Are you thinking of taking a family holiday in Taipei? Or looking for something fun to do on weekends with the family? As part of a series on family things to do in Taipei, here are my top five fun things to do that the whole family can enjoy.
- The Taipei Zoo. Do not dismiss this as just another zoo: this modern-planned venue is a must see family attraction in Taipei. Several of its animals were used in filming the movie ‘The Life of Pi’, they have three cute baby koalas, a pair of panda bears plus elephants, tigers, white rhinoceros, penguins, exotic birds, snakes — pretty much anything you could expect or want to see. Plus they often have special children’s activities during school holidays. Taiwanxifu’s tip — avoid the ticket queue and instead use your Easycard (used for all public transport in Taipei) to swipe straight through.
- The train network, called the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT). Our toddler loves travelling on the MRT. In fact he loves any excuse so sometimes we just travel a few stops and come back so he can experience the thrill. Any MRT line is good, but we find the brown line is particularly child friendly as it is less crowded and above ground so you can see the view of Taipei. You can even combine with a trip to the Taipei Zoo, although depending on where you have come from it can be a big day. Aim to get into the first carriage so you can look out at the rails; the carriages on the brown line are fully automated and driverless.
- Da-an park. The Da-an park, the largest centrally located park in Taipei, has heaps of swings, slides, climbing adventure bars and even a sand pit. And if your kids still need more to do, there is wide open space to let them run and run and run some more. It can get busy on weekends, so it is a good idea to dress your kids in bright colours so you don’t lose them as they run around. If you still have energy afterwards, head across the road to the Holiday Flower Market, which on weekends has dramatic displays of orchids, lilies, bonsais and seasonal plants and flowers for sale. The plans are beautiful to look at even if you are only visiting for a short time. The Da-an park MRT station is under construction and is expected to be finished within the next few months.
- Taipei Expo Park. The 2010 – 2011 Taipei International Flora Exposition has now finished, and unfortunately the famous Dream Pavillion has recently also closed. But there is still lots to see. Our toddler enjoyed the hands on tour of the robotics exhibitions in the Angel Life Pavilion, and at the moment a Dinosaur Exhibition has just started. And afterwards he enjoyed a cute child’s meal served in a toy car in the calm Angel Cafe, a peaceful and child-friendly interlude surrounded by gardens on each side. Oh, and even if you don’t go into any of the exhibits the park is fun to visit as its close proximity to the Songshan Airport means lots of low-flying planes. Little boys in particular will love counting all the airplanes coming into land — ours certainly did.
- Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, set in old tobacco buildings, has now been turned into an elegant and interesting setting for contemporary art exhibitions. And also for fun exhibitions that your kids will love, such as the current exhibition celebrating 100 years of Japanese cartoon character Doraemon. The grounds themselves are beautiful; wandering through the inner courtyard with large fountain and tropical plants, I almost felt like I was in a scene from Alice in Wonderland. The large pond in front of the complex is also fun for kids to spot koi fish and turtles.
So, do you have a favourite adventure destination for you and your kids in Taipei? And if so, where?