Situated in Xindian, this park is on my must-visit list. It is free, it is accessible, it introduces history in a quiet, thoughtful way, and it is big and inviting for families to visit without feeling they are encroaching on anyone's "museum" experience. Their English website is informative and easy to follow, so I will put the link here. There are many videos in English introducing different prisoner experiences on the website.
The park itself is a peaceful space. For some, it will be a place for contemplation, but young children can also be free to run around and enjoy the large outdoor area. This is the original site where political prisoners were held, tried, and imprisoned. Walk through the interrogation rooms, see the furniture guards sat in when they interviewed suspects and touch the walls I imagine prisoners leaned against when they were almost out of energy to withstand their sorrows.
There are audio tour sets available in several languages, and there is also a children's version. I was surprised that my daughter got so engaged with the narration. I could sense that it moved her to hear the stories and interviews through the earset.
The memorial park could have been a depressing space, but there is a balance between sadness and hope, as well as hands-on, lighthearted activity. Here, my daughter is riding a bike that was in a Taiwanese movie from the White Terror period. When she pumped the pedals, the hat lit up.
There are stamps placed around the buildings, so children can enjoy collecting them. Be sure to prepare a piece of card or a notebook to collect them in. These stamps are a part of Taiwan museum culture, so you can collect them from all around the island!
Taiwan has come such a long way with bilingual information since I started this blog! It's great to see, but maybe my notes are redundant...
This is the canteen where the prisoners ate. Prisoners had jobs such as doing laundry
There are intriguing photo opportunities, where you can line up the images of prisoners and transpose them onto the large concrete tubs or wooden tables where they would have worked, washing and ironing clothes to earn their food. There is also a VR experience but that is currently closed due to concerns of sharing equipment during CoVid-19.
Take some snacks and enjoy them in the pagoda. There were several birds flying around while we were there, too. Again, even if your children are too young or sensitive to want to learn about the history, they can still enjoy the space and take in whatever is within their scope to manage.
One building is dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the Convention of Rights of the Child. In this exhibit, you can learn more about the rights of the child in Taiwan. There are stories illustrating the ways children were denied their human rights during the period of White Terror and they were not exempt from punishment under the regime. There are hands-on activities for children and the exhibit is a hopeful one.
Tip: Purchase the chidren's book: Ode to Azalea Mountain. On the back cover is a QR code you can scan to hear the audio including the song.