Another place to find us: Expat-blog.com

After a bit of a misunderstanding (ie. my internet incompentence shining through), http://www.kidzone-tw.com/ got accepted by
 blog expat

Here is the link to the link to this blog (a bit like Alice in Wonderland, isn't it?).  From there, you can find some pretty interesting blogs about Taiwan and other places, too.

Now Spring is really here, I have a few swimming spots to add.  Give me a few days and they will be right here!


Lots of English Performance Info at the Red Hall's Information Desk

Now, I am not sure I would rate the historic "Red Hall (紅樓)" at Ximending as a great place to take children.  BUT, when we visited a few weeks ago, I discovered that their information counter has a lot of English-language leaflets and fliers that introduce performances and events for everyone, and the building is an important piece of Taipei history, so I am including it in my blog.

Actually, the area behind the building would be a nice place to take a family in the early evening for a meal.  There is a large open space free of traffic, and outdoor seating for several restaurants.  My children enjoyed the interior of the building, including the funky art workshops on the first and second floors, but my kids are fairly easily entertained.

Entrance is free. 
Giftshop and workshops offer wonderfully different, modern gifts to take home to friends and family.
Go to the official website for detailed maps and directions.


Take A Hike - BiTou Cape (鼻頭角) : North East Coast

This time of year (April/May) is a lovely time to take the children on a hike in northern Taiwan.  It's still just cool enough to walk without being uncomfortable, and lots of plants are presenting their blossoms and blooms, giving you a chance to see some color amongst the greenery.

Bitou Cape is on the northeast coastline, between Gongliao and Fulong.  You drive south through Gongliao, around the rather hairy coast road that reminds me a lot of my hometown roads but with more than its fair share of crazy truck drivers added, until you reach a tunnel with a sign indicating you are at BiTou Cape walkway and Elementary School.  Driving south, there is a first carpark on your right just before the tunnel.  You can also take a small lane on the leftside of the road, doing a kind of U-turn, to get to more carparking area.

Take the stairs and path over the tunnel (avoid crossing the road!), and follow the road up the hill.  Right at the beginning of the climb is a really cute little coffeeshop.  If you didn't bring anything with you, pick up some water or a drink from them, as the climb can make you thirsty.

The first place you come to is BiTou Elementary School.

There are actually many small schools like this throughout Taiwan. From experience, they can be nice places for children to enjoy their childhood education.

The blue building is for marine-life education.  It must be fantastic to sit and class and watch the seaview change with the weather.
Now, on your left, you will some stairs.   Start your hike here.

We didn't hike up to the lighthouse.  You can take a shorter version of the walk.

Great spot for a picnic and letting off some energy.

This is our three-legged stray dog, Skippy, enjoying some open spaces.

Quick geography lesson, great view.
Half of the walk is out in the open.  There is a clear, easy-to-walk trail.  There are lots of rest spots, and restrooms, too.  The second half of the walk is through Taiwan bush.  There are bilingual signs along the walk, teaching you about the flora and fauna you see.
My children loved being in the hills.

The walk has a lot of stairs, but it's a good balance of up and down.

Watch your head!  All the overhanging branches are covered for your protection.

Lovely bamboo corridor.

There are several maps, all bilingual and very clear.

Don't pick the flowers!
We spent a good two hours on this trail, including a long stop on the grassy slope heading to the sea.  If you have toddlers, you will want to keep an eye on them.  The walk would be easily done with a baby in a backpack or with children that are old enough to walk without being carried.  My children loved being able to scream and run and have the sound dissipate into the ocean air without worrying about neighbors or parents telling them to be quiet.

When you come down the exit of the trail, there are a few stores selling snacks, and there is a seafood restaurant.  To get back to your car, turn left and walk along the harbor.  Go under the highway through the walkway, and either find your car in that carpark or head up onto the road to get to the first carpark.

We made a day of the trip by heading again to the Fu Bar in Fulong, for pita bread sandwiches and "the most delicious pudding in the whole world", to quote my son.

Note: The wind can be quite strong and cold at the top of the cape, so take a windbreaker for your kids.
Directions:  I will leave proper directions up to this site.  There is also information about the geography and history of the area, and it is a good English-language link for finding more places to visit in Taiwan.

Wake Up! Wake Up! Get to the Taipei American School Fair!

