Kate Farr explores just a few of the options on offer for families who are choosing to stay home and play over the summer.
While some head for cooler climes during the long summer months, many DB parents are facing the challenge of keeping their kiddos entertained during the school holidays – doubly challenging when so many of their friends are travelling.
With full-day sessions available, summer camps can be a lifesaver, and you’ll find a few of the best listed on page 34. Lantau offers near-endless organised activities and summer camps throughout the school holidays – in fact, your biggest problem will be choosing from the overwhelming avalanche of options. From art to watersports, coding to yoga, there is a camp to suit every child’s individual interests, and hopefully cultivate a few new ones too.
Getting out and about
But there’s more to the holidays than camp, academic or otherwise, and on Lantau, we’re fortunate to have plenty of fun activities to keep boredom at bay. Take your pick from these easy local days out (that don’t involve a trip to Disneyland).
Pokémon may be so last year, but Geocaching is still a huge hit when it comes to deploying your screen for good. This real-life treasure hunt game uses your phone’s GPS to guide you to a location where a geocache, or container is hidden. Played all over the world, Discovery Bay is chock-full of geocache locations to explore, and expanding your search area to wider Lantau gives you even more options. This is a fun, physical and free day out that will burn off any pent-up energy and ensure early nights all round.
Got visitors in town? A trip on the Inter-Island Ferry combines lazy sightseeing with active hiking, for a day out that’s a little off the beaten track. Hop aboard an early ferry to Peng Chau, and then pick up the inter-island service from there. Stops along the way include Mui Wo and Chi Ma Wan, where, if you’re ready to stretch your legs, you can disembark for an excellent three- hour hike back to Mui Wo Pier. The Pak Fu Tin Campsite makes for a good refuelling stop along the route, so pack a picnic.
Since it’s the holidays, you may want to stick with tradition and spend time at the beach – another free activity Lantau delivers in spades. Cheung Sha and Pui O beaches are glorious and easily accessible, with lifeguard services provided from April to October. For something more remote, head to Shui Hau Beach on the Lantau Trail; you may well have it to yourself during the week as there are no facilities save for a rough camping area.
The sky’s the limit
Too hot and wet to laze on the beach? Head to the airport for a surprisingly fun-packed family day out. Located at Terminal Two, Dream Come True Education Park gives kids a family-friendly taster of real-world jobs, including police officer, doctor, chef and, of course,pilot. Split into morning (9.30am to 2pm) or afternoon (3pm to 7pm) sessions, kids from three to 16 years pay HK$320 per visit, while accompanying adults pay HK$160.
Next up, head to UA-IMAX Theatre @ Airport in the groundside departures area to catch a movie. The vast screen of this 350-seat cinema shows a regular programme of both 2D and 3D family films alongside made-for-IMAX shows, so grab your popcorn and settle in for the afternoon.
After your film, head next door to the Aviation Discovery Centre, a small but surprisingly fascinating exhibit, detailing Hong Kong’s development into a major international travel hub. Admission is free of charge, but be sure to buy a SkyDeck pass (HK$15), so that you can head up to the huge viewing area on the roof. From here you can watch planes take off and land at close quarters, making it a huge hit with kids of all ages. This is also a great way to pass the time when waiting for a flight.
Finally, if your family loves to hit the fairway, but the weather’s not playing ball, GreenLive AIR offers nine- and 18-hole golf-simulation games. Admission fees vary according to your game, but as it’s right next door to the IMAX, you get to round-off your day of fun with a hole in one.
Photos: Andrew Spires – courtesy of wikimedia.orgTags: summer, things to do in Hong Kong