* This post is written by Asif Quadri, one of the Korea Blog’s Worldwide Korea Bloggers.
Korea has a peculiar fascination with Teddy Bear Museums. There are two on Jeju Island, one in Seoul, and two in Gyeongju. I have been fortunate to visit three of the Teddy Bear Museums during my stay and each has its own unique charm to amuse and marvel visitors with the creative ingenuity of the artists.
Jeju Teddy Bear Museum
Despite its small size Jeju is fortunate to have two Teddy Bear Museums. The first Teddy Bear Museum I ever visited was in the Jungmun resort area in the south of the island.
I thought this might be a waste of time and just for children but it turned out to be one of my favourite places. They arranged the Teddies in many famous scenes such as the Wedding of Charles & Diana, The Beatles, the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth, Teddies on the Runway in a Fashion Show, The Moon Landing, Mona Lisa, Michaelangelos Hand of God, Korean Royal Court, and other Aristrocrats. They even had Rupert the Bear, Paddington Bear, and Winnie the Pooh.
Jeju’s second Teddy Bear Museum is a Teddy Safari located closer to Jeju City and next to Psyche World.
Gyeongju Teddy Bear Museum
Like Jeju Gyeongju also has two Teddy Bear Museums. The first one I visited by accident having been given wrong information by the Tourist Office who also didnt mention there were two Teddy Bear Museums close to each other in Gyeongju.
It was confusing to have two museums so close and the tourist info office should have told me there were two and to ask me which one I wanted to goto although it was by no means a wasted trip.
The top floor starts with a Dinosaur World and many teddy bears playing with the dinosaurs, camping, or trapping them like hunters. The trapping aspect did seem a bit like cruelty to dinosaurs!.
This leads down to the basement floor with an undersea world. There are penguins and seals swimming suspended in air, and many polar bears in various scenes. There was a mermaid musical court and an undersea mermaid king.
The next section what I wanted to see, was the history of the Shilla Kingdom. There was a Teddy Bear version of Seokgaram Grotto, and Teddy Bears constructing large temples. Many of the Teddy Bears had mechanical movements and would bow down to the King. There was the Shilla Queen and some battle scenes.
For Pop Culture there were exhibits of types of Teddy Bears from each decade, which led to a corridor of Teddy Bear sculptures. These were famous Roman and Greek sculptures replaced with Teddy Bear heads. By the gift shop was a 3D theatre we didnt go in.
The exit takes you past famous works of art replaced with Teddy Bears such as The Scream. There were exhibits for other Teddy Bear galleries and museums in other parts of Korea, such as the one I had visited in Jeju. Admission was 9000w ($8).
The final Teddy Bear Museum I have visited is in Gyeongju again near the Bumeon resort area. It spans two floors and is broken into many interesting sections. A darkened hall has each of the characters of the Zodiac in different display cases. There is also a replica of the famous Seokguram Grotto in Gyeongju
Drawing on the historical heritage of Gyeongju there are displays of several figures from Korean history. As Gyeongju was an unofficial end of the Silk Road further than Beijing there is a section celebrating the various cultures of the Silk Road as well as other Ancient Civilizations
The museum continues onto a lower floor where they celebrate the national dance of respective nations. For Korea there are displays of various types of traditional dance ranging from women’s circle dance, Andong mask dance, and others.
There is an assortment of national dances from Germany, Japan, China, Brazil, Hawaii, Argentina, and many others. They even had different styles of dance such as Tango and Hip Hop. This was followed by popular dance musicals such as Hairspray and Moulin Rouge
A combo ticket of 12,000w will also include admission to the Trick Art Museum, a Magic Show, and Crocodile Show. Air Busan also offers discounted ticket rates if you have your boarding pass from the last 30 days.
Not wanting to be left out Seoul also houses it own Teddy Bear Museum at the base of the Namsan Tower. I havent visited but thats always something to look forward to on a future visit to Seoul.
Koreans have certainly excelled in their Teddy Bear Museum’s and its worth checking out one or more in Seoul, Jeju, or Gyeongju
Jeju Teddy Bear Museum / Gyeongju Teddy Bear Museum / Namsan Teddy Bear Museum
Jeju Teddy Bear Safari