Beijing Zoo and Beijing Aquarium
Make the most out of a day trip in Haidian by getting a combined ticket for Beijing Zoo and Beijing Aquarium. Kids will love the animal exhibits, playground, and petting zoo. Come lunch time, there are plenty of grassy areas suitable for a picnic; Beijing Zoo also has a number of Chinese and Western options scattered throughout the grounds. There are clean, sit-down toilets accessible to wheelchairs and strollers. There is quite a bit of walking, so bring your stroller, sunscreen, and plenty of water. At the aquarium, be sure to catch the daily Sea World-style shows with seals and dolphins.
Beijijng Aquarium 北京海洋馆
RMB 130 (includes Beijing Zoo), RMB 70 (kids under 18), free for kids under 1.2m. Daily 9am-5.30pm (last ticket at 4.30pm). 18B Gaoliangqiao Xiejie, Haidian District (6217 6655) www.bj-sea.com 海淀区高粱桥斜街乙18号
Beijing Zoo 北京动物园
RMB 15, RMB 8 (students), free for kids under 1.2m, additional RMB 5 for Panda House. Daily 7.30am-6pm. 137 Baishiqiao Lu, Xizhimenwai Dajie, Haidian District (6831 4411) www.bjzoo.com 海淀区西外大街白石桥路137号
Blue Zoo Beijing 富国海底世界
Not to be confused with Beijing Aquarium or Beijing Zoo, Blue Zoo Beijing is located in the heart of Gongti. The aquarium is brimming with sealife: coral reefs, eels, tuna, sharks, stingrays, parrot fish, angelfish, and more. Visitors can watch these sea creatures through a 120m long underwater walkway – the longest in Asia. Early birds can catch the shark feeding at 9.50am or even take to the water themselves (for ages 10 and up) through scuba diving operator SinoScuba (186 1113 3629, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.sinoscuba.com).
RMB 90, RMB 60 (kids above 1m and under 12), free for kids under 1m. Daily 8.30am-6.30pm. Scuba diving show all day (except noon-1pm); Turtle feeding 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; Water ballet 11.10-11.20am, 1.40-1.50pm. Workers’ Stadium South Gate, Chaoyang District (6591 3397) www.blue-zoo.com 朝阳区工人体育场南门
Brunch, Don’t Lunch
One of the best things about lazy Sundays is going to brunch, and Beijing doesn’t disappoint. Here are some alternatives to hotel brunches, focusing on standalone restaurants with well-crafted brunch menus and child-friendly service.
Chef Too 美西西餐厅
Chef Too is a neighborhood favorite in the Chaoyang Park area. The servers are bilingual, friendly, and can provide kids with coloring books. You can’t really go wrong with anything on the brunch menu; we recommend the Eggs Benedict or blueberry pancakes. The restaurant is packed on Sundays, so reserve ahead of time.
Sat-Sun 9.30am-3pm. Chaoyang Gongyuan Xilu (opposite Chaoyang Park West Gate), Chaoyang District (6591 8676) 朝阳区朝阳公园西路（朝阳公园西门对面）
Element Fresh 新元素
Shanghai chain Element Fresh consistently tops the list of top brunches in Beijing, with huge salads, heaping breakfast plates, and indulgent smoothies. A kids’ menu is available upon request. The Lido branch is quieter than the bustling Sanlitun location, but expect to wait on weekends regardless.
1) Daily 10am-11pm. 6 Jiangtai Lu, Chaoyang District (6433 5058) www.elementfresh.com朝阳区将台路6号; 2) Mon-Fri 10am-11pm, Sat-Sun 7am-11pm. S8-33, Bldg 8, Sanlitun Village South, 19 Sanlitun Lu, Chaoyang District (6417 1318) www.elementfresh.com 朝阳区三里屯路19号三里屯Village南区8号楼S8-33
The Orchard 果园
Voted “Outstanding Brunch (Affordable)” in the Beijinger’s 2011 Reader Restaurant Awards, The Orchard is an institution among Shunyi residents. Its affordable menu focuses on organic fare. The Sunday brunch buffet carries a set price of RMB 180 for adults and RMB 100 for kids aged 4-12, while ages 4 and under eat for free. After brunch, relax in the cushy kids’ room or stroll around Hegezhuang Village.
