exploring, things to do in korea

Calm and Healing Date in the Children’s Grand Park

A couple of weeks back, my boyfriend and I celebrated our 900 days together by spending it at what we first thought was a nearby children’s park, which ended up being an enormous area with a theme park and a zoo that surprisingly housed at least three animals I have never seen before (and I’ve lived in Zimbabwe and Australia). What we expected to be a good 2 hours turned into an entire day as we enjoyed the beautiful greenery to the unexpected surprise of our many animal friends. Located near Geonguk University (approximately 10 minutes away from Jamsil), the best part of all this was that it was completely and absolutely free.

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Right as you enter there is a large pond of lotus floors in full bloom. The leaves are several times bigger than my boyfriend’s hand and it was clear to see why these flowers are a favorite subject of East Asian artistry. The park also has remarkable speakers that play children’s songs throughout, but it just made the atmosphere more youthful and fun. IMG_7384.JPG

There were different attractions on the way such as a mini driving area for children, and this herb garden where we smelled everything from lemongrass to chocolatey herbs. IMG_7391.JPG

Furtherdown, we discovered a hidden nook where there was a mini library in the middle of the woods. IMG_7393.JPGIt must be incredible to spend a childhood in such a beautiful area. We passed the amusement parks which was mostly for the children but had two or three big rides that could accommodate the adults as well. Instead, we turned and rushed eagerly the other way–I just discovered the zoo sign and wanted to check it out immediately!

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These are just some of the beautiful little babies that we saw at the zoo today. There were three otters swimming around and teasing each other, lemurs playfully running about, desert foxes taking a nap (I don’t think I’ve ever seen one awake) and even had a large manatee splashing around. The big cat pictured above followed us and playfully teased us to scratch its belly. It was adorable and I walked away half dizzy from being stricken with love. We decided to grab an icecream and go in for the animal show they were having, which featured some cats working alongside penguins. While the story was centered mostly around children, it reminded us of the importance of not only loving nature, but protecting it as well. I thought it was a thoughtful touch to include cats into this play, as they are often the victims of abuse on the streets.

Making our way out, we walked by more private and lush areas until we arrived at the station. We had expected to spend our afternoon the average way, walking around the foodie streets and going to Common Ground shopping complex. I never expected to find such a rich and blessed place as this, and so close to home.

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