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[Weekender] Seoul Forest: A grassy woodland with waterfront views

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Published : 2014-04-04 21:17
Updated : 2014-04-04 21:17

Looking to get a break from the metropolitan pandemonium of gridlocked streets, deafening noise and the never-ending labyrinth of mile-high concrete buildings?

Now that spring is finally here and the foliage is starting to return, it is the perfect time for you to venture outside and see the cherry blossoms and remind yourself of what you have been missing all winter.

From peaceful strolls down dirt paths surrounded by sprawling trees to biking or rollerblading, Seoul Forest offers visitors opportunities to experience nature in the city.

Although the forest is a far cry from world-famous parks such as Manhattan’s Central Park and London’s Hyde Park, there are still a myriad of activities that one can enjoy at Seoul Forest. 
Visitors enjoy the cherry trees in bloom at Seoul Forest in Seongdong-gu, Seoul. (Korea Herald file photo)

The park has a handful of locations for visitors to rent bikes ― single, tandem or with training wheels for the kids. There are walking and biking paths throughout the 1.1-square-kilometer park with more than 400,000 trees and around 100 different animals, including its popular insect exhibits and deer pens.

The area had been a water treatment facility, then a golf course and then a horse track before opening in 2005 as one of the city’s most popular parks. Consisting of five themed areas, the forest features the Cultural Art Park, the Ecological Forest, the Nature Experiencing Study Field, the Wetlands Ecological Field and the Han River Waterside Park.

Situated at the heart of Seoul Forest is the Cultural Art Park, which features a number of sculptures, a skate park and a forest playground. The main highlight of the cultural park area is the large, open grassy square that is perfect for picnics or pitching a tent and relaxing for the day. 
View of Seoul Forest (Seoul Metropolitan Government)

The Ecological Forest is another one of the park’s most popular attractions with its wildlife observation areas. A forested area with a large man-made pond, the Ecological Forest sector is home to animals including deer, elk, mandarin ducks and mallards. Visitors can buy feed to give to some of the animals.

Seoul Forest also offers a number of educational opportunities with the Nature Experience Study Field and the Wetlands Ecological Field. Features include an insect botanical garden, an outdoor classroom, a bird observatory and an array of wildflower gardens.

The Han River Waterside Park is arguably one of Seoul Forest’s most popular and most scenic locations. Bike paths stretching for kilometers in both directions along the river give cyclists the chance to enjoy the city’s waterfront, riding under bridges and breathing in the crisp, cool air.

Seoul Forest is open to the public year-round and is walking distance from Seoul Forest Station and Ttukseom Station.

By Julie Jackson (juliejackson@heraldcorp.com)

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