This beautiful Labor Day, we decided to make our way over to the Children’s Grand Park. From our place by the Mapo subway station, it took about 45 minutes to get there. It’s was a relatively easy trip there, and we arrived around 9:30, just as our friends arrived at the park as well, so at the very least, our trip out there was a success. 😉
The park was almost entirely deserted at that time, so we were able to take a calm, leisurely stroll through the park, although the boys pretty much beelined for the zoo portion of the park. There’s so much to see that one day isn’t nearly enough to take advantage of all it offers. The park entrance is free, and I had read on the website that there’s a fee for the zoo, but for whatever reason, there were no tickets to purchase and we were able to wander around the zoo for free. At the entrance, there’s a place to rent strollers (3,000W), which would be great for people who don’t want to struggle with a stroller on the subway.
On our way to the zoo, the kids discovered a sculpture garden, a playground, and plenty of space to run around. As I mentioned, the park was pretty empty at this hour, so for little ones who live in the city and are constantly surrounded by people and cars, being able to run free without worry is such a beautiful thing.
The zoo is definitely tailor-made for little ones. It’s quite unlike any zoo we ever visited in the States, and you’ll probably find yourself thinking about the rather small confines that the animals are in…but the kids will enjoy seeing the animals up close and personal. We’ve been to a number of zoos in the States, but I can honestly say that I’ve never been so close to lions and cheetahs and jaguars (separated by glass, of course!), and I was surprised at how big they are–particularly the lion.
As with all Korean parks, there were plenty of places for cute little photo ops…
And what parent doesn’t love a little adult humor in a children’s park, albeit unintentional?
The zoo also offers camel rides for kids and adults and pony rides just for kids (5,500W for adults, 3,000W for kids).
After the zoo, we ate lunch at Han’s Cafe right outside the zoo portion of the park. In retrospect, we should have searched a bit more for another place to eat because all this place had was burgers, fried chicken, and various types of katsu. We’re not big on fried food and would definitely would have preferred some bibimbab or naengmyun… So next time we venture out there, finding the cafeteria will definitely be on our list of priorities!
As we headed out of the park, the boys really wanted to go inside the botanical garden where we found an area full of bonsai trees that were 100 to 200 years old. I don’t know that the boys appreciated it, but the adults thought it was pretty cool. The kids, on the other hand, were pretty impressed with the little pond FULL of goldfish. The boys found this little bridge with a kid-sized bench for another little photo op. And look how happy they are about it! 😉
And finally, as we walked back towards the entrance, the music fountain was more excitement than the kids could handle. They ran past the rather ineffective barrier and ran through the jets that play along to the music. Luckily, we brought a change of clothes for them so they didn’t have to ride the subway home soaking wet.
We only saw a small fraction of what the park has to offer, so we’ll definitely be making a trip out here again soon. There’s the new Seoul Children’s Museum, an amusement park with rides for little ones, as well as a Kids Auto Park that offers driving classes for kids, complete with mini cars and tiny little roads for them to drive on. There’s so much more to see and do here–another adventure at the Children’s Grand Park is definitely on the horizon.