CONTRIBUTED BY CHRISTINE BRUNS
One of our family’s goals is to try to see as much of South Korea as possible while we’re here, so we took advantage of the nice weather on a Saturday to visit Seoul Olympic Park. This was the site of the 1988 Summer Olympics and it’s still a busy area today. The city definitely uses the park to full advantage for outdoor recreation, as well as sporting and cultural events. We actually attended an event here last fall and knew we would have to come back to explore.
Coming out of Mongchontoseong Subway Station, Exit 1, we were greeted by the gigantic World Peace Gate. It truly was impressive and a fitting marker for the area.
Beneath the gate lies the olympic flame – still burning today.
The park is quite large, with hiking trails, museums, arenas, lakes, and a sculpture garden. The end of the entrance plaza is adorned with flags from each country that participated in 1988. We took a quick break from sightseeing to let our little guy play (because you just cannot pass a playground without testing out the slides and exercise equipment).
Next up was the Seoul Olympic Museum. First we had to see the cool handprints and footprints from the athletes on the outside walkway, though!
This museum is wonderful – a great mix of olympic memorabilia and information about the games. There are pieces from the 1988 games, as well as Olympic sites all over the world. There’s a collection of mascots from various Olympics, torches from many different games, commemorative coins, collector’s pins, and a bunch of other memorabilia.
After our tour of the museum, we opted to stop for some lunch at a restaurant in the plaza – Season’s Table – and it ended up being a healthy Korean buffet that featured fresh seasonal dishes. There are also a few other fast food and convenience store options.
Then we found “The Thumb” – yes, a giant homage to the thumb.
The Seoul Olympics Museum of Art (SOMA) is on the grounds and is surrounded by a HUGE sculpture garden. Huge, as is in a large space AND giant pieces of art. We spent a good half hour walking through and admiring the variety of pieces.
We found a portion of the Mongchon Fortress wall hike and decided to explore. This area was studied and excavated prior to its transformation for the Olympics. Many relics were found from the Baekje Era (which predates the Joseon Era), such as pottery, coffins, and houses. The Mongchon Fortress grounds were re-established with walls, fences, and a moat. There is a Baekje Museum, as well as an enclosed dig site. The hike afforded us a great view of the stadiums before we headed home for the day.
Entry Fee: Free
Hours: Walking/Bicycle: 05:00 ~ 22:00 (~24:00 for Squares); Car : 06:00 ~ 22:00
Address: 424, Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul
GPS Coordinates: 37.5217853, 127.1165203
East Gate 2, Subway Line 5, Olympic Park Station
South Gate 4, Subway Line 8, Mongchontoseong Station (Peace Gate Square)