If you are looking for a summer hideout where your children can play freely without becoming drenched with sweat—look no further than Laoniu Children’s Discovery Museum. The museum is divided into different educational sections and full of interactive and hands-on activities for children to engage with. For example, children use colored plastic balls and pieces of lightweight cloth to learn about the power of air to transport objects. My girls were fascinated by feeding balls into holes and watching them be sucked through transparent tubes.
They also enjoyed pushing trolleys around the “supermarket” and put realistic looking food onto the conveyer belt. Next door to the supermarket is a “restaurant” and an adjacent “kitchen.” Here children can exercise their culinary skills before serving their gourmet creations to their parents and caregivers.
My children were particularly fond of the ‘water world’ and took the term “water play” to a whole new level. They splashed up a storm, tried to stick their faces in the fountains, and one of them actually tried to climb into the water basin. Needless to say, their clothes were more than just a little wet by the time I decided it was the right moment to explore another part of the museum. Aprons are provided but if you have a child who is prone to becoming overexcited when they come into contact with water, it is recommended that you have a spare set of clothes on hand.
The Children’s Discovery Museum is clean and well designed, There is a cordoned off part of the building that is reserved for 0-3-year-olds. This area is less busy and stocked with age-appropriate toys. The museum even has a comfortable breastfeeding room in which nursing mothers can attend to the needs of their children.
Other points of interest include— a dinosaur land, an innovative climbing frame and a room where children are helped to make paper rockets which they can then launch from a purpose-built rocket launcher. In addition to all of this, the museum facilitates story time in the mornings and a music session in the afternoons. When we visited, a female teacher was leading a small group of children in several rounds of the timeless classic ‘Bingo.’
There is a lot to like about this museum—it’s fun, educational, engaging, and it’s air-conditioned. In short, it’s well worth a visit this summer.
Laoniu Children’s Discovery Museum
Daily 9am-noon (morning session), 2-5pm (afternoon session). RMB 20 for adults. RMB 60 for children (all children above the age of nine months require a ticket). China National Children’s Center, 43 West Street, Ping’anli, Xicheng District
Photos: Pamela Djima