Very cool site with videos of Taiwan's wildlife and nature - English-friendly

Living in the low-lying mountain area that we do, we see many weird and wonderful animals.  I was looking for information about an animal I saw last week (kind of a cross between a weasel and a skunk in shape, but brown, short-haired; anyone know what it might be?), and came across a neat government-sponsored website that is a complilation of many English and Chinese-language films about Taiwan's nature.  If you click on Category, you can narrow down your search fairly quickly.

So, now the kids and I can learn about the animals that pop up around us!  If only I could find the one I am looking for...


2010 Halloween Activities in Tienmu

There are lots and lots of things going on in Tienmu over the next two days.  Here is a link to all the information, mostly in Chinese but with some English.  Have FUN!


Celebrating Halloween in Taipei (2010)

Many families miss the celebrations of holidays at home.  As the number of expat families staying longterm in Taiwan grows, more and more people are trying to recreate these holidays.  This year, there are several things you can do to enjoy a Happy Halloween, in Taipei at least.


Forumosa and Carnegie's (bar) are proud to be holding a Kids' Halloween Party on Sunday afternoon of the 31st.

There will be prizes for costumes, face painting, bobbing for apples, and there will be a piñata.
It's free for adults, and $200/per child (for a gift bag)

About Carnegie's:
Address: 100, Sec 2, Anhe Rd, Taipei (台北市安和路二段100號)

Telephone: (02) 2325 4433
Open: Monday, Tuesday Thursday, 11:30am to 2am. Wednesday, Friday, 11:30am to 5am or later. Saturday, 11am to 5am or later. Sunday, 11am to 2am.

Taipei City Playgroup will be holding our annual Halloween Party in Neihu, at a member's community, on October 30th. This is a group event, but we welcome all English-speaking families to join our ever-growing community. If you would like to keep uptodate with our playgroup events, please register at ParentPages.  As this event needs an RSVP, you can also send me a message through this blog if you are interested in attending.

Where to Buy Costumes:

1. There is a group of "holiday" stores along Chungshan West Road, just north of Taipei Station.  They change their themes throughout the year, so now is a good time for Halloween and Christmas.

2. Lococo is a very large outlet store, with some fantastic costumes available all year round for good prices.  We just got a beautiful princess dress for my daughter for TWD290.  I also picked up some nice Old Navy sweater jackets in preparation for the winter.  Oh, and they have real ballet outfits for just TWD100!
Beitou Road Sec. 1, No. 7 (Beitou District).  This is just off the MRT line, so not as hard to get to as it sounds.

3. Best Buy up on Section 7 of Chungshan North Road.  If you walk up the hill north of Taipei American School (north side of Tienmu Road), there are several outlet stores that carry costumes.

Oct 30, 2010: Taipei American School Food Fair

This will be Taipei American School's 28th Food Fair!  From 10am to 3pm on October 30th, you can enjoy lots of great food from many different countries, and also take part in some Halloween-type activities (like a Haunted House), as well as enjoy some great live entertainment. More information can be found on the alumni site:


Puppetry Art Center Taipei

I have not been here yet.  I came across this flier at the SOHO art education center, and it looks very interesting.

Here is a link before I lose it.  I plan to head over and check this out over the next couple of weeks.  In the meantime, check out this very detailed English site!

**We finally got here this Wednesday.  It was just fantastic for a family trip.  Right next to  Pacific Living Mall with a carpark, and a very nice grass area and playground outside.  Lots of things to touch for children, and excellent English introductions and intricate displays for adults to look at.  Videos of Taiwan puppet shows.  Entry for adults $50, for children $40.  It took us about an hour to look around the one floor, including trying out shadow puppets, hand puppets, and string puppets.

The second floor is dedicated to performances and workshops, which run mostly on weekends.

You can take pictures, but only without flash.  It's a bit dark inside, so my pictures didn't turn out.  But trust me, my children and I highly recommend this museum.

SOHO Art Education Center (a children's art area, Tienmu)

This is one of my kids' favorite places in Taipei.  It is entirely child-focused, and makes art reachable and exciting for children (and parents!).  Everything inside is inticing and encourages children to touch, experience, and explore.

I'll share a few pictures of the current exhibit (Monet, Matisse, Van Gogh, and Andy Warhol), and some images of my children doing their DIY activity (ink and paint to make your own notebook).  

Drying the project

In Matisse's painting.  Children changed the woman's clothes to learn how color can affect the outcome of a painting.  This is a room made into a painting.  There was also a cafe where children served a life-sized model of Van Gogh, and another where they experienced how Matisse drew on his wall from his bed during times of illness.

Can you see the faces made from fruit?  These are modeled on the art of an Italian 16th Century artist.  My kids moved the fruit pieces to make their own art.

Lift the flaps and learn about color mixing.

