What to see and do with your kids in Beijing II

3. Sony ExploraScience

The fascinating Sony ExploraScience museum in Beijing (the must-see city for China vacation deals) is an interactive educational centre encouraging children to take an interest in science. The museum features live science shows and interactive educational exhibits combined with Sony's latest digital technology. The museum is divided into four themed sections, covering illusion, refraction, light and sounds. Attractions include robotic dogs that play soccer, musical sculptures, soap bubble rings and much more. All small enquiring minds will love a trip to the Sony ExploraScience, but it is probably an experience best-suited to the 5 to 12 age group. Buy your ticket from the Sony booth outside the south gate of Chaoyang Park to avoid paying for park admission separately. Profit made from ticket sales goes towards supporting rural education in China, so it is money spent for a good cause. The Sony ExploraScience museum is located in Chaoyang Park, the largest park in Beijing, which boasts multiple attractions including lakes, swimming pools, a bungee jumping tower, sports fields, a wetland area, fountains, and a funfair. It is a beautiful area and a fun place to spend the day, especially if you are travelling with children in Beijing.

Address: Inside Chaoyang Gongyuan (Chaoyang Park), Chaoyang Qul

4. The Underground City

For more than 20 years, Beijing's Underground City (an optional attraction in Beijing for your top China tours), a bomb shelter just beneath the ancient capital's downtown area, built in case of nuclear attack, has been virtually forgotten by Beijing locals, despite being infamous amongst foreigners since its official opening in 2000. A sign near the entrance announces this rarely visited attraction a 'human fairyland and underground paradise'. Aside from some rather odd recent additions, the Underground City features factories, stores, guesthouses, restaurants, hospitals, schools, theatres, reading-rooms, a roller-skating rink and many other curious features, like a mushroom farm to provide food easily cultivated in darkness. On Mao Zedong's orders, it was built from 1969 to 1979 by more than 300,000 local citizens including school children, mostly by hand. The tunnels were initially intended to accommodate all of Beijing's six million inhabitants upon completion. Winding for over 18 miles (30km) and covering an area of nearly 53 square miles (85 sq km) from eight to eighteen meters under the surface, the underground City includes more than 1,000 anti-air raid structures. It has, unfortunately, been closed since 2008 for renovations but is expected to reopen soon.

Address: Xi Damochang Jie 64

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