DURING the hot summer in Shanghai, when temperature can soar into the range of 40 degrees Celsius, it is quite hard to have an enjoyable outing for children and teenagers.
But there are options. Put paintbrush to paper at a modern art museum or have a sleepover under a see-through tunnel in the aquarium surrounded by fascinating sea animals. Pudong New Area provides many options to enjoy the summer.
Shanghai Ocean Aquarium
Ocean Aquarium must be one of the most pleasantly cool places in the city, imagine the feeling of being surrounded by crystal-clear water and seeing the lovely penguins.
Located in Lujiazui, Shanghai Ocean Aquarium covers an area of 20,500 square meters exhibiting sea animals from all over the world. This year is its 10th anniversary.
In addition to popular sea animals like jellyfish, penguins and sharks, weedy sea dragon is other highlight, according to Yang Shuting, senior trainer of Shanghai Ocean Aquarium.
The weedy sea dragon is the marine emblem of Australia. It’s reddish in color, with yellow and purple markings.
“The sea dragon depends on the sea grasses because it has similar colors and can easily be missed if not looking carefully,” Yang says.
A special type of sea horse with big belly is a new attraction at the aquarium this year.
“People seeing attractive ones will go pink or have other reactions, when this sea horse want to pair,” Yang says. “The sea horses’ bellies will turn exceptionally big.”
There is also a program that allows children to stay one night at the aquarium, sleeping in sleeping bags under the spectacular underwater 168-meter viewing tunnel to observe the sea animals at night.
Address: 1388 Lujiazuihuan Rd
Tel: 5877-9988 ext 713 or ext 503
Art and Culture
Walking through a doodle wall near a small library, there is a painting room at Himalayas Museum near Century Park. The interior décor is warm and bright: Walls are painted in light yellow and white. Brushes, pigments and other tools are neatly arranged on the wooden table, and colorful plastic floor mats cover most of the room.
“During the 90-mintute course, we will come up with different themes each time, not only for painting but also for the children to develop more interests and curiosities about the world,” Wendy Zheng, the project assistant of the education department in the museum, tells Shanghai Daily.
The painting sessions are divided into two groups: preschool children (4-6 years old) and children’s class (7-10 years old). Last time, the preschool class worked on the theme “Ocean World.”
First, all children watch a documentary about the ocean, getting some basic knowledge. After learning about ocean animals for a while and having a small discussion, the children will decide the most impressive animal and start painting under the guide of the tutors.
“For us, creating the same subject or merely copying is very boring. We want the children to gain knowledge while they are painting and to have their own thoughts on the works,” says Zheng.
As for older children, they will have more cultural elements in the class such as French impressionism or old Shanghai image.
“When the students were painting cheog-sam, despite a learning video, we put a real one in the classroom so they can feel the texture of the silk,” says Zheng.
For this class, children did collages instead of ordinary painting.
Instead of intensive training in a specific area like sketching, Zheng says the teaching team at Himalayas Museum tends to cultivate children’s interest in art.
Thus, they also provide a free illustration book reading club for children 4 to 10 years old. In each class, the children will make a handicraft or drawing according to the theme of the book.
An oil painting course is provided, as well, which aims to inform and inspire anybody who enjoys creating artworks, no matter their skill level.
Address: 3/F, 869 Yinghua Rd
Tel: 5033-9801 ext 2032
Similar art education is availed at China Art Museum where classic illustration book reading events are on offer. The museum is now recruiting volunteers from primary school and middle school. They can be assistant librarians in the reading room or work in the exhibition area. Those interested in the volunteering program can download the application from its official site (http://china.artmuseumonline.org/) and send to firstname.lastname@example.org.