Art teacher helps my son with this book cover.
Entry is 100 per person.  You can join the free art tours (in Chinese), and you get to make a clay necklace at the end.  The DIY projects run on weekends, and are 250 per person (90 minute lessons).  The teachers really know how to teach and inspire children.  My children would not go to bed tonight; they were drawing about their day at the art museum, in their new handmade books!

Address:  Tienmu West Road Lane 50, No. 20, B1. (Just off Tienmu West Road, five minutes' walk from Chungshan North Road).)
Tel: 02-2872-1366 
Opening hours: Tues-Sun, 10am-5:30pm



電子信箱: soho.art@msa.hinet.net

網址:http://www.artart.com.tw/  (English site is here , it's a little outdated, but will give you an idea of what the space is like.)


Taipei Metro BeiTou Resort

The Taipei Metro Bei Tou Resort was buillt for employee training during construction of the Bei Tou Electric and Machinery Plant.  In 2004, it was opened to the public.  It boasts an indoor children's playground, swimming pool, gym, basketball court, coin-operated games.

Membership:  $200/per year.  You need two ID photos to apply for the membership card.
Play Area: $60 for 1hr 50mins for members, $90 for nonmembers (take socks, parents free)
Parking: $40/car (no time limit)

Hours: 3pm~10pm Monday to Friday, 9am~10pm Holidays, Summer and Winter Vacation

Address: No. 88, Lane 527, DaYe Rd., BeiTou Dist., Taipei City (112臺北市北投區大業路527巷88號)
Tel: (02) 2893-0105
Website: http://btresort.trtc.com.tw/


Keelung Indigenous Cultural Hall

This small, unassuming cultural hall is situated right before the bridge to Hoping (Peace) Island, just off Keelung.  There are five floor to the hall.  Three floors are set up as a museum.  The displays are all within reach/view of children, and the day we went the guide encouraged the children to touch the displays, try the instruments, and even sit inside the large wooden bowls made for making sticky rice.  At the back of the hall, there is a short walkway with a small swingbridge, and stairs to a platform overlooking the northcoast ocean and Keelung Harbor.  There is a large carpark.

We happened to arrive at 3pm the day we went, right when the A-Mei tribe were performing some songs and dances.  The guide told me, that this week (October 15, 2010) is the last week they are doing this show and guided tour.  They work for the government and move to a different location every six months.  Sadly, they couldn't tell me when they will be there again.

There is currently no English signage within the museum, so you will need to prepare by perhaps looking up some information online about Taiwan indigenous cultures if you want to turn it into a more educational trip and don't read Chinese.  Entry is free, making it a very nice little excursion and first introduction to things cultural for kids. 

Hours: Tues-Fri, 9am-5pm
Entrance fee:  Free
Address: 基隆市中正區海濱里正濱路一一六巷七十五號  (Jilong City, JongJung District, Hai Bing Area, Jung Bing Road, Lane 116, No. 75 - "原住民文化會館"
Directions: Drive toward Hoping/Peace Island (和平島), looking out for the sign on the right, just before the bridge to the island.  The building is a few hundred meters along the lane.

Note:  There is also a nice park at Hoping Island, but it is currently under construction.  You can watch the people fishing, buy some fresh fish, and walk through some historic streets on the island if you have time, too.


Website: Center for Cultural Affairs - Excellent Chinese-language Resource

This site is beautifully done, and full of material to enrich a child's experience with Mandarin, Taiwanese, and with Taiwan itself.  It is all in Chinese, so if you cannot read, it is not that easty to navigate.  So, below I have set up links to a few areas that once you get into them, you can really enjoy them.  You can just choose randomly by looking at the images, or rely on your children to work through it for you.

Kyle's teacher recommended this story section to us.  The stories are designed to stimulate children into thinking about their own story endings, and how the stories can be applied to their own lives.  They are animated, and have characters and pronunciation symbols, to help children recognise more Chinese characters.  My children love watching these stories and talking about the material.

Another section has stories with more of a cultural focus.

And this section introduces a number of different topics related to art and culture.  I just finished the story of Van Gogh.  I can use it to practise my Chinese and learn something, too.  Oh, that's right, it's for the kids!  Sometimes, I forget and just enjoy these things myself.


Oct 2010: Japanese theater group performs "The Wizard of Oz" (suitable for ages 3 and up)

This show is really, really, REALLY good!  We got to see it with my children's school yesterday.  The Japanese group is performing "The Wizard of Oz".  It's not scary.  There are some moments when it is dark in the theater, but my little girl was not scared at all, even though she is scared easily.  The dialog is all Chinese recording. 

There are a few shows in Taipei city this weekend (Oct 2, Oct 3), then in a few places around Taiwan the next couple of weeks.  Scroll down to the blue text at the bottom of the page to see where the show is.