Arachnopia, nestled to the east of Seoul, set amongst rolling hills and deep valleys lush green narrow winding roads, you will happen upon the Joopil spider museum. A small unexpected sign points the way from a main road and for the curious, the route of discovery awaits.
The museum was founded in 2006 by Professor Joo-Pil Kim of Donggul University to house what amounted to 40 years of research, collecting and work. His life studies and travels to over 100 countries collecting specimens and doing research which has been then passed onto generations of students passing through Dongguk University on a variety of courses have been able to utilize the findings and teaching of Professor Joo-Pil Kim into course notes and theories.
Visitors, especially children are urged to interact with the exhibits within the main building, this includes holding a variety of spiders mainly from the Tarantula family, many the size of the hands that hold these live specimens.
Within the exhibition halls many other preserved specimens can be viewed, these include snakes, insects and a variety of creatures found around the site. On the upper floor is various preserved and biologically presented research material which includes, mammals, insects, frogs, snakes and fossils of the region available for study and research with numerous trays of collected specimens representing 40 years of field work. An impressive array of butterflies, moths and gem / mineral rocks are on display.
Outside the main hall there is a gallery, and grounds with walks and some interesting displays.
Walking around the site the visitor will find numerous items of interest, an art gallery, curios display of historic related items….Korean furniture and household goods, large minerals displays. Moving up the hill you can master a number of steps cut steeply into the hillside where the arboretum surrounds the site.
Dense woodland and planting draws the visitor’s eye to splashes of colour and interesting plants that cry out for attention.
Statues look our over the mountainous terrain reminiscence for the writer of Ecuadorian rainforest.
On an upper level you will encounter a child’s play area and a giant spider protecting the founder’s bust and information. Professor Joo-Pil Kim has invested his time, collections and a great deal of money to make the museum and surrounding attractions a voyage of discovery for visitors and students alike. Its a little off the beaten route but well worth the journey.
The display halls, study centre and exhibits room are not the only discoveries available for visitors of all ages at the site. We saw a mirage of butterflies dancing in flitted sunlight, golden frogs hopping around reeds, caterpillars, various insets and some undiscovered creatures lurking in the woods, samples of wildlife are also housed on the slopes so if you hear the odd co-cooing of a distance owl, the shout of a pheasant, or call of a bird, it may be just one of the many attractions to be found at the center that makes this small but perfectly formed attraction a great day our for the young, older person and family. The prefect mix of enjoyment, education and Korean countryside.
The Joopil Spider Museum is open at regular times and available for study and research .
The Joopil Spider Museum ( hptt//www.arachnopia.com ) can be found at # 528, Jinjung-Ri. Joan-Myun. Namyangjoo-Si, Gyunggi-Do 472-872 Korea, about 35 minutes outside Seoul, directions on their web pages. Tel.82-31-576-7908-9.