Do you like to visit museums when you travel? What’s the cutest, quirkiest or most bizarre museum you’ve been to?
I was an art major so to some degree, I can take interest in art museums from time-to-time. But what about war museums, a Chocolate Museum, Sex Museums, a Trick Art Museum or a Sound Museum? Jeju Island has loads of unique museums to pass time with (read my post on things to do on Jeju). But how about Teddy Bears?
Personally, I never cared for them as a kid, so why would I visit a museum full of ‘em, as an adult?
At the Teddy Bear Museum on Jeju Island, the teddy bears do more than just sit in glass cases waiting for love. These teddies make art history, play out war enactments, impersonate famous stars, such as Elvis and Marilyn, depict Korean history and even act out scenes from popular movies, like Titanic.
Imagine the human world replaced by these furry partners. You just entered The Planet of the Teddies.
The Origin of Teddy Bears
If you’ve never followed Teddy Bear history, you might not know the toys originated after an incident, when former 1902 U.S. President Theodore (“Teddy”) Roosevelt went bear hunting. Many hunters had killed an animal, so Roosevelt’s attendants chased down and clubbed a baby Black Bear and tied it to a tree for him to shoot. The president found this “un-sportsmanlike” and refused to shoot it but ordered that it be shot and put out of its misery. A stuffed animal toy was created not long after and it was given the name ‘Teddy’s Bear’.
Teddy Bear Museums around the World
The first teddy bear museum was built in 1984 in Petersfield, Hampshire, England.
Since then, many teddy bear museums have sprouted up around the world. Korea built its first teddy bear museum in 2001 and now there are three locations: Jeju Island, Namsan Seoul Tower (here), Paju Heyri and they’ve even opened a museum in Hawaii, where they have a Barack Obama bear.
Bear Art History
There are many exhibitions in the museum and over a 1,000 different types of bears from bears in mechanized motion, miniatures, life-sized ones, childhood character bears like Paddington, Swarovski crystal studded bears, the list goes on… and it doesn’t get boring.
My favorite part of the museum was the Art History section. A teddy Mona Lisa, a Warhol and a handful of scenes from famous Renaissance works. It was pretty impressive.
Popular Korean dramas and the Teddy Bear Museum
But let’s get down to the real reason I sought out the museum. If you’ve ever seen the popular K-drama show, The Palace (or Gung or Princess Diaries), then you’ll know part of the fascination tourists visiting Korea can have with Jeju’s Teddy Bear Museum.
The show features cute opening and closing scenes with teddies re-enacting scenes which took place in the show. Not to mention, an episode is shot at the museum. In a way, the popularity of the television series has helped popularize the museum for tourists like myself, visiting Korea.
My visit to the Teddy Museum was surprisingly fun. It ranks high on the ‘awwww cute‘ factor. Inevitably, I ended up buying one of these furry creatures at the museum store (which is very unlike my personality to get a stuffed animal toy for myself)!
Would I go again? Yes. In fact, I visited it on a trip to Jeju a few months later.
Do you visit museums when you travel? What’s the quirkiest, cutest or most odd museum you’ve been to? Spill it.
The Teddy Bear Museum
Jungmun Resort Area, Jeju Island.
Hours: 09:00 ~ 19:00 (tickets on sale until 18:00)
Getting there from Jeju City:
- Take a taxi ti Jeju Intercity Bus Terminal(Base fare 1,000 won).
- From Jeju Intercity Bus Terminal, take a bus(Jungmun Express Bus)and get off at Jungmun Tourist Complex(50 min ride).
- From Jeju International Airport, take an airport limousine bus No. 600 and get off at Jungmun Complex(50 min ride).
Read my post on Top 8 Things to Do on Jeju Island.
Here’s some other nearby sites might also want to take a look at:
* Teddy Bear Museum (064-738-7600 / 09:00-20:00)* Pacific Land (064-738-2888)
Adult 12,000 won (group 12,000 won) / Youth 10,000 won (group 10,000 won) / Child 8,000 won
Adult 6,000 won (group 5,000 won) / Youth 5,000 won (group 4,000 won) / Child 4,000 won
* Sound Island Museum (064-739-7782 / 09:00-19:00)
Adult 7,000 won (group 6,000 won) / Youth 7,000 won (group 6,000 won) / Child 5,000 won
* Cheonjeyeon Falls (064-738-1529 / 08:00-Sunset)
Adult 2,500 won (group 1,850 won) / Youth 1,370 won (group 750 won) / Child 1,370 won
* Jusangjeolli Cliff (064-738-1532 / 08:00-Sunset)
Adult 2,000 won (group 1,400 won) / Youth 1,000 won (group 500 won) / Child 1,000 won
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