The TAS Spring Fair is TODAY.  This is a big family event held on the school campus.  There are lots of stands, both the school's and private.  You should find a lot of baking, food, English-language books, and bargains on goods and services. 

The fair can get quite crowded, so go prepared to get a little squashed in the shopping hall.  It's a nice day out for the kids, with lots of activities to take part in.  If you make it, go to table #63, across from the pizza stand in the hall, and say hello to Jennifer, who runs the family forum http://www.parentpages.net/, and who is an active member of the Taipei City family playgroup.

Where: Taipei American School campus, 800 Chung Shan North Road, Section 6, Tienmu, Taipei City
When: Saturday, April 16th, 10am-3pm
Admission: 10NTD/person
Transport: Buses 220, 612, 285


Chance to Win Kids' Sunglasses and Swim Diapers, No Matter Where You Are!

As part of our Spring Promotions, we are offering the chance for any fans of our Facebook Page a chance to win a pair of RKS sunglasses, or an Imse Vimse swim diaper.  Just sign up as a fan/like our fan page by April 15th 9am Taiwan time to be in the draw.

Little Wonders - Taiwan's bilingual natural parenting site.

Taiwan's Lost Playgrounds - Walks Along the Riverside Parks

Surprisingly well-maintained, this park has a basketball court, soccer practice net, skateboard/rollerblading rink, ride-on toys, and a large climb-on castle.  I often wonder if those ride-on toys have ever all been used at once.
Taiwan has its fair share of rivers and waterways, and there are walkways along most of these.  One of these is the long and winding Keelung (Jilong) River.  I'm really surprised at the amount of work that has gone into developing and maintaining the walkways, especially when there never seems to be more than a handful of people using the pathways.  One example of this is Liudu (六都)'s pathway.  Not easily reached without a scooter or car (unless of course you bike from some point along the Keelung River cycleway), but well-worth the effort if you want to be in a large space by yourself with your children, is this park.  It is certainly not the only one, so this is really encouragement to go out and explore your area or take a train or bus to explore other parts beyond your community.

Sign showing the attractions of LiuDu's Recreation Area

Walkways like this are great for walking the dog, especially those away from the more crowded parks in Taipei City


This park is kept clean and all the flowers are looked after.  By whom?  And for whom?   It's a mystery.
There is often a sense of abandonment and desolation in the parks along the river.  Generally, you don't need to be nervous about this feeling, but rather soak in the emotion this kind of environment evokes.  My children at least enjoy the time alone when we visit these areas.

Pretty interesting skateboard/rollerblading rink.

I love the contrast between drab and bright.

Lots of Taiwan-style exercise equipment for enthusiastic parents.

There are enough ride-ons for the average kindergarten class to have one each.

Don't let your children climb the wall!

Evergreen Maritime Museum

Spread over five floors, The Evergreen Maritime Museum is a showcase of boats and ships.  As described on their website:
The mission of Evergreen Maritime Museum is to preserve and present the history, art and science of boats and ships, in the hope of generating public interest in maritime culture and in turn inspiring the pursuit of knowledge and the spirit of exploration.
You can take time to look at the models, and have a look at their special exhibits.  One of their current exhibits is of 18th Century French etchings of the shipping industry.   There is also a well-stocked gift shop which has model ships and other goodies.

Opening hours: Tues-Sun 9am-5pm
Admission: 200TWD/adult, 150TWD/student. 
Address:   No. 11 Chungshan South Road, ZhongZheng District, Taipei. Tel: 2351-6690 ext 520
You have to look at the cute little animated map for driving directions.

2011 April 16&17: Taipei Children Symphony Orchestra

Taipei Symphony Orchestra (臺北市立兒童交響樂團音樂會) present a combined group of their elementary school orchestra and adult orchestra, showing children that no matter what age you can enjoy and participate in classical music.

Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, 1844-1908 (Flight of the Bumblebee
Charles Camille Saint-Sa ns, 1835-1921 (The Swan)

April 16: 19:30; April 17: 14:30

Chungshan Hall, No. 98 Yenping South Road, Taipei City. (中山堂, 臺北市延平南路98號)

300, 500, 800, 1,000TWD (at 7-11 IBON sites or online) At time of writing, the mid-range seats were already sold out, so you need purchase ASAP.
Tel: 02-2578-6731