Saturday, February 22, 2014

Day In Ueno

Zilla is 6 years old
Mega is 3 year old

Lesson: Ueno has much to offer.

If you don't live in Tokyo you probably don't know where/what Ueno is.  It is an older (historical) part of town which features a park surrounded by a zoo and various museums.  In some ways it is similar to a mini version Smithsonian Museums gathered around the Mall in Washington DC.
We haven't visited most of the museums in the past few years because the kids were too young to enjoy them. This past week Zilla had some time off school so I took the kids to Ueno for the day.
We started out at the National Museum of Nature and Science visiting the special exhibition on Dinosaurs of the Gobi Dessert.
Zilla and Mega both love learning about dinosaurs.  Being able to see these skeletons up close, in person was a real treat.  One special feature was a tablet computer that you could rent which had narration, additional photos and videos to enhance the exhibit. In the kid's version there was also a quiz to check their comprehension.  Zilla soaked up the information like a sponge!  Mega used our Dinosaur Train flashcards to identify the various dinosaurs which were displayed.
One feature the kids found particularly interesting was the information on how the bones are located and identified.  The ablove picture is the explanation of how a pile of tiny bones was discovered to actually be a nest of baby dinosaurs.  The kids think it would make a great puzzle for Grandpa to put together!

After the museum we headed across the park to Ueno Zoo. On the way there we stopped to take a picture with a whale, look at some early blooming Cherry Blossoms and have a snack at the playground.
This is outside the nature and science museum.

 The playground pictures here is between the Tokyo Metropolitian Art Museum and Ueno Zoo.

My year-long membership for the zoo ends soon so this may have been our last trip for a while. With Zilla starting school in the direction away from the zoo we may not be able to get there as often as we like.  While Ueno Zoo is small (landlocked) it has a long history and a wide variety of animals.  On this visit Mega wanted to see the pandas and polar bear. Zilla was looking forward to the spider monkeys and elephants.  Once we started walking around the aye-ayes, lemurs and the petting area sheep and goats also grabbed the kid's attention.  I love that we can go to the same zoo many times over the course of a year because the kids notice changes in the animals yet every time we go. They also show a new interest in an animal or two which they did not find particularly interesting before.

At the end of the day we headed back across Ueno park to get to the train home.  We stopped to watch a juggler/magician doing a street performance.  I'd love to say he was great... but he was very funny and held the kids attention. It must be hard to spend the day trying to get people to stop in the cold to watch for a while...

After we returned home the kids started asking about when we could go back to Ueno to see the other museums.  I think the next 1/2 day of school might include an afternoon trip to Ueno!
This is definitely one of the advantages of living in a city and I plan to make the most of it!

Here are some of the other places to visit around Ueno Park:

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