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Who doesn’t enjoy a nice swim? Whether you’re a fitness buff swimming laps for exercise, a little kid splashing around in the shallow end, or simply floating about and relaxing, spending some time in the pool is always fun and refreshing, especially on a warm summer day.

It’s not just humans who feel this way, though. The elephants at Japan’s Fuji Safari Park like going for a dip too, and thanks to the clear walls on their brand-new pool, we can all see their gigantic smiles as they paddle through the water.

Mt. Fuji is a huge tourist draw, but not everyone who comes out to admire Japan’s largest mountain with their own eyes is in the mood to scale it. Thankfully, there are other things to do in the area, such as visiting Fuji Safari Park in the town of Susono. With Mt. Fuji standing tall in the background, guests can either drive their own cars through the grounds or ride on one of the facility’s group buses as they observe lions, zebras, camels, and bears roaming about.

The park is also home to five Asian elephants, and last January construction began on a 65-meter (213-foot) long pachyderm pool. The elephants took their first swims in June, and as of July 11, visitors to the park can watch them through the clear, 30-centimeter (11.8-inch) thick sections of acrylic glass.

▼ 65 meters isn’t a round number, but maybe that’s the length of the pools they use at the elephant Olympics.

Fuji Safari Park boasts that the pool is the first of its kind in Japan, and that it presents a rare opportunity to watch elephants swimming, something they’ve been known to do in the wild in India and Southeast Asia in search of food. And just in case you’re having trouble imagining something so big (the park’s elephants tip the scales at more than three tons each) moving through the water, one of the swimming elephants is the star of this newly released commercial.

The elephants do about 15 to 20 laps a day in the three-meter deep pool, where guests can watch them swimming between now and mid-October. Their form, which we’re calling elephant paddling, is obviously quite different from how humans swim, and it almost looks like the elephants are walking through the water. Another key (and adorable) difference that some guests have pointed out is that the elephants can keep their heads submerged for almost their entire swim, since they stick their trunks up above the water to breathe, as shown in the video below!

Something else many have noticed is that the elephants look incredibly happy in the pool.

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But…do elephants smile? We’re not sure, but now we know they definitely swim.

Park information
Fuji Safari Park / 富士サファリパーク
Address: Shizuoka-ken, Susono-shi, Suyama 2255-27
Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (October 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., winter 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.)

Sources: Naver Matome, ANNnewsCH YouTube channel
Images: YouTube/movie fujisafari