A short walk from our hotel was the Jeju Folklore and Natural History Museum. It was a great spot to start. The entrance is surrounded by special rocks that have holes in them due to the lava.
It was interesting to see. Once inside we started off with the folklore of the island, like how it was made, which seemed to be done by an giant elderly grandmother named Seolmundae. In what we saw she made Mount Halla, cut off the top of the mountain and used it as a place to sit, made more islands to be foot rests and then began doing her washing. This video however did not include the her gruesome fate where she fell into a large pot of soup she was making and died and was accidentally eaten by her 500 sons. Their grief once they realized what had happened turned them to stone and they are the cause of the colorful spring’s azaleas. After this we watched another which is about three demigods who were born from Jeju and set about hunting and enjoying their times until they found a box with three princess’s in it. They married the princess’s and then using arrows divided the land into thirds for them to rule over.
After the folklore lesson we entered the natural history section of the museum which explained the Geology of the island. This included the different types of rock’s on the island and where they can be found. There were also fossils and then a section about the Korean ecosystem.
The ecosystem was, to our surprise a little interactive.
Like in the photo above, there are duck feet on the ground. If you step on the feet one of the taxidermy birds will move. There are two others that move in this section. We couldn’t decide whether it was fun or disturbing.
Then we found ourselves in a section with models that explained life on the island and how it use to go, including a section where apparently you could throw a grand birthday party when you’re 70 but only if your significant other is alive and well along with your children. After this we found a cafe with ice cream and drinks for sale and a bathroom, and then we were outside.
There was another building which delved more into detail about the marine life on the island and which had a Bryde whale’s skeleton reconstructed which took up a large portion of the building. Though I think the winner for interesting marine creature was these oarfish that was in the main building. They were huge.
It was a nice museum to walk around and outside there was plenty of greenery to enjoy, however due to the heat we couldn’t stay outside for too long.
Tickets for adults are 2,000 won each. The museum is open from 8:30 am until 6:30 pm, selling their final tickets at 6pm. They are also closed on major Korean holidays as well as their opening anniversary which is May 24th.