Sun 11am-3pm. Hegezhuang Village, Cuigezhuang Town, Shunyi District (6433 6270) 顺义区崔各庄乡何各庄村(过何各庄村路标往南转)
Don’t be fooled by Vineyard Cafe’s exterior; the restaurant actually covers three dining areas, including a romantic skylit yard. Its brunch menu features huge meal deals, like the Full English (RMB 82) with sausages and bacon, and the Vegetarian Breakfast (RMB 71). There are also more modest options like yogurt, muesli, and poached eggs.
Sat-Sun 11.30am-3pm, 6-10.30pm. 31 Wudaoying Hutong, Doncheng District (6402 7961) http://vineyardcafe.cn 东城区五道鹰胡同31号
Rug Bagel and Cafe
Managers Aden Chang and Gordon Chan have crafted an extensive menu of items – each created with as many organic sources as possible. There are pizza, soup, pasta, salad, seafood options, as well as a kids’ menu and an all-day brunch menu, inclusive of French toast with peach jam, and an open-face sandwich with scrambled eggs, zucchini and spinach. Kids will love the playroom, which has a TV and Play-doh. Outdoor and indoor seating is available, but it can be packed on the weekends, so be sure to book a table.
Tue-Fri 11.30am-10pm (last order 9.30pm), Sat-Sun 10.30am-8pm (last order 7.30pm). Bldg 4, Lishui Jiayuan, Chaoyang Gongyuan Nanlu (opposite South Gate of Chaoyang Park), Chaoyang District (8550 2722) 朝阳区朝阳公园南路丽水嘉园4号楼(朝阳公园南门对面)
The Familier is a popular and affordable destination for families, with art sessions, ball pit, gym equipment, crafts, and full-service cafe. The cafe’s healthy menu is designed by nutritionist and beijingkids columnist Olivia Lee. Parents on-the-go can drop the kids off for a half-day supervised session run by The Familier’s staff, or enjoy a cup of coffee while the little ones play. The center has multilingual support in Chinese, English, Japanese, and Korean. Since September 2011, The Familier now operates a second branch at 798 Art District.
The Familier Chaowai Soho
Daily 9am-6pm. Rm 753, Tower A, Chaowai SOHO, 6B Chaoyangmenwai Dajie, Chaoyang District (5869 2904, email@example.com) www.thefamilier.com 朝阳区朝外大街乙6号朝外SOHO A座753
The Familier 798
Daily 10am-7pm. 798 Art District, D05 Zhong’er Jie (between UCCA and the big white bird cage), Chaoyang District (5762 6017, firstname.lastname@example.org) www.thefamilier.com 朝阳区798艺术区中二街D05（尤伦斯美术馆和鸟笼之间）
Chaoyang Park 朝阳公园
Beijing’s biggest green space boasts many family-friendly attractions, including the standalone Sony ExploraScience interactive science museum, Gorilla Treetop Park, carnival rides, boat rentals, and much more. For a full guide to Chaoyang Park, see What’s Fun In.
RMB 5, free for kids under 1.2m. Daily 6.30am-9pm. 1 Chaoyang Gongyuan Nanlu, Chaoyang District (6595 3490 guest hotline, 6595 3972 events hotline, 6595 3647 admission enquiries) www.sun-park.com 朝阳公园南路1号
China Science and Technology Museum 中国科学技术馆
Located just east of the Olympic Village, China Science and Technology Museum covers 48,000sqm of educational fun. Highlights include hands-on exhibits, robots, optical illusions, IMAX films (in Chinese only), and more. Science Paradise is a 3,800sqm area dedicated to kids aged 3-10. Located on the third and fourth floors of building B, it contains a well-equipped indoor play area, creative studio, theater stage, and exhibits on the environment. This area can get quite crowded during peak hours, so plan accordingly. The museum has some food options (including Chinese buffet and a small pizza place), but be sure to pack nutritious snacks for your visit.
