By Steven Hoover, USAG Humphreys Public Affairs OfficeMay 16, 2013
CAMP HUMPHREYS -- As the weather starts to warm up and families are looking for a different place to take their children, they might want to look about 30 minutes down the road towards Cheonan for a visit to Beartree Park. Beartree Park is a place with something for just about everybody. Although the space in Chungcheongnam was built to honor the Manchurian Black Bear, it also highlights the delicate balance between man and nature.
The park features indoor and outdoor botanical gardens, junipers, wild flowers, irises and bonsais. In addition to the grounds, visitors to Beartree Park will be able to see a variety of animals up-close. At the Koi pond, visitors can buy food to feed the colorful fish and at the bear enclosure, visitors can walk above the bears and drop down food. In between, there's even an experience program where children (and animal lovers) can take a walk with baby bears or feed deer by hand.
For foreigners, some of the exhibits of domestic animals might seem a little strange. However, the overall experience is worth the price of admission. The park is open from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. every day through September. From October-March, the park is open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. It is closed on the first and third Monday each month and for Lunar New Year and Chuseok.
Through October, the admission price is W 10,000 for adults during the week and W 13,000 on the weekends. Admission is W 8,000 for children anytime. The costs decrease, starting in November, to W 8,000 for adults and 6,000 for children. Although most people bring their own food to eat picnic style somewhere in the park, there are restaurants available. A gift shop is located near the entrance.
To get there from Camp Humphreys by car, follow the "Little 1" south towards Cheonan. Once on 1, it takes about 30 minutes to get there. You can also take the Gyeongbuk (Seoul-Busan) Expressway to the Cheonan intersection - Cheonan-Nonsan Expressway - Namcheonan IC (Route 1, 12km) - Songseong-ri access road.
By train (Mugungwha), get off at the Jeonui Station (about 26 minutes from Pyeongtaek Station), then take a taxi, which should get you there in five minutes. For more information about the park, go to www.visitkorea.or.kr or do a computer search for Beartree Park Cheonan.