When you’re thinking “kid-friendly” in Hong Kong, museums don’t necessarily spring to mind, but the reality is that we are pretty well served for cultural attractions here in the Big Bauhinia. Covering everything from space to trains to tea, Hong Kong has fun learning well and truly covered. So whether you’re in need of a rainy day distraction, an air-conditioned field trip, or just a blast of culture, here’s a look at our favourite museums and what they’ve got going on.
Address: 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Tel: (852) 2721 0226
Hours: Open Monday – Friday : 1pm – 9pm; Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays : 10am – 9pm; Closed Tuesdays.
Admission: Exhibition Halls – HK$10 for adults, HK$5 for students, children and seniors.
How to get there: While you can take the MTR, alighting at Tsim Sha Tsui Station Exit J, our favourite way is to hop on the Star Ferry from Central or Wan Chai to TST and walk about 10 mins to the museum. Located in front of The Peninsula Hotel on the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront, the Space Museum is easy to spot with its white-domed planetarium.
Very kid friendly, with interactive rides and exhibits including a virtual paraglider and a harness that holds you aloft with the same approximate gravity you’d experience walking on the moon! Aside from the regularly updated exhibitions and shows, the museum also organises plenty of additional activities, including a monthly introduction of the night sky in the Space Theatre, Astronomy happy hours, and fun science lab sessions.
OMNIMAX and 3D SHOWS at the SPACE THEATRE
Whilst at the Space Museum, a must-visit is the Stanely Ho Space Theatre. The theatre shows a number of Omnimax productions with a projection system that produces an almost 360-degree panorama view. You can buy Space Theatre tickets (HK$24 – HK$32) in advance at the museum, at any URBTIX outlet. Do note that kids under 3 are not permitted in any of the Space Theatre shows. Currently showing are:
Born To Be Wild Until August 31st. Daily, 1.30pm, 5pm and 8.30pm. Closed Tuesdays.
At the Omnimax screen, Born to be Wild transports the audience into the lush rainforests of Borneo and across the rugged Kenyan savannah exploring the bond between humans and animals. Will bring out the inner Dr Doolittle in adults and children alike.
Tornado Alley Until October 31st. Mon – Fri, 3.50 pm and 7.30 pm. Closed Tuesdays.
Also at the Omnimax, the audience follows a group of scientists following tornados through America in order to learn how to predict their occurrences. Perfect for the inquisitive mind or budding meteorologists.
Astronaut 3D Until December 31st. Daily, 2.40pm and 6.10pm. Closed Tuesdays.
The museum’s 3D Dome show is all about the preparation and learning a trainee astronaut undergoes. Experience the risks and challenges an astronaut faces in preparation for their space flight, all in 3D. To infinity, and beyond!
Address: 2 Science Museum Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon
Tel: (852) 2732 3232
Hours: Open Monday – Friday 1pm- 9pm Sat- Sun 10am- 9pm. Closed Thursdays.
Admission: HK$25 for adults, HK$12.50 for students, children and seniors. Free admission for children under 4 years old accompanied by an adult with ticket and free admission on Wednesdays.
How to get there: Exit Tsim Sha Tsui at B2 and walk along Cameron Road towards East Tsim Sha Tsui for about 8 mins.
Also in TST, the Science Museum is fun for children and adults alike. This huge space has 500 exhibits over four floors, with sections devoted to everything from life sciences, meteorology and geography; light, sound, and motion; computers and robotics and more. Kids will stay occupied with the interactive displays (about three-quarters of the museum is hands-on) – not to mention the chance to run around in the massive kids’ area designed just for them. A huge museum with a ton to do, this is a super spot on a rainy or humid day since you can easily spend the whole day here. Currently exhibiting is:
Creatures of the Abyss Until October 17. Exploring the Deep Ocean, the most inaccessible ecosystem on Earth, Creatures of the Abyss teaches kids about the sea and the strange and fascinating creatures that live within it.
Address: 100 Chatham Road South, Tsim Sha Tsui
Tel: (852) 2724-9042
Hours: Mon & Wed- Sat 10am- 6pm Sun 10am- 7pm
Admission: Adult HK$10, Child HK$5; Free on Wednesdays
How to get there: MTR Tsim Sha Tsui (Exit B2) and a 10min walk
With its over 90,000 items showcasing a whopping 400 million years of Hong Kong’s history (whoa), when they say it’s a museum about HK’s history they mean it. Kids will be glued to the many diorama displays – you can peer inside a fishing junk, see what Kowloon Walled City looked like before it became a park, see the backstage of a Chinese opera, and walk down a re-created street of old Hong Kong (complete with a pawnshop, teahouse, and a Chinese herbal-medicine shop actually located in Central until 1980 and reconstructed in the museum!).
