This article is a reworked report by the author for a segment called Talk Jeju on KCTV English News. — Ed.
Jeju’s newest addition to its dozens of museum offerings is the Jeju Aerospace Museum, which is located at Seogwang-ri, Andeok-myeon, Seogwipo City. This is about a 40 minute drive from Jeju City.
The museum opened on April 24 and is now Asia’s largest aerospace museum. It is well thought out and presents information logically, and covers all the bases, from the beginnings of flight right through to the theory of warp drive.
The building itself is 30,000 square meters and four stories tall. It took six years in total to complete, and was built in partnership with the JDC and Korean Air Force at a cost of just over 115 billion won.
This part of the JDC’s ongoing set of core development projects, including Jeju Science Park, Myths and History Theme Park and Jeju Healthcare Town, which are geared to energize the local economy.
Last year Jeju drew more than 10.8 million tourists, including 2.33 million from overseas. By 2018, the government hopes to attract 15 million visitors a year.
As for the museum’s facilities, it has two indoor exhibition areas. The first is the Aviation History Hall, and presents this from a scale model of the Wright Flyer, with its 12.3-meter wingspan, through to the jet age, hidden secrets of aircraft, and aviation technology that changed the world, among others.
There are 35 actual aircraft in total, 23 in the Air Hall and 12 outdoors. There’s a real F-4D Phantom, and visitors can look right into the cockpit. It was one of 74 which were flown by the Korean Air Force between 1969 to 2010, when the Phantom was retired.
This first hall also has 10 computer flight simulator stations which will prove popular, but there is also an excellent hands-on experience zone called “How Things Fly.”
This is a great learning opportunity for children. Each experimental station is based on a physics or engineering question. For example, “Why does a wing have a rounded front,” or “Which of these objects creates less drag?” There are other areas that explain how a supersonic wind tunnel works, and an interesting display about the weight and stiffness of different materials, like carbon fiber versus aluminum.
Staff give walk-through tours of the experience zone six times a day, and answer kids’ questions.
The second exhibition hall walks visitors through a timeline of astronomy, space exploration, the science and engineering involved in the field, and the future of humans in space. Its presentation is logical and remarkably informative.
Apart from the excellent attention to detail throughout the hall, I found the two-story tall animation of the solar system, and the scale model of the Mars rover Curiosity, to be especially impressive.
Among the other facilities at the museum, once visitors have finished going through the second hall on the second floor, there is a Theme Zone. This includes a 5D theatre with a 50m long, 5m high screen, a 3D simulator, interactive theaters, and more. On the third floor is a food court and a museum shop.
When it comes to minuses, the tickets are a bit pricey and most of the information, signage and the education programs are in Korean only. There are free audio guides in English, Chinese, and Japanese.
The Jeju Aerospace Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, and 9 to 9 on Saturdays. Tickets are 15,500 won for adults, 13,000 for youths, and 11,000 won for children aged 3 to 12. There’s a 30 percent discount for Jeju residents. Access to the other Theme Zone offerings are extra.
The museum Web site, in Korean, is www.jdc-jam.com.