Gallery: What 100,000 people are lining up (in frustration) to see at Yeosu World Expo
Apparently, visitors to the Expo 2012 in Yeosu, Korea, are like blind dates. You pray they'll show up, but when they do, you don't really know what to do with them.
Despite being riddled with global superlatives -- of the quirky techie variety, including biggest gathering of robots in the history of expos, the world's largest dome screen, the world's tallest robot and a laser-shooting robot fish -- the ocean-themed Expo 2012 in Yeosu, Korea, has had a rickety start the past few weeks in terms of attendance and operations.
The daily number of visitors to the Yeosu Expo -- located 455 kilometers south of Seoul -- finally reached 100,000 this past Sunday, mostly due to the three-day Buddha's Birthday holiday weekend.
The local press reported that the growing number of visitors served to highlight the shortcomings of the expo, especially in regards to advance bookings and lack of parking, restrooms and accommodations.
According to Korean daily Dong-A Ilbo, more than 1,000 visitors who could not reserve admission to the eight main exhibition halls filed for refunds on Sunday, while some facility operations were stalled when annoyed patrons caused a ruckus at an aquarium.
On Monday, visitor numbers dropped to 45,000. The wait to see the 6,030-ton aquarium, which holds 34,000 marine creatures including three white Beluga whales from Antarctica, took up to seven hours.
Despite a lot of fanfare from the organizers about the convenience of the advance online and mobile ticketing system, expo organizers decided to shut it down on Monday due to the number of complaints by visitors who had waited until arrival to buy tickets, only to find that they were all sold-out.
Following the emergency decision, tickets for all 77 exhibitions at the Expo are now available on a first-come, first-served basis until the Expo closes on August 12.
But seven hours of waiting time after a three-hour-plus train ride from Seoul? Those whales had better do some backflips.
100 Deokchungan-gil, Yeosu-si, Jeollanam-do (전라남도 여수시 덕충안길 100); +82 1577 2012; eng.expo2012.kr
A one day pass costs ₩33,000 (US$28) except for peak days when it costs ₩40,000 (US$34). Two-day passes are ₩53,000 (US$45), three-day passes ₩69,000 (US$59). For more ticket prices and discount information, click here. The expo site is approximately three-and-a-half hours from Seoul by high-speed train.
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