The new Sejong Metropolitan Autonomous City continues to put the spotlight on the hidden natural beauties of Chungcheong Province by integrating remote areas and making them easily and cheaply accessible through public transportation. Most recently, the city has created a convenient bus route to the Geum River National Recreation Forest and Forest Museum at Gyeryongsan Mountain, previously only accessible by boat, allowing easier public access to a plethora of recreational and educational facilities in a beautiful setting rich with flora and fauna.
Once on the grounds of the recreation forest, two structures stand out in terms of architectural interest — the Forest Museum and Tropical Plants Greenhouse. Built in the traditional architectural style prominent in the Baekje Kingdom, the Forest Museum was the first of its kind in a rural area when it was built in 1997. The educational, interactive museum is appropriate for every age and displays all types of forest ecosystems. Visitors can touch the trunks of rainforest trees from around the world, walk through indoor gardens, and view models of Korea’s mountainous topography.
Outside the museum, you can walk through a beautiful rose garden featuring roses of every color. The Tropical Plants Greenhouse, a globe-shaped glass building, symbolizes the global origin of the plants housed inside. Attached to the globe-like structure is a separate greenhouse showcasing a beautifully array of cacti.
As for outdoor activities, there is a botanical garden, a grass plaza for sports games, a camping ground, a children’s zone, and outdoor sculptures. Although there are no foods or refreshments sold inside the grounds, there is an abundance of outdoor seating areas immersed in nature where you can enjoy a pre-packed snack or meal. Visitors can also make use of the foot massage trails speckled with rocks and pebbles designed to massage your feet as you step over them barefoot. For those unfamiliar with the practice, signs provide information on the trails and detail the health benefits of such a practice.
Geum River National Recreation Forest is a great educational and recreational venue, with its fall foliage alone making it worth the trip.
Geum River National Recreation Forest and Forest Museum. 9:00 am – 3:00 pm. From W700. www.keumkang.go.kr.