The world’s first toilet-themed park has opened in South Korea, complete with a toilet-shaped museum and a replica of Rodin’s Thinker sitting on the loo.
Remarkably, the world’s first toilet-themed park has been a success, according to Lee Yeun-sook, manager of planning for the “Mr. Toilet Sim Jae-Duck Foundation,” the nonprofit group formed to memorialize Sim Jae-Duck, founder and president of the World Toilet Association.
A former mayor of Suwon, where the toilet-themed park is located, Sim was known as “Mr Toilet” for helping provide fans with toilets at the 2002 World Cup in South Korea.
"He is a man whose life literally began in a toilet and ended at a commode-shaped house," Lee told Reuters, referring to how Sim was born in his grandmother’s outhouse and constructed his house in the shape of a toilet.
The toilet-themed park includes Korean squat toilets, European bedpans and a porcelain urinal in the shape of Marcel Duchamp’s sculpture “Fountain.”
The world’s first toilet-themed theme park has led Suwon to dub itself “the Mecca of toilet culture,” according to Reuters.
The city is spearheading an effort to help toilets gain the recognition it says they deserve, as well as funding for the construction of toilets in developing countries.
Historically in South Korea, the toilet situation, and public sanitation in general, improved as the country experienced economic growth.
"For our generation, a toilet was a very dirty and smelly place where you never wanted to go," Kim Gye-soon, a 52-year-old tourist at the theme park, told Reuters. "But now it is totally different."
The world’s first toilet theme park has plans for expansion, including a culture center that will be located adjacent to the park. The culture center is scheduled to open in 2014.
So far, the theme park has been a success, with 40,000 visitors entering its gates since it opened in July, according to Reuters.
If South Korea is in your travel plans, the Suwon toilet theme park won’t make a dent in your wallet. Visiting the museum is free.
"Going to the restroom is as vital as eating. In a sense, nations and governments should work to make sure everyone has an equal access to toilets and feels happiness in there," Lee said.