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[Well-curated] Explore aquatic life, Nordic art, world food

May 24, 2024 - 09:00 By Lee Si-jin By Choi Si-young By Hwang Dong-hee
Tiny fish swim in a fish tank at Play Aquarium Bucheon in Bucheon, Gyeonggi Province. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)

Explore Play Aquarium Bucheon

Feast your eyes on colorful fish and remarkable marine life at Play Aquarium Bucheon in Bucheon, Gyeonggi Province.

Though Play Aquarium Bucheon is not as big as the country’s better-known aquariums -- Lotte Aquarium and Coex Aquarium -- it still has everything there is to satisfy young visitors by showing them exciting sea creatures up close.

The aquarium greets its visitors with a wide range of fish tanks that house various fish species from around the world.

While some of the country’s natural heritage, like Jeju’s giant mottled eel, live in the aquarium, different species of amphibians including Korean fire-bellied toads and Mexican axolotl salamanders are exhibited as well.

Korea fire-bellied toad is displayed at Play Aquarium Bucheon (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)

Play Aquarium Bucheon is a popular weekend getaway for families, friends and marine life lovers, but it is also a go-to field-trip spot for local kindergartens, according to an aquarium official.

“For those who wish to explore the aquarium when it is less crowded, visiting this marine exhibit early in the morning may be a wise decision,” the official added.

Play Aquarium Bucheon is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It closes at 7 p.m. on weekends.

People view reptiles exhibited in the reptile zone of Play Aquarium Bucheon on May 16. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)

If viewing fabulous aquatic animals is not enough, head to the reptile and jungle zone where another exhibition of stunning creatures awaits.

Visit the official website of Play Aquarium Bucheon to check the times for the special 10-minute mermaid performance, which vary.

Play Aquarium Bucheon

2, Jomaru-ro, Wonmi-gu, Bucheon, Gyeonggi Province

“Young Mother with a Child in a Garden” by Danish artist Bertha Wegmann (left) and “Coffee Time” by Swedish artist Elsa Backlund-Celsing (Choi Si-young/The Korea Herald)

Swedish painting

An exhibition introducing Nordic fine arts is running through Aug. 25 at My Art Museum in Seoul, featuring mainly Swedish artists from the late 19th to the early 20th century.

“From Dawn to Dusk: Nationalmuseum Stockholm” -- organized by the Nationalmuseum and My Art Museum in Korea -- explores 79 paintings by 41 artists from Sweden, Norway and Denmark including the famed Swedish painter Carl Larsson.

The paintings on display demonstrate a blend of naturalist and impressionist styles adopted in the late 19th century by Swedish artists disillusioned with historical and genre painting.

The resulting works, also called Nordic art, center on delineating Nordic realities.

“A Musical Family” by Swedish artist Anders Zorn (left) and “An Artist’s Gathering” by Danish artist Viggo Johansen (Choi Si-young/The Korea Herald)

The exhibition is divided into four sections starting with “The Dawn of Innovation.” The second section, “The Noon of Freedom,” surveys the rise of Nordic women painters.

Scandinavian symbolism and the national romantic style as well as Scandinavian homes and interior design, have two separate spaces that are enlightening in communicating the spirit of the era.

The museum is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 7:40 p.m. until Aug. 25. At 11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m, Friday to Monday, docent tours are offered.

Admission is 20,000 won for adults.

My Art Museum in Korea

518 Tehran-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul

Seoul Friendship Festival (Seoul Metropolitan Government)

Explore, taste world in Seoul

This weekend, Seoul's Gwanghwamun Square, Cheonggye Plaza and the roads along Cheonggyecheon will be transformed into a bustling global festival, offering a unique opportunity to experience traditional foods and desserts from 70 countries, traditional performances, tourism information, films and more.

The 2024 Seoul Friendship Festival, running from Friday to Sunday, marks the largest number of participating countries -- with 70 embassies and cultural centers joining -- since the COVID-19 outbreak.

The festival kicks off with an opening ceremony at 5 p.m. on Friday at Gwanghwamun Square. Following a traditional costume parade led by a Korean traditional military marching band, French pansori singer Mafo Laure will perform on the main stage.

Seoul Friendship Festival (Korea Tourism Organization)

On Saturday and Sunday, the world food and dessert zones, a major attraction each year, will offer a variety of culinary delights.

The world food zone, along the roads parallel to Cheonggyecheon, will showcase cuisines from 46 countries. Visitors can enjoy familiar favorites like French croissants and baguettes, Belgian waffles and Austrian goulash, alongside more exotic dishes such as Hungarian fried flatbread langos, Brazilian acai bowls, Colombian cheese arepas and Moroccan kofta.

The world dessert zone at Cheonggye Plaza will offer treats from 16 countries. Indulge in desserts like Ecuadorian empanadas, Czech Marlenka cakes, Paraguayan guava juice and Colombian coffee.

The festival will have a wide array of global performances, including traditional shows, concerts, plays and outdoor film screenings.

For more detailed information about the festival, visit the official Instagram page.

Gwanghwamun Square

172 Sejong-daero, Jongno-gu, Seoul