Sea Life, A Petting Zoo & More at Aqua Planet Ilsan!
The Ilsan Aqua Planet (아쿠아플라넷 일산) in a suburb of Seoul, Korea is all that and more and super family friendly to boot!
I had initially expected this to be just an aquarium, meaning sea life, sea creatures and the like, but was pleasantly surprised to find birds, a petting zoo with farm animals and just so much more. It was the perfect adventure for the family due to our little one’s avid interest in all things living from the tiniest of ants to the largest of whales.
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“Aqua Planet Ilsan. Sharing the greatest of joy through the value of marine organisms, while exploring the symbiotic relationship between people and nature.”
The first floor of the modern facility welcomes visitors in to the main desk where it’s possible to purchase tickets though if you get them through sites like Klook in advance, you’re able to get discounts on those tickets. There is a food court and cafe as well as a convenience store, restrooms and a nursing room for everyone to get ready before heading in or prepare for the trip home afterward. Take the escalator up to the second floor to really get the party started with a dark tunnel painted with different marine life leading visitors into the inner sanctuary of fish and other sea life.
The first main section is devoted to all things jellyfish. Neon lights show this way and that to make the different jelly fish really stand out and it certainly made it appealing for the children watching as the jellyfish floated this way and that. From there, the first of a couple tunnels to walk through is found. Tunnels in aquariums are nothing new but it doesn’t really matter because they are still so cool. Sharks, sting rays.. or were they manta rays, massive other beings and more swam around the tunnel as we glided through to the next area focused on the Sand Tiger Shark. Two beasts of the ocean slowly made there way around the tank and some built in seats welcomed visitors to sit and enjoy the spectacular scene. Of course, the little ones really wanted to get up and personal and no one seemed bothered by that.
If you.. or your little ones love aquariums, make sure you check out all of the options here in Korea. There are quite a few around and they’re all a bit different and all the fun!
Once you’ve circled around, the space opens up to a massive “Deep Blue Ocean” tank where lectures and classes are taught to the children who sit wide eyed watching as all of the fish swim this way and that. Here is also where you are directed to either go to the third floor or to the fifth to the petting zoo. We assumed, wrongly, that we could do the third and then head up to the fifth without backtracking. You CANNOT if you have strollers or wheelchairs and will use the elevator. Go up to the fifth and enjoy the petting zoo first AND THEN go back to the third which will ultimately take you to the exit.
Going in the order that we saw it though, we headed to the third floor where the elevator put is right in front of a “touch pool” for kids to play with some fish and seashells and other goodies. Our little ones would have gotten way too wet and likely had dove in so we went pretty quickly through this. From there was the “Ocean Arena” and another tunnel but this one was a fresh water one so a bit different sea life inside. What they really got excited about was next though. They found the penguins. The penguins were so playful and swam this way and that and seemed to play with the little kids peering in through the glass at them. The whole floor was full of quite playful beings. From the penguins, it opened up to the otters and beavers and then to the seals and then this is where it got interesting because I had expected just an aquarium, but it was not. Suddenly, there were monkeys and lemurs and two jaguars. One of the best parts of the day was the “Parrot Village” though where we could buy some seeds for W1,000 and feed them to the birds right in front of the babes. That was very cool to do with them.
From there it was more bird exhibits and then we realized we had to double back to get to the petting zoo. The petting zoo is on the fifth floor which is actually outside so if it’s raining, I’m not sure it would be open. There are sheep and goats which you can feed. There is a pony for riding if your kid is at least 80cm tall and there are bunnies, ducks, and chickens to see too. It was really a spectacular day out.
What’s better, is this aquarium is just next to an outdoor mall so there are restaurants to enjoy and currently there is an outdoor exhibit with a ton of large animal sculptures in their main area making the animal fun continuous for us. On the top floor of the mall is also a water park with huge slides so families could easily spend a whole day there doing multiple activities together or separately enjoying different things. The lack of crowds also made this a winner in my book and we will definitely be back.
If you want to go all out and really have a day of fun and animal adventure, also check out Zoolung Zoolung which is just in a building next door. More animals and even more interaction with them for little ones.
Aqua Planet Ilsan