In case you haven't noticed, owls are super "in" right now, and Korea is definitely following suit. They also happen to be one of my favorite animals and in the past decade or so, I've amassed quite an owl collection. You can just imagine my elation and fascination, then, when I heard that Seoul has an actual Owl Museum! After spending the morning walking around the Bukchon Hanok Village, my friends and I wandered through the neighboring Samcheongdong to see what this Owl Museum was all about...
Now, to be clear: this is not a museum with live owls. (Though, that would be really cool.) Korea is famous for its weird cafes, including a variety of live animal ones, but this is simply a little cafe that is stuffed to the rafters (literally) with owl everything.
The most wonderful facade this owl lover has ever seen.
A mural on the outside of the museum.
All the info you need about the museum.
According to the information page we were given upon entering, the owls inside the cafe are all from the personal collection of Mrs. Myeong-Hee Bae, who has been collecting for over 40 years! She started young and has made an effort to find unique owls everywhere she goes. Even her family and friends have gotten on board, collecting owls for her when they see one that's worthy of being added to her collection.
A cute little bench, surrounded by owls, and perfect for a photo!
Everywhere you look -- owls.
The museum supposedly houses 3,000 owls, though I would argue that there are even more than that. I could've spent hours marveling over all of her owl pieces -- little figurines to huge paintings to ceramic plates to a Harry Potter and Hedwig blanket tacked to the ceiling. Basically, I was in complete awe of all of her owls and she might be my hero.
Shelves absolutely packed full -- some of the owls were the size of a fingernail!
In addition to her collection being so huge, it boasts owls from around 80 different countries, "including China, Japan, Indonesia, Russia, and Zimbabwe." (Information from their website here.)
I dare you not to be impressed.
The drink menu.
There was an entrance fee of 5,000 won, but it came with a complimentary drink. We were then given little pieces of paper, Owl Museum branded stamps, markers, and crayons. I imagine that this caters to small children in particular, but we immediately started drawing owls of our own and carefully coloring them in while we sipped on our tea.
Her gorgeous plate collection.
Opening hours: 10am-8pm
Closed every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
Entrance fee: 5,000 won (comes with complimentary drink)
The area surrounding the Owl Museum is my favorite area of Seoul -- you have Insadong, two of the big palaces, the Bukchon Hanok Village, and of course, trendy Samcheongdong. It was a quiet, visually entertaining afternoon in the museum, and if you're working your way down the list of strange Korean cafes/museums, make sure to add this one. I highly recommend stopping by this odd but charming little museum when you're in the area!
Between studying Japanese and Asian culture in university and setting her sights on a teaching career, it came as no surprise when Zannah Smreker announced that she was moving to South Korea to teach for Chungdahm Learning. In November 2011, Zannah accepted a position through Aclipse with the Yeonsu branch in Incheon, just southwest of Seoul. When she's not teaching, she keeps herself busy with exploring Korea, eating all the street food, and hunting down strange Engrish shirts. Check out her blog here for more of her adventures!