Thrills and spills
Until Shanghai Disneyland is unveiled in 2016, kids will have to make do with Happy Valley Amusement Park, an enormous, roller coaster-filled complex located 40km out of the city centre, in the town of Sheshan. Closer to the centre, Jinjiang Amusement Park (Xuhui District) is similar, but smaller. The large Ferris wheel is a favourite here, although thrill-seekers should head straight for the Giant Inverted Boomerang. Come summer, take the kids to Dino Beach (78 Xinzhen Lu), a huge outdoor water park in the south Shanghai district of Minhang.
Animals and nature
Shanghai Zoo (2381 Hongqiao Lu) is one of China's best (although conditions of some animal enclosures still leave much to be desired). The pandas are the star attraction, of course, and there's plenty of green grass for kids to run around on. Within the same complex, the Children's Zoo gives young tots the chance to handle farmyard animals. Over in Pudong District, the excellent Shanghai Ocean Aquarium (1388 Lujiazui Ring Lu) is well designed and comes with a 155m-long clear underwater viewing tunnel. The Shanghai Botanical Gardens (997 Longwu Lu), meanwhile, has a decent children's park with small funfair-like attractions.
Arts and crafts
Kids with a creative streak will enjoy a visit to Ru Wa Studio (No 81, 1025 Nanjing Xilu), which has a workshop where you can make your own traditional Chinese toys and lanterns, or paint your own rattle drum or Chinese yo-yo. They also sell a selection of their own handmade games and toys. Children and adults alike can try their hand at ceramics at the Pottery Workshop Shanghai (1A, Lane 180, Shaanxi Nan Lu). Sessions start with developing hand modelling and sculpting before progressing to working with glazes and the potters’ wheel. Young children’s classes take place on Saturday mornings.