Beijing Blue Zoo is located at the south gate of Worker’s Stadium. The aquarium was built under Gongti Lake, which doesn’t do much for street-side visibility. But rest assured, this aquarium packs in a ton of fun, housing Asia’s longest underwater walk (120m long).
There are a series of underwater shows throughout the day, beginning at both 9am and noon. If you can schedule it, weekday visits are recommended to avoid large crowds. Displays are in both Chinese and English, which will help English-speakers get the most out of their aquarium experience.
The first tanks are divided by specimen, with countless examples of each finned variety. Clownfish, lionfish, moorish idols and other tropical favorites are all at eye-level. Big-mouthed bottom feeders share a tank, and include the shark catfish and arapaima – a sturgeon-like living fossil.
After the jellyfish and sea horses to your left, you’ll see the shark tank. The sharks are fed at 9.50am and the display of man-versus-meat-eater is a thrill to watch. After the sharks have had their fill, head next-door to watch the sea turtles eat their breakfast.
Up next is the 120m underwater corridor through a tank of tropical fish. Gaze as turtlesglide overhead and fish dogfight around coral bluffs. There are diving shows here all day, from mermaids waving "hello," to the occasional underwater marriage.
When you’re done at the Blue Zoo, resurface and walk north along the lake towards the Worker’s Stadium. The stadium is ringed with shops selling everything from sporting goods to professional model airplanes.
Facing these shops – across the small parking lot – is the Stadium West Gate. Head through to Gongrentiyuchang Xilu and hang left – lunch is 50 meters away.
The decor of Shin Yeh is a bit florid, but this Taiwanese chain offers an extensive menu, full of kid-friendly dishes, such as salty-crisp chicken and prawns with pineapple.Vegetarian options are also plentiful. After lunch, it’s time to hit the lanes for some ten-pin bowling. The grand staircase just outside the restaurant ascends towards Beijing’s bowling heaven: Gonti 100. Strikes, spares, gutter balls – they’re all good shots in our opinion.
The next stop is Bellagio for that proverbial "cherry on top." We recommend sharing a shaved-ice dessert; try the BellagioBreeze (RMB 33) with red beans, tapioca and condensed milk. Equally shareable are their fruit smoothies. The peanut smoothie tastes better than it looks.
If you’ve got any energy left, head to the nearby French Cultural Centre or the Spanish cultural center Instituto Cervantes. Both house libraries with great kids’ sections and hold regular cultural events. Bon voyage!
Beijing Blue Zoo 富国海底世界
RMB 90, RMB 60 (kids under 12 years old), free (kids under 1m). Daily 8am-7.30pm (summer), daily 8.30am-6.30pm (winter). Scuba diving show 8-9am, 1-2pm; Turtlefeeding 9.40- 9.50am; Shark feeding 9.50-10am; Shark show 10.10-10.30am, 2.30-2.5pm; Ocean show 10.30-10.50am, 2-2.20pm; Mermaid show 11-11.10am, 1.30-1.40pm, 3-3.10pm, 4-4.10pm; Water ballet 11.10-11.20am, 1.40-1.50pm, 3.10-3.20pm, 4.10-4.20. Worker’s Stadium South Gate, Chaoyang District (6591 3397) 朝阳区工人体育场南门
Shin Yeh 欣叶
Daily 11.30am-3pm, 5.30pm-midnight. 6 Gongti Xilu (ground floor of the Gongti 100 bowling alley), Chaoyang District (6552 5066)
Gongti 100 工体100
RMB 40/game/person, RMB 5 for shoe rental.Daily 9am-1am. 6 Gongti Xilu, Chaoyang District (6552 2688)
Daily 11am-4am. 6 Gongti Xilu, south of the Gongti 100 bowling alley, Chaoyang District (6551 3533)
French Cultural Centre 法国文化中心
Library: Wed 10.30am-8.30pm, Thu-Tue 10.30am-6.30pm. Library fees: RMB220/year, RMB100/year (students), RMB80/season.18 Gongti Xilu, Chaoyang District (6553 2627) www.ccfpekin.org
Instituto Cervantes 北京塞万提斯学院
Daily 10am-6pm. 1A Gongti Nanlu, Chaoyang District (5879 9666)