If your rugrats have already finished school and the thought of three whole weeks of holiday time stretching out before you gives you a migraine, you’ll be needing our comprehensive guide to the best Hong Kong family outings this holiday.
First things first…
Let’s start with the really obvious options. Both Ocean Park and Disney have plenty going on over the Christmas holiday, and both make for a pretty full day, especially with younger ones in tow.
From now until 1st January, Ocean Park’s Santa Cosplay is in full swing. Santa will be appearing in many unusual guises, including traditional Santa, rainforest Santa, and my personal favourite, wetsuit-clad Santa. There’s also the opportunity to have a chat with Santas from Finland, Holland and the US, and to take a picture with Old Saint Nick as a souvenir. There’s a QR code treasure hunt (kids today, huh?), available via the Ocean Park app, and for those who one day aspire to manage their own team of elves, a workshop where kids can train to be a pro Santa. More traditional festivities include a nightly tree-lighting ceremony and regular carol concerts.
Over in Lantau, Disney’s Sparkling Christmas is a serious contender to the theme-park crown. Santa Mickey has a daily Toy-riffic Street Party, where kids can join in the fun by dancing along Main Street USA with candy canes dolls, toy soldiers and gingerbread men. Don’t forget to pack scarves as snow is forecast daily (gotta love that Hong Kong snow!) Each night, there’s a Christmas Illumination show with dancers, pixie dust and fireworks to round things off. Really, really love Disney, or know someone who does? Then the themed Christmas Hampers may find a place on your gift list.
What is Christmas without the white stuff? As we all know, Hong Kong’s subtropical climate doesn’t typically make for good snow and ice, but we’ve tracked down some super-cool (groan!) hangouts for the family to enjoy this holiday.
On the island, City Plaza Ice Palace opens daily throughout the holidays and also offers coaching, although nothing specifically for Christmas. Just hop off the MTR at Tai Koo station head to exit E.
Elements Mall at Kowloon Station has a brilliant ice rink that’s open from 10 until 10 every day, and they’re offering ice skating courses for parent and child partners this winter. If that sounds waayy too embarrassing for your tween, there are solo kids’ courses available too.
Another Kowloon-side option is the rink at Megabox. There’ll be a Christmas fun show at 5.15pm on the big day itself, and if you’re heading that way, the Kowloon East Art Park Christmas Promenade will have some exciting performances along with craft stalls and organic produce up on level 10 of the mall.
If you’re after a genuine blizzard, IFC Mall’s fantasy forest snow machines will provide scheduled flurries 6 times a day throughout the festive period.
Home and Away
Have a gaming fanatic at home? The 11th Asia Games Show, from 21st – 24th December at the Convention and Exhibition Centre will get those trigger-fingers honed to perfection. There’s game seminars, a total-immersion game experience zone and even Cosplay photo stations to be seen.
Sky 100 at the ICC is offering unparalleled views of Hong Kong’s festive lights at its ‘Bling Bling Christmas in the Sky’ event until 2nd January. Not for those with vertigo, the decorations at 393 metres certainly live up to the name, with a Ferris wheel, gingerbread-bedecked throne for Santa and a 30-metre long avenue of lights.
Of course, there’s no shortage of fab family events happening in the 852 this year and you can get the full roundup here
If you’re feeling the need for a break from your four walls, here’s the Best Family Friendly Staycations in town.
Alternatively, hop on the ferry at the Shun Tak Centre and head to our sister SAR for a short adventure. The MGM Macau has a fab schedule of Christmassy performances lined up, including a Nutcracker dance parade and Christmas a Capella singing. (Psst! The Six Senses Spa looks pretty inviting too. Just sayin’…)
Back to Nature
Why not take the opportunity to get out of the city and enjoy a bit of fresh(ish) air in some of our vast expanses of greenery?
Hong Kong Wetland Park’s Bird Watching Festival runs until March 2013 as the park plays host to migratory bird species stopping off en route to warmer climes. There’s weekday guided tours in English and Cantonese (Cantonese only on public holidays), and activities including badge-making and origami workshops.
December is a great hiking month in Hong Kong. The weather is cooler, the humidity is less energy-sapping and you’ve got the free time! Here’s a look at our list of HK’s best family-friendly hikes. Also check out Hong Kong Tourism Board’s free-to-download hiking guide which has plenty of family-friendly options, and gives you all the gen on difficulty ratings, public transport options and distances, ensuring small legs don’t tire. Also worth a look is the Agriculture, Forestry and Conservation Department’s Tree Walks app.
For a real adventure, Lower Cheung Sha Beach in Lantau is home to Long Coast, a watersports centre with fab luxury safari tents to rent. If sleeping under the stars isn’t your cup of tea, there are four cozy guest rooms available in the main building. Activities include windsurfing, wakeboarding and kayaking.
If we’re lucky and the weather stays toasty (fingers crossed!) between Christmas and New Year then how about a day spent on the ocean waves? We’ve got a full run-down of the best of the Hong Kong junk providers here, so don those life vests and all aboard. Feeling really adventurous? An overnight junk stay could be just the ticket.
Need more inspiration? Take a peek at our 50 Things to Do with Kids in Hong Kong before They Grow Up Guides Part 1 and Part 2. And there’s even MORE family fun to be found on our Ideas & Inspirations page – including great museums for kids, an inside activity survival guide, our favourite outdoor playgrounds, survival ideas and more.
Happy Holidays, mama!