You never know which way to look when you're swinging through the jungle!
Did you watch the drones flying in formation during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea and think, “Wow, I need to get to Seoul and see what’s up with all their technology?” Hmmm…maybe that was just our family. Anyway, the drone swarm piqued our interest in South Korea’s technology innovations. Bring on our search for family-friendly and pleasingly geeky technology attractions in Seoul. Below are our favorite all-ages tech attractions to include on your next trip to Seoul.
Kid-Friendly Tech Attractions in Seoul
Virtual Reality Cafe
Your first stop for kid-friendly tech fun in Seoul should be a Virtual Reality (VR) cafe. For adults, it has become easy to try basic VR setups at Microsoft or Samsung stores worldwide. For kids, it’s a different story. Most shops won’t let kids under 13 use VR equipment. Even as adults, the in-store setups are basic. Enter the VR Cafe.
VR cafes abound in Seoul, but our favorite is Fanta VR on the 7th floor of the Hello apM in Dongdaemun (Dongdaemun History and Culture Park Station, exit 14). One of the largest VR cafes in Korea, Fanta VR has more than 30 virtual reality experiences in 7 different zones: Fantasy Adventure, Extreme Games, Extreme Rides, Family Sports, Horror, Arcade and Promotion. Some experiences are limited by age or height (i.e., Horror is 18+), but any age can find plenty of games to enjoy.
You can easily spend 2-3 hours at a VR cafe. Likely, the adults will tire of the activities before the kids…or at least become motion sick first.
Located in the Gangnam district of Seoul, Samsung d’light (digital + light = d’light) is a massive showroom of current and future Samsung technology. The top two floors, where you’ll spend more of your time, house product and technology exhibitions. The basement floor is a Samsung store. All activities at Samsung d’light are free. You can find out more on the official site.
Closed Sundays! Samsung d’light is closed Sundays, national holidays, and Labor Day (May 1).
If you enter from the subway (Gangnam Station, exit 8), bypass the Samsung store and head to the main entrance on 1F. At the main entrance, you register with your first name and photo and are given a smart wrist band required for the activity stations. Your name and photo will appear on the large screens over the registration desk.
Pseudonyms welcome. If you don’t want your child’s name plastered across a public space, use a fake name. It won’t make any difference to the activities.
Now you’re ready to explore!
Your Digital Future…According to Samsung
The main experience on 1F is a journey to imagine your future using “the power of your emotions, senses, and intuition.” Basically, Samsung’s version of Meyers-Briggs. You accomplish this by visiting four different activity stations.
First stop is Emotion where you can “journey to your own unique emotions.” Choose patterns and colors that appeal to you. The result is applied to your photo and you’re given a word to describe your emotion.
Next stop is Sense where you “find your hidden senses” by using your arms to fill in a figure on the mirror display. The movement of your arms will reveal your unique strength.
The final activity station is Intuition where you “go beyond reason and emotion to create the world you imagine.” It’s a bit difficult to create the world you imagine when you’re limited to choosing the landform shape, people shape, and weather, but go with it. My world was “Calm.”
Finally, the Imagination station brings your results together and creates a future for you. My Sophisticated, Accurate, and Calm powers forsee me as an Idea Factory Manager where my job will be to “create new ideas 24 hours a day.” Other than a lack of sleep, it sounds like a good gig – all the ideas without any of the work.
If you don’t like your future, don’t worry. You can journey through the stations as many times as you want. It never hurts to have more than one future ready.
Samsung Tech Product Demonstrations
Once your future has been determined by Samsung, you can spend a short time exploring their current products. Hydraulic chairs and Gear VR headsets take anyone 13+ on a roller coaster ride. A race car game on a QLED Gaming Monitor is open to everyone.
Journey to Tomorrow with Samsung Electronics
The top floor is a future lifestyle exhibit demonstrating how we will live, learn, shop, and manage our health aided and abetted by Samsung technology every step of the way. We enjoyed the main floor personality test much more, but the kids did spend a long time role-playing in the digital classroom. You can also go head-to-head on rowing machines in a fitness tracking competition. Luckily for us, the exhibit was temporarily closed…we can get a touch competitive about these things.
The basement (B1) floor houses the flagship Samsung d’light store. If playing with current Samsung phones and TVs is your thing, then you will enjoy yourself. There is also a short VR demo here, but only for the 13+ crowd.
Seoul-Incheon Airport Tech Attractions
A search for high-tech attractions wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Seoul–Incheon International Airport. Make sure to arrive early and budget time for a coffee at Beats Cafe and a pre-flight workout at the Digital Gym.
The free Digital Gym is a great way to stretch out before your long flight. Get your heart rate up with jumping, basketball, footwork, and reaction time games. The activities adjust for child and adult height. You can compete against yourself or one other person.
The Digital Gym is near Gate 231 on 4F, Terminal 2. Nearby kid-friendly attractions include Kids Zone for toddlers and the IT Experience Zone. No gym gear required – you need to remove your shoes anyway.
IT Experience Zone
The IT Experience Zone hosts a rotation of high-tech displays and activities. We’ve enjoyed VR flying, planetarium shows, and our favorite – Beats Cafe, where a robot is the barista on duty.
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