By Naz Lim
The school holidays are fast approaching! If you need an activity for the kids, but don’t want to take them to the park or play centre, how about some educational fun at a museum, exhibit or zoo? Whether you’re looking for something that’ll keep the kids entertained for a whole day or just a few hours, Shanghai has many places to choose from that are child-friendly and fun for the whole family. Here’s a starter list of family-friendly museums, zoos and exhibits suitable for children of all ages.
(Note that these places may still require a negative PCR test result taken within 48 hours and that masks must be worn throughout the venues, but rules are changing and enforced differently every day. Bring ID for entry. Follow each location’s WeChat account or check Dianping (大众点评) for the latest information, opening times and ticket prices.)
Shanghai Museum (上海博物馆)
201 Renmin Avenue, Huangpu District (nearest metro is People’s Square Station, line 1/8, exit 1)
Opened at its current site in People’s Square in 1996, this museum focuses on collecting, displaying, researching and educating the public about pre-modern Chinese art (such as bronzes, ceramics, calligraphy, paintings, sculptures, jade, coins, furniture and more). Adult and children exploration guide manuals are available.
Tickets: free, but need to pre-book (check their WeChat account).
Open Tuesday to Sunday 9:00-17:00 (last entry 16:00), closed on Mondays (except national holidays).
World Expo Museum (世博会博物馆)
818 Mengzi Road, Huangpu (nearest metro is World Expo Station, line 13, exit 2)
Showcasing the history and exhibits presented at the World Expo, an international event with a long history of producing exhibits that aim to “show man’s disposal for meeting the needs of civilization, or demonstrate the progress achieved in one or more branches of human endeavor, or show prospects for the future.” Temporary art exhibits sponsored by the World Expo Museum are also on display. Some exhibits are interactive and suitable for children. There is also a special-effects cinema which shows short movies (included with entry, run time approx. 30 minutes). Check their website, WeChat or Dianping for the latest exhibits on display.
Open Tuesday to Sunday 9:00-17:00 (last entry 16:15), closed on Mondays (except national holidays).
TeamLab Boundless Art Museum (TeamLab无界美术馆)
C-2 100 Huayuangang Road, Huangpu (nearest metro is Xizang South Station, line 4, exit 2)
An interactive and immersive display of art and light, TeamLab presents Borderless. Most of the exhibits are kid-friendly, but some rooms are dark, have uneven flooring or breakable objects (such as many, many light globes), so watch those kids when they run and explore. Look out for the exhibit “Paint the Ocean,” where kids (and adults) can draw an animal and have it scanned to be displayed on the wall.
Tickets: weekends 249rmb/adult, weekdays 229rmb/adult, 199rmb/child (for 3-11 years old, children under 1 meter are free).
Open Tuesday to Friday 10:30-18:00 (last entry 17:00), Saturday and Sunday 10:30-20:00 (last entry 19:00).
Choco Choco Musuem (Choco Choco 巧克巧蒄博物馆)
YB1-102, 69 Jiuxiaochang Road (nearest metro is Yu Garden Station, line 14, exit 7)
This chocolate café also offers group workshops to taste or make your own chocolate pops or pieces. Their store also displays chocolate statues.
Tickets: pre-book for 198rmb/group of 8-10 people for DIY chocolate modelling, 138rmb/group of 8-10 people for chocolate tasting, 106rmb/group of 8-10 people for children’s lollipop making.
Open daily 10:00-22:00.
Yuanwang 1 (远望1号)
200m from southeast entrance 3, Huangpu Binjiang, Longhua East Road, Huangpu (nearest metro is World Expo Station, line 13, exit 2).
A former scientific research ship that now docks on the Huangpu River and is open to the public for tours (tour is conducted in Chinese). A nice outing for the nautical enthusiast.
Tickets: 90rmb/person (bookings on their Dianping page).
Open daily 9:00-16:00.
Shanghai Natural History Museum (上海自然博物馆)
510 Beijing West Road, Jing’an (inside Jing’an Sculpture Park, nearest metro is Natural History Museum Station, line 13, exit 1)
The central theme of this museum is “Nature, Humans, Harmony” and the process of evolution that links them all together. Exhibits include a large taxidermy display of the animal kingdom, a dinosaur bones collection (including two animatronic dinosaurs), a small aquarium, a butterfly house and fossils. There is also a fossil excavation session (requires extra booking) which occurs 3 times a day for 30 minutes each session (check their website or WeChat account for the latest information).
Tickets: pre-book via their WeChat or Dianping account, 30rmb/adult, 12rmb/child (children under 1.3 metres or 6 years old are free, must be accompanied by an adult).
