Beijing has plenty to offer your kids in the way of large open spaces within the monuments you'll visit: the Forbidden City
and the Temple of Heaven
are perfect examples. But every kid can get tired and sometimes they need a little kid-centric time. When you see their eyes start to glaze over, choose one of these activities to lift their spirits. They'll be more apt to follow you to the Great Wall
1. Beijing Aquarium
- Description: Indoor aquarium
- Address: 137 Xiwai Dajie, a 15 minute walk from the Zoo
- Opening hours: Daily 9am-5pm
- Comments: If you can get around the fact that Beijing is not on a coast, the largest inland aquarium in Asia is a fun place to take the kids to see some beautiful fish.
2. Le Cool
- Description: Indoor ice-skating rink
- Address: B2/F, 1 Jianguomenwai Dajie in the World Trade Center
- Opening hours: Daily 10am-6pm
- Comments: A nice kid-centered activity to negotiate the next temple visit.
- Description: Indoor playground, ball pit, playgym, etc.
- Address: 1)Gongti Nan Road; 2) Worker's Stadium
- Opening hours: M-F 9am-5:30pm, S-S 9am-7pm
- Comments: Take it from me (who has spent hours there with her toddler), Fundazzle is the perfect place for kids on a rainy day. Take them there, exhaust them for several hours, then stick them in the stroller and off you go to the Forbidden City.
4. Splash Recreation Club
- Description: Outdoor/indoor swimming pools.
- Address: 1F CITIC Hotel Beijing, 9 Xiaotianzhu Road
- Opening hours: daily 6am-10pm
- Website: CITIC Hotel Beijing
- Comments: If you're visiting Beijing in the summer months, a stop at Splash will probably make your kids love you a little more.
5. Beijing World Park
- Description: Theme park of world landmarks in miniature.
- Address: 158 Fengbao Road, Huaxiang
- Website: Beijing World Park
- Comments: If China wasn't on the top of the list for the kids, take them to Beijing World Park to see their hoped-for destination in miniature.
6. Beihai Park
- Description: Large historical park northeast of the ForbiddenCity.
- Address: 1 Wenjinjie
- Opening hours: daily 6:30am-8:30pm
- Comments: Beihai Park is a fantastic spot to amble around enjoying a break from the city. Climb up to the white tower, a Beijing landmark, or have fun on the paddle boats.
7. Shijingshan Amusement Park
- Description: Beijing's largest amusement park with rides and faux Disney characters.
- Address: 25 Shijingshan Road
- Opening hours: daily 9am-5pm
- Getting there: Subway: Line One (Bajiao Station).
- Comments: The park's slogan is "Disneyland is too far." Indeed, Beijingers need not go all the way to Hong Kong as the park is basically a Disney rip-off featuring Minnie Mouse ("a cat with big ears"), Cinderella's castle and Snow White and the Seven, um, Munchkins...
8. Ancient Coin Exhibition Hall
- Description "Gudai Qianbi Zhanlanguan" in Chinese, a museum housing ancient coins.
- Address Desheng Men Jianlou
- Opening hours daily 9am-3:30pm
- Getting there Metro: Jishui Tan (218, exit A)
- Comments Hundreds of different types of currencies used throughout China's history on display. The building, an old military tower, is fun to explore itself.
9. Milu Park
- Description: "Milu Yuan" in Chinese, wildlife sanctuary housing descendents of an extinct deer-family animal "milu" as well as other endangered species.
- Address: Nan Haizi Milu Yuan, Daxing Qu
- Opening hours: daily 8am-5:30pm
- Getting there: Take bus 729 from Qian Men metro stop (208) to Jiu Gong where you change to minibus no. 4.
- Comments: the park is located in the Southern Marshes of Beijing where Chinese emperors historically went hunting and held military exercises.
10. Five-Color Earth Craft Center
- Description: "Wu Se Tu Gongyifang" in Chinese, an interactive center for arts and crafts.
- Address: Dog Cheng Shaonian Gong, Dong Zhi Men Nan Lu 10, East side of East Second Ring Road, green-roofed building north of metro stop, Dongsi Shi Tiao
- Opening hours: daily 9am-6pm
- Getting there: metro stop, Dongsi Shi Tiao (213, Exit B)
- Comments: Children can try their hands at tie-dyeing, embroidering and painting as well as pottery (though for that you'll need to book in advance 010-6415-3839, have your hotel concierge help).