Since closing its doors to the public last September the 2005 World Expo’s 450 acre site has been transformed. Most of the attractions, buildings, and infrastructure that graced the Expo have long gone to be replaced by the site’s original forested landscape. 9 months of hard work resulted in the July opening of the Ai-chikyuhaku Kinen Koen, or Expo Memorial Park.
Nicknamed Moricoro Park, after the exposition’s popular characters, Morizo and Kiccoro, the park has continued the fair’s theme of “Love the Earth”.
Previously home to the exposition’s Wanpaku Treasure Island, the all-weather indoor International Year of Children Memorial Hall has numerous all-day workshops and sufficient inter-active activities to keep a child interested for several hours. The infrastructure of the center has been transformed into a giant maze-like playground – with climbing towers, under-floor passage ways, over-head transparent corridors – all just big enough to accommodate and disorientate an eager adult. Admission: adults 200 Yen, school age children 100 Yen, and children under 6 are free.
Along with the Linimo monorail, the park’s giant 88m-high Ferris wheel are the only memorable reminders of the exposition. The 13-minute ride on the Ferris wheel costs 600 Yen. In March 2007 the second stage of the site’s redevelopment will be completed, proving access to a heated swimming pool and ice rink.
The park is open from 08:00 to 18:30 and general entry is free. The park’s Water Zone and Wind Zone are open to all and provide wooded grounds, grassy knolls, and twisting paths, as well as a children’s playground and mini water park.
Access: A 1-minute walk from the Linimo’s Ai-chikyuhaku Kinen Koen Station. Seemingly unlimited parking is available, 500 Yen per vehicle.
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