Open Tuesday to Sunday 9:00-17:00 (last entry 16:00), closed on Mondays (except national holidays), New Year’s Eve and the first and the second of every month.
Shanghai Railway Museum (上海铁路博物馆)
200 Tianmu East Road, Jing’an District (nearest metro is Baoshan Road Station, line 3/4, exit 2)
A small museum showcasing a number of life-sized trains and train models.
Open Tuesday to Sunday 9:00-11:00 and 13:30-16:00 (closed on Mondays).
Shanghai Children’s Museum (上海儿童博物馆)
61 Songyuan Road, Changning (nearest metro is Songyuan Road Station, line 10, exit 2)
Designed to encourage learning and curiosity in children, this museum has exhibits mainly on space and the sea, including a boat-driving simulation. There is also a playground and at basement level a sandpit/excavation room and activity rooms that children can join (at extra cost, check their WeChat account for latest information).
Tickets: free. To view the movie in the dome theatre, it’s 25rmb/person (children under 1.4 metres need to be accompanied by an adult), while you’ll pay 20rmb/time for the 2F play area and 20rmb/family for the fun class on 3F.
Open Tuesday to Sunday 8:45-16:30 (last entry 15:30), closed on Mondays.
Shanghai Zoo (上海动物园)
2381 Hongqiao Road, Changning (nearest metro is Shanghai Zoo Station, line 10, exit 4)
Lots of zoo animals to observe here, with the added bonus of a lush lawn in the middle of the zoo that is perfect for picnics or an afternoon snooze.
Tickets: 40rmb/adult, 20rmb/child (children under 1.3 metres or 6 years old are free).
Open daily 8:00-18:00 (last entry 16:30).
Zotter Chocolate Theatre (珍得巧克力剧院)
Building 9, 2866 Yangshupu Road, Shanghai International Fashion Center (nearest metro is Aiguo Road Station, line 12, exit 3)
Got a family of chocolate lovers? Then come check out this chocolate factory! It holds tours and also has chocolate decorating workshops.
Tickets: for tours 180rmb/adult, 150rmb/teenager, 120rmb/child, 90rmb/pre-schooler. Extra 98rmb to make your own chocolate bar.
Open Tuesday to Friday 11:00-17:30, Saturday and Sunday 10:00-17:30, closed Mondays.
Museum of Ice Cream (冰淇淋博物馆)
W-L1-14, 1st Floor, 1-9, Lane 500 Dongyu Road, Taikoolimu District, Qiantan (nearest metro is Dongfang Sports Center Station, line 6/8/11, exit 1)
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice-cream! More of an ice-cream, pink-themed photo-opportunity than a traditional museum, the Museum of Ice Cream provides a fun experience that includes large ice cream sculptures, banana swings, a merry-go-round, a slide and sprinkles pit, and an ice cream café (Marye’s Diner) on the ground floor with a gift shop. In collaboration with Shake Shack, an ice-cream is included with entry, but drinks and special ice-cream flavours can also be purchased for an additional fee.
Tickets: 118rmb/person on weekdays, 148rmb/person on weekends.
Open Wednesday to Sunday 10:00-22:00.
Shanghai Science and Technology Museum/SSTM (上海科技馆)
2000 Century Avenue, Pudong (nearest metro is Shanghai Science and Technology Museum Station, line 2, exit 8)
A favourite among both children of all ages and adults, this museum of science and technology has many hands-on exhibits for children to enjoy and learn from, with a focus on “Nature, Humans and Technology.” Permanent exhibits include Home on Earth, Information Era, World of Robots, Exploration of Light, Human Beings and Health, Space Navigation, Spectrum of Life, Animal World, Cradle of Designers, Light of Wisdom and Earth Crust Exploration. There is also a colourful, science-oriented children’s playground on the first floor. For the older child, IMAX 3D movies are also available at an extra cost (check their website or WeChat account for the latest viewings). SSTM is part of a trio of science museums which also include the Shanghai Natural History Museum and Shanghai Astrology Museum.
Tickets: 45rmb/adult, 22rmb/child (children under 1.3 metres are free). One adult can bring a maximum of two children. Science Theatre prices (infants not allowed): IMAX 3D Theatre 40rmb/person, IMAX Dome Theatre 30rmb/person, IWERKS 4D Theatre 30rmb/person, Space Theatre 20rmb/person.
Open Tuesday to Sunday 9:00-17:00 (last entry 16:00), closed on Mondays (except national holidays).
Inverted Art Museum (颠倒艺术馆, 上海旗舰店)
5F-51, 168 Zhengda Plaza, Lujiazui West Road, Pudong (nearest metro is Lujiazui Station, line 2, exit 1).
