At home in England we’re used to being outside with the children a lot. In all weather conditions. We go to parks, woods, beaches, meadows and stomp around in wellies and waterproofs or run full pelt in sandals and shorts, depending on the season.
Here in Shanghai there are lots of indoor places, mainly for children slightly older than ours. They’re also busy, rather expensive and a pain to get to if you have a pushchair and more than one child. We needed to find places where our children could get out of the pushchair and run around, burn off some energy and not get bowled over by boisterous older children. Our younger boy likes to run at speed with his arms behind him like wings with a big grin on his face.
There are parks here that we’ve started to try out. One thing I really like about the parks here is there’s always (and I really do mean always) people ballroom dancing in the middle of the park to an old 80s ghetto blaster booming out crackly classics. I love the quirkiness of it. So random but so cool.
Here are my thoughts on three parks we’ve tried.
Fuxing Middle Road, closest metro is Xintiandi (line 10,13)
Fuxing Park was very busy and they let mopeds go in so its still not desperately safe for the children to be free. It is big so there’s lots of different bits to explore. There’s a large children’s area with fairground rides and an overcrowded climbing frame/slide thing.
Gongqing Forest Park
Ju gong Road, Yangpu, closest metro Shiguang Road (line 8)
We went to Gongqing Forest Park. This was really far and an unpleasant walk from the metro. We’d have been better off getting a taxi from the metro but flagging one down on the incredibly busy road with both kids and a pushchair just seemed impossible. When we got there it looked good, lots of forest and paths to walk along. The major downside was the little carts ferrying non walkers around the park. They went at full speed and all the time. I was constantly having to run to haul my youngest out of the way before he was knocked down. There were a lot of mosquitos and even a random scary looking dog roaming around by himself with a look of rabies in his eyes (probably my mild dog phobia and not rabies tbh). The other problem with Gongqing is you pay to get in, not a great deal, but then when you get in you have to pay an extra 30rmb per child to get into the children’s playground. Having just come back from Singapore where there are so many free, stunning parks and children’s playgrounds I was horrified.
Changning Road, closest metro Zhongshan Park (line 2, 3 & 4)
The best park we have been to so far is Zhongshan Park. Its quite accessible, right by the metro station and its quite large with lots of paths, fountains, places to get drinks and snacks and even a running track. There is a children’s playground which was quite busy, we didn’t feel the need to go in as the children were happy dashing about looking a statues, ponds and whatever else caught their eye. They ran around for ages and then we did a short walk to Cloud 9 shopping mall for lunch and shopping. So if you’re in need of some guilt free shopping time, Zhongshan Park followed by Cloud 9 is the one.
My first place to go for information is always www.timeoutshanghai.com and www.smartshanghai.com. They have good information about how to get to places and things to do. If you’re looking for things to do this is always a good place to start.
If any one knows any other parks and places to take the children please let me know.