A family-friendly time at the tracks

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A family-friendly time at the tracks

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At Let’s Run Park, visitors can ride horses and then jump into the pool. [JoongAng Ilbo]

Those into all things equine might be interested to discover that the Korea Racing Authority’s Let’s Run Park in Busan is the only place in the country that offers a water park alongside horse-riding programs.

The newly opened water facility, which can accommodate up to 2,000 people, will be open for the next two months. It has several entertainment facilities, including a separate pool where kids can enjoy slides and ride on small boats.

The park opened in 2011 as Korea’s largest horse-themed amusement park.

Set up on a 378,000-square-meter (93-acre) site, it offers horseback-riding classes and equestrian-themed performances among other forms of fun.

And of course, there is the horse racing that takes place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

In short, spending a whole day at the park won’t be a problem.

“This park has become a racetrack where adults can bring their children,” says Jeong Jong-yeon, a publicist for the park. “And thanks to that, the negative image usually associated with horse racing has somewhat changed.”

Horse racing is traditionally associated with gambling, which is illegal in Korea, and the image it conjures is usually of a place where people are seeking to hit the jackpot. The KRA has been looking to change this stereotype by adding an element of culture and leisure to horse racing. It is also trying to make it a kid-friendly place by providing bicycles for children to ride on.

The effort has borne some fruit. Visitors to the park last year numbered 1.12 million, which is 48 percent more than visitors to the Sajik Baseball Stadium.

Officials say the number of visitors to the park has been rising every year since it opened in 2011.

“A racetrack has to be like a playground for everyone,” said Kim Byeong-jin, a director at the KRA. “We hope to continue to transform this park into a place where families visit for culture and leisure.”

BY KIM SANG-JIN [hkim@joongang.co.kr]








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