashimatsuyama, which is particularly picturesque when the leaves are changing color.
The capybara onsen is another of the annual autumn events at the zoo. This year the capybara onsen will start from November 16th and run until the end of March. During that period they have a foot spa for visitors to the zoo beside the capybara spa. Watching the capybara is free, but if you want to try the foot spa there is a nominal fee for that. More information about the capybara onsen in English here (click).
Mini Animal Stage
The zoo has a special animal stage in the spring that is held in the main large outdoor stage of the park. However, in autumn they have a mini stage in the petting zoo area of the park. It will run on the weekends only, from 2.20 pm, until Sunday November 17th 2019.
Saitama Children’s Animal Nature Park Information
|Address:||554 Iwadono, Higashimatsuyama, Saitama 355-0065|
|Hours:||9.30 am to 5 pm from March to October|
9.30 am to 4.30 pm from November to February
|Cost:||Covered by the entrance fee to the zoo |
Adults entrance cost: 520 yen
School aged children cost: 210 yen
Children under 6 years old can enter for free
Children’s Animal Nature Park Access
You can get a bus from Takasaka Station which is on the Tobu Tojo line.
By car the nearest expressway exits are Tsurugashima and Higashimatsuyama Interchanges on the Kanetsu expressway.