Showing posts with label animals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label animals. Show all posts

Friday, January 19, 2018

Japan 2017 | Capybara Onsen @ Saitama Children's Zoo {埼玉県こども動物自然公園のカピバラ温泉}

The highlight of our Japan trip last year for Lil Pumpkin was to Tokyo Disneyland, but for the boy {ok, and for me too haha!} it was definitely to see the kawaii capybaras at Saitama Children's Zoo!!

Standing about 60cm tall at the shoulder, 120cm in length and weighing around 2kg, capabaras are the world's largest rodents... and probably the only ones I find cute haha. The semi-aquatic animals are native to Central and South America and live near ponds, marshes, rivers etc. for food and to keep its dry skin healthy.

Fun Fact: Capybaras are so trainable that in Surinam a blind man once used a capybara as a guide animal.

In Japan, they are arguably the country's favourite animal and became wildly popular in recent years thanks to the cute cartoon character Kapibara-san {カピバラさん} that's known to carry its smaller siblings / friends on its head.

You can find Kapibara-san in most departmental stores and can buy his products ranging from stationary, to lunchboxes, socks, towels, snacks, cups, notebooks etc.

Most importantly though, just like the Japanese, they looooove to soak in the onsen during the cold winter months!! Best if there's yuzu added in so that they leave feeling clean and lemony-fresh!

Early 2017, a "capybara onsen competition" {yes, that's a thing!!} was held to promote the interest and popularity of the capybaras in Japan. The first animal to enter the onsen for the day was timed and the winner, Umi from Nasu Animal Kingdom in Tochigi, actually stayed in the park's onsen for nearly 5 hours!!! 

One fine day, we decided to take a road trip from Tokyo to Saitama Children's Zoo to see the capybaras.

It takes about 1.5hrs via train and bus to get there.. so we literally spent 3hrs on the road just to see the cute animals.

BUT IT WAS WELL WORTH IT, I tell ya!! haha

Even if you're not there to see the capybaras {what's wrong with you..?? haha}, Saitama Children's Zoo is still an amazing zoo to visit and you should definitely make a day's trip there with the family if you can.

Located in Higashimatsuyama, there are over 230 species of animals spread out over a vast, forested hill and there is so much to explore and do.

Don't expect a super modern zoo with high-tech facilities as Saitama Children's Zoo is rather dated. However, the rustic features make it even more charming and it's so nice just to get out of the city and breathe in the crisp, fresh air while admiring the animals at this suburban zoo.

Other than the animal enclosures and petting areas, the gorgeous free space available gives rise to a number of playgrounds, Dinosaur Corner {about 20 "life-size" dinosaur statues}, "mini amusement park" with rides, outdoor waterplay area, and even a Children's Castle {100yen/entry} with a talking tree, indoor play area, library, bar pool, cinema room and slides!

Lil Pumpkin definitely enjoyed her visit there!!

There are also mini kiosks selling chicken karaage and crepes dotted around the zoo for a quick snack, and quaint Japanese restaurants selling food like udon, soba, fried rice, omu-rice etc. to satsify hungry tummies that need more filling meals.

We had katsu-don and curry katsu rice which were both pretty good.

One thing I really love about Saitama Children's Zoo is how close to nature we were.

Even though it was the beginning of winter, the autumn leaves were still in full force there and it was just gorgeous walking underneath all the fall foliage!

I wish we were better prepared for momiji-gari {紅葉狩り, autumn leaves viewing}... mmmm, perhaps should have brought a mat or some snacks for a picnic??!

Anyway, back to the capybaras.

Saitama Children's Zoo has seasonal attractions and lucky for us while we were there, it was time for their Annual Capybara Onsen that's held every day from 18 Nov 2017 to 31 Mar 2018, 2.30pm - 4pm!! Too cute!!

You feel happy just watching them waddle in and soak to their heart's content but if you want, you can also get up close and personal with them. For 500 yen, you can soak your feet with them in the onsen for 15 mins and also walk away with a limited edition towel & certificate as memorabilia for your unique experience! It takes place 2.30pm - 3.30pm {tickets start selling from 2.15pm} to the first 12 pax only and is not available on rainy days.

The capybara enclosure is pretty easy to find...

Just about 10 mins walk from the main entrance {refer to the map above, and see a bigger Saitama Children's Zoo map here} past the park water fountain feature and up a small slope on the left.

