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From a day trip by ferry to an island world’s away from the hustle and bustle of central Manila, to ice-skating in one of the biggest malls in the world, here are our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ picks for five of the best things to do and see with kids in Manila:
1. The Mind Museum. Located at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, The Mind Museum sprawls over five floors packed with over 250 educational hands-on science exhibits covering the anatomy of everything from atoms to the earth. It’s also home to the only Tyrannosaurus Rex exhibit in the Philippines.
2. SM Mall of Asia. Give your kids a few hours of air-conditioned relief from the hot streets of Manila with a stroll through the fourth-largest mall on the planet. Young children will love trampling around the indoor theme park Storyland, and there’s also a 76-lane bowling alley, IMAX movie theater, ice-skating rink and tons of dining options.
3. Manila Ocean Park. A visit to family-friendly Manila Ocean Park is the next best thing to snorkeling off the shores of an idyllic Philippine island. Home to the largest underwater viewing tunnel in Asia, this massive complex also offers glass-bottom boat rides, a sea lion show, jellyfish exhibit and huge outdoor swimming pool.
4. Fort Santiago. The former headquarters of the Spanish colonialists is now one of the main attractions in Manila’s old walled city. Half the fun for kids will simply be climbing around and exploring the area, but there’s also a good museum within the fort well-suited to tweens and teens with an interest in history.
5. Corregidor Island. A relaxing day trip by ferry to this historical island teeming with lush greenery can be a godsend for parents after a day or two spent exploring busy Manila. Entertaining guides will point out a number of important war sites during your tour of the island — don’t worry, kids will enjoy this too — and we also recommend paying extra to see the “Malinta Experience” sound and lights show in the Malinta Tunnel. The Sun Cruises tour company exclusively handles tours of the island.