Get your camera and poses ready for this optical illusion museum.
Tickets: 158rmb/adult or child over 1 metre, 1rmb/child of height under 1 metre.
Open daily 10:00-21:00.
Shanghai Ocean Aquarium (上海海洋水族馆)
1388 Lujiazui Ring Road, Pudong (near Oriental Pearl TV Tower, nearest metro is Lujiazui Station, line 2, exit 1)
One of the largest artificial sea water aquariums, the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium has more than 10,000 rare fish and endangered marine animals from five continents and four oceans. It also has a 200-metre tunnel with a moving walkway, so you don’t even have to walk to observe coral, sting rays, sharks and their fish friends. Keep an eye out for the touch-pools, jellyfish and penguin exhibits.
Tickets: 160rmb/adult, 110rmb/child (for children 1.0-1.4 metre, children under 1 metre are free).
Open daily 9:00-18:00 (last entry at 17:30).
Shanghai Nature Wild Insect Museum (上海大自然野生昆虫馆)
1 Fenghe Road, Lujiazui, Pudong.
What if your kids are not really into fish and other sea animals, but more interested in insects, amphibians and reptiles? Then this museum is for you! It houses over 300 kinds of live insects, amphibians and reptiles, covering more than 3000 square meters and divided into ecological environments such as an insect corridor, reptile cave area and tropical rainforest. Some small marsupials and llamas are also on display. Children can touch certain animals at touch areas or catch small fish in a stream at the Children’s Interaction Area (which also has a sandpit play area). There are also activity rooms where children can draw the animals they’ve seen.
Tickets: 78rmb/adult, 58rmb/child (for children 0.8-1.4 metre, children under 0.8 metres are free).
Open Monday to Thursday 9:00-17:00 (last entry at 16:30), Friday to Sunday and during holidays or national holidays 9:00-17:30 (last entry at 17:00).
Shanghai Wild Animal Park (上海野生动物园)
178 Nanliu Road, Pudong (nearest metro is Wildlife Park Station, line 16, exit 2)
If the Shanghai Zoo is too placid an experience and you want to get into a caged van to really see the animals up close, then Shanghai Wild Animal Park, which aims to “close the distance between people and nature,” is the place for you. The park is split into three major areas; car drive-through area, pedestrian area and water exploration area. There’s also an amusement park and animal-themed shows (such as a rodeo and circus). It’s also possible to feed the animals at certain times.
Tickets: 165rmb/adult, 82.50rmb/child (children under 1.3 metres or 6 years old are free).
Open daily 9:00-16:30 (last entry at 15:30).
Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park (上海海昌海洋公园)
166 Yinfei Road, Pudong (nearest metro is Lingang Avenue Station, line 16, exit 2)
Is your little one a fan of ocean animals and Ultraman? Then this park may be the place to take the family for the day/night. Like the zoo, but for ocean animals (seals, dolphins, killer whales, penguins, polar bears, etc.), this large park also has many shows to see. There’s also a large Ultraman-themed amusement area and late afternoon and night parades for all to enjoy.
Tickets: 330 (ordinary day) or 399 (peak day)rmb/adult, 190 (ordinary day) or 249 (peak day)rmb/child (children under 1.0 meters or 3 years old are free).
Open Monday to Thursday 10:00-17:00 (last entry at 16:00), Friday to Sunday 9:30-17:30 (last entry at 16:30).
Shanghai Astrology Museum (上海天文馆)
380 Lingang Avenue, Nanhui New Town, Pudong (nearest metro is Dishui Lake Station, line 16, exit 4).
Newly built, this planetarium is very popular. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you book tickets in advance (check their WeChat account). The main exhibition area of the museum is divided into three sections; Home, Cosmos and Odyssey, all aimed at giving visitors a “panoramic view of the vastness of the universe and creating a journey of multi-sensory exploration.” There is also an Astronomy in China exhibit, Journey to Mars interactive experience and Children’s playground.
Tickets: 30rmb/adult, 15rmb/child (children under 1.3 meters or 6 years old are free), Dome theatre is 40rmb/person.
Open Tuesday to Sunday 9:30-16:00 (last entry at 15:00), closed on Mondays (except national holidays).
Jurassic World Film Special Exhibition (侏罗纪世界电影特展上海站)
997 Xueye second road (nearest metro is Yaohua road station, line 7/8, exit 4)
Love the Jurassic World film series and dinosaurs? Or want to observe some adult and baby animatronic dinosaurs up close? Then this special exhibit may be the place for you and the kids. Note that the exhibit is darkly lit, has large moving dinosaurs and loud sounds.
Tickets: 298rmb/person (children under 0.9 metres free, one adult can bring in one free child).
