Thursday, August 1, 2013

Ulsan Whale Museum

On Saturday morning I told Connar, "Go ask Daddy where we're going today," knowing that he was probably going to pee his pants from excitement.  Listening from the other room, I heard Talton say, "We're going to the Whale Museum!"  Connar let out a loud gasp, and I could just tell his eyes and mouth were wide open with amazement.  I love surprising him with fun stuff, because his reaction is priceless.  :)

So we took about an hour drive out to Ulsan, South Korea to visit the popular Whale Museum.  It's always fun to find a new place to explore.  In addition to venturing out into a new area, I was also interested to learn more about the history and current relationship of whaling to Ulsan.

Here's what I read...
Ulsan and whaling go together like peanut butter and jelly....they go way back, like thousands of years way back.  Something like 80% of all whale meat eaten in Korea is eaten in Ulsan.  The International Whaling Commission adopted a worldwide moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986.  In layman's terms it means that you can't catch a whale on purpose.  In order to keep and sell a whale legally, the whale has to have been accidentally caught in a fishing net.  If it's caught on the up and up, a whale can be sold for around $20,000, give or take depending on its size and species.

In all of my reading prior to our trip to the Whale Museum, I read about how there are restaurants lined up across the street from the museum selling whale meat.  I was anxious to see that in person, so I had my camera ready to go as we drove closer and closer to the museum.
 Do you see the green whale tail sign sticking out from the restaurant?  These were on all of the restaurants.
 The windows were also painted with pictures of entice you to come in and grab a bite to eat, I'm sure.

Notice the bus stop at the bottom?  The side of it is a giant whale tail.

The Ulsan residents' adoration for whales is evident as you drive on the streets leading to and surrounding the museum.  There are whales everywhere!

The boys couldn't get out of their car seats fast enough.  Parker just wanted to run free, not caring where we were, while Connar was super excited about seeing a whale.
 His sunglasses were at home, so he asked to use mine.  :)
 This huge whale sits on top of the ticket office...
 P was insistent on walking every single step by himself...of course...he's 2...and mighty independent.

There was a sign that said "no pictures", but once I saw many other people using their phones to snap photos I thought, "I'm not coming back to the Whale Museum in Ulsan ever again in my life.  If they're doing it, why can't I?  The worst case is they'll ask me to stop."  So I did it, people.  I took lots of pictures.  And nobody stopped me.  Yay!

 These were spears used to hunt and kill whales.  We didn't actually discuss the practice of whaling with Connar.  For all he knows, this was a museum dedicated to whales that are all alive and well.  No need to bust his little bubble yet.

 "Pinocchio" was playing inside the whale stomach tour....naturally, right?  :)  And yes, it was in Korean voices.

 snack time for the littlest Endres
 It was packed with people watching the dolphin show...

 How sweet are they?!
And P, well he was too busy rolling around on the ground throwing a fit to jump in this shot.  Boy, I'll be happy when he'll appease his mother and stand next to a giant whale and smile for the camera.  :)

Whale Museum in Ulsan...check!
Now I wonder what else we can explore during our time in Korea!  :)

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