Iwakuni families explore cave, take voyage to safari land

Iwakuni families explore cave, take voyage to safari land

by Lance Cpl. Andrew Jones
MCAS Iwakuni

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni residents explored the Akiyoshido Cave and the Safari Land Akiyoshidai Natural Zoological Park during a field trip to Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan, June 22, 2018.

The family-oriented trip was held by the Marine Corps Community Services Youth and Teen Center and is just one of many trips that they offer.

“These trips really bring the community together,” said Lauren Tubbs, a program assistant with the Youth and Teen Center. “Kids of different ages, and the families who aren’t able to go on trips to Japan, can actually see Japan through the Youth and Teen Center.”

The first stop during the field trip was the Akiyoshido Cave, Japan’s longest cave, in Akiyoshidai Quasi-National Park. Parents and children followed an underground river that runs through the cave and viewed the many types of geological formations that the cave has.

After viewing the cave, the group travelled to Safari Land Akiyoshidai Natural Zoological Park. The park has many activities for parents and children such as feeding exotic animals through the windows of a safari bus, a petting zoo and an amusement park. Within the park, there are White Rhinoceros’, Bengal Tigers, Red Pandas and much more.

The Youth and Teen Center hosts many trips similar to this one where families can visit sites in Japan.

“The Youth and Teen Center is a very nice opportunity and a benefit for the kids,” said Emilio Baez, a teacher with Matthew C. Perry and Iwakuni Elementary schools. “The field trips are very family oriented and that is what we parents like for our kids as they learn and discover new things and as they have fun.”

Although some activities with the Youth and Teen Center are for the whole family, they also host events just for children.

“I really want to be able to reach families and build a bond and a relationship with them,” said Tubbs. “Being able to do that makes communicating and bringing more people to the Youth and Teen Center easier. You could say that I wasn’t as social before I joined the Youth and Teen Center and joining it has really brought out my outgoing side, and I just love the people here.”

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