Our trip to Otaru Aquarium is one thing I know the kids enjoyed the most this trip. It's about a one hour plus drive from Sapporo, quite an easy, smooth drive.
When we parked at the designated visitor lot, the aquarium itself is right up on a hill, with a steep icy stairway leading there. We decided not to carry our double stroller up and just carry the kids up instead.
Which is a good thing because when we got to the top, there were loads of strollers provided by the aquarium, free for use there.
You need to time your visit with the penguin walk, because they only do it 3 times a day. The aquarium opens at 10 am and we went for the first Penguin walk at 11.30am. It is not to be missed. Simply delightful!
Mj got so excited he fell face forward in the snow twice lol. Myla was non stop pointing the penguins out to her brother and waving at them.
Here's a short video clip of the penguin walk.
The rest of the aquarium is worth a look around, but we really came for the penguin walk.
The Seal and Dolphin show (entirely in Japanese, but still watchable... especially the dolphin act)
The outdoor exhibit is a little harsh in the winter, so we look fast fast and went back indoors.
You can cover this place within 2 hours if you plan it carefully and arrive in time for the penguin walk. Then you can spend the rest of the day exploring Otaru.