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Enjoying the Nature of the City: Seoul Botanic Park

It is April, a month of midterm exams when Kingos are exhausted to prepare for the exams in earnest. For those tired and stressed Kingos, there is a great place to relieve stress, Seoul Botanic Park. Seoul Botanic Park, which opened last October, allows visitors to feel refreshed with a number of plants and fresh air. Moreover, it is open to the public for free until its official opening in May. For those Kingos who want to have some time for healing in an unusual way, the Sungkyun Times (SKT) now introduces the Seoul Botanic Park.

The First Step of Seoul Botanic Park

Entrance of the Seoul Botanic Park Near the Botanic Center

In October, 2018, Seoul Botanic Park was founded in the Magok District of Kang Seo-gu,
Seoul. Seoul Metropolitan Government began theproject for the park in November 2015. Seoul Botanic Park shows a new concept of the combination of a botanic garden and a park. It is 504,000 ㎡ in size, which is 70 times larger than a soccer field and 2.2 times larger than Yeouido Park. The park currently possesses about 3,000 plant species, and administrators of the park explained that the park would increase the number of species up to 8,000 in the future. Even though it is currently in a period of test operation until May, the park is busy with a number of families, couples, children, and the elderly. About two-million have already visited the park.

Looking Around Seoul Botanic Park

Seoul Botanic Park Lobby Project "Come into Bloom"

Seoul Botanic Park consists of four parts: the Forest Field, Botanic Garden, Lake Garden, and Wetland. When visitors enter the park, they can first see the Forest Field, which is at the entrance of Seoul Botanic Park. As they walk across the Entrance Square, visitors can find the visitor center and the wide grass field. The next part of the park is the Botanic Garden, where the Display Garden and the Botanic Center are located. On the way to the Botanic Center, there is the Display Garden that comprises of eight gardens with different themes, which illustrates Korea’s native plants and plant cultivation culture. For instance, the Memory Garden displays plants that were common in the past but now only remain in one’s memory, and the Gardeners’ Garden introduces future gardening trends. At the Display Garden, visitors can experience the past, present, and future of Korea’s garden culture. Although, only some parts of Display Garden are open to the public currently as the park officially opens this May, visitors will be able to see more of the beautiful garden a month later. The Botanic Center is where visitors spend most of their time at the park. When entering the center, the unique and colorful artwork which seems like a living organism hanging on the ceiling catches people’s eyes. It is the first Lobby Project of Seoul Botanic Park which will be displayed until April 14th. Walking inside, the exhibition hall, which briefly explains the characteristics of the plants, is located at the right side of the Botanic Center.

Skywalk in the Tropical Region Part of the Conservatory
The Mediterranean part of conservatory is filled with fresh air.

On the left side, visitors can enter the conservatory. The conservatory is separated into two parts: Tropical and Mediterranean. The plants and botanic cultures from 12 countries across the world are displayed there. In the tropical region part, plants from tropical countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia have been planted and thrive with humid air and water vapor. In the Mediterranean part, visitors can see plants which grow near the Mediterranean Sea in pleasant and cool air. There is one important thing that visitors should remember. The Mediterranean area will be restricted until April 30th to supplement facilities before its official opening. On the way to the exit, visitors may walk along the Skywalk which is located on the upper part of the conservatory. This is where they may see the complete view. After coming out of the conservatory in the Botanic Center and walking for a while, visitors may find the Lake Garden. At the Lake Garden, visitors can enjoy the expansive view of the lake while walking around. Also, there are some places to rest with plants that grow around the lake such as Irises. The last part of the park is the Wetland, where Seoul Botanic Park and the Hangang River meet. It includes Detention Pond and Hangang River Observatory Deck, but these will be opened to the public from May as well. Then, visitors will not only be able to get to the park more easily through the way near the Hangang River but also be able to observe wetland and migratory birds.

Large Lake of the Lake Garden

Ways to Enjoy Seoul Botanic Park More

Visitors can observe seed species in Seed Library.

When visitors come out of the conservatory in the Botanic Center, they will find the Seed Library. This is the place where visitors can see the seeds of Korean native plants and hear explanations about them. The Seed Library also offers visitors a borrow and return system. People can lend seeds that they want and grow them at home. When the borrowed seeds become plants, which are able to produce seeds, the borrower may freely donate the reproduced seeds back to the Seed Library again. This system of the Seed Library gives visitors the opportunity to get closer to plants and nature, which is quite difficult in this contemporary society. Moreover, there are several education programs at the park. For example, programs such as the conservatory tour, Yoga in the Garden, and Wood Carving are provided to visitors. In addition, if visitors want a place to sit down and take a rest for a while, it would also be great to have a cup of tea at Café Coreuri inside the Botanic Center, which is beautifully decorated like a garden in a forest.

(botanicpark.seoul.go.kr)

서유진  yujin7800@skku.edu

<저작권자 © THE SUNGKYUN TIMES, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지>

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