Summer vacation is here! As you watch the mercury rise, two or three months of boredom filled with sweat, tears, and heat rash appear to stretch out before you and your children. Don’t let Taipei summer be this way for your family. Get out of the house, and join in some of the exciting, interesting (and affordable) family-oriented activities on offer around the city. You will be rewarded with wonderful memories of your summer in Taipei. To make it easy for you, I’ve gathered information about a few of the best activities on offer, and arranged them into three areas: culture; water play; and education.
- Mosquito repellent
- Water bottle (lots of places to refill around the city)
- Tissues, wipes
- Cooler (food perishes quickly in the heat) – pick them up at Decathlon, with lots of other great summer sport and recreation-related items
- Swimming caps for pool visits
Treats for Kids!
- Shaved Ice
- 7-Eleven Cream Freeze
- Fresh fruit juices from juice bars
Get Cultural – Festivals
2014 brings us the 15th Taipei Children’s Arts Festival. Artists, actors, and musicians from Taiwan and abroad come together to perform, exhibit, and educate children under this year’s theme “recycling”. Many of the ticketed international acts are sold out by the beginning of July, but you can still enjoy the free concerts at Da-An Park and other venues around the city. It is recommended you arrive at the venues 45 minutes or so before the performance times to ensure you get a seat. If you have missed the deadline for enrollment in workshops this year, do keep an eye out for this event next June!
The New Taipei City Children’s Arts Festival is also up and running. This is divided into two time segments. The first part is the Fairytale Castle, which runs daily from 10am until 9pm, July 7-13, 2014. There is a daily performance of “Deep Sea Creatures”, at 3:30 and 5pm. Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30pm there are several different performances showcasing Taiwanese culture. All of these events are free.
The second part of the New Taipei City Children’s Arts Festival is “Art World”. Families can enjoy a stroll along the street and literally jump into the giant paintings that have been placed along the path. It is open daily from 10am to 6pm.
Fairytale Castle is located at New Taipei City Citizens’ Square (新北市市民廣場), which is at 161 Zhongshan Road Section 1, Banqiao (新北市板橋區中山路1段161號)
The address for Art World (國美館藝想世界) is 435 Zhongzheng Road, Banqiao (板橋區中正路435號).
Just a little further afield, Yilan’s International Children’s Festival is a must-do for every family. The ticket price of NT$350/250 is for a whole day’s entertainment. Our family stays 8-10 hours every visit, and we still have to drag the kids out of the gate. This includes international and local acts, exhibits, and water play areas suitable for children and adults alike. Many countries are represented, with invited troupes performing folk dances, and playing cultural games with children. You can shop for handicrafts and enjoy all kinds of food, too.
This year, they have added some new activities, including a huge trampolining area, dry slide, and daily rainbow show. The water play areas are great fun. From the gentle sliding frog to the 10-metre high water slide and full-on water checkers area, there is water play for all ages and temperaments. Definitely bring your swimsuits! If it gets too much, you can take a quiet boat ride on the Dong Shan River, or walk across the famous swing bridge. Shuttle buses run from Luodong Train Station. Or, you can take a bus from Taipei.
Keep Cool – Water Play
There are several options for water play in and around Taipei. You can choose indoor or outdoor fun, as well as a space most suitable for your child’s age and ability.
Five minutes’ walk from Gongguan MRT Station, The Taipei Water Park is an ideal space for young children. It can get fairly crowded in summer, but is still enjoyable. There is a little splash area (no swimsuit required), and a play pool with water buckets, slides, and showers (swimsuit required). Admission is just NT$80 for adults and NT$40 for children.
If you have older children, head to the south end of the park (known as the “Outdoor Aqua-Friendly Experiencing Area”). Here, you can rent rubber tubes and go down the bigger slides. You can also swim in the indoor pool and enjoy the spa area and gym. Fees here range from the higher NT$350 for full entry for adults, to NT$75 for babies in the outdoor area only.
Formosa Fun Park is a well-established favorite amongst families. It is located in Bali, just outside Danshui. During the summer months, the park is open from 9am until 9pm daily (10pm closing Saturday and Sunday). The most you will pay is NT$650 per person, down to free admission for children under 100cm. You can get a season ticket for NT$1590 per person.
If you have kids of all ages in your family, Formosa Fun Park is a pretty good choice. There are several play areas that little ones can enjoy while the bigger kids run around the park by themselves. Attractions include classic water slides, a large wave pool, and a lazy river. There is a fairly good range of snack food inside the park. Everyone needs to wear swimsuits. Hats and goggles are optional. (From June through to September, there is a deal on the four-person rooms at the on-site Tang Hotel. For NT$1799 per person, you get two days of fun at the park and a night at the hotel.)
There is plenty of space for cars in the car park. You can also take the MRT to Guandu Station and then transfer on to the No. 13 or No. 22 bus. Get off at the last stop.
Get Educated – Museums
Summer favorites have to be the National Taiwan Museum and the National Taiwan Children’s Science Center. Both of these museums have a child-centered philosophy and aim to present historical and scientific information in a way children can appreciate.
The National Taiwan Museum is actually in two parts. The first is right in the 228 Memorial Park. Entrance is just NT$20 for adults and NT$10 for students. Over summer, they are running several exhibits for children, such as the current “Children’s Corner of Nanmen Park – The Sleeping King of Camphor Trees”; an exhibit utilizing animation, multi-sensory activities, and storytelling to introduce Nanmen Park’s camphor trees and animal life to youngsters. The second part of the museum is the old Land Bank of Taiwan, right across the street from the National Taiwan Museum. It boasts a child-friendly cafe with a great outdoor space. Children and adults alike will also enjoy the air-conditioned adventures as they clamber through the old vaults.
The National Taiwan Children’s Science Center offers workshops and lectures throughout July and August. They have recently introduced an English-language tour of some of their exhibits. You need to sign up in advance, and numbers are limited to 15 per tour. If your children enjoy this science-focused museum, you can walk right over to the Taipei Astronomical Museum to continue the experience. Their IMAX videos are always popular, as is the alien adventure, where children fly their spaceships through an alien world. The Astronomical Museum seems most popular with children from 5 to 12 years old.
So, there you have it: A range of activities and spaces to help you get through a Taipei summer with your family. This is really just a taste of what is on offer for children in the city. I encourage you to brave the heat and explore as much you can!