Open Wednesday to Friday 10:30-17:00, Saturday and Sunday 10:00-18:00.
Shanghai Disney Resort (上海迪士尼度假区)
310 Huangzhao Road, Chuansha Town, Pudong (nearest metro is Disney Station, line 11, exit 1)
Home of the world’s tallest enchanted castle, Shanghai Disneyland is the place to visit if you and the family are Disney fans. Currently there are seven themed areas: Mickey Avenue, Gardens of Imagination, Fantasyland, Treasure Cove, Adventure Isle, Tomorrowland and Toy Story Land. There’s also a City of Zootopia area planned for 2023, so prepare to come back to experience Disney magic in the future. Fireworks over the Enchanted Castle happen every night before closing and there’s a character parade in the afternoon. Shanghai Disney also features Duffy & friends.
Tickets: 435rmb/adult, 330rmb/child (children under 3 years or 1 metre are free).
Open daily 8:30-20:00.
Legoland Discovery Centre (上海乐高探索中心)
2F, Changfeng Joy City, 196 Daduhe Road, Putuo (nearest metro is Changfeng Park Station, line 15, exit 3)
This Centre features Lego models, rides, a 4D cinema, a factory tour, a playground and of course, lots and lots of Lego and Duplo to play with. For younger kids, every Monday-Friday at 11am and 3pm there is a 10 minute story time with farm animal building at the Duplo Farm.
Tickets: 190rmb/person (children under 0.9 metres or 3 years old are free).
Open daily 10:00-18:00 (last entry at 17:00).
Shanghai Metro Museum (上海地铁博物馆)
1779-7 Wuzhong Road, Minhang (nearest metro is Ziteng Station, line 10, exit 2)
Love the Shanghai metro and want to know how it came to be? The Shanghai Metro Museum shows the development of urban rail transit with “safe subway, smart subway, green subway and humanistic subway” as the theme. You can walk a metro tunnel, try your hand at simulated metro driving and see models related to the Shanghai metro.
Tickets: 30rmb/adult, 15rmb/child.
Open Tuesday to Sunday 10:00-16:00 (last entry at 15:30), closed on Mondays.
Shanghai Aerospace Enthusiast Centre (上海航宇科普中心)
7900 Humin Road, Minhang (nearest metro is Lianhua Road Station, line 1, exit 1)
Love aeroplanes, but unable to get the kids on a real one since air travel is just too difficult right now? The Aerospace Enthusiast Centre displays multiple commercial and private aeroplanes that the kids can explore without leaving Shanghai. It also has a number of plane simulators and a 3D movie to experience (at extra cost).
Tickets: 8rmb/adult, 4rmb/child (children under 1.3 metres or 6 years old are free, one adult limited to two free children).
Open Monday, Wednesday to Sunday 9:00-16:00 (last entry 15:00), closed on Tuesdays.
Shanghai Auto Museum (上海汽车博物馆)
7565 Anting Boyuan Road, Jiading (inside Auto Expo Park, nearest metro is Anting Station, line 11, exit2)
Does your child have a need for speed and a love of cars? Then the Shanghai Auto Museum will surely delight them! Opened in 2007, this museum has four sections; history, collection, exploration and temporary exhibits. It boasts over 100 collections of cars, representing nearly 50 brands from China and overseas, and covers 100 years of automobile history. The fourth floor is a children’s car themed playground, Magic Motown (extra cost for entry), which has slides, a ball pit, cars to ride/race, Lego, car video games and more.
Tickets: 60rmb/adult, 40rmb/child (children under 1.3 metres are free) for museum entry only. Extra experiences: 260rmb for 1 adult and 1 child (under 1.3 metres) or 300rmb for 1 adult and 1 child (over 1.3 metres) for the museum and Magic Motown.
Open Tuesday to Sunday 9:30-16:30 (last entry 16:00), closed on Mondays.
Children’s Glass Museum (儿童玻璃博物馆)
Building 12, 685 Changjiang West Road, Songnan Town, Baoshan （nearest metro is Tanghe Xincun Station, line 1, exit 1）
Nervous about having your kids around glass? You don’t have to be at this glass museum designed for children. Kids can complete an activity sheet that leads them around the museum, with stickers at the end for a completed sheet. Exhibits are placed at a height suitable for kindergarten to primary school aged children and include a basketball shooting area and glass maze. Bonus, there is a playground and bikes for children at the entrance.
Tickets: 80rmb/adult or child (under 1 metre is free).
Open Tuesday to Thursday 10:00-17:00, Friday to Sunday 10:30-18:00.
(Images contained in this article are from Dianping or personally taken.)