Seoul Zoo is a nice urban animal park in the heart of the city, which has been entertaining and educating Seoullites of all ages for many a year. My adventure there was in fact a tale of two halves: beautiful sunshine, and torrential rain!
It took me around 30 minutes on the Metro to get to Seoul Zoo from my hotel my Myeongdong, taking the Seoul Metro to Seoul Grand Park Station, and leaving through Exit 2. At this time of the day, it was a beautiful and sunny lunchtime, and I enjoyed the ‘Elephant Train’ ride to the Rose Garden at the front of the zoo while looking at parts of downtown Seoul. This cost me around 1000Won I think. There is also an option of a cable car into the zoo, but I just fancied the cheaper option, as entry to Seoul Zoo itself is 3000Won for each adult. Seoul Zoo was opened in its current form in 1984 and according to its official website has over 3400 animals on its books. This seems like an awful lot of animals, and in fact is now the 10th largest zoo in the world!
Seoul Zoo is divided into many different parts (known locally as ‘pavilions’) reflecting the kind of animals present within: Ape Pavilion, African Pavilion, North Korean Animals Pavilion (very interesting!), Oriental Pavilion, Beast Pavilion, Bear Pavilion, South American Pavilion, Birds of Prey Pavilion, and many, many more! Some of my favourite exhibits were the lions and the orang-utans. I always watching orang-utans in zoos wherever I am in the world, although nothing will come close to my experience in Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, where I saw them in the wild! I did not get to see all of the zoo, because of the weather, which is slightly regretful, but I saw most of the main exhibits, although it would have been good to see more of the tigers – my photos were poor from that exhibit.
At this stage, the heavens opened, and I got drenched. I still managed to get back and see the rhinos and the lions again, but generally from this point in the afternoon I tried to steer myself to the indoor exhibits, such as the Insectarium. I had never seen such a quick storm develop over Seoul in all my time there, but it seems I always attract bad weather whenever I go to a zoo; Singapore, Ueno, Bali…the list is endless – at least my trip to neighbouring Taipei Zoo was in glorious sunshine!
Generally, I am not too fond of reptile houses in zoos, as I come here to see the large animals, not small arachnoids in their boxes. However, Seoul Zoo has a wide variety of insects and reptiles in their undercover exhibit called the Insectarium – and it’s also a good place to get out of the inclement weather! There is a Tropical Birds aviary as well, which is huge, and a Nocturnal Creatures building, which has owls and other cool birds that are adapted to the dark. It was too dark to take photos in there, but I did enjoy the dryness of it all, considering the deluge outdoors!
I would like to share this video of Seoul Zoo from one of my favourite Korean YouTubers: