When planning our trip to Seoul, one of the things on our must do list was to visit a Unique Café. Korea isn’t short on cafés. You can find anything from regular coffee shops, themed ones and even ones with cute and cuddly animals. We had a chance to visit all three types of cafes, and one visit, in particular, stood out the most.
Meerkat Cafe Here We Come
We were keen to be on the look-out and organically find one that interested us as we explored Seoul. While in Myeongdong we saw a sign for a Meerkat Café and couldn’t resist. We navigated our way through the dense crowd. As we approached the sign, we couldn’t help but get giddy with excitement. Another couple also approached the sign and rode up the elevator to the sixth floor where the café was located with us. To keep our cool and look like the mature adults we were, we had to keep our excitement to a minimum, but inside we were thinking, how cool is this?
When the elevator doors opened, we walked into an enclosed glass foyer. A gentleman opened the window and greeted us. Admission was 20,000 Won ($17.69 USD) for each person. He asked us to remove our shoes, place them on the shelves behind us and wear a pair of the slippers the café provided to all guest. This process keeps the environment hygienic and clean for the animals. They do their best to prevent dirt and contaminants from entering the café.
Wow, A Wallaby
Once inside, we were greeted by a wallaby, but before we could get excited and bend down to say hello to our new friend, a staff member quickly stopped us and pointed us over to the lockers. We were instructed to read the rules posted on the wall, then asked to remove all items from our pockets and place them inside the locker. All items including purses, backpacks, and wallets went inside the locker. You were only allowed to keep your phone and camera out.
The attendant watched us like a hawk ensuring everyone read the instructions and then went over the rules verbally. You were not allowed to feed the animals anything other than the treats provided by the café, no objects should be in your pockets, and you are to sanitize your hands with the product offered by the café. This process is to ensure the safety and well-being of the animals and guests.
We were then allowed to roam the café and greet the animals inside. The café had two wallabies, one female and one male. Both had full-time attendants with them ensuring their safety. The female wallaby was pregnant, and the staff watched over her intently and provided her with a safe area where she could sneak into and have alone time away from guests.
I’ve seen wallabies from a distance before but never able to touch one. The staff gave us a few treats and said it was okay to pet the male wallaby. My husband made the mistake of calling him a baby kangaroo and his keeper was quick to correct him. You could tell she had a bond with him and genuinely cared.
Inside the café behind glass areas were the stars of the show, meerkats. They looked like squirrels mated with a weasel to come up with the cutest looking fur baby. You had to wait your turn to go inside the meerkat area and only allowed ten minutes. Before going inside, you were instructed to take off your slippers, sanitize your hands, sit down criss-cross style and place a blanket over your legs.
I was lucky and able to sit at the end where all the meerkat’s seemed to gravitate towards to sit on your lap. At one point, I had three cuddled on my lap. The meerkats were so CUTE! The keeper threw some treats on the floor, and they went crazy! It looked like little pellets, but when I looked closer they were tiny dried worms! Oh boy, that was interesting. It was like their wild instincts took over hunting and foraging for the grubs before someone got to the treats first. The meerkats loved it and before we knew it our ten minutes were up, and we headed out of the meerkat area.
While we were inside the staff were continually cleaning up any mess and keeping an eye on each animal. They had signs all over that read; this is our family so please treat it like your own family.
What, A Racoon Too
Before we left, we noticed something in the corner. We stepped up to take a closer look and, in the corner, high up on a few crates, was a raccoon. He looked like Rocket from Guardians of the Galaxy but black and white. He was enjoying a leisure nap and didn’t want to be bothered. ADORABLE is all I have to say.
This experience was so fun and would recommend it to anyone visiting Seoul. You could tell that the animals were very well taken care of, each one had a person assigned to watch them at all times to ensure their safety. In addition to that, I noticed a large room where the animals could go into if they needed a break. We weren’t sure what to expect when we navigated our way through the crowd to a meerkat café and glad that we had a chance to experience it.
There are a ton of different café’s in Seoul, some of which have sheep, cats or themed after a popular cartoon character. If you are in Seoul, I would recommend visiting at least one unique café.