Pony Rides, Pirates, And Teepees
Discover a whole new Hong Kong with your kids...
By Elle Kwan
Ocean Park and Disneyland are undeniably big-ticket trips in Hong Kong, but there's plenty more to pack into your schedule. Mickey is merely the beginning...
By air, sea and rail
Transport-loving kids from tots to teens will love the myriad ways to see Hong Kong's famous skyline. The short cable car ride to Victoria Peak turns skyscrapers on their sides as it makes its steep climb to the top. Rickshaw runs city tours on open-top, double-decker buses, which you can jump on and off at your leisure, while the city's old-fashioned trams give a great view of the bustling streets. Out at Tai Po Market, Thomas the Tank engine fans can climb aboard real steam engines at the open-air Hong Kong Railway Museum.
At 8pm, take the Star Ferry from Kowloon to Central, and watch the light show that beams from buildings across the harbour. Or watch the show from a traditional Chinese junk, the Aqua Luna. "Known in Cantonese as 'Cheung Po Tsai', the Aqua Luna is named after the infamous Cheung Chau island pirate who used to terrorise these waters," says public-relations account manager Emma Lovett. The evening cruise, A Symphony of Lights, leaves Tsim Sha Tsui at 7.30pm.
Over the hills
Retrace the legends of pirates on Cheung Chau island, a ferry ride away from Central. Once there, hire a bike. "You can do a short circuit and go down the pirates' cave," says Mio Debnam, the Hong Kong-based author of kidsGO! children's travel guides. "Bring a torch, or buy one there." Before taking your return ferry, sample squid in one of the restaurants where the fishing boats dock.
Hong Kong Wetland Park is another favourite with the locals, its 60 hectares housing various wetland habitats. The discovery centre also has playing and learning areas just for kids.
Kadoorie Farm has a wildlife sanctuary with deer and a pond full of flamingoes; kids can feed goats and rabbits, and take pony rides at Tai Tong Lychee Valley.
Board a light rail train to Tai Ma Road station, then hail a cab. Nature explorers can also seek out pink dolphins: Hong Kong Dolphinwatch explains why the dolphins turn pink and how to protect the Indo-Pacific humpbacks. Half-day tours run every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
There's something for all ages at the Science Museum. "It's not just a gallery; kids can get really involved," says Jake Eagle, a teacher and dad to Reuben, who's three. Bigger kids will love the Space Museum's Omnimax theatre, where edu-movies are shown on a massive domed ceiling.
At the rink in Elements shopping mall, even little ones can skate, courtesy of the penguin-shaped supports for tots. Or head to PLAY, out in Kwun Tong, for skiing (ages 4+) or snowboarding (ages 10+) classes.
Where to sleep? Why not in a teepee? Palm Village's teepees sleep groups from four to 20 within earshot of the rolling waves. Now, that's a whole other way to experience Hong Kong.
Take Me There
From HK$40, adults; HK$18, children 3-11. Tel: +852 2522 0922, www.thepeak.com.hk/en
Hong Kong Railway Museum
Open 10am-6pm Monday, Wednesday- Sunday; closed Tuesdays except public holidays. Free. 13 Shung Tak St, Tai Po Market, Tai Po, tel: +852 2653 3455, www.heritagemuseum.gov.hk
From HK$2.50, adults; HK$1.50, children 3-12. Tel: +852 2367 7065, www.starferry.com.hk
KA-Doorie Farm And Botanic Garden
Open daily 9.30am- 5pm (last admission 4pm) Lam Kam Rd, Tai Po, New Territories, tel: +852 2483 7200, www.kfbg.org.hk
Trips are bookable up to 10 days in advance; A Symphony of Lights cruise tickets are HK$240 for adults with a drink; HK$190 for children 4-11 years old. Tel: +852 2116 8821, www.aqua.com.hk/#/eng/global/hongKong
Hong Kong Dolphin Watch
Price includes return-trip coach transport from Tsim Sha Tsui to Tung Chung New Development Pier on Lantau Island. HK$380, adults; HK$190, children 3-11; HK$50 children under 3. Tel: +852 2984 1414, www.hkdolphinwatch.com
Hong Kong Space Museum
Open daily 1-9pm. 10 Salisbury Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, tel: +852 2721 0226, www.lcsd.gov.hk/ce/Museum/Space
The Rink At Elements
Open daily 10am- 10pm. G/F, Elements, No. 1 Austin Rd West, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, tel: +852 2196 8016, www.rink.com.hk
Hong Kong Science Museum
Open 10am-7pm Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays; 10am-9pm weekends and public holidays. 2 Science Museum Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon, tel: +852 2732 3232, www.hk.science.museum
Cheung Sha, Lantau Island, tel: +852 2980 4822, www.palmbeach.com.hk
HK$800 buys an hour's lesson on the dry slopes for up to four people. 1/F & 2/F, Kras Asia Industrial Building, 79 Hung To Rd, Kwun Tong, tel: +852 2797 9323, www.321play.com.hk
Hong Kong Wet-land Park
Open 10am-5pm daily, except Tuesdays. From HK$30, adults; HK$18, children 3-17 Wetland Park Rd, Tin Shui Wai, New Territories, tel: +852 3152 2666
Taitong Organic Ecopark
Open daily 9am- 6pm, from HK$20 per person (extra for some activities). 11 Tai Tong Shan Rd, Tai Tong Tsuen, New Territories, tel: +852 2470 2201, www.yl.hk/taitong