There are more than 30 museums in Hong Kong although a large portion won’t interest kids in the slightest (don’t make the mistake of dragging your kids around the Dr Sun-Yat Sen Museum). Some of the more family oriented ones e.g. the Science Museum and Space Museum are undergoing large renovations in 2016.
I’ve rounded up the best family friendly museums located on Hong Kong Island (my fave off the island being the Hong Kong Museum Of History in Kowloon). Always check to see what’s on in advance and the opening hours. Many have free admission on a Wednesday. This year, International Museum Day in Hong Kong is scheduled for 14-15 May 2016, and over those two days visitors will be admitted free to most of the local participating venues.
Hong Kong Maritime Museum
Located at Central Pier 8 by the iconic Star Ferry, this museum is lots of fun. The maritime exhibits are colourful and there are quite a few interactive sections e.g. smelling bowls of spices.
My favourite part is the Making Of A Modern Port as I am a sucker for container ships. Keep an eye out for the children’s workshops from ‘Making A Mask’ to ‘Storytelling’. There’s also a small table with some colouring pens and paper. Older kids (and my dad) will love the Ship’s Bridge Simulator where a retired Captain will help you to navigate Hong Kong harbour. There are several times slots for this over the weekend and during the week this must be booked in advance.
Ask at reception for the kids treasure hunt map and word search. Accidental Taitai has a great review of her trip to the museum.
Pros: Fantastic views of the harbour and interactive exhibits. After the Museum, take a trip on the iconic Star Ferry
Cons: You have to pay (but it’s really not much)
HKD $30 for adults, HKD $15 for children and the under 4 go free
Hong Kong Museum Of Medical Sciences
If you like old hospital equipment and spooky things in jars, this is an interesting little museum close to Hong Kong’s Midlevels.
The building itself is beautiful, a Victorian era building that was the Bacteriological Institute. In 1996 it was transformed into the museum with interesting exhibits such as ‘The Old Laboratory’ and ‘The Herbalist Shop’.
Pros: Beautiful building and interesting recreated scenes. Great playground just opposite
Cons: My 6yo was a bit scared of the old hospital equipment on display. The Museum is also fairly small so won’t take you long to get around
HKD $20 for adults and kids under 6 go free
Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence
Built on the old Lei Yue Mun Fort, this museum showcases Hong Kong’s coastal defence history. There’s a picturesque Historical Trail with military relics which leads up to the Exhibition Gallery. The terraces have spectacular views across Victoria Harbour.
There’s a little children’s area with paper and colouring pens. The exhibits are quite grown up so more suited to the 6 and up. There is a lack of interactive exhibits compared to places like the Maritime Museum.
Pros: Stunning location, combine with a walk around the neighbouring shipyards and Shau Kei Wan area.
Cons: Not interesting for kids that aren’t into cannons, forts and war!
HKD $10 for adults, $5 for kids and kids under 4 go free
Flagstaff Museum of Teaware
If you like teapots then this is the place for you. It’s not the most interesting of museums (unless you love tea and ceramics) but it is in a fantastic location, in the heart of Hong Kong Park. If the heavens open or it’s simply too hot, this is a convenient place to duck indoors as admission is free. There is a small playroom on the ground floor of the Museum, where children can draw and play with tea sets. It’s worth checking in advance if this room is open as the last few times I have wandered into the Museum (escaping the rain), the room has been closed.
Pros: Convenient location for families on an outing to Hong Kong Park. Lock Cha Teahouse, next door to the museum is an elegant spot for vegetarian dim sum and tea.
Cons: A bit boring, but then again it’s not really my cup of tea (groan)