Gwacheon Natural Science Museum

On Wednesday, the three of us went on a field trip with the Child Youth Services. We went to the Gwacheon Natural Science Museum in Seoul. It was about an hour and 15 minute drive on the bus. We left at 9am and got back around 2:30pm. All in all, it was a lot of fun for the boys. There was so much to see and we only got to see about half of it. Already we’re planning on making a return trip. Not only was the museum huge and had so many exhibits, the majority of every wing was hands-on and had simulators. Also, there were outdoor exhibits we didn’t get to explore. One of the things we were able to see was in the planetarium. I had never been in one, it was awesome. Not only did it show the stars and constellations, but there was a video that showed astronauts and space shuttles. We also got to see a demonstration of electricity and Tesla coils, I had no idea how loud it would be! The biggest downside was that the majority of information about the experiments and science was all in Korean, I mean we are in Korea so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. There were a lot of really cool demonstrations and hands-on experiments that I wished I could read to learn about what was happening. Otherwise, I completely and utterly recommend it for everyone. Even small children, which is unusual for a science museum. I saw plenty of children running and screaming and not once were they reprimanded by museum staff. That’s a good thing to me. Not that I want my children to be running around like hooligans, but I want to know that they are allowed to be children and not have to worry about quieting them or controlling their behavior. Example: Even though there was a huge “no eating or drinking” sign in the planetarium, Zander started screaming so I started shoving him full of Veggie puffs so it didn’t ruin the video for everyone else. I’m pretty sure the museum staff saw me, but they didn’t say anything to me and I made sure to clean up after us. There are lots of pictures below, but like I said, we barely even saw half of it. I apologize for some of the pictures’ quality, between really bad florescent lighting, a shaky hand from having Zander strapped to me, Gabe running around like a crazy person and bringing the smaller (aka crappier) camera, I’m surprised I even got as many as I did.
Gabe, Zander and I at the Gwacheon Natural Science Museum entrance.

The giant sculpture hanging above our heads at the entrance.

View of the sculpture from the second floor.
I have no idea who these characters are, but it seemed like a good photo op. All the Korean kids pose for pictures, so Gabe thought he would too.

Throughout the children’s wing, there were images projected on the floors or walls that you could interact with. This was awesome. I have no idea the science behind it, but I was super impressed. In this one, the fish literally would swim around inside the lighted area. You could walk in the water and it would “splash” around your feet and the fish would swim away from you. I have a video of Gabe “splashing” and chasing the fish.
This is one of the 4D simulators in the children’s wing that we didn’t get to experience. I’m not really sure what it does, but the outside of it was a bus.
In one of the sections the floor was made of bobble-head toys and when you walked along it, the bobble-heads would move. There were other sections of other things.

There were lots of simple machines that would move water. I was trying to explain it to Gabe, but he just wanted to watch the water he pumped pour out and back into the tank.

These were remote controlled robots, you moved the joystick and it moved the robot. I’m not really sure what science it was demonstrating.

This was a wall decoration behind the simple machines, it’s enlarged silverware, pots and pans and chopsticks.
There was a couple different giant sculptures that were made with lego-like toys. I think it was demonstrating pixels.

This was really cool and I wish I could have gotten a better picture or video of it. When you stepped on the piano keys, it would light up and hit the water pipe. Whatever key you hit coordinated with the sound coming from the water pipe.
Another interactive wall, those things flew around the screen and if you tried to touch them, they’d fly away from you.
They had a bunch of sports equipment cut in half, I had never actually seen the inside of a baseball.
Another of the pixel-lego sculptures.
Another interactive wall. In this one, the field would wiggle like you shook the branch and butterflies would fly out.
This was an interactive coloring pad. You could pick whatever color you wanted and draw on the screen and it would project on the wall.
This astounded me. This exhibit was about 6 foot tall and all those things are paper sticking up off the page. They are all placed in a specific position. From the ceiling above the exhibit they would shine a light from the left side and then from the right side and the shadows created by the paper created different images.
This was the image created in the shadows when the light shined from the left side. It’s Frankenstein.
This is the exact same exhibit, but with the light shining from the right hand side. Marilyn Monroe. Isn’t that crazy? I watched it a couple times and still was amazed.
Another simple machine exhibit.
The Tesla coils that about gave Gabe a heart attack.
Learning the science behind an air hockey table.
Gabe was controlling the part of the machine that moved up and down to create the waves.

I can’t remember exactly what we figured this out to be. But it was another thing that I wished had been in English so I knew what we were learning.

This was a driving simulator that tested your reaction time. You’d be driving along the road and a cat would run in front of you and you’d have to swerve. Gabe gave up and ran to the next thing before we got to the cat.
As we were walking/running (it was cold outside) to the planetarium, we noticed these Korean rockets. Gabe thought they were pretty cool. I like the Seoul mountains in the background.
In the Natural Science wing, they had all kinds of information about dinosaurs and fossils and Korean wildlife. These were fossils that were found in Seoul. Again, all the information was in Korean, so I didn’t catch any of the names of the skeletons.






This was pretty freaky. The biggest one standing up is the skeleton of a giant sloth. I have no idea if it was found in Korea or when it was found. The little one next to the sloth is a bear.


Gabe didn’t believe me that this was a monkey skeleton. I was trying to get him to stand between the monkey and the human skeleton.
These are all little tanks of fish that are native to Korean lakes.
A giant tank of fish that are native to Korean waters.


Gabe thought these were the creepiest fish. Unfortunately, we only had about 10 minutes to get through the dinosaurs and wildlife, so we didn’t get to see everything in detail.
Our last stop before leaving the museum was, of course, to the gift shop. I always make it a point to go there. Admission to public buildings is always so cheap (example, it only cost me W4,000 to get in = roughly $3.50 and kids 7 and under are free) that we have extra money to get souvenirs. Gabe picked a moon ball that had “lego” pieces inside that, when built, made a lunar module – W7,000 or around $6.15. It is really cool and I wish we would have gotten the other three space related kits. Zander got a rubber googly-eyed stegosaurus for the same price. I also got Gabe a t-shirt that has a picture of a T-Rex made out of Hangul symbols (the characters of the Korean language) – it’s very cool and I’ll have to get a picture to post it on here. The t-shirt was the most expensive at W20,000 or $17.60, but stuff like that I don’t mind spending more on. The shirt is a little big for Gabe right now, so it’ll last all summer and then I can hand it down to Zander. It’s a nice memento of Korea and the museum.
All in all, it was a good trip.

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