Beartree Park is a beautiful park filled with bears and amazing gardens. The park has something for everyone and is a very pleasant way to spend a day in South Korea.
We first visited this Park in late November, it was cold and rainy and let’s just say I was hoping we could come back under better circumstances. I could tell that the park would be beautiful in the summer months, so it was with great joy that on a beautiful fall day we revisited Beartree Park.
Beartree Park is filled with flowers, trees and animals and as it’s name implies-over 150 Asiatic black bears. The parks founder had a passion for nature and created a wonderful park that is filled with beauty.
When you first enter the park on the left you see a giant Koi Pond, with a colorful collection of over 1,000 carps. There is beautiful music playing as you walk in and the koi swim in clear waters creating a colorful kaleidoscope of beauty. For 1,000 won you can buy a cup of food and walking out on the bridge you can feed them. Carps are known to be a symbol of wealth and vitality, and the pond’s intention is to spread this to every visitor.
When you leave the Koi Pond you have several options on different places to go. You can go to Beartree Garden which is filled with three-dimensional sculptures. The garden is surrounded by Pine Trees and Junipers, and has a beautiful log waterfall.
The main attraction of animals of course is the Manchurian Black Bears, which are the symbol of the Beartree Park. On the way to the bears you go through a Petting Zoo that has several different species of deer, peacocks and other beautiful birds and even some Corgi’s and a beagle. As you walk through the animals it is fun to see the variety that they have for visitors to view.
The Manchurian Black Bears are well known to Koreans as they appear in the birth myth of Korea, the Myth of Dangun. When looking for the bears they are located in two separated areas. We first went up to the left off the path and there were three large pens of bears. Unlike in November on our previous visit there was many people in this area and I noticed that people were tossing balls to the bears. I found this entertaining and went and got a cup of the balls myself. These balls were like a corn or rice puff and the size of a golf ball. Each cup had about 7-8 in it.
Walking to the side of the pen which is raised and the bears are below, I gazed down upon the bears. They are quite amusing as they actually wave at you, hop up and down and some just lay on their backs hoping to have a ball thrown to them. I had fun trying to toss them perfectly into their mouths, similar to tossing popcorn or peanuts into a friend’s mouth- only on a much larger scale.
In the second set of pens you walk around above them on platforms, the bears are quite entertaining as they have something that can only be described as a hamster wheel that is quite huge. There are several pens here with the majority of the bears housed in this area. Some of the bears where high up in something like a tower that you would find on a playground for kids, only it is full of bears!
We wanted to fly the drone and so we walked up to the top of the park where there is a lookout stand. Daryn flew the drone out over the park being sure to stay high enough not to alert people or animals in the park. It was a beautiful day and the sky was clear, so the video is quite stunning.
The park has many other areas to visit, there is a Bear Sculpture Park filled with bear statues. This area is based on the story of the slingshot bear and the statues tell a story about a family of bears and the various things bears do for fun like play cards and skate.
The Songpa Garden is the birthplace of Beartree Park and is where everything began. This is a hill filled with blooming flowers and neatly trimmed trees.
The Songpa Garden is has a pavilion and overlooks a beautiful pond full of fountains and sculptures of cranes and carp.
The Water Lily Garden is full of blooming water lilies and has a path that runs alongside it to walk and enjoy the beauty of the lilies. If you enjoy flowers there is also an Iris Garden where in early June you can view over 40 different kinds of 40,000 irises that are planted in this garden.
There is a Secret Garden that is only viewed when you walk through the “secret door”, there is a mirror, fountain and moth orchids. The garden is filled with tropical trees, rubber trees, plant bonsais, cactuses, tree fossils and tree roots which all create an amazing landscape.
There are multiple greenhouses set up filled with beautiful plants, which you can spend hours walking through. All in all this is a great way to spend the day communing with nature and playing with animals.
If you find yourself in S. Korea put this on your list of places to visit!