On Sunday my family and I visited Seoul Grand Park, a large family fun center in suburban Seoul. It is one of three major attractions in the Yangjae area. The Racetrack, which was crowded with would-be horse racing fans, lies nearby. The Museum of Contemporary Art is adjacent to the park. Inside the park lie two major attractions, Seoul Land, an amusement park, and the Seoul Grand Park Zoo, the largest zoo in Korea. My wife and I considered visiting the park many a time, but we never had the opportunity until yesterday. Other activities took precedence. We thought the park was far from home, but it turned out to be an easy 15-minute drive from our home (in good traffic). We may visit more often now that we know how proximate the park is and how little admission tickets cost. 5,500 Korean won admits you to the zoo and lets you ride on the tram and shuttle train that traverse the park.
Seoul Grand Park is a very long park with a vertical component. I estimated that the entire area is about three-to-four square miles, and from the entrance to the back of the park, there is a vertical rise of about 750 feet. While not a difficult hike, it is definitely not an easy walk for a family with small children. The park surrounds a small, scenic lake. The roadway from the park entrance complex winds around both sides of the lake and subdivide into the amusement park to the north and the zoo to the northwest.
We took the shuttle train up to the zoo and disembarked. We were immediately met at the zoo entrance by a scuplture garden filled with statues of animals made with recycled materials. I really enjoyed the zebra sculpture made from recycled computer keyboards. We wandered further and showed our son some of the animals he loves to play with as toys. The cast of the movie "Madagascar," including Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippo, and Melman the Giraffe, were all in the house. My son had a great time viewing the animals. The zoo itself is seems to be about as big as the San Diego Zoo, bar none the best zoo in the world, but the Seoul Grand Park Zoo is but a shadow of its San Diego counterpart. I’m not sure the animals receive proper care. I especially took pity on the hippopotamus. It lay inside a dirty building in a dirty pen with all sorts of fruit scraps scattered around the pen. The water was very dirty. Perhaps some zoos appear cleaner than they really are, but I’m positive that the hippos at the San Diego Zoo receive better treatment than they do at Seoul Grand Park. I also didn’t like the fact that some visitors threw food to the animals. Some of the bears and monkeys begged for food. It’s very unhealty when visitors start loading the animals up on the junk food they buy from vendors.
For the Shutterbugs: I posted some new photos of Seoul Grand Park for your viewing pleasure. Note the map of the park in the first photo. It gives you a geographic sense of the size and layout of the park. I also tried to sneak some action shots of vendors selling their wares at the park entrance. Vendors such as these are very industrious throughout Korea.
One thing you may discover if you scroll through the photo albums is the change of seasons in Korea. Korea is very beautiful spring through fall, luscious green from the monsoon rains, but during the winter when the trees are bare, the landscape can appear dingy brown when no there’s no snow. Seoul Grand Park isn’t as beautiful this time of year as I’m sure it is during the summer and fall.