About a 1 to 1.5 hour drive from Bangkok, Chonburi province features a variety of activities for children and families. Here are 15 recommendations, whether you’re looking for a fun day trip or things to do during an extended stay.
Designated as a wildlife sanctuary, Khao Khiew Open Zoo spans 145 square kilometres, encompassing mountainous terrain covered by dense rainforest. It houses some 8,000 animals from around 300 different species. It is amazing how close kids can get to the animals, hand feeding deer, tapirs, elephants, giraffes, rhinos, camels and more. You can opt to stay overnight in air-conditioned tents at the on-site Es-Ta-Te Resort.
Swing from tree to tree on a unique eco-adventure! Accessed via Khao Khiew Open Zoo, the “flight” encompasses 3 kilometres of 20+ zip lines and platforms, as well as two abseiling stations — all built amongst the rainforest canopy with stringent safety standards. For those with younger children, try an alternative adventure called Go Gibbon, a jungle obstacle course comprised of Tarzan jumps, flying swings, spider nets and bridges.
Located on Sukhumvit Road in Chonburi, this well-manicured tropical botanical garden (also know as Suan Nong Nooch) covers an extensive area. It features several zones, including a large palm collection, rock garden, bromeliad house, orchid nurseries, European gardens, Butterfly Hill, topiaries and more. Suan Nong Nooch also offers Thai cultural shows, including a re-enactment of a battle on elephant-back, a petting zoo, and tropical birds.
Run by Thailand’s Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA) in Sriracha, Space Inspirium consists of 13 zones, each with its own unique learning experiences. Highlights include a 3D theatre that tells a space adventure story, and a Mars-simulation room with astronauts, aliens and vehicles. While the exhibits are currently in Thai (English versions are still being developed), non-Thai speaking children can still enjoy the displays and interactive exhibits.
Cartoon Network Amazone sits on 5.7 hectares in Bang Saray. Ten themed entertainment zones, based on popular CN television shows like Ben 10, Adventure Time and The Powerpuff Girls offer fun for the whole family. Highlights include high speed water roller coasters, a lazy river and Cartoonival, the world’s largest aqua playground boasting 150 different water features. There’s also a Megawave pool for some beach-inspired action, among many other attractions.
This aquarium features a 100-meter long tunnel and over 2,500 marine animals representing 200 species. Exhibits offer a glimpse of life on sandy beaches and shallow rock pools as well as in the open ocean, where sharks, stingrays and a variety of other fish swim. Children will enjoy seeing the live feeding shows (for sharks, rays and otters), and spending time at the ‘Touch Pool’, where they can interact with sea turtles, sea cucumbers and starfish, among other placid creatures.
If you or the kids are fans of the television show Wipeout, Splashdown is the place for you! Located off Sukhumvit Road in central Pattaya, this adventure water park features eight attractions, including a tall 50-foot inflatable waterslide, zorb racers, and the big red balls that test your (anti-wipeout) skills. Such thrills are best suited for older kids and teens. Safety equipment, including helmets, life jackets and waterproof shoes, is provided.
8. Greta Farm
With its own resort and restaurants, Greta Farm boasts three zones: Mini Zoo, Tree Top Adventure and Mini Fair. At Mini Zoo, kids can feed goats, sheep and deer, ride horses, and rent bