Think that chasing a toddler around an overcrowded casino hub is a fate worse than death? Think again. There are plenty of things to do in Macau for kids.
Macau holds so many world titles, none of which appear conducive to family trips across the Pearl River Delta from Hong Kong. There’s the fact that it’s the most densely populated area in the world, and that charming certitude of world’s largest gambling centre.
Your first guess might be that Macau is a playground for wealthy punters who don’t mind a bit of hustle and bustle. And chasing a toddler around this overcrowded casino land appears to be an affliction worse than the Inferno, Sheol, or whichever spiritual realm of evil and suffering you happen to subscribe to.
But, like the sky-painted ceiling of The Venetian Macau, looks can be deceiving. In fact, the flood of American-style casinos in the area over the past five years has, quite ironically, made Macau much more child-friendly. And that’s before you even begin exploring the old town.
Here’s what to do if you find yourself in Macau with your munchkins.
Explore Macau’s colonial past
The fact that the island was a Portuguese colony from the sixteenth century all the way up until 1999 makes it a fascinating blend of European and Asian culture.
This is best seen in the colonial architecture dotted across the island, all of which is worth a look in.
There are plenty of churches to explore, however kids do tend to tire of religious paraphernalia so best limit your visit to one or two destinations.
The ruins of St Paul’s are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Macau’s most iconic landmark. Admission is free and the site is only a short walk from the town centre.
Other key historic landmarks include Senado Square, Guia Fortress, St Dominic’s Church and Tashi Square.
Ride the gondolas at The Venetian
A replica of the popular Las Vegas moneymaker, this hotel and casino is well worth a visit, even for non-gamblers.
There are three canals snaking through the mammoth complex and visitors can explore each one on foot via the bridges and heavily painted sidewalks, or take a gondola tour, which includes some only-slightly-naff opera accompaniments.
Stop along the way to enjoy a famous egg tart from Lord Stow’s cart and end up at Qube – a three-story, fully-decked out play centre the kids will love.
See the House of Dancing Water at the City of Dreams
Just like Vegas, there are always plenty of performances taking place in Macau, including lots for kids.
The House of Dancing Water is an extravaganza that can only be described as part acrobatics, part water and light display, part stunt show and all awesome.
The show took five years and 250 million USD to develop and, even if the kids don’t follow the love story, there are plenty of tricks and flips to wow them.
Relax in Lou Lim Leoc Garden
When the glitz gets too much, the Lou Lim Leoc Garden is a tranquil escape located in the northern part of Macau.
Modelled after the classical Chinese gardens of Suzhou, Lou Lim features narrow pathways, a pond filled with carp and lotus flowers, and a six-way bridge ripe for exploring.
Visit the Macau Giant Panda Pavilion
Three giant pandas (and who doesn’t love pandas?) live in a purpose-built sanctuary located on Coloane Island.
It’s a bit of a hike from the city centre so you might need to grab a cab, however children under 12 gain free admission and adults get in for the equivalent of about two Aussie dollars.
Stop in at the Macau Science Centre
This modernistic building houses several interactive exhibitions, including a planetarium with 3D space footage and an IMAX theatre.
Don’t fret about language barriers because many of the movies and activities appear in English.
See the Laserama show at Galaxy Macau
Just the name sounds thrilling and the actual show doesn’t fail to impress.
Touted as one of the largest laser displays in the world, the show runs nightly and features lights, lasers, and music.
Best of all, the 10-minute display is absolutely free!
1Discover Macau for Kids
Where to stay in Macau with kids
There are some that say casino-less hotels are your best bet for families in Macau, but as I’ve already mentioned, The Venetian is a wonderfully interactive experience for kids and adults alike.
The Conrad Macau is located along the Cotai Strip and connected to the Hong Kong ferry terminal, has spacious rooms, a wonderful buffet area, and an indoor pool.
The fact that it doesn’t house a casino but is in walking distance of all the main attractions is a big draw card here.
Sofitel Macau at Ponte 16 is located in Old Macau, a stone’s throw from the ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral and Senado Square. It has a rather beautiful outdoor pool with Romanesque statues aplenty!