Main Exhibition Halls: RMB 30, RMB 20 (students), free for kids under 1.2m. Science Paradise: RMB 10, RMB 20 (kids 3-10), free for kids under 1.2m. Tue-Sun 9am-4.30pm. 5 Beichen Donglu (close to Datun Lu), Chaoyang District (5904 1000) www.cstm.org.cn 朝阳区北辰东路5号（近大屯路）.
Family Box Educational and Recreational Center 家盒子
Family Box is a huge, colorful play center that allows parents and kids (ages 0-12) to spend quality time together. Kids can explore the ball pits, slides, and mini-climbing wall in the Monkey Frame, while toddlers can roam the Mickey Mouse play area and Sensory Room. In addition, Family Box can host birthday parties and has regular dance, music, cooking, art, storytelling, and rhyming classes. There’s even a toddler swimming pool with instructors certified by the UK ’s Swimming Teachers’ Association (STA). Hungry kids and tired parents can fill up at the snack bar and cafe. Prices reflect admission for one child and two adults, and regular admission does not include use of the dance studio and swimming pool.
RMB 350 (weekdays), RMB 450 (weekends). Mon-Thu, Sat-Sun 9am-8pm, Fri 10am-8pm. Bldg 4, 51 Wangjing Beilu, Chaoyang District (6478 6163) www.familyboxes.com.cn 朝阳区望京北路51号院4号楼 HO 3单元528
Bowl a Strike
Bowling is the quintessential family or birthday activity; there’s nothing quite like hearing the sweet sound of a bowling ball knocking down all ten pins. Gonti 100 is starting to show its age, but the huge bowling alley is conveniently located near the Worker’s Stadium and you never have to wait long for a lane. On the other end of the spectrum, there’s the bowling alley at Beijing Eastern Garden International Conference Center in Shunyi. Though its surroundings scream “country club,” a set here is actually cheaper than at Gongti 100. There’s also Cosmic Bowling in Lido, which offers modest 20-lane facilities and mid-range prices.
Beijing Eastern Garden International Conference Center 北京怡生园国际会议中心
Mon-Fri 2pm-midnight, Sat-Sun 8.30am-midnight. RMB 35/set, RMB 248/hour. Beixiaoying Town, Shunyi District (6048 5588) www.bjegicc.com 顺义区北小营镇
RMB 120/hour. Daily 9am-2am. 2/F, Lido Place, 6 Jiangtai Lu, Chaoyang District (6437 6688 ext 3801) 朝阳区将台路6号丽都广场2层
Gongti 100 工体100
RMB 40/set, RMB 200 (Fri-Sun night), RMB 180 (Mon-Thu night), RMB 130 (weekdays daytime), RMB 150 (weekends daytime). Daily 9-1am. 6 Gongti Xilu, Chaoyang District. (6552 2688) www.beijinggongti100.com 朝阳区工体西路6号
Happy Valley Amusement Park 北京欢乐谷
Located just outside the East Fourth Ring Road, Happy Valley Amusement Park offers 40 rides (from tea cups to roller coasters), an IMAX theater, more than 100 games, and seven cinemas across a square kilometer of land. The themed areas are inspired by world civilizations like Mayan Central America, Minoan Greece, and Shangri-La. The wait times are reasonable, but hedge your bets by visiting on a weekday or in cooler weather.
RMB 180, RMB 120 (seniors and kids 1.2-1.5m), free for kids under 1.2m. Daily 8.30am-10pm. Wuji Beilu, Dongsihuan Lu, Chaoyang District (6720 1818, 6738 3333 ext 8828/81) http://bj.happyvalley.cn 朝阳区东四环路小武基北路
Hit the Ice
Is the heat really getting to you? Do a complete 180° and go ice skating! All Star Champion Skating Club and Le Cool Ice Rink both have great facilities, straightforward pricing, and are located within a stone’s throw from food, shopping, and other entertainment facilities. More serious skaters can also sign up for classes with professional coaches. All prices reflect 90-minute sessions and include skate rentals.
