Monday, July 23, 2012

Children's Grand Park in Busan

I've been doing a lot of research lately on places to visit here in Busan.  I have a list going that we'll eventually work our way through, so this weekend we decided to venture out to the Children's Grand Park.  From what I saw on the internet from others who visited, it seemed to be a place FULL of activities for kids (thus the name "Children's Grand Park"), including a small zoo area.  I was excited that the boys were going to get to see animals, even if only a few.

We should've been clued in to how the day was going to go by the way it started.  We ended up leaving the house nearly 45 minutes late because C refused to go #2 on the toilet.  I KNEW he had to go, because he kept trying to hide (his move when he needs to go #2).  Eventually I sat him on the toilet and waited it out.  To make a long story short and to save you from the details that go with a #2 story and him from complete embarrassment down the road when he reads this blog, let's just say that he finally let the boat float (or whatever saying tickles your fancy) as I sat on the bathroom floor reading him and Parker (who was sitting in my lap and HAD to be in the bathroom action) a book.  By this point it was way later than we wanted to leave to stay on schedule with lunch and naps, but we went ahead with our plans since we already told the boys we were going to a park.

We drove by Asiad Main Stadium on our drive.  This stadium was built for the 2002 Asian Games and was also used for matches in the 2002 FIFA World Cup.  It hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2002 Asian Games and is the home stadium for the Busan IPark, a team in the Korea Professional Football League (K-League).  Remember, football=soccer here.
Busan's baseball stadium, Sajik Baseball Stadium, is near Asiad Main Stadium.  This is the best view I could get driving by the baseball stadium.  Here you can see the orange seats at the top of the stadium.  Hopefully we'll make it to a baseball game at some point and I'll have better pictures.  They love them some baseball here!

The drive went okay until we got to the end of the directions on GPS.  Following a foreign GPS even if it is in English is difficult when the country has crazy intersections and 25 letter street names that are three letters off from the street before it.  When we got near the Children's Grand Park, we saw signs leading to it which helped along with our GPS directions.  Then, all of a sudden, all signs along the street stopped and our GPS told us we had 5 more minutes to drive before we were there.  Following the GPS, it led us up the mountain through narrow streets to someone's house.  Knowing the park had to be nearby and wondering why all street signs suddenly disappeared, we drove back down the narrow streets.

Some of the streets we drove through were even more narrow than this and had cars parked on both sides.  It was very difficult to get through!
We found a Police Station on one of the streets.

After much circling and driving back and forth on the route we had already driven trying to figure out where we went wrong, we came across this, pulled up real close, and saw in writing way in the back "Children's Grand Park".  There was no big sign indicating we had arrived which is why we had already driven by it at least three times!

So we parked and set out to discover what this Children's Grand Park was all about!
This was a store on site of the park.  Boxes stacked up and squished in is the norm around here, because there just isn't a lot of extra room anywhere.

These pretty old ladies were resting outside the restroom area.  We see these types of mats that they're sitting on everywhere.  People use them at the beach or just to picnic somewhere.  I guess it's a good way to stay clean, considering how much time they spend sitting on the floor.
Before getting very far in to the park, we stopped to let the boys eat lunch because we knew they'd be too tired to eat later.  Plus, the promise of going to see things in the park was good motivation for them to eat without throwing a fit about stopping even though we had just arrived.  :)
I couldn't get him to take even one bite of his PB&J sandwich, but he did eat a banana and goldfish.  Lunch of champions.  :)
While the boys ate, we watched some volunteers play games with children passing by.

After eating, we started walking toward where the map said the zoo was.  Upon arriving at that spot, we were greeted by closed gates that looked like they hadn't been opened in quite some time.  Ugh.  We told the boys the animals were taking a nap so we couldn't see them today.  Bummer.  On we went with our hike...literally.
Some of these trees were gorgeous that we had to walk through to get to where we thought were more children's activities.
You can see people having a picnic on the right.
We kept walking and walking and found more people stopping to picnic by the water while the children played in the shallow river water.  Maybe this is what it meant by "pool" on the internet???
We walked up these ramps and then continued until we reached the top where there was...
nothing but a little waterfall and more people resting.
I have no idea who this man is, but I wanted to take a picture of this pretty area that we unintentionally hiked up to.  He was smiling because he was staring at C & P.  :)

Since we didn't come across anything related to a children's park, we walked down the mountain and tried going up a different direction on the mountain.  It was quite another hike up this mountain, but at least the scenery seemed promising.
At the top of this mountain hike was the Children's Hall.  This place had a couple things the boys liked looking at, but it was so hot inside that they were ready to go see other stuff soon after we arrived.
The view of another mountain from the door of the Children's Hall.
I'm not sure what it is, but it sure is massive.
The Environmental Science Room
There were two teenage volunteers who followed us around a couple of the exhibits in an attempt to explain them to us.  They were too cute.  At one point, they both looked at each other, said something in Korea (I'm guessing they were asking if the other knew how to say "push" in English), then they both started giggling, and then one of them said "PUSH" with the push motion to show the boys what she meant.  They were very sweet.
As soon as the boys saw the shark's mouth, they took off.  They know exactly what that is!  Unfortunately, they didn't have any live sharks in here, only little fish in small tanks like you might see at a pet store.
These Korean boys were having a blast working together oaring this boat.
 Because it was so terribly hot inside this building (more even so than least there was a slight breeze outside) and the boys weren't too entertained with what they saw, we decided to go back down the mountain and see what else we could find.  Well, if you look below, there are no more pictures of the Children's Grand Park because there was nothing else to see.  We actually hiked up the other side of this mountain thinking we might come across a gem we had yet to discover but were disappointed that this was not the case.  At least Talton and I got our exercise in for the day.  :)

Don't get me wrong.  This place was lovely.  It is an amazing spot to spend hours hiking and looking at nature and even a great spot to stop for a picnic by the water.  But that's not why we went to the Children's Grand Park.  We went there with hopes of hours that the boys would spend running around on playground equipment and gazing at animals.  And should I even mention how fun the ride home was with two boys who missed their regular nap time and didn't get to play like we thought they were going to (Can you sense my sarcasm here?!)?  Even though this adventure didn't end up the way we would've liked, we put the boys down for naps as soon as we arrived home with the promise of ice cream when they woke up.

This was after we got ice cream and were walking back home.  This is a restroom changing area and shower that you can pay to use on the beach.  They also sell suits, towels, etc. outside.
A crowd was gathered along the beach to listen to people perform instruments and/or sing.
The umbrellas and chairs had been picked up for the day at this point, and the cleaning crew was out full force.  It's no wonder the beach is so picturesque every day.  With these hard working people cleaning up every evening, beach goers can enjoy a day at the beach the following day.
You can sit at these tables and order drinks while you watch the beach action and listen to the band playing.  You can see our condo in the background (the blue buildings).
There was a volleyball game going on.
A man was painting next to this lifeguard stand.
Now that's one way to tie your baby to yourself.  I guess it was the grandma's turn to carry the baby.  :)
Here are women and men's shower/changing areas next to our condo.

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