So, every so often I check out some other local blogs to see what fascinating adventure the rest of the foreign population is getting into these days in and around the Gwangju area. One such daytrip I stumbled upon every so often was the Zoo at Uchi Park which is part of the Family Land grounds. Now, I’m going to be honest, zoo’s are cool, but i’ve been to zoo’s and Nicole and I had annual passes to Busch gardens for a bit so seeing some caged animals was a little low on the list of the things that get me outta bed. However, the fact that about 99% of the foreigner blogs I read pooped all over this particular venue caused some suspicions in my head and made Nicole and I want to check it out to see if there was enough basis for the rants.
The trip itself was easy enough. From our dong we can get there in about 45 minutes which could have probably been cut down but we were in no rush so we hopped a bus that brought us relatively close and cabbed it the rest of the way.
Entry is 1500 won for the zoo with an additional 700 for the shuttle to the zoo and family land entry.
The grounds that encompass the parks are pretty large and pretty well kept. Although we did not go into family land, it seemed pretty basic and somewhat old in need of some fresh paint but for the 1500 won you pay to get in, I wouldn’t complain.
The zoo itself is home to upwards of 500 animals scattered about a lengthy but not overly taxing layout that you can loop through in two to two and a half hours at a leisurely pace. The enclosures for most of the animals was fair, with the exception of the penguins who were baking in the sun and the seals who were swimming in some pretty dingy lookin water. The park itself is by no means and in your face zoological experience as we were not exposed to more than a little snippet of info about each animal displayed on the dwellings…. i guess for us even less educational as the info other then the species name was all in Korean, as it should be…its South Korea). In any case, you won’t find many workers trolling around and there’s no safari themes jungle music coupled with random nature sounds to drive home the feeling of being one with the animals. If you want that, 1500 won isn’t gonna cut it. You will however get a quiet walk through the park and a chance to see some animals that you don’t see everyday and if your a kid, you can feed most all of them. Not that i agree with this, but you can…because nobody is watching.
There’s even an elephant riding area being run by some Indonesian dudes!
Obviously the best part is the monkeys as always. And even though I am developing an acute terrified paranoia when being near them, its always entertaining to just watch their creepy little eyes scope out all the on lookers…and then hiss when they see me.
Ok, right…one more area of discontent. They have some pups in cages. yes, dogs. But again, Korea….not the west, get over it. It sucks but they also find some breeds fit to eat here so I wasn’t all that shocked. The dogs did seem well kept and well fed which is more than I can say for a few of the strays in our dong.
There was also a nice arboretum and herb planting house that was chock full of herbs oddly enough.
So what did we think? Not bad…not great and certainly not the best kept animals in the world (which should be improved) but i’m not about to jump on the phone with PETA to have them shut down either. Zoo’s all cage animals and while some do a far better job of taking care of the ones they do, they all still hold animals in a small confined space that will never be their natural habitat so the best of zoo’s is never that great no?
As a cheap, close to home way to spend a sunny Sunday however, certainly worth it if you can ditch the idea that you are going to a theme park style zoo. If nothing else…..they sell these ridiculous huge “bows” at the gift shop that all the ladies wear, so you can smile at that…..or your girlfriend on an x-rated Donald Duck ride. 😉
thanks for readin…yall come back!