Anmyeondo Jurassic Park

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The museum from the driveway with very stately fountains

IMG_8423Anmyondo is an island accessible by car off of the Taean peninsula on the west coast of Korea. I wanted to visit a beach on the island, and came across information on a dinosaur museum on the way. Landon is super into dinosaurs right now, so we had to check it out! From our home in Samgilpo, it was about an hour drive to Anmyondo Jurassic Park. From Seoul, that would be 2.5-3 hours. There are signs marking the way, so it was fairly easy to find from the main road to Anmyondo. It is actually on the mainland, a few kilometers before the bridge to the island. Parking was in a dirt lot at the base of a hill. The ticket booth and gift shop were near the parking lot, and then there was walk up a long driveway to reach the museum. The gardens were fairly extensive, and full of dinosaur models built to scale. Landon had a blast running around identifying all the dinosaurs, so much so that it was hard to pin him down for a picture!IMG_8426

Along with the life-like dinosaurs, there were other sculptures that could only be described as eclectic. So very Korean. The rock-scary-face was interesting, and Landon loved the giant prehistoric whale. That statue kind of made sense, but the unicorn and werewolf came out of nowhere.

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Petrified wood and fossil-lined path

IMG_8433After checking out the gardens, Landon was drawn to the huge Tyrannosaurus Rex, his favorite dinosaur. Much to our surprise, we discovered stairs to climb inside! There was a slide down the hill, as well as a tunnel to his mouth so of course, we took pictures of Landon being eaten by a T-rex.

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On the morning we visited, it was very hot. If the weather had been a little more mild, I  imagine we could have stayed out in the gardens for a long time, with the Tyrannosaurus slide, the kid’s play area pictured below, and all of the dinosaurs to check out. Some of the dinosaurs were animatronic and on motion sensors, so that was a fun surprise!

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The boys with the Allosaurus

IMG_8446 Once we pried Landon away from the dinosaurs and play area to go inside the museum, he was immediately enthralled with the exhibits. There were three floors, and even though it was a smaller museum, each exhibit was full of  different dinosaur fossils. We appreciated that each fossil was marked as fake bone, or genuine dinosaur bone. None of the extra information was in English, but the information placards had the name in Korean and in Latin characters. Accompanying some of the bones were models of what paleontologists think the dinosaur might have looked like, which was especially helpful for the kiddos. At right, a section of the first floor was glass, with a dinosaur dig displayed underneath complete with mannequin paleontologists. It was neat to see the steps of a dinosaur dig.

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Landon and the dinosaur reader exhibit

Korean museums are full of technology! On the second floor was a station with a sensor and a computer screen. There were blocks with names of dinosaurs on them. When Landon placed a block on the sensor, a moving picture of the dinosaur would appear on the screen, along with the name. Austin really wanted to see if the sensor would pick up two dinosaurs at once (and thus have a meat-eating dinosaur chasing its prey) but we could not get it to work. It was a fun exhibit, though! Landon wanted to do a quiz game at computer kiosks on the second floor, but it was only in Korean, so we were not very successful.

IMG_8463The third floor was an interesting mix of live reptiles, taxidermied animals, gems, rocks, and fossils of creatures that lived after the dinosaurs. I thought the way that this sea serpent was displayed made it scary beyond all reason! In the taxidermied animals section, this wolf caught my eye. He just looks like he’s up to something, doesn’t he?

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IMG_8470The museum itself was small enough it only took about an hour to thoroughly peruse each exhibit. After that, we were back outside, where Landon found remnants of his favorite prehistoric creature, the megalodon, or prehistoric shark. He loves learning about megalodons, and had to take a picture with the megalodon jaw.

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Landon and random statues in front of the museum

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The museum cafe was located across the garden in a separate building, but was easy to find due to the sign on the building. The furnishings were very upscale, and the food offerings quite limited, but we visited with friends who needed lunch, so they had to spring for the 18,000 won pizzas and paninis. We shared a cookie and it was delicious. After awhile, it was not a good idea to have Landon around nice, breakable things anymore, so Austin took him outside and started spinning him around. There were other kids out there, and they lined up to have a turn. Unfortunately, Austin didn’t notice until later, so they were disappointed. In the meantime, the boys rested in the hammock and waited for everyone to finish eating lunch.

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If you’re in the area and have a dinosaur lover, I recommend Anmyeondo Jurassic Park. It is out of the way, but a great addition to a vacation on the Taean peninsula. For information on tickets and opening hours, click here. One final note- fill up your gas tank in the Taean area for a 20% discount. We tried it and it worked- just present a gas receipt at the ticket booth!

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