Spending time with the family is always important, especially when living in a foreign place like Wuhan. While living in a booming metropolis, with its ever-expanding sprawl of concrete and steel, massive crowds and loud noise may seem a bit frightening and overwhelming at first glance. But with careful planning and clear destinations set, a family can take in all the glorious sights and sounds of one of China's fastest developing cities with relative ease and only the occasional headache.
1) Wuhan Zoo
Taking the kids to the zoo on a sunny weekend afternoon is a wonderful experience. Watching their faces light up with the joy at seeing lions, tigers and bears in the flesh is always magical. But visiting zoos in China is a mixed bag of joy and frustration. When deciding which zoo to take your kids to, be sure to do research first. Some of them are festering pits founded on animal cruelty, negligence and the salty tears of children. One zoo in Wuhan literally made me sick to my stomach, and for days after my trip I was still haunted by the things I saw.
The Wuhan Zoo is the best in the city. The zoo covers 80 hectares and is the eighth largest in China. It also has a lake, which is home to a small island where the animals get to roam freely. Currently, the zoo houses nearly three hundred animals—including the nationally famous (kung fu) panda. Not only can you see animals sitting around in the shade or sleeping in their cages, you can also watch some performances. In one house (roughly translated as the Land and Animal Performing House) you can see talking dogs, lions and tigers jumping through flaming hoops, and monkeys riding bicycles. What kid doesn't want to see a monkey riding a bicycle? There are several places to see various shows at the zoo, with each one focusing on something different. For example, one house has sea animals, another birds, and there's even one where people play with crocodiles.
Other things to do and see include a flower garden, the panda building, and one of China's largest swan lakes, which features 300 hundred protected black and white swans. There is even a place for the kids to feed animals like ostriches, emus, various kinds of deer and camels. Kids can even feed live rabbits and chickens to hungry lions and tigers, if they're not the squeamish type. Wuhan Zoo has a little bit of everything – a lot of love to offer the animals, with a little less cruelty than the average Chinese zoo. The best time to go is during the weekday mornings (when Chinese children are in school) or on the weekends. Avoid it around national holidays as the place gets overrun with children.
2) Forest Park in East Lake Eco-Tourism Scenic Area
This 713-hectare park is located on the eastern outskirts of Wuhan on Luoyu Lu. It should be noted that the park does have some historical merit, having played a role in a war during the Spring and Autumn period, but that's not what attracts nearly 50 million visitors every year. What makes Forest Park a great attraction, especially with the local people of Wuhan, is its beautiful scenery. It has natural wetlands, a coniferous pine forest and mountains. Not only can you enjoy the scenery and take nature hikes, but you can also enjoy a BBQ with the family. Afterwards, you can all have fun at a small amusement park in the area that has a roller coaster, bumper cars, racing and a place to playfully kill each other with laser guns. Another great feature of Forest Park is of course Monkey Mountain, which is home to more than a hundred monkeys. Be warned: if you visit be sure to bring food to feed them. They expect it and if you don't have anything to offer they'll take something else. Stories of people being robbed by the monkeys are not uncommon. Seems they will steal bags, hats and even mobile phones and cameras.
East Lake Eco-Tourism Scenic Area 东湖生态旅游风景区 View In Map
Add: Luoyan Lu, Wuchang District, Wuhan
Opening hours: 5:30-19:00 (24 hours for public areas )
Getting there: Take bus No. 108, 402, 411, 534, 537, 573, 605 or 810 to Liyuan
3) Farming for Love
For those of you curious about what it is like in the countryside should visit this agricultural style resort. Believe it or not, there is actually a lot to see and do here to keep the family busy. You can take the family berry picking, enjoy a true farming experience, and there's even an agricultural science demonstration area. If being a farmer John doesn't interest you then how about fishing on a beautiful lake? Kids can have fun at the petting zoo or the entire family can explore the vast wetlands that surround the area. If you're hungry you can pick fresh fruit from trees or enjoy a delicious green meal at the resort's large dining area. There's also a sports and activity section, and should you feel the need to want to stay longer, you can book a room at one of the huts on the grounds. The park is located on the outskirts of Wuhan, so if you're planning to visit, you'll need to book transport. However, once you're there you'll find everything you need – lodging, food, and a plethora of things to keep you and your family busy.
4) Wuhan Polar Ocean WorldView In Map
This is one of the newest attractions in Wuhan. It opened in September of this year, cost nearly 30 million RMB, and covers 300,000 square metres. The park features world-class designs by international firms, so everything looks great. Ocean World, also known locally as Ocean Park, also includes the only indoor multi-layer marine museum in China. But let's be honest, kids don't care about the buildings or how much things cost; they want to know what sort of things they can see at the park. Well, for that the Wuhan Polar Ocean World has more than enough spunk to thrill children of all ages. You have a polar animal display, where kids can see penguins, polar bears, arctic wolves, seals, walruses, sea lions, fur seals and other arctic animals. Polar Ocean World has six different breeds of penguins on display, even the Emperor penguin! It also features daily dolphin shows and an impressive aquarium imported from the United States. Here, kids can see sharks, various types of fish, and beautifully constructed coral reefs. Turtle lovers will enjoy the Turtle Museum, which exhibits one of earth's "living fossils", the sea turtle. Ticket price is 150 RMB per person, so it's a bit pricy. However, many early reviews have proclaimed the Ocean Park as being a fantastic place worth visiting.
Add: Intersection of Hankou Third Ring Road and Hongtu Dadao, Wuhan
Getting there: Wuhan Polar Ocean World is located at the Panlongcheng Exit of the 3rd Ring Road, East Xihu District. Passengers can take buses No. 291, 296, 216, 563 or shuttle buses (open soon) to get there.
5) Week 8
This place is more for the kids (aged 3-13) rather than the whole family. Week 8 is a social museum, where kids get to experience what the world is like by earning, saving and spending E-money that they earn inside the centre. The jobs kids get are wide ranging like a dentist, news anchor, fire-fighter, driver and even a pilot. There are nearly 70 jobs a child can choose from and each one has its own unique outfits and abilities for the kids to learn. By role-playing and interacting with other children, kids have fun while learning important things like teamwork, patience while stimulating their interest. Parents are not allowed on the floor, but can keep an eye on them on the monitors or from behind glass walls. Everything a child needs can be found inside the centre. Upon entering, they will get a passport, a map of all the various locations in the museum and a bank account. Each job they get will earn them money that can be spent later in the theatre, the gift shop and the snack bar.
Week 8 is located in at the Wuhan Pacific Outlet Mall on the fourth floor in Hankou. Parents have the choice to watch their kids being little adults or venture out in the surrounding shops for a little "alone" time.
Wuhan has a lot of places for the family. Keep in mind, this is just a small sample of what this amazing city has to offer. So what are you waiting for! Go grab your kids, your wallet and have some fun.
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Keywords: Wuhan family fun Wuhan zoo family fun Wuhan kid friendly places Wuhan family friendly places
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