The whole zoo is pram-friendly and there's a zoo train {200yen/ ride or 300yen/day I think} that goes around but I reckon it's really nice to trek around the whole park, especially when the weather was as cool as that day as you can go through the boardwalks in the forest that takes you amongst the trees.

Ahhh... I wish I could just chillax like these capybaras now...


Saitama Children's Zoo {埼玉県こども動物自然公園}
554 Iwadono, Higashimatsuyama, Saitama Prefecture {埼玉県東松山市岩殿554}
Opening hours: 9.30am - 5pm {last entry at 4pm}, 9.30am - 4.30pm {last entry at 3.30pm} for 15 Nov - 10 Feb
Closed on Mondays {except PHs} and 29 Dec - 1 Jan for New Year holidays
Entrance fee:  510 yen {adult}, 210 yen {child}
Tel: +81 0493 35 1234
Website: http://www.parks.or.jp/sczoo/

Other things to do in Japan:

Useful info for Japan travel:


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wordless Wednesday {linky}: Family Obento Ideas - Happy Anniversary! | Week 34


What's in my obento this week?
Stewed Pork Knuckles & Egg with Goya for hubby {loves his meat!}, 
Cereal Prawns, Egg with Goya & Rice for me.

Today is a special couple obento because it's our 6th wedding anniversary!
Love ya, hubby! (´ ♥ ☆ ♥ `)

Obento {お弁当} is a home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine and doesn't always need to be complicated or time-consuming. I hope to inspire you to create delicious, everyday obento meals for your family with these simple ideas and tools.

These photos are part of the 52 Weeks Family Obento Ideas series.

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Sakura Haruka's wordless wednesday
Note: Highlight the code & press Ctrl + C buttons to copy. 
You are not able to just highlight and right click to copy any text on my blog.
  1. Grab my button & place it in your post or sidebar, or text link back to my party.
  2. Add me on Google Friend Connect or Facebook before you link up.
  3. Come back every Wednesday!! :)







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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wordless Wednesday {linky}: Family Obento Ideas - Cute Animal Pancakes! | Week 33

What's in my obento this week?
Cute Animal Pancakes & Mandarin Oranges in a foldable lunchbox.

Mum made this for Lil Pumpkin last weekend. She's such a lucky kid! ;)
The foldable lunchbox used here is similar to this green one.

Obento {お弁当} is a home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine and doesn't always need to be complicated or time-consuming. I hope to inspire you to create delicious, everyday obento meals for your family with these simple ideas and tools.

These photos are part of the 52 Weeks Family Obento Ideas series.

*****

Sakura Haruka's wordless wednesday
Note: Highlight the code & press Ctrl + C buttons to copy. 
You are not able to just highlight and right click to copy any text on my blog.
  1. Grab my button & place it in your post or sidebar, or text link back to my party.
  2. Add me on Google Friend Connect or Facebook before you link up.
  3. Come back every Wednesday!! :)







*****
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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Bub & Me: Pasir Ris Kid's Kampong

Lil Pumpkin's preschool was closed one Friday for Staff Development Day. The event was planned way in advance before the recent childcare abuse fiasco, so it wasn't in reaction to that episode, but I'm sure it was be a good case study topic for the the teachers & preschool staff to discuss.

Anyway, the boy and I decided to take leave to spend some family time with Lil Pumpkin. Just because. We were thinking of going to Universal Studios, or the Zoo, or maybe even Pulau Ubin but in the end, we just kept it simple and explored Pasir Ris Kid's Kampong.
Established in 1997, the kid's kampong {Malay word for "village"} started as a place where modern-day kids can experience the fun of fishing in longkangs {Malay word for "drains"} and other childhood games their parents, or grandparents played while living in kampongs of olden days. They also have enclosures for kids to feed farm animals like ducks, chickens and goose. I thought there would be pigs and sheep too, but sadly, no. Just the smaller farm animals.

We reached about 10.30am but the place was closed a few hours for a school excursion. Pasir Ris Kid's Kampong is actually pretty popular with preschools and primary schools as they offer specially catered educational programs for the school children. In the end we went to the nearby Elias Mall for brunch then returned about 12.30pm when the place opened to public.