All Star Champion Skating Club 全明星滑冰俱乐部
RMB 30 (Mon-Fri 10am-6pm), RMB 40 (Mon-Thu after 6pm), RMB 50 (weekends, holidays, and Fri after 6pm). Daily 10am-10pm. 1/F, Solana Lifestyle Shopping Park, 6 Chaoyang Gongyuan Lu, Chaoyang District (5905 6328) 朝阳区朝阳公园路6号蓝色港湾国际商区首层
Le Cool 国贸溜冰场
RMB 30 (Mon-Fri 10am-6pm), RMB 40 (Mon-Fri 6-10pm), RMB 50 (weekends). Daily 10am-10pm. B2/F, China World Shopping Mall, 1 Jianguomenwa Dajie, Chaoyang District (6505 5776, email@example.com) www.lecoolicerink.com 朝阳区建国门外大街1号国贸地下2层
What we know as “Houhai” actually covers three lakes: Houhai, Qianhai, and Shichahai. In the summer, Houhai is as picturesque as they come; willow trees sway gently in the breeze as weathered old men dip into the lake for a brisk swim. During Duanwu Jie (falling this year on June 23), Houhai’s shores teem with locals vying to catch a glimpse of the dragon boat race. The best way to see Houhai is by foot; get lost in the maze of eclectic shops, bustling hutongs, and cute cafes around the lakes. Alternatively, rent a pedal boat or embark on a bicycle tour. When you’re done, get some well-deserved eats at Hutong Pizza.
Dianmenwai Dajie (opposite the north gate of Beihai Park), Xicheng District 西城区地安门外大街（北海公园北门对面）
Lama Temple 雍和宫
The Lama Temple (also known as the Yonghe Temple) is one of the most important Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in the world. Built during the 15th century, the site is a mix of Han Chinese and Tibetan architecture styles. Kids will love the 26m-tall Buddha statue carved from a single piece of wood, while students of history will enjoy walking through the Hall of Heavenly Kings, Hall of Harmony and Peace, Hall of Everlasting Blessings, and so on. Afterward, stop by a nearby vegetarian restaurant, such as Vineyard Café, Argo, or The Veggie Table.
RMB 25 (student discounts available). Daily 9am-5pm. 12 Yonghegong Dajie, Dongcheng District (6404 4499) 东城区雍和宫大街12号
Magic Bean House 豆豆家科技馆
Touted as the first American-style children’s museum in China, Magic Bean House focuses on constructive play rather than listening and memorization. An indoor center, it a good option for hot or smoggy days. The hands-on exhibits encompass sensory exploration, physics, storytelling, art, reading, and life skills. Kids can do "digital painting" on a screen, use a price scanner in the simulated supermarket, add gas to a sizable play car, go fishing, or simply enjoy some quiet reading time.
RMB 80 (one kid and one adult), RMB 40 (one 6-24 month old kid and one adult), RMB 40 (additional adult), free for ages 0-6 months. Multi-discount cards available. Mon-Fri 10am-6pm; Sat-Sun 9am-8pm. 7 Chaoyang Park Xilu, Chaoyang District (400 888 0722) www.magicbeanhouse.com 朝阳区朝阳公园西路7号
Originally from the US, Woodward has a reputation for creating the X-Games stars of the future. Now two years old, Woodward Beijing is the largest skate park in China, with two bowls, two half pipes, a mini ramp, and indoor and outdoor street plazas. While the center does not yet offer classes, there are plenty of fellow skaters and bikers who happy to give you some pointers. To get to Woodward, take subway Line 4 to Qingyuanlu (清源路). From exit A, walk 200m north and take Bus 841 to the terminal, Xingming Lake Resort (星明湖度假村). The skate park is located within the resort. Note that Bus 841 stops running at 7pm.
Wed-Sun 10am-6pm (last entry at 5pm). RMB 68/day. Within Xingming Lake Resort, Weishanzhuang, Daxing District (8923 2289, firstname.lastname@example.org) www.woodwardbeijing.com 大兴区魏善庄星明湖度假村内
Ritan Park 日坛公园
This park packs a surprising amount of child-friendly attractions into a limited space. The playground includes an inflatable playhouse, large trampolines, a mechanical bull, and a merry-go-round with colorful unicorns. Other attractions include the fishing pond, climbing wall, and mini-golf. For some al fresco dining, Schindler’s Tankstelle, the Stone Boat, and Xihe Yaju all have terraces opening onto the park. After the park, indulge in some retail therapy at nearby Yabao Lu or You-Town.
