Tennoji Halloween Night Zoo – Osaka Events
Boo at the ZOO!
On Sunday, to wrap up a weekend of Halloween festivities we made our way to Tennoji to check out the final day of the zoo’s two-day Halloween Night Zoo Event. You can enter the zoo from either the Shinseikai Gate if you’re coming from Dobutsuen Mae Subway Station (Midosuji & Sakaisuji Honmachi Line) or the Tennoji Gate from Tennoji Subway Station (Midosuji & Tanimachi Line, JR Tennoji). We chose the Dobutsuen Mae access so that we could first do a lap of kushikatsu in Shinseikai on the way to the zoo. For the uninitiated, Shinseikai can be quite the labyrinth of narrow streets. With very little signage directing visitors to the zoo, this route is a bit more effort than the Tennoji Gate and is something that may be worth keeping in mind if you’re traveling with small children and prams.
We arrived at the entry gate around 6:30pm and were surprised to see that we didn’t need to wait in line to buy tickets. Tickets in hand, we entered the zoo and picked up a map. Versions are offered in Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean. We attempted to get our bearings, which to be honest, was a bit of a challenge as the park was surprisingly dark. Like us, a lot of visitors were using their phones as flashlights to check their maps and to illuminate the footpath. We gave in to the fact that we weren’t going to be able to see to make a plan, and decided to just follow the crowds instead.
Not big fans of snakes, we quickly made our way in and out of the Reptile House before heading back into the park. First on our path was the hippopotamus who was luckily out of the water and standing on the well-lit bank. He, as well as a duck family, was happily chomping away on his seasonal pre-bedtime snack – pumpkin. From the hippo, we made our way past the wolves to the big cats area. Here is where we began to get an idea of how popular this event truly was. Long lines were roped off for entry into both the giraffe and the tiger house.
We decided to pass on the lines and instead head to see the Jaguar and Puma. Despite the crowds, both were fast asleep, allowing visitors a unique opportunity to observe their nighttime behavior. Leaving the cats, we made our way to the African Savanna area. All of us agreed that this was the most impressive area of the park. Here, unlike many other zones of the park, the multi-colored lighting bathed the land and the zebras in festive halloween hues.
It was at about this time we all started to feel a bit cold so we grabbed some hot drinks from the vending machines and headed to the elephants. On our way, we got distracted by some splashing so we detoured to watch the seals. They were definitely the most active animals of the night and put on quite the show playing with their pumpkin painted toys. We finished making our way through the south side of the park and saw the rest of the sleepy animals there. What energy the animals seemed to lack, was definitely made up for by the happy costumed children running about! All the kids seemed to enjoy the big game of eye-spy with their families as they tried to be the first to spot the animals in their dimly lit cages.
Overall, Tennoji Halloween Night Zoo was a nice family-focused event. For us, it provided a nice excuse to get some fresh night air, a good walk and the chance to see some impressive creatures. It was a very different vibe from the daytime zoo but a unique opportunity none the less. In it’s fledgling year, I look forward to seeing what’s in store for next year’s Tennoji Halloween Night Zoo.