It’s winter vacation. Unless they’re being shuttled to hagwon after hagwon while doing their vacation homework, kids have lots of free time on their hands, more than ample time to bug the heck out of their moms and dads. Trying to keep kids entertained while preventing them from being glued to the computer is no easy feat. Luckily, not only are there many kid-friendly exhibitions throughout the year, but also those which especially take place during the long vacation. There are exhibitions that will please both kids and adults alike.
While there are exceptions, most exhibition spaces close every Monday and will mostly be closed during the Seollal Holidays (Jan 22nd, 2012 ~ Jan 24th, 2012). Be sure to check the opening hours before you head out.
Chocolate, the Exhibition (동화나라 쵸코렛 이야기)
It’s not only the Ooompa Loompas who go crazy over chocolate. In fact, isn’t it just about everybody? From the cacao bean to the completed product, this exhibition takes an extensive look into the history and making of chocolate. Chocolate art works are also on display with a selection of special events: a chocolate making corner, a chocolate magic show, a chocolate art school that’s planned to be held on Valentine’s Day.
Open until March 3rd, 2012 at V Gallery, Seoul Arts Center
4D Art Factory Live Park (4D 아트파크 라이브파크)
They have 4D at the cinema, so why not in the exhibition hall? Holograms, multimedia art, kinetic art, virtual performances, multidimensional and interactive displays, and a 360 degree cinematic feature; it’s a mixture of the modern with the traditional, a multi-sensual experience in a land of fantastical make-believe.
It’s being called the future of exhibitions and attractions, a spectacle to be enjoyed by all ages.
Open until March 4th, 2012 at KINTEX in Ilsan
Body Worlds & Cycle of Life (신체의 신비)
Have you ever wondered what your body looked like under its skin? If you are burning with scientific curiosity or are/have/know a kid with a penchant for gross details, this exhibition is the one for you. The sculptural exhibit provides a raw anatomical look into the body through the ageing process, from the base skeletal structure to the complicated nervous system.
Discover Science in Art – Mystery Science Expedition (미스터리 과학탐험대)
A great thing about art exhibitions these days is the interactivity factor. When it’s an exhibition designed for children, various methods are presented to entice the kids’ participation and capture their interest even more. Linking art with science is an approach that is highly popular, and “Mystery Science Expedition” adds a theatrical aspect to this combination. What does an art masterpiece look like under an X-ray? What were the greatest art robberies of all time? How do you preserve and restore art pieces? All these and more are answered, while new questions and interest might be sparked as well.
Open until March 11th, 2012 at Gyeonggi Arts Center in Suwon
MBIC World Adventure (엠빅월드어드벤처)
Kids are fascinated by the entertainment industry these days. MBIC World Adventure is media theme indoor fun park, a jump into the world of broadcasting. You can oversee the making of a TV or radio program, try your anchor skills by announcing the news, pretend you’re the main character in the K-drama as you gallop away on a dummy horse. Organized by MBC, it’s also a chance to make believe you’re taking part in many of their popular programs.
Open until February 9th, 2012 at KINTEX in Ilsan
Dialogue in the Dark (어둠 속의 대화)
One of the longest running exhibitions in the world, this exhibition has been and is being held in various cities all over the globe. Its message is simply said in its title. It’s to experience what the world is like in the complete dark, to learn how to communicate with the environment and with others, without the aid of sight. As a guide leads you through the absolutely pitch dark spaces, you become aware of all your senses and wits, learn to adapt to the surroundings you’re in. It’s a valuable experience for both kids and adults alike. Admission for pre-schoolers and younger is not advised, as they might find the complete darkness frightening and not enjoy the experience.
Open run at Vertigo Tower in Sinchon, Seoul
Reservations are mandatory for tours in English. Tel: 02-313-9977
Tezuka Osamu “Dream of Atom” Exhibition (아톰의 꿈) and ICAFE 2011/2012
Known as Astroboy in the west, Atom is a familiar cartoon character worldwide. Meeting the original works of his creator Tezuka Osamu is a rare occasion and the exhibition presents not only artwork of Atom but all of his most popular characters. Original drawings, sculptures, early cartoons, journals of the artist, and original animation cells are on display.
For more drawing inspiration, illustrators and cartoonists from all around the world participate in the International Cartoon & Art Festival which takes place in the adjacent gallery next door, so taking in both exhibitions at the same time would be a good idea.
Open until April 1st, 2012 at Goyang Aramnuri Arts Center in Ilsan
Matisse & Dancing Color Paper (마티스와 춤추는 색종이)
Matisse’s playful color paper cutouts are great inspiration for kids to get into an artistic mood. The exhibition focuses more on the kids’ participation than display, as after a brief introduction to Matisse and his art, it’s more about the kids making creations of their own with tons of bright color paper. The adjacent Storybook Art exhibition next door is great for an additional tour.
Open until March 4th, 2012 at Seongnam Arts Center in Bundang http://www.snart.or.kr
Dinosaur Expos (공룡전시회)
Kids love dinosaurs. They memorize all those names that end in ‘-aus’ and ‘-tor’ without any problem and recite the characteristics of each species as easily as singing their favorite song. Dinosaur fossils and replicas, interactive multimedia displays, educational video films, and play rooms all keep kids happy for hours. There are two notable dinosaur exhibitions taking place during the vacation while a large scale exposition, the Gyeongnam Goseong Dinosaur World Expo 2012, will take place at the end of March.
Open until March 4th, 2012 at Taepyeongro, Daegu
Open until March 4th, 2012 at War Memorial of Korea in Seoul
Goseong Dinosaur World Expo 2012 (March 30th, 2012 ~ June 10th, 2012)
Trick Art exhibitions (트릭아트 전시회)
Lounging in Van Gogh’s room, dancing with a Degas ballerina, grabbing a pterodactyl’s wing, breaking through a wall – all is possible in a Trick Art exhibition. A brilliant meeting of reality and trompe l’oeil, it invites the viewer to interact and take photos, thus creating another work of Trick Art. There are specialty museums throughout the world, and special exhibitons running in various cities.
Open until February 26th, 2012 at BEXCO in Busan
Open until March 1st, 2012 at EXCO in Daegu
Open run at Jeju Trick Art Museum
The Museum of Unusual Things (별난물건박물관)
A doggy umbrella, a t-shirt which you can play, a moving picture; there are so many fun things in this world to see. Divided in the themes of sound, light, movement, science, and everyday life, the objects on display are meant to be seen, heard, and touched in this fun museum. It’s a completely interactive experience to enjoy for all ages.
Open run in Pyeongchon, Anyang
Hello Kitty Castle & Hello Kitty Planet (헬로키티 캐슬 & 헬로키티 플래닛)
A Hello Kitty themed play space with an exhibit of Hello Kitty’s history, Hello Kitty figurines and dolls – it’s an explosion of pink at Hello Kitty Castle. At Hello Kitty Planet everything is on a much larger scale: a Hello Kitty gallery showcasing the beloved character’s history and various artworks, a Hello Kitty themed house, a space where you can create your own Hello Kitty themed art, and a play zone.
Open until Feb 9th, 2012 at KINTEX in Ilsan
Open until June 30th, 2012 at Songdo, Incheon
Heyri “I Like Dalki” (헤이리 “딸기가 좋아”)
“I Like Dalki” is more of a playpark than a single exhibition space. It is situated north of Seoul in Heyri Art Valley http://www.heyri.net , and can truly be considered as a theme park as it surrounds the redhead character Dalki (딸기, strawberry) and her friends. Geared for the whole family, the park is composed of so many spaces full of activities to do that one is even called “I don’t want to go home”. A series of indoor playrooms, rooms full of modern art installations to explore, a variety of arts and crafts workshops, a candy colored kid’s dance hall, and educational classrooms are major time-killers, and time passes by quite quickly. As the park is managed by the company “Young Farmer” (어린 농부), there is also much emphasis on environmental issues within the spaces with stores selling organic foods and other organic items, besides the general souvenir shops.
The park is open year-round with indoor playroom branches throughout Seoul.
Tooniland Festival (투니페스티벌)
Indoor sports play park featuring various characters from cartoons and webtoons. Meet your favorite characters; play football, baseball, video games; run and jump over hurdles, see who’s the shopping king at the mock supermarket; jump into the ball pool; let out all that built up energy! (And kids have plenty of it.)
Open until February 26th, 2012 at BEXCO in Busan
There are other indoor playparks and playrooms for the kids to enjoy, mostly for toddlers and preschoolers.
Pororo Playground (뽀로로 놀이터) : Playpark featuring the popular animation Pororo
Open until February 19th, 2012 at Songdo, Incheon
Open until February 26th, 2012 at Expo Park, Daejeon
Garuya Garuya (가루야 가루야 체험전) : Boosting creativity by playing with all sorts of materials such as flour and wheat
Open run at COEX Artium in Seoul
Kemyland (깨미 키즈랜드) : Play, arts and crafts, baking cookies, drums, video room, etc
Open until January 16th, 2013 in Jakjeon-dong, Incheon
Winter Airkidsland (에어키즈랜드) : Fun fair style playpark with inflatable “air” equipment
Open until March 4th, 2012 at Goyang Flower Exhibition Center in Ilsan