Visiting Seoul Grand Park: Seoul Zoo

Tucked in at the base of a small mountain is Seoul Grand Park, a place where the whole family can have fun.

Seoul Grand Park includes Seoul Zoo, Seoul Land amusement park, a children’s zoo, a rose garden, the Sky Lift, the National Museum of Contemporary Art, a botanical garden, a campground, and a forest exhibition.

This place really caters to couples and families. I definitely stood out being the only person at the zoo that was solo. It was quite noticeable unlike when I went to Seoul Tower.

Seoul Grand Park Map

Several of my students told me the zoo was really fun and worth checking out. While I’m not generally a fan of zoos, I wanted to see how it compared to other zoos I’ve been to in America.

Seoul Zoo Sign - Travellistic

A Day at Seoul Zoo

Since I rode the Skylift to the top of the zoo, I started out near the bears which included the adorable red panda. These were one of the most active animals in the whole zoo. They were running around, playing, climbing all over the trees, and chasing each other. It was fun to watch but the pictures didn’t come out well at all. And as always, I felt bad that they were couped up in such a small space.

Cute Bear - Seoul Zoo

Another great exhibit was the bison. You wouldn’t think they would be all that interesting in a zoo setting but they were remarkably social. One in particular liked to hang out by the fence, poking his face through, flicking his tongue out to pull at bits of grass, and turning his massive head up every few minutes to look you over with an enormous brown eye. Then, he’d charge around the area, make some noises, and trot back to the fence to resume his eyeballing. I carefully reached out to touch his furry head. He seemed to like having it scratched.

Friendly Bison at Seoul Zoo

Birds at Seoul Zoo

As I was leaving the zoo, it started to pour down rain. Not wanting to look like I came from a wet t-shirt contest, I took the train from the zoo to the park entrance. It was a nice way to end several hours of walking. Curiously, it stopped raining once we got off the train.

Giraffes Seoul Zoo

Tornado Chips - Travellistic While you’re wandering around, munch on some tornado chips. It’s a potato that is sliced in a curl, placed on a stick, coated in batter, fried, and then dusted with a spicy, cheese-flavored powder. Tornado chips are a tasty treat but I think it’d be better with minced bacon or a spicy, ramyeon flavor.

So, should you go to Seoul Zoo?

If you like zoos, or you’re traveling with young kids, then I think it’s worth it if you have the time. I would recommend eating outside of the zoo. The food isn’t crazy overpriced like back home but you can get cheaper snacks from the many vendors lining the walkway from the subway to the park.

Prices

Seoul Zoo (Adult): 3,000 won
1-Way Sky Lift (Adult): 5,000 won
Train (Adult): 1,000 won
Tornado Chips: 2,000 won (small) or 3,000 won (large)

Visit the Seoul Zoo website.

Getting There

Take Seoul Metro Line #1 and get off at Seoul Grand Park.

Have you been to Seoul Zoo? Let me know in the comments below.

Thumb Statue Seoul Zoo

2,437 Miles: Driving the ALCAN Highway from Anchorage to Portland

Alaska Border with Yukon Territory Canada

On the border of Alaska and the Yukon Territory, Canada.

Near the end of 2011, I decided to move back home to Vancouver, Washington / Portland, Oregon after living for about 18 months in Anchorage, Alaska. Rather than flying, like I did on my way to Alaska, I decided to enjoy the scenery of the legendary Alaska-Canadian (ALCAN) highway.

I was not disappointed.

I saw glaciers, beautiful rivers, horses, black bear, several beautiful sunsets and miles and miles of wilderness in the Yukon and British Columbia.

But it was a little stressful too. Almost two hours outside of Anchorage, Alaska my check engine light came on. It was the middle of nowhere with hardly any other vehicles driving by. So, I was pretty cautious driving home. Looking back at it now, it wasn’t a big deal and I should have stopped to do some hiking in Canada. Luckily, everything went well and I had a fun solo road trip.

Welcome to the Yukon!

Yukon Territory Sign

The ALCAN Highway

Transporting Firearms

If you’re like most Alaskans you probably have at least one gun. I had bought a .30-06 rifle and a 12-gauge shotgun while I was living in Alaska. I was a little nervous about taking them through Canada, but it’s actually quite simple. There’s a form you have to fill out, print it at home and complete the form, it requires the serial numbers of the firearms and there are restrictions on certain types. But 99% of people should be OK. Make sure your firearms are safely stored in your vehicles trunk when you’re transporting them. Then when you reach the border, tell the officer immediately that you are transporting firearms. I was told to pull into one of the parking spots and bring the paperwork inside. If the officer doesn’t take it at the window, bring your passport and your paperwork inside. They do some writing and stamping and then you’re good to go.

On the Road

Initially, I figured I’d stop for the night before crossing into Canada. But I made such great time and getting through Customs was a breeze, so I continued driving until I was ready to sleep. I found a rest stop which only had one other occupant – a truck pulling a horse trailer. I parked on the far side from the truck and enjoyed some sleep.

On day 2, after sleeping in the rest stop somewhere in the Yukon Territory I woke up really early, like 3 or 4:00 AM, and continued my journey. After driving for a while the sun started to rise and this beautiful sight greeted me.

Yukon Territory Canada - Travellistic

Then I nearly ran out of gas. I had driven through a very remote part without finding a gas station. Plus, it was still very early in the morning. The first two gas stations I found didn’t take debit or credit. There were those old school pumps from my Mom’s day. Unfortunately, the stations weren’t open. Not that it mattered, I had run out of cash the day before.

My gas gauge was below E for a good 20 minutes when I thankfully came into this little town and was able to fill up. I was equally parts shocked and happy to pay $43.84 to fill up. To this day, that’s the most I’ve ever paid for a full tank.

Expensive Gas Yukon Territory

Canyon Creek Bridge Canada

It was kind of a happy coincidence that I needed to get out and stretch my legs at Canyon Creek Bridge. I walked a little and learned a little.

Canyon Creek Bridge in Canada

Southern Lakes - Jakes Corner Canada - Travellistic

Teslin Lake was beautiful even during a cloudy, rainy day. Once I got into town I made to sure to pull out a fat stack of cash so I didn’t run out again.

Tim at Teslin Lake Yukon Canada - Travellistic

Teslin Lake Yukon Canada - Travellistic

My second night was spent sleeping in the parking lot of a very expensive Lincoln log-looking hotel a little more than halfway between Teslin and Stewart, BC.

On day 3, I got another early start and randomly came across these beautiful and friendly horses.

Horses in Yukon - Travellistic

Maybe an hour after seeing the horses I came across this black bear. It seemed entirely unconcerned about me watching it walk along the road nibbling plants. It stopped several times to stare at me. Apparently curiosity got the best of it and it shuffled up to my car, close enough to my passenger side door that if I was sitting there and reached out I could have touched it.

Black Bear in British Columbia

After turning onto Glacier Highway, it started to get very foggy and rainy. It created a very eerie feeling as I drove alone down the road. I hadn’t seen another person or driver since I woke up.

Bear Glacier Strohn Lake British Columbia

Bear River Stewart British Columbia

Stewart BC - Travellistic

Stewart, British Columbia is a quaint little town. With an old fashioned downtown like you read about in books. The little restaurant inside the King Edward Hotel was the happening place to be. I enjoyed a delicious breakfast there along with probably half the town. Not surprisingly, I drew more than a few stares from the locals.

After leaving Stewart, I made a bee line for Prince George where I relaxed, got a hotel room, and enjoyed a nice evening on the town.

On day 4, I got another early start and I made the final push, driving all the way home. It was a really good feeling being back in Washington, passing by Mount Rainier, and seeing Mount St. Helens. I love the Northwest.

Have you driven the ALCAN Highway? Leave me a message below in the comments.

Beautiful Joshua Trees in the Mojave National Preserve

In 2012, I had the pleasure of working in Las Vegas for a few months.

During one of my weekends, I drove over to the Mojave National Preserve to hike Cima Dome, which was really fun.

One thing many people don’t know is that Mojave National Preserve is home to two of the world’s largest Joshua Tree forests. They’re interesting, gnarly looking trees with a lot of character.

If you’re heat averse, you can drive through the Mojave and enjoy the trees from your air conditioned seat in the car. But I highly recommend getting out and walking one of the trails. It’s easy to find a peaceful and absolutely silent spot. Read a book, watch the sunset, or go on a real hike.

Joshua Tree Mojave National Preserve

Oh yeah, you might like to know that although it’s rare for an attack you should keep an eye out for mountain lions. Be sure to read the signs so you know what to do. Tip #1: Don’t run. (Seriously.)

Joshua Trees in Mojave National Preserve

Trees. Trees. Trees. More trees!

Joshua Tree Mountain Mojave

“One time I saw a tiny Joshua tree sapling growing not too far from the old tree. I wanted to dig it up and replant it near our house. I told Mom that I would protect it from the wind and water it every day so that it could grow nice and tall and straight. Mom frowned at me. “You’d be destroying what makes it special,” she said. “It’s the Joshua tree’s struggle that gives it its beauty.” ― Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle

Joshua Tree Mojave Landscape

Like I mentioned, I hiked out to Cima Dome. I also walked a few other trails, some had information signs, others were just old dirt roads. You can hike Hole-in-the-Wall Canyon, see old ghost towns, or photograph a beautiful landscape.

Interested in visiting Mojave National Preserve? Click here for more information.

Have you been to the Mojave? Leave a comment!

Tim at Mojave National Preserve

Inspiring the Future at the Seattle Space Needle

When you visit Seattle, Washington, there are a few things you should do. Things like drink some coffee, walk along the pier, visit Pike’s Place Market, and go to the top of the Space Needle.

Constructed for the 1962 World’s Fair, the Space Needle was meant to be both an iconic landmark and a vision of the future. The fair’s theme was Century 21, which also inspired the monorail.

The story behind how the Space Needle came to be is rather interesting. If you like history and want some neat facts to wow your friends, read about how the Space Needle started on a napkin.

Seattle Space Needle - Travellistic

I took this particular picture on my most recent trip to Seattle, when I went to pick up my visa for teaching English in Korea. I didn’t go to the top this time but I have several times in the past. The views are great, especially on a really clear day when you can see Mount Rainier.

Strange But True: “The Committee Hoping for Extra-Terrestrial Encounters to Save the Earth (CHEESE) claims to have plans from the 1962 World’s Fair that show the Space Needle was constructed to send transmissions to advanced beings in other solar systems.” [More Fun Facts]

Right next to the Space Needle is the Alweg Monorail which you can ride across town and get off a few blocks from the pier.

Alweg Monorail Seattle - Travellistic

Relax, read a book, chat with friends, or soak up some sun on the fountain lawns.

Fountain Lawn Seattle - Travellistic

Map of Seattle Center - Travellistic