Located by the Teluk Bahang Dam, Escape does not do brightly coloured plastic rides but rather gives you a legit reason to climb trees and yodel like Tarzan. We love the environmentally friendly measures in place such as rainwater harvesting, miniature chickens roaming freely, grassy roofs, and the no outside food policy in an attempt at waste-control. The jungle-like Escape-themed highlights include Monkey Business, a gigantic treetop balancing act categorised into three levels (bring gloves), Flying Lemur, a zip lining challenge, and Tubby Racer, where one races down a dry ski slope on a tube.
A day at Escape certainly feels like an escape from the ordinary, and a certain level of fitness and endurance is needed to enjoy the challenging games, which is why your energetic teen will like this the most. Don’t worry though, Escape also offers some child-friendly activities for the younger ones, such as the newly launched Monkey School. Here’s a tip: if you’ve always wanted to remind your teen of your physical prowess, this is it.
An attraction for the whole family with beautiful gardens, delicious food, and relaxing trails to follow, the eco-friendly Tropical Spice Garden has one more trick: a 3D Snakes and Ladders game. Covering six levels, the game is made from recycled timber with platforms linked by plastic tube slides. Landing on a ‘snake’ is not such a big deal in this life-sized version of the game – most kids would court defeat to have a go on those slides.
Jungle Walla Tours
The highly regarded Jungle Walla, based in Langkawi, offer tours from Penang too. Their emphasis on environmental awareness will be an educational journey for your child. Their Sedim Rainforest Canopy tour visits the Bukit Hijau Forest Reserve and includes optional white-water rafting.
More info at junglewalla.com.
An exotic patch that rests atop Penang Hill is where monkey cups (an apt name for pitcher plants) grow in full bloom. This mossy garden was established recently and it houses a wide variety of plants originating from the deep jungles of Malaysia and Indonesia to as far as Madagascar and Brazil. This place is chilly most days and barbeque pits are available for visitor use.
The first bird park in Malaysia, this ornithological haven has been home to 3,000 domestic and foreign birds of more than 300 species since 1988. Sunbirds, hornbills, pelicans, cassowaries, and emus roam the two hectare landscaped park. To simulate nature, the park is decked with a collection of local greenery and flowers, along with cascades and ponds for the water avian. Visitors are also welcome to dine amidst the scenic surroundings in an air-conditioned restaurant that serves both local and western fare.
This dairy goat farm allows children to feed baby and adult goats. We think that the adorable baby goats are miles more appealing and manageable. Apart from feeding activities, visitors get to learn how to make soap from goat milk and purchase goat dairy items such as milk and yoghurt. An organic vegetable farm is also onsite, making a visit to Saanen good for a nature themed day out.
The hour-long tour (RM35 for adults; RM28 for kids) of Mr Quah’s Tropical Fruit Farm takes in a selection of plants. Make sure you go in season though. Guides explain the origins, taste and usage of each plant before offering them to the most adventurous. Go ahead and try them but save room for the inclusive fruit buffet and fresh fruit juice. Tip: if figs are ripe, stock up – they’re incredible.
Located within the beach areas of the Penang National Park, the centre has restored certain spots for turtle landings. Visitors get the chance to view two species of turtle: the Green turtle and the Olive-Ridley, which lay eggs here between April to August, September and February, respectively.
An excellent amusement club by Golden Sands Shangri-la, Adventure Zone is addictive fun for children. There are a few big slides suitable for all ages, even adults. Brace yourself for the Monster Vertical Drop – bone jarringly good. Do remember the long sleeved shirts and socks. Located between Rasa Sayang and Golden Sands by Shangri-la, the indoor facility is also open to outside visitors. Prices start from RM20.
The popular Metro Bike allows you to rent a bike or hire a trishaw for unique trails with experienced guides. One can see traditional trades such as the flower garland weaver and Indian goldsmith; opt for art tours to interpret the street cultural and social commentary, or just experience Penang’s famous hawker fare in the tours. Younger children can go on the trishaw rides, while the older kids will love cycling around Penang’s heritage streets.
This privately owned museum houses a collection of vintage toys with the likes of classic robots, rocking horses, antique planes, wind-up dolls and even space toys. This is a museum meant for older kids and nostalgic parents who can appreciate the unique collection, and the owner even lets you play with some of their still-functioning remote controlled toys. It’s quite near to Khoo Kongsi. Closed on Fridays.
Malaysia’s first toy museum is brimming with colourful figurines. We spotted a gargantuan 1.8m Gundam robot amidst other comic characters such as Spiderman, Doraemon, Garfield and X-men. There are some cool toys – especially in the Chamber of Horror – but the collection is fairly jumbled and dusty. Even some of the packaging can still be found strewn about.
Once the home of a rich Baba, this museum building is lavish and elegant. Ornate carvings, gilded door screens, and exquisite mother of pearl furniture bring to life the lifestyle and culture of the Peranakan people, often called the Straits Chinese. With over 1,000 pieces of Peranakan memorabilia, antiques, and artifacts filling up the space, there’s plenty to linger over and admire.
A partnership with DaVinci Creative Kids, In2Art offers the same classes and teaching methods, so your kids are guaranteed to be in good hands. They offer art and craft programmes as well as special school holiday programmes to hold off those cries of ‘I’m bored!’ There are also several classes suitable for adults, allowing Mum and Dad to join in the artsy fun. Advance booking is advised as classes get filled up pretty quickly. Join the mailing list to be kept updated on upcoming classes.