When traveling, immerse your family in the country’s history and pop culture for cheap or for free by visiting the local museums! I absolutely love educational trips with my kids because they experience concepts uniquely outside the walls of the classroom. Going on museum visits in fine weather is definitely a plus, too!
We took a taxi from our hotel, Ibis Myeongdong, which costed us a few thousand won. We learned that it is more convenient for us to use the taxi vs the subway because we were a family of 4 travelling with 2 kids. It actually may even be more cost-effective.
The day we decided to stroll the National Folk Museum it rained so it was cooler compared to the unusual hot weather Seoul was experiencing last month. Good thing we brought rain gear or we would’ve been stranded for at least an hour!
TRAVEL TIP: Check weather forecast for the days you are planning to be outdoors. Always bring a travel-sized umbrella and hooded jackets for you and your tots. Alternatively, you may choose to borrow an umbrella from your hotel concierge. It just might pour and proper gear will save you from getting drenched and stuck. Being prepared will save you precious travel time!
If you didn’t get to bring drinks with you, just by the entrance you will find vendo machines underneath a canopy of trees where you can also choose to rest after your museum trip.
From the main entrance, expect to walk 5-10 minutes (depending on how fast you walk!) until you get to the main structure. Since it was raining, they canceled the change of guards which is what we wanted to see. So, we decided to look around the grounds and then later on, whichever features they had inside the museum.
Just outside the main museum entrance was stone statues of the 12 Zodiac Signs.
“The Twelve Zodiac Signs have close ties with everyday life of Koreans, including the notion of time and directions in astronomy and the calendar as well as fortune telling, naming a baby, fixing a date and foretelling the fate and marital harmony.” – See more here. Apparently, the General Director of the museum had many studies on the subject matter plus books on the Zodiac Signs published!
Santi was delighted to pose with his Chinese zodiac animal, The Boar. He was born in year 2007 which makes him a golden fire pig. This special sign only comes once in every 600 years so they say that people born during that year are very lucky. I believe so! On his 8th birthday month, Santi got to travel to Hong Kong and Korea. What a lucky little boy!
Maya admiring her Chinese zodiac sign, the Horse. It’s special that she has the same zodiac signs as her Dad. They are both Piscean Horses!
And I get to have a photo with my sign too, The Dog!
I was amazed at this magnificent calendar in the middle of the statues. It is in Korean so I couldn’t read what it says but I imagine it to be some kind of special lunar calendar?
And then we proceeded indoors to see what interesting exhibits they had. Stars were definitely aligned in my behalf!
Because we were in Samsung-land, multi-media presentations were everywhere.
Baby with Dad in traditional Korean outfit! If they were babywearing, that would’ve been real awesome.
A message from the divine that day..
NATIONAL FOLK MUSEUM
Audio guide rental (optional) : 1,000 won
There are free available wheelchairs for elderly or disabled and infant strollers for use.
Address: 37 Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu, 서울특별시 South Korea
Contact No. +82 2-3704-3114
And then the next area was miraculously the Children’s Museum! My Waldorf-schooled child was drawn to the children’s theatre room playing cartoons in the entrance. LOL! (Waldorf Schools do not encourage TV and gadgets like the IPad)
After letting him sit in for 5 minutes, we proceeded to the main exhibit. Looking at the photo below, can you guess what it’s all about? A full exhibit on POOP! Yes, the Koreans seem to love toilet humor. They’ve found a way to merge education with our toilet business.
The Scoop On Poop is the exhibition title. What a catchy one!
A vintage contraption of their bedwetting solution. Santi tries it out. I wish there were long enough english translations for me to understand the descriptions!
“Ewww. pigs eat your poo?”, Santi asked
“Yup, that’s why I don’t eat pork. Their meat is dirty!”, I replied hoping to have made my point very clear.
Santi squats and sees poop with the pigs below. Oh, technology!
Sit on your throne! And do you read that, “WHAT DOES POO TASTE LIKE?!?” Oh my….can someone translate to me what it says?!
Poop carrying Santi. “When flushing toilets weren’t invented, you had to carry your poop out to the field”, I explained to Santi. I hope he got the message on how challenging life was before!
My parents and I indulge in poop humor. Poop clouds over our heads. Thank God for such cool, grandparents!
The olden day ways of wiping yourself clean. Interesting inforgaphic for young ones!
After viewing the exhibit, we exited into a maze around this giant robotic structure. If it weren’t wet from the rain, Santi would’ve loved to hang out and play.
And onto the Old Korea town. A whole alley filled with blast from the past structures and things.
No electricity required fire for cooking and heat. Firewood was essential in every household. It seems we lack this element in modern times.
Freezing this moment with Maya who was 1 year and 3 months old at the time photo was taken.
Santi’s famous kung-fu pose. Maybe he thinks Korean’s invented Kung-fu. I should correct him LOL!
After all the walking, we stopped to have a picnic. It was such a lovely afternoon to be out in nature with family!
He obviously had a good day 🙂
SEOUL’S CHILDREN’S MUSEUM
Cost: Free of charge for some exhibits
MUSEUM TIP: Checking the website, there is a lot of educational programs to avail in the children’s museum. Make sure you read about offerings before planning a visit to make the most out of your trip to the museum!