63 Building

The 63 Building is hard to miss if you are anywhere near Yeouido island in Seoul, South Korea. It is 63 stories high (although 3 are below ground), and the gold shine reflects the bright sunlight like a giant Christmas ornament. When it opened to the public in 1985, it was Asia’s largest building. Since then it has been far surpassed, however it remains a major attraction in Seoul because it is home to around 90 stores, an aquarium, IMAX theater, art galleries, wax museum, as well as several major financial institutions.

It’s a place I’ve wanted to visit since I moved here last spring but haven’t found the right time, or made the time, to do so. However recently, my girlfriend surprised me with an afternoon filled with 63 Building activities. I had to spend a few hours at work on a random Saturday afternoon. When I was finished, we piled in to a cab and what she said to the driver next gave the surprise away. “Yuksam”, which means 6 and 3 in Korean.

Many Seoul citizens had the same idea we did that afternoon because the 63 Building was a buzz. We decided to check out 3 of the major attractions: Wax Museum, Aquarium and the Sky Art Gallery on the top floor. The only thing we passed on was the IMAX.

We started the afternoon below ground, at the Wax Museum. I don’t think I’ve ever been to one of these before, and it wasn’t originally one of the places I thought I’d be visiting. It seems like one of those attractions you see advertised in small coastal towns back home. However, the 63 Building version was actually quite a bit of fun.

Some things left me impressed. Tons of historical figures are represented, from Barack Obama, to Albert Einstein, Che Guevara, Frankenstein, David Beckham, Mozart and superheroes like Batman and Spidy. Even Jesus Cristo and the rest of the diners from the famous Last Supper image are in attendance.

Some things left me confused. Framed, autographed plaques by such entertainers as John Wayne, Eric Clapton and the casts of Sex and the City and Friends are hung in random places throughout the museum, however their wax figures were no where to be found.

There were a few special features that we weren’t expecting. The mini haunted house located around the mid-way point was quite strange. It only takes a few minutes to walk through, and the lighting and sound were not synced well, taking away from the overall spookiness of the experience. However, a few people dressed in scary outfits jumped out at just the right moment to scare the s*#@ out of my girlfriend.

The haunted house may have been a bit of a let down, but the Mega 5D Hyper Space theater was awesome. We sat down on 360 degree rotating seats, in a circular theater, equipped with a screen that wraps around the entire room. The theme here was also scary and spooky. So scary in fact, that a few of the children in attendance were crying. Computer game style, you walk through a haunted institutional building, dodging headless psyche ward patients and venus flytrap like plants on top of spiky long vines. The effects were so life like that viewers were actually reaching out in an attempt to grab the giant bugs that seemed to be right in front of your face.

DIRTY

The Aquarium was next on the agenda. We have already visited the Coex Aquarium, and had heard from others that the 63 version was quite a bit smaller and a lot more inhumane. All of this is true. Animal rights advocates will not be too happy with this attraction. It’s pretty obvious the creatures are being held in areas too small and unnaturally uncomfortable for their own good. It was also unsanitary. The otter exhibit for example, has places where you can stick your fingers into a section of the tubing the little furry guys swim through and climb around in so that they can play with your fingers. No thanks.

The Sky Art Gallery was saved for last so that we could witness the sunset high above Seoul on the top floor. Thankfully we picked a clear day. The theme was Love and Pop Art, featuring art work by Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Robert Indiana, Roy Lichtenstein, and Tom Wesselmann. The art was vibrant and colorful and the view from the top of the building was amazing.

We made friends with a little Korean boy as we watched the sun go down from a seating area in the southwest corner of the building. After I asked him to give me a high five when he first rolled up on the scene, he was our best friend as long as we remained there. He even offered us some of his sticky rice treat from his booggery little hands. We politely accepted, with his proud parents smiling off in the distance, and slipped the mess in a napkin when they weren’t looking.

It is always nice to see the sunset. I work in the afternoons and early evenings, so I never get to see it. There is something to watching the sun creep down, down, down and finally disappear that brings symbolic closure to the day and leaves you with perspective on life. And the view from way up above Seoul brings out a lot of the red and orange colors that I don’t get to see in the sky all that often.

We had a blast at the 63 Building and I wouldn’t be surprised if we made some return trips, most likely to see more of the rotating art exhibits on the top floor. Just beware of friendly children handing out bacteria ridden sticky treats.

Learn Korean with KoreanClass101.com

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~ by ripcitytoseoul on February 26, 2010.

2 Responses to “63 Building”

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