CONTRIBUTED BY CHRISTINE BRUNS
Despite it being a very rainy day (par for the course during monsoon season in Korea), we decided to be adventurous and join a group headed on a trek to the Seoul Animation Center and Cartoon Museum.
As we slogged up the hill, we came upon the Cartoon Museum first. They have a large library of comic books to read (no checking them out, though) and there are also varying displays of popular characters, like these large ones from Pororo for photo ops.
Upstairs is a viewing room, complete with comfy chairs or bean bags, with Korean and international DVDs to choose from. We cozied up with some Pororo for a few minutes, while others enjoyed some short films, including the classic Bambi meets Godzilla (google it if you want a quick laugh – warning, could be upsetting to the little ones!).
We headed next door to the Animation Center, where there was also an animation festival happening (their website says they have something special going on every weekend, so extra activities will change depending upon the event).
There are many more photo opportunities outside – by the building and along the white scaffold-like structure along the street.
Inside there are a number of rooms with character displays and some hands on activities.
We had fun creating our own comic strips and trying to find different popular characters in the diorama room.
The highlight was definitely the Animation Experience Room, where the kids were able to create clay figures and use them to film a 20 frame stop-animation movie (fee involved). They have morning and afternoon sessions that start on the hour – the entire process takes about 45 minutes. They can make any two characters they want and there are helpful picture charts at each station, in case they need some inspiration. Afterwards, the center will send you the movie via e-mail.
A side note: across the street there is an Alpha Store for all of your stationery needs and a hamburger restaurant called Middles – lunch was tasty, if not that fast – but both could help round out a fun day!
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 9:00-18:00. Closed Mondays and holidays.
Cartoon Museum – Free entry and movie viewing
Animation Center – Free entry, fees for cinema and claymation experience
Address – 126, Sopa-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul
Subway – Line 4 (blue line), Myeongdong Station, Exit no.1.
Double back at the top of the exit stairs and walk up the curving hillside road (Sowol-gil) (note: there is also a road sign visible for drivers pointing towards the museum).
Walk straight up the inclined road towards Namsan for about 150m and you will see the Cartoon Museum on your left. Continue walking and the Seoul Animation Center will be just after it, with large cartoon statues and a scaffolding structure out front.
Parking: 500 KW for every 10 minutes; 3-hours free for Seoul Ani-Cinema ticket holders