A few weeks ago, my new expat friend suggested we meet up at the play place at the Emart by the I’Park Mall to chat while the kids burnt off some steam. I’d never been there before and am all about finding new places to take the kids, so I was totally on board. The kids had a good time (and didn’t have any meltdowns) so when it rained yesterday I thought I’d take them back.
They again had a good time and again didn’t have any meltdowns. “Hey,” I thought, “this is a good place. It’s easy and I like it.” Both times we went at 4pm or so, on a weekday. There were maybe 10-15 kids in there, a couple parents and two attendants, so it was definitely lively, but not overwhelmingly so.
Besides being easy and the kids having a good time, here’s why I dig the Emart play place:
One: It’s close to base. (Yongsan)
Two: You can park in the garage (level B3), walk through the door, and around the corner there it is. (No going up elevators like for Tumbland). Each additional step between car and play place increases the possibility for / duration of a tantrum so the shorter the distance the better.
Three: It is located between both food (Burger King, Baskin Robbins, a coffee shop, Korean dining), AND a kid friendly bathroom. The bathroom even has those things on the wall for your child to sit in while you pee.
Four: The price is not outrageous. Okay, there is a caveat to that. While the price is 4,000₩ per kid per hour (which I consider a reasonable amount to spend on having my kids bounce off someone else’s walls), you DO have to pay for parking (7,000₩/hour) unless somewhere in Emart you spend 10,000₩. If that’s the case, you show your receipt to the garage attendant and parking will be free. So, try to go when you have some Korean grocery shopping to do! (If you have the energy to take your kids all the way to the back of the grocery store, there is a bakery there with some DIVINE goodies. Num. Num.)
Five: I like the toys in there. Okay, my only other reference for a kid’s play place in Korea is the kids’ cafe, Tumbland, which is much bigger, sleeker, cooler and cleaner (possibly, I mean the stuff there is newer, who knows how often it’s cleaned). However, I like the Emart one more because even though it’s small and the toys are well-worn, my kids have more fun there.
There’s a ball pit (I know, mecca for germs, but you can shoot the balls in guns and up tubes, so I think the coolness outweighs the risks), a very small Burger King type indoor play area, and then just a whole bunch of toys: Legos and blocks and crayons and kitchen stuff and all kinds of Korean and European toys my kids have never seen before and are therefore enraptured by. They also like the attendants, who are friendly and actually play with the kids.
Easy. Manageable. Friendly. I like that!
By the way, if your child is over 48 months old, you can actually leave him/her there and go shopping all by yourself. Awesome! Also, the attendant said you can buy a 10 hour card for 30,000₩ and the time you spend there is simply deducted from the card. (So if you are only need 30 minutes, you don’t have to pay for an hour.) At least that’s what I understood with my no Korean speaking self!
So, this play area was for my local Yongsan Emart. Anyone know if all the Emarts have a place like this?
Newton: A Kids’ Play Place at Emart
Cost: 4,000₩/HR per child (plus parking 7,000₩/hr — free if show receipt of 10,000₩)
Hours: 10am-10pm daily
Phone: 02-20-12-1203 Yongsan location (in Korean)
Address: 55 Hangang-daero 23-gil, Hangangno 3(sam)-ga, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Directions: Newton is in the Emart at I’Park Mall in Yongsan. Out of the Visitor’s Gate (Gate 13), turn right. Go straight, toward I’Park Mall (on your left). Drive past the entrance of the mall…Emart is on the far side of it. Be on the lookout for the parking garage as the road starts to veer to the right. Follow the arrows pointing to the Emart parking (down). Go down to the B3 level parking. It’s kind of sketchy with lots of crates and stuff in it, but will lead you to the parking spots on the same level as the play area! Just go through the doors and it will be just past the food court. Grocery store is on same level.