Free. Daily 6am-9.30pm. 6 Ritan Beilu, Chaoyang District (8561 6301) 朝阳区日坛北路6号
U-Speed Go-Karting 优速
The first thing you’ll see upon entering U-Speed Go-Karting is a big red Porsche hanging on the wall, setting the tone for the rest of the fast-and-furious afternoon. Go-karting is better-suited to teens and grown-ups, but some older kids can manage too. The 350m track is visible through a window on the second floor; the skittish can opt to watch people drive from here. After the race, parents and kids can compare scores on their printed time sheets. Wait times can be a bit long on the weekends, but families can entertain themselves with foosball, billiards, or arcade games in the game room. There’s also Western food like pizza, sandwiches, and soft drinks. Don’t forget to wear closed shoes; the center provides slippers, but they may be too big for smaller feet.
RMB 110 for 6 minutes (non-members), RMB 77 for 6 minutes (members), RMB 200 (yearly membership), RMB 1,280 (14 rounds with a membership card and a pair of gloves). Mon-Fri 1pm-1am, Sat-Sun 11am-1am. 1 Siyuan Bridge, Jingshun Lu (near Courtyard by Marriott Beijing Northeast Hotel), Chaoyang District (8472 9399, 136 0128 1318, email@example.com) www.u-speed.com 朝阳区四元桥1号 (京密路进京方向辅路四元桥旁）
If you’ve never played laser tag before, it’s a game in which two teams try to score points by “shooting” at each other with laser guns. When one person gets hit, the sensors on their vest light up, vibrate, and deactivate for a few seconds. It’s a simple premise, but one that opens up a number of possibilities. StarTrooper offers several kinds of set-ups: the classic team game, a free-for-all, simpler games for kids, and complex games for advanced players. Hide behind obstacles, while fog and light effects add an extra challenge to the game. After each 15-minute game, players receive a printout with the number of times they scored and got hit. StarTrooper can accommodate four to 24 players at a time; you can even book the entire venue for RMB 1,680 an hour.
RMB 40 (first game), RMB 30 (additional games). Tue-Sun 9am-8pm. B1/F, Area 3, 316 Wangjing Xiyuan, Chaoyang District (6475 8329, firstname.lastname@example.org) 朝阳区望京西园3区316号楼地下1层
O’le Sports 奥莱空间
O’le Sports is best know for O’le Climbing, its huge rock climbing center. It features a 12.5m high indoor climbing wall with beginner and advanced routes and a 150sqm bouldering wall (complete with a daunting 45 degree overhang). Never rock climbed before? No worries; the instructors are friendly and speak both English and Chinese. Bring your own gear or rent some from O’le Climbing. In addition, O’le Sports has indoor and outdoor football fields, badminton courts, basketball courts, and ski trips in the winter. The center offers discounts for kids under 12.
RMB 60 (day pass), RMB 350-440 (10 times pass card), RMB 600-780 (20 times pass card), RMB 1,550-1,750 (half year membership), RMB 2,100-2,300 (one year membership). Mon-Sat 10am-10pm, Sun 10am-8pm. 5 Dongshimencun Lu, Baiziwan Qiao, Dongsihuan Zhonglu, Chaoyang District (6776 4705, email@example.com) www.ole-sports.com 朝阳区东四环中路百子湾桥东石门村路5号
798 Art District 798艺术区
At first glance, this munitions-factory-turned-contemporary-arts-hub certainly doesn’t sound like the most family-friendly place. However, the wide sidewalks, vaulted galleries, eclectic cafes, and quirky shops make for a surprisingly effortless day out. Kids will enjoy playing among giant sculptures of dinosaurs, strawberries, pixelated men, “rigers” (rabbit tigers), and other oddities. With so much diversity, 798 Art District has something for critics of all ages. For something more hands-on, register for one of UCCA’s kids’ art workshops or drop in to The Familier’s new 798 branch for some playtime.
Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art (UCCA) 尤伦斯当代艺术中心
RMB 10 (general admission), free for students and kids under 1.3m. Tue-Sun 10am-6.30pm. 798 Art District, 4 Jiuxianqiao Lu, Chaoyang District (8459 9269) www.ucca.org.cn 朝阳区酒仙桥路4号798艺术区
New City Center
Located above the Yuan Art Museum in Wangjing, The New City Center is a newly-opened community center with a cafe, playground, and classes for all ages. Programs include Mommy and Me, Fun with Phonics, Kinder Art, math, art, English, Chinese, and more. The playroom can be rented for birthday parties, while the conference room can seat up to 170 people.
Mon-Sat 9am-5pm. 112 Lize Xiyuan, Guangshun Beidajie, Wangjing, Chaoyang District (6475 1066, firstname.lastname@example.org) 朝阳区望京广顺北大街丽泽西园112号
Si’de Park 四得公园
This Lido park remains one of the better-kept secrets in Beijing. Though much smaller than Chaoyang Park, the grounds are well-maintained and admission is free. On any given day, you’ll see a mix of expat and local families enjoying a picnic on the grass, playing at the extensive children’s area, jogging on the wide paved trails, or kicking around a soccer ball on the field. Extensive dining and cafe options line the roads around the park: Parkside Bar and Grill, Eudora Station, Element Fresh, Maan Coffee, Aijiang Shan, SALT, and more.
Free. Daily 6am-9pm. 9 Jiangtai Xilu, Chaoyang District (6438 4057) 朝阳区将台西路9号
Funky Pots Beijing 陶此一家
Located on the fifth floor of Guanghualu SOHO, Funky Pots is a PYOP (Paint Your Own Pottery) studio from the UK . The shop is lined with unglazed pottery of all shapes and sizes: teapots, high heels, treasure chests, piggy banks, ice cream cones, rocket ships, and more. The premise is simple: pick out a bisque (plain ceramic pottery), paint it, and pick up the glazed and fired product a week later. Friendly staff members are on hand to help with color selection, painting technique, and damage control. Prices range from RMB 38-138 per bisque, while birthday packages are available for RMB 60-80 per child.
Tue-Sun 11am-9pm. Rm 528, Guanghualu SOHO, 22 Guanghua Lu, Chaoyang District (5900 6867, email@example.com) www.funkypots.org 朝阳区光华路22号光华路SOHO
EE City 蓝天城
EE City is a 18,600sqm microcosmic city where children get to role-play different jobs. Children can dress in the appropriate uniform and explore a whopping 84 career options, including a firefighter, court judge and pizza chef. When they finish “working” at the bank, submarine or theater, they are awarded with E money that they can spend to buy various goodies. Each career session is led by adult supervisors for a duration of approximately 30 minutes. Call in advance to make a reservation because the venue is often booked out. Also, avoid pricey tickets at the door, by booking by phone or with groups online. The base ticket price covers an adult and a kid, while the higher price covers two adults and one kid. An alternative to EE City is the smaller role-playing center Beyou World (See Directory under Family Fun).
RMB 140-175 (Mon-Fri), RMB 210-280 (Sat, Sun and holidays) by phone ticket purchase. RMB 200 (Mon-Fri), RMB 300 (Sat, Sun) at the door. Tue-Thurs 10.30am-3pm, Fri-Sun 10.30am-7.30pm. 10/F, Joy City, 101 Chaoyang Beilu (at the intersection of Qingnian Lu), Chaoyang District (8569 6688 ticket purchase, 5705 0707 reservations) www.eecity.cn 朝阳区朝阳北101(青年口东北角)大悦城10层
This two-story jungle gym has been around for 15 years was recently revamped. Now that its questionable smells and less-than-clean carpets have been refurnished, it is once again a wonderland of trampolines, tunnels and climbing nets. One of Fundazzle’s major attractions is its massive plastic-ball-filled-pool which kids love to “swim” in. There is also an area designed for younger children (less than 1m tall). On weekends, supervisors put on shows, lead songs and dances, and teach arts and crafts. It’s great for kids from ages 1 to 12 to run around.
Kids: RMB 50/two hours. Adults: free (Mon-Fri), RMB 15 (Sat, Sun). Mon-Fri 9am-5.30pm, Sat-Sun and holidays 9am-7pm. Gongti Nanlu, Chaoyang District (6593 6208) 朝阳区工体南