We were the only visitors that time so we had the whole place to ourselves heehee. It was a hot hot day but the whole outdoor area is covered with fishnets so even though the sun shone through, it kept most of the strong rays out. Had a great leisure time at the kampong, starting with longkang fishing... a first for Lil Pumpkin.


Lil Pumpkin had so much fun trying to catch the tiny fishes! Frankly speaking, so did the boy and I :) It was a good workout chasing the little guppies here and there haha... we really had to think creatively to "strategise" how to catch the fishes with the small net and bucket {S$4 for a set, and can reuse subsequent visits}. We worked together chasing the fishes and finally, caught 10 fishes. Teamwork, baby. My trick is to try and corner them, then swiftly scoop them up unaware ^^V. {Add me on Vine as @AiSakuraHaruka to see more of our videos}.

You can either return the fishes to the longkangs, or have them packed {complimentary service} to bring home. The uncle was so nice and even gave extra fishes to Lil Pumpkin. I heart kind people like that :)
After our fishing, we headed to the animal enclosures behind to feed them. Luckily, Lil Pumpkin isn't too scared of the animals {thanks to her "animal doctor" daddy} and was pretty happy to get up close to them, and asking all sorts of questions to feed her curious spirit. Too bad they weren't roaming around freely like in a real kampong, but this is as real as it gets in urban Singapore I guess.
All in all, we spent about 2 hours at Pasir Ris Kid's Kampong. This is the place to go if you're looking for an idyllic family afternoon outdoors, and don't want to hustle with other people at more famous local attractions or indoor playgrounds. The admission charges are very affordable as well.

{source}
Pasir Rise Kid's Kampong
11 Pasir Ris Farmway 1
Aqua Fauna Center {Blk F1}
Tel: 6583 9030
Mon - Fri: 9am - 6pm
Sat, Sun & PHs: 10am - 7pm

Tips:
  • Call before going down, especially during weekdays, as it may be closed for bookings
  • Bring extra clothes for the kids
  • Have your meals before your visit, as only snacks are sold there

Check out the rest of our Bub & Me activities or list of kid-friendly places in Singapore :) Read about our visit to Singapore's last kampong here.

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored or paid post. All views expressed are my own.

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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Kids Face Painting | Happy Easter Bunny!

The beauty of a long weekend is that you get more time to indulge in the things you love best :) Lil Pumpkin heard about the Easter Bunny from preschool and was happily telling me all about it so I decided to use facepaint to turn her into the Easter Bunny!

I drew it freehand looking at this photo and although it looks pretty amateur, still very cute complete with the little red heart nose heehee. Check out her transformation on my Vine video!

The bunny ears were from her 2nd birthday party when we had an Easter theme. I printed, cut, laminated then stuck them on a headband for her. Pretty easy craft! Lil Pumpkin's birthday is in May but we celebrated early that year as we were going on a trip.

Speaking of her birthday, I need to plan for her this year's celebration now! Slightly more than a month to get everything together. I've been asking her what birthday theme she wants but the little diva keeps changing her mind. Some days she'd want "Princesses" or "Pink Pirates", other days she'd want "Monster High School". I think we are kind of settling on "Pink Castles" :P


See our other face-painting ideas or Pinterest board for more inspiration.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Kids Face Painting | Cute Kitty Cat! ネコネコ~

So after my lovely face-painting experience I DID go out and get some face-paint materials to have more doodle fun with Lil Pumpkin! It was Halloween time so the face paints were easily available at shops like Toys R' Us, The Better Toy Store and of course, Art Friend.

For my first attempt, I tried to paint a little kitty cat design... meow~! Reckon it turned out pretty well! Who can resist a cheeky cute cat like that? :P

Pinterest is my best friend {find me as @AiSakuraHaruka} and I'm getting a lot of inspirations there to help me visualise finished faces. Have a Pinterest board ready with all the other creative face and body painting designs I'd like to try out!

Before we started, I applied a layer of moisturiser on her face as a base. Was pleasantly surprised to see that the face paints removed easily with just a wet wipe. We did a patch test for her eczema and it was ok, but didn't keep it on too long just in case.

Lil Pumpkin is very happy that we have this to play around with now and keeps asking me to draw her as Monster High School characters like Draculaura {Draculala as she calls her haha}, Claudeen Wolf or Frankie Stein! Those need advanced skills my dear, and mummy needs more time for practice!

I Blog on Tues with Essentially Jess. Any tips to help me with face-painting? 

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