Not to be missed this summer is a mega exhibition on cultural relics of the Qin dynasty. On view from 25 July through 26 November, The Majesty of All Under Heaven: The Eternal Realm of China’s First Emperor, will offer 120 exceptional artifacts, including terra cotta warriors and horses, rarely seen bronze objects, and lifelike acrobat figures.
Address: 1 Man Lam Road, Sha Tin, New Territories
Tel: (852) 2180 8188
Hours: Mon, Wed – Sat: 10am – 6pm; Sun and public holidays: 10am – 7pm; Closed Tuesdays
Admission: Adult HK$10, Child HK$5
How to get there: Take the MTR to Che Kung Temple Station Exit A and walk for 5 minutes along the footbridge to the museum. Those driving take note: there is also a (well-priced) car park!
The biggest museum in Hong Kong, this museum covers 32,000 square metres (!) and is designed in the traditional Si He Yuan style, a compound of harmoniously-blended houses built around a courtyard. The museum features a wide selection of exhibits, many of them interactive which is great news for parents, and a huge bonus is their Children’s Discovery Gallery designed for kids 4-10 years old with eight play zones where they won’t catch on that they’re actually learning a thing or two. The younger set shouldn’t miss the Hong Kong Toy Story which features a wide range of toys designed, manufactured and sold in HK, while you should be sure to see the colourful Cantonese Opera Hall and the first-class Chinese art.
Among the special exhibitions this summer is a Hong Kong Photography Series 3: Beyond the Portrait. Going on through November, here you’ll discover over 400 historical and contemporary portraits showcasing both hidden and familiar scenes of Hong Kong over the last century.
Address: 7 Castle Road, Mid Levels Central
Tel: (852) 2367 6373
Hours: Open Monday – Saturday, 10am – 6pm. Closed Thursdays
How to get there: The easiest way is to take the Mid-Levels Escalator from Central to Caine Road and then walk westwards for about 5 minutes. The museum is well signposted from Caine Road.
Not necessarily a museum that springs to mind when on a day out with children, the Dr.Sun Yat-Sen Museum actually offers quite a lot, especially for slightly older children. If you are at a loose end in Soho, we suggest you pay a quick visit to this well-preserved Edwardian mansion. Costing a mere HK$10 to visit, the museum mainly exhibits Dr Sun Yat-Sen’s life, focusing on his relationship with Hong Kong. Some of the artefacts may well elicit a few yawns from younger kiddos, but for older siblings the two permanent exhibitions show videos with stories of Dr Sun’s extraordinary life and the mansion’s history are riveting. Again for older children (8 plus) the lectures, hands-on activities (like stained glass making) and film shows are all highly recommended.
Address: 10 Cotton Tree Drive, Central (Inside Hong Kong Park)
Tel: (852) 2869 0690
Hours: Open Daily, 10am – 5pm. Admission is free!
How to get there: Take exit C1 from Admirality MTR Station. Flagstaff House is an easy 5 minute walk.
Inside the beautiful colonial Flagstaff House within Hong Kong Park, the museum specialises in the collection, study and display of tea ware and has a charming playroom with play tea sets, toy cakes and a building block house in the shape of the historic building. Permanent exhibitions include Chinese Tea Drinking, focusing on the culture and history of tea throughout China. The museum offers a quick, air-conditioned break from an afternoon at the park.
Address: 13 Shung Tak Street, Tai Po Market, Tai Po, New Territories.
Tel: (852) 2653 3455
Hours: Open Daily, 9am – 6pm. Closed Tuesdays.
How to get there: Take the MTR to Tai Po Market Station and take Exit A2. The museum is well signposted, and is accessed via On Fu Road in about 8 minutes. Alternatively, take Exit A from Tai Wo MTR station and follow signs to the museum via Yan Hing Steet for around 5 minutes.
If those Thomas the Tank Engine DVD’s aren’t quite cutting it any more, a trip to Tai Po could be just the ticket (no pun intended!). Situated in Tai Po Market centre, the Hong Kong Railway Museum is an open-air museum occupying some 6,500 square meters converted from the old Tai Po Railway Station. Featuring interactive displays on the history and future of the MTR, the star attractions are a narrow gauge steam locomotive and a diesel engine.