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Korea with (Smaller) Kids – Part I

Korea is decidedly a kid-friendly country.  With the nation's ‘mommy' lobby affecting everything from the prices of apartments in top school districts, to affordable childcare, chances are that you'll find Korea to be quite friendly for your family, too.  Restaurants typically keep baby chairs and utensils for smaller hands in stock, while there is widespread availability of nursing and nap rooms in subway stations and shopping malls.

Seoul is home to some of the most innovative ‘kids cafes' in the world; if you're looking to keep the kids occupied for a few hours while you relax, look no further. Here are some of the major ones.

Kids Cafes

Kids cafes are mini-theme parks for children, usually between the ages of 2 and 10. Usually located in mall settings, these are spectacularly themed playrooms, ranging from jungle themes to science and technology, some filled with ball pits or other inflatables, and usually with ample interactive elements, whether it’s arts and crafts, or Legos.

Characteristics of Kids Cafes

  • Allow kids to roam and play freely, while adults rest or chat in the cafe area. Didn't think the ‘cafe' part was for the kids, did you?
  • Adult chaperones usually pay a reduced/free fare.
  • Feature nursing rooms or areas.
  • Perhaps most importantly, however, these cafes are notable for usually having separate cafe and rest areas for you, the weary parents.

Playtime

By far the largest operator of these cafes, the Playtime brand owns

http://www.worldplaytime.com/KO/brand.php?part=b1

Pororo Park/Lounge

Pororo, the Little Penguin, is an animated series available worldwide, and on Youtube in multiple languages. Pororo is often referred to as the much-adored 'emperor' (penguin) of Korea's children, and befitting such a leader, Pororo has two themed playgrounds in Seoul.

The larger of the two is next to Lotte World and features appearances by Pororo and friends Petty, Rody, Loopy, shows, a small Ferris Wheel, kids-friendly bumper cars, a train, and two-floors of padded playrooms.

The second, called the COEX Lounge P, is in the COEX Mall, and features small rides, mazes, and a smaller play zone.

Pororo Park

For Taxi/Kakao Taxi: 뽀로로파크 키즈카페 잠실점
Google Maps Location: 37.5112348, 127.0962006

Coex Lounge P

For Taxi/Kakao Taxi: 뽀로로파크 라운지P코엑스몰
Google Maps Location: 37.511300, 127.060814

Teddy Bear Zoo

Located in the Lotte World Mall, this indoor playground features slides, a large ball pit complete with plastic ball ‘cannons', a ‘sandbox' filled with wooden chips, rides, a large interactive screen, a small trampoline park, and – animal rides.

Yes, you read that right. The Zoo features a motorized elephant, lion, rhino, and zebra along a short 5-minute course for the kiddos.

For Taxi/Kakao Taxi: 테디베이주 롯데월드몰점
Google Maps Location: 37.514418, 127.105391

Kidzania

This is a ‘career' theme park located next to Lotte World. Part of the worldwide Kidzania franchise, this a larger park that skews to an older demographic, of toddlers at least 3 years of age.

Here, children have the opportunity to take part in ‘grown-up' professions, from making confections or working on robotics projects, to putting out fires, and test-driving cars. Kidzania is a replica of a functioning economy, so children will get paid in Kidzos, the native currency, for certain jobs – which can be loaded on kid-size credit cards for spending at different stalls.

Due to the nature of the activities and the instruction involved, there might be a language barrier for some activities, but most kiosks are heavily tactile and visual, so it shouldn't get in the way of a good time for all.

Adults are not allowed in the activity rooms, so make sure your child is old enough to participate unattended – although large glass walls make sure you can keep tabs on the little ones at all times.

For Taxi/Kakao Taxi: 키자니아 서울
Google Maps Location: 37.510812, 127.096782

Lotte World

Any section on Lotte World can't skip the theme park that the entire Lotte World I and II complexes are named after. One of the largest indoor theme parks in the world, the park is a good option for a rainy – or smoggy day – and features roller coasters, smaller kiddy rides, boat rides, gondolas, and shows.

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Google Maps Location: 37.5111392,127.0944904

Lilliput

This wooded, miniature world is decidedly less themed than the other kids cafes, but is no less fun, featuring a padded, wooden jungle gym, a cypress block pit, and a Lego room with a huge selection of box choices. There are 10 locations all around Seoul.

For Taxi/Kakao Taxi: 릴리펏 현대시티아울렛 동대문점 (Dongdaemun Location)
Google Maps Location: 37.568600, 127.007701

Playscape

Kids clubs in this part of town are scarce, which makes this one a gem. A sports-themed kids cafe featuring a large slide in the shape of a ping pong paddle, a miniature running track, cypress tree block pit, and springboard. Recommended for particularly active children.

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Google Maps Location: 37.565881, 127.007103

I Like Dalki

Dalki is a cartoon fruit character, and this is her world. Featuring a library, a Baby Zone for smaller children, and active play areas for toddlers, the park offers a variety of experiences for all. Several locations in and around Seoul.

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Google Maps Location: 37.5171639, 126.9009871

Apple Kid's Club

Located in the Hyundai Department Store D-Cube City, this cafe features bright, plush dolls, blocks, and balls to help stimulate your little one's five senses, and is aimed particularly at younger toddlers and infants. Also features a digital, interactive sandbox.

For Taxi/Kakao Taxi: 애플키즈클럽
Google Maps Location: 37.5084321, 126.8865445

Sports Monster

A sports theme park with branches in both the Starfield Hanam and Starfield Goyang malls. Part of a new trend in indoor theme park development globally, this interactive play park has climbing walls, aerial ropes courses, basketball and futsal courts, a full-scale trampoline park, laboratories to test your abilities in baseball, handball and taekwondo, as well as “monster” slides. As the activities might suggest, these are aimed at families of all ages, but skews to older kids.

Starfield Hanam

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Google Maps Location: 37.5448037, 127.2067888

Starfield Goyang

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Google Maps Location: 37.6467805, 126.8926336

Playtime

A kids cafe in Starfield Hanam featuring indoor sandboxes, bubbles, ball pits, obstacle courses, large plush blocks, and a yarn-bombed, knitted jungle gym.

For Taxi/Kakao Taxi: 스타필드 하남
Google Maps Location: 37.5448037, 127.2067888

Toy Kingdom Play

A kids club located inside a massive toy store; if you decide to go, don't say we didn't warn you. Featuring a wildlife themed maze, a track for pedal-powered racecars, a large ball pit with slides, an in-store rental shop for character costumes, full-body coloring experiences (wear a helmet), black light rooms, arts and crafts workshops, experiential pavilions to try out different professions, and a Play Factory with blocks, cars, and other tactile toys.

For Taxi/Kakao Taxi: 스타필드 고양
Google Maps Location: 37.6467805, 126.8926336

Banpo Play in Motion

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