For anyone driving along highway 1135, Dinosaurland is one exit that is hard to miss. As a lifelong lover of dinosaurs, I have always harbored a secret desire to explore this road. So when a Couchsurfer expressed her interest in visiting last weekend, I was all aboard.
Dinosaurland is, as its name suggests, a theme park devoted to dinosaurs, and like the animals themselves, Dinosaurland is massive. The hulking map at the entrance made us glad we had worn comfortable shoes.
A series of dinosaur footprints led us on a path past replicas of all sorts of dinosaurs. My Couchsurfer, though French, was also a huge fan of “The Land Before Time,” and we took turns pointing out each character and its name.
Eventually, we turned a corner and were greeted by a gigantic brontosaurus. Though I had seen its neck poking out of the trees when driving past, I was still impressed by its size and stopped to take some pictures. More enjoyable, however, was standing to the side and watching all the children come around the corner to shriek and point in delight when they encountered this huge statue.
▲ Photos by Susan Shain
The brontosaurus stands at the entrance to a small dinosaur park with more replicas and a pretty koi-filled lagoon and waterfall where paddle boats can be rented for 5,000 won per person. The lagoon is tiny, and as we were not accompanied by any small children, we decided to forgo paddle boating.
We then headed into the dinosaur cave, an eerily-lit collection of more dinosaur replicas – except these ones moved and made sounds. Again, watching the children scream and sprint away from the T.Rex model was a highlight for me.
The 3-D movie theater and rock museum were next. What person, at some point in their youth, doesn’t want to be a palaeontologist? I know, if in no other ways, I was at least normal in that desire. So I am positive that a younger me would have truly enjoyed gazing at their collection of fossils, stones, and quartzes.
We soon saw a line forming and realized that the next showing of the 3-D movie was in a few minutes. Wanting to savor the air-conditioning for a bit longer, we shuffled into the theater and put on our 3-D glasses. The movie tells the story of a time-travelling boy and robot and their adventures with dinosaurs. As a neophyte to the 3-D movie experience, I found the effects to be pretty cool, and though I didn’t understand a word of it, I thought the movie was cute and a well-spent 20 minutes.
As we moved further from the entrance, we also moved further away from the strictly dinosaur-related attractions. Soon we entered the parrot house, where parrots and other birds and animals are kept. Some are allowed to fly freely around the building (and onto the visitors!), while others are kept caged. The resident animals included chipmunks, prairie dogs, rabbits, turtles, and a goat.
Though many of these animals were adorable, I was definitely saddened by their living situations. Most were in small wire cages, some even with wire a bottom, which meant there was nowhere comfortable for them to rest. Making things a little better, it did seem that the employees we saw cared about the animals and were giving them a decent amount of attention.
We then passed through an herb garden, a small Ocean Museum with shells and corals, a pottery-making studio (5,000 won), an inflatable bouncy house, and pony rides (3,000 won). Our last stop was the gift shop, which had a collection of plastic animal figurines that would make any child’s eyes pop out of their head.
As I am fairly confident that every little kid on Earth loves dinosaurs, I am also fairly confident that most little kids would love Dinosaurland. I know I would have. Despite its silly exhibits and its tinge of cheesiness, the kid in me thoroughly enjoyed my visit. I would recommend Dinosaurland for anybody with small children or for anybody who wants to spend a day looking through the eyes of their childhood and remembering just how awesome dinosaurs really are.
To get there from Jeju City, follow 1136 and get off at Exit 3. Dinosaurland is directly off the exit and is impossible to miss. By bus, take any bus that is Moseulpo-bound. It leaves the main bus station from Lane 8 and also passes by Halla Hospital and Nohyeong Rotary stops in Shin Jeju. A taxi from Jeju City will cost around 12,000 won.
▲ Photos by Susan Shain
Dinosaurland (www.jdpark.co.kr) Admission: Adults; 9,000 won, Teens; 7,000 won, Children; 6,000 won, Under 3; free Hours: 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. in summer; 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. from July 15 to Aug. 25; 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. in winter Phone: 064-746-3060
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