It was a cold day in December (and some of you folks might be wishing it were like that now!). The pig museum, while not the only place to take in near Ichon, was our main stop for the day.
Those of you that are fans of the Chris in South Korea Facebook page may recognize part of the picture — and so the question can finally be answered, ‘Where did you take that picture?!’. Here at the 돼지테마파크 (dwae-ji-te-ma-pa-keu).
Also called ‘Museum Pig’ and 돼지박물관 (Dwae-ji bang-mul-gwan), the museum opened on November 14, 2011, and still has some of that ‘new museum’ smell. The exhibits themselves are almost as well, and are seemingly perfectly made for the museum:
Paint a pig with zebra stripes and call it art… Got it…
Pigs with spikes…? What the kimchi? There are titles and artist names given, but no clear idea on why pigs got spiky.
The next room shifts the focus from abstract art to a more practical function of pigs:
The magazines and scientific journals were spread on the floor, as if whoever was tasked with assembling the collection stopped after realizing there was no way to display everything. I am thoroughly impressed at how much of it is in Korean, though.
Because every pig grows up wanting to be a soccer player…
Or wanting to fly! The wall painting is between a couple of the buildings, and of course is free for your own posing genius to photobomb.
Heading inside another area, we come across the bonus activity for some — making your own sausage!
The commercial kitchen seems far less intimidating when you hand-crank one sausage at a time — or maybe because it’s a cute Korean kid getting his exercise in for the day. Note this is an extra fee beyond your admission, and I couldn’t get a straight answer as to whether reservations were required.
Oh myy.. As you might guess by the hands, this is indeed a clock — found in the waiting area / souvenir shop area, the green-and-white pig… um… moved back and forth in the same way a grandfather clock might. Not sure who thought this up, but I’ll credit them for some ingenuity.
When you go, make the pig show a priority — 11am, 1pm, 3pm, and 5pm are the starting times. The museum is great and all, but sitting around waiting for the next one after seeing everything is less than fun. When it’s time, however, the crowd funnels through an air chamber (to protect the pigs from getting your human diseases, I think), then finds a seat inside the old-timey barn. A piglet is passed around before the show begins, giving everyone that chance-of-a-lifetime to have your picture taken with a farm animal.
The Korean narrative (a very generous word) focused on how old the pigs were and what tricks they can do.
Pigs packing themselves? Sure, I guess! The 30 minute show left people wanting more. As choreographed as the pigs, the crowd moved outside to another set of benches by the souvenir shop for feeding time.
Plenty of pig pellets to go around, guys! People were asked to be mindful of their feet (don’t step on the little guys), and anyone trying to get pictures was constantly panning back and forth. Apparently, food on the run doesn’t begin with the sizzle of sweet, sweet bacon — the guy would drop some food on one end, then walk to the other end and drop some more.
Clearly, he’s in control.
Please don’t ask me about the crucifixion of a pig — I really have no idea. Souvenirs aplenty, naturally — and you’ll have ample time to peruse them. The staff can call a taxi there for you, though it’ll take them some time to arrive.
It’s weird, it’s wacky, it’s well worth the daytrip from Seoul or the stop-off from Ichon. It’s definitely not for the animal-rights activists or anyone that doesn’t enjoy playing with their food, but it’s well worth the trip for everyone else.
Name: Icheon Pig Museum (이천 돼지 박물관)
Address: Gyeonggi-do I-cheon-shi Yul-myeon Wol-po-ri 64
Korean address: 경기도 이천시 율면 월포리 64
Directions: If coming from Seoul, take a frequent bus to the Janghowon Inter-city Bus Terminal (장호원시외버스터미널). From the rest of the country, get to Icheon bus terminal, then take a second bus to Janghowon. Once at Janghowon, catch a taxi and get ready to shell out about 10,000 won for the ride. There is no public transportation as of this post’s publishing, thanks in part to the newness of the museum.
Hours: 9am-6pm — the pig show performance starts at 11am, 1pm, 3pm, and 5pm.
Admission: 6,000 won covers admission and the pig show — the sausage-making is an extra fee.
Website: http://www.pigpark.co.kr (the KTO has a page on it as well)