One of the hardest things about going to obscure attractions in Korea is that there is very little detailed information in English online. I stumbled upon some pictures of Sapgyo Hangang park when looking for things to do near Dangjin, Korea. Dangjin is just across the long bridge from Pyeongtaek, and Sapgyo park is located on the shore of a river outlet into the bay. I typically rely on brown tourism signs to guide me once we get to our destination, but there were no signs for the navy ships! From the highway coming from Dangjin, I turned left toward the shore and then another left to go along the shoreline. We drove past a building that said “Dangjin Marine Tourism Organization”, and then a park. When we didn’t find anything else that looked touristy, we parked at the park and walked over to the marine tourism building. We found it! The website has all the details on hours and prices.
We wanted to spend our time at the navy ships, so we opted not to do the 4D movie or hang glider. The “museum” starts with a small aquarium off of the ticket/entry room. I say “museum” because the indoor portion of this attraction was a confusing mash-up of many different subjects thrown together in one museum. Nothing was really that well done, either. Whoever designed had too many ideas and executed them poorly. The aquarium had a few fish, mostly focused on characters from Finding Nemo. They had SO many little clownfish! What was really funny to me was that there were several aquariums full of water with PLASTIC aquatic creatures in them. They put color changing LED lights in the aquariums to make them look cool, but it was just laughable. There was a touch tank, and I finally convinced Landon to touch the creatures. He was pretty proud of himself! We were the only ones there at the time, so we had the place to ourselves.
From the aquarium, there are stairs up to the second floor. Landon ran up the stairs before me and was excited to see dinosaurs painted on the wall in one room. He ran in to check it out, and ran out just as quickly when the triceratops started roaring and moving its head! He refused to go in that door again, but we peeked in the other door going into the room to see the rest of the dinosaurs. Some of them were animatronic, and some stayed still, but Landon did NOT like getting surprised by the triceratops! Some of the dinosaurs were looking a little worse for wear. In the photo below, the brontosaurus had tape on his neck!
Across from the dinosaur room was a room full of gems and other precious stones. Landon was not as interested in the gems, so we didn’t spend too much time in this room. There were a few fossils that we checked out, though! Signs in English were a little spotty, but there were enough in the aquarium and gem area to get a basic understanding of some of the exhibits.
From the gem room, we finally found our way outside to the ships and military equipment- the reason we came! There were some amphibious landing vehicles, and Landon could even go inside! Along with vehicles and a big propeller, there were two big navy ships. One was a landing ship with a huge area inside for the amphibious landing vehicles. The other was a destroyer. The landing ship had been set up as a Korean navy museum, while the destroyer was kept as a living museum so we could see what the inside of a battleship really looked like!
There were lots of school groups going through the ship. The boys made quite a stir with the school groups- they all tried to practice their English with Landon. He was a little shy, but as they all yelled, “HI!” whenever they saw us, I tried to say “hi” back.
Although some of the exhibits were a bit tired and run down, this was still a Korean museum so there were some cool exhibits all about different Korean navy campaigns. I did not realize that North Korea and South Korea have had many naval skirmishes over the years. Of course, this museum outlined each of these skirmishes in some detail, with videos, photos and artifacts from the ships with bullet holes. And of course, in the landing boat there were plenty of photo ops. Landon is finally at the age where he was interested in posing for pictures- at least on this day!
From the museum, we climbed up to the deck of the landing ship and crossed over a bridge to the destroyer. I was surprised that this destroyer was very similar to the destroyer that we toured in Lake Charles, Louisiana! Landon was too little then to remember, so he had a blast exploring the ship on deck and below deck. We saw the kitchen, bunk rooms, shower rooms, infirmary, captain’s rooms, navigation rooms, bridge, and went up and down countless metal staircases to all the different rooms and compartments.
When we got to the bridge, there was a whole kindergarten class running around the room, lining up to take pictures in the captain’s chair. Landon really wanted a picture in the chair, but did not want to wait in the noisy and crowded room. So, we wandered around the ship until the whole class finished with pictures. Landon loved imagining that he was the captain and had no problem giving me orders of how to steer the ship. It was fun to play ship with him in a real battleship!
After finishing up at the navy ships, we headed back over the park where we had a nice little picnic lunch. The play structure was in the shape of a ship, so Landon had a great time continuing to play ship, although he changed over to the dark side and started playing pirates. The morning fog had burned off, and it was just a great little picnic!
Aside from the children’s playground, there were several sculptures and neat seating areas along the shoreline, with a pier going out over the water. I had to drag Landon away from the playground to check them out, but I think he was glad that we did. Next to the playground, there was a really interesting obstacle course/army training course. I couldn’t really tell if the obstacles were for older kids or adults, but Landon had fun playing on some of those things as well. Other areas of the park we did not really explore were the splash pad (off for the season) and stage area.
For little boys and anyone interested in ships and military history, Sapgyo is a great place to visit! Skip the indoor portion of the museum and head straight outside to the ships to spend your time there. Bring a picnic and go to the park afterwards to spend a great day on the shore!