Walk like an Olympian

It’s amazing to me that even though we’ve just celebrated our 1 year mark in Korea that we are still constantly discovering new places. We have seen the Olympic stadium next to the Baseball stadium at the Sports Complex subway station, but did not realize that there is an entire park created around many of the buildings used for 1988 Summer Olympics. The park is actually extremely nice and boasts a monument area, garden, outdoor art, tennis, swimming, and Olympic gymnasiums. It’s a great place to get some exercise or just to walk around and get out of the house.

Olympic Park is very easy to access as it is between 2 subway stations.  There is also parking available (it’s only a few thousand won per hour).

If you want to access Olympic Park by subway, take line 5 or 9 to Olympic Park station (and use exit 3) or take line 8 to Mongchontoseong station (and use exit 1)

We honestly thought that we would just be taking a quick walk through the park, but the grounds are truly extensive. Some of the most popular attractions in the park are:

  • World Peace Gate
  • A Thumb (it’s literally a giant thumb)
  • Rose Plaza
  • Lake 88
  • Mong-Chon Fortress
  • The Olympic stadiums

Here is a photo of the World Peace Gate that was built in July 1988. It is the work of architect Kim Chung-up to celebrate the spirit of the ’88 Seoul Olympic Games which symbolized the ability of the Korean people. The construction of this gate costs 4,800,000,000 won!

And just in the plaza surrounding the gate you will see lots of people riding these little family bicycles.  The parents look pretty tired, but the kids all seemed to be enjoying themselves.  If you do rent one, note that there are some areas of the park with really steep hills, so you might have to really work those legs!

Also in the plaza are hundred of flags representing different nations around the world that participated in the games on the edge of a lake.

One of our favorite things was the power wheels rentals they had at the plaza. Look at these little boys scoping out babes at an early age.

Once you start walking around the park you will realize how big it is, if you feel you can’t go on, don’t worry, you can ride the park train.  For a small fee, it drives around and let’s you see the hot spots without having to do the walking.

The one thing I really liked about the park was that the Seoul Olympic Museum of Art (www.somamuseum.org) is located here.  The museum is open from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM. Even if you do not go inside, you can enjoy some art as they have a huge exhibition of sculptures located right next to the museum and throughout the park.

Here’s a few of our favorite sculptures

Even children and animals were enjoying the sculpture park!

Here is a photo of “A Thumb,” I told you it was literally a giant thumb.

We saw this building from afar and though it was the Olympic Park subway station, but it is actually a large shopping complex above the station.  What a cool looking building though.

And we got to see this kid hauling a** through the plaza of the shopping mall.

During the 1988 Summer Olympics they utilized the indoor Swimming Pool, Gymnastics hall, Fencing gymnasium, Weight lifting gymnasium and Tennis Courts located on the grounds.

We walked in to take a look at the tennis courts. Unfortunately most venues are closed unless they are being used for an event.

I would say my favorite part of the park was the Rose Garden.  It was huge and fully blanketed with blossoms.

I would definitely recommend a visit to Olympic Park.  You can take a nice stroll around and bring some food and drinks to enjoy a nice picnic. I would say it is akin to Central Park in New York and is a nice green space in the middle of the concrete jungle that is Seoul.  As you can see the park is extremely family friendly.  Definitely enjoy the summer before winter is upon us again!

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