by Roxana Wells
The Republic of Korea, also called South Korea, is a small peninsula between mainland China and the islands of Japan. Its climate is similar to that of the northeastern United States, with sticky hot summers and snowy winters. With the 13th-largest economy in the world, Korea is a well-developed country. High speed trains and an ever-expanding network of well-marked highways crisscross the lush green countryside, leading to clean, safe cities. Easy transportation, friendly people and myriad child-focused activities make South Korea an ideal family vacation destination.
Children’s Grand Park
Start your trip with a day at the enormous Children’s Grand Park. Located south of downtown Seoul, this park has amusement rides, playgrounds and a zoo. Little scientists should check out the ecological pond to study wetland plant life. Take your adventurous kids on the roller coaster or trek barefoot together through the squishy shoeless park. Animal lovers must visit the large zoo, Elephant World and Badukee Lake, where you can train and play with puppies. Each season has special activities and events, so there’s always something new to discover. Bring a picnic lunch for your picky eaters, however, as Western food and healthy choices are hard to find on the park grounds.
Asan Hot Springs
Join the locals in the time-honored tradition of swimming in hot springs. South Korea has many such springs for winter fun, but the Asan Spavis Resort, about an hour south of Seoul, is built for family fun. Check in at the front desk to get an electronic wristband, which gives you access to clean, spacious locker rooms. Change into your swimsuit and meet in the lobby to access the pools. The large grounds house several indoor and outdoor pools with alkaline water heated naturally from hot springs below. Strap on a life jacket and head outside to the water slides, or relax in a hot tub under a snow-covered pagoda. Float down the lazy river through manmade caves and waterfalls. Head inside for a fish spa where tiny fish munch dead skin from your feet in a fascinating and ticklish adventure. When the wet fun wears off, head to the indoor jungle gym or have a snack at the cafe. Linking the wristband to your credit card make it easy to access lockers and pay for extra services and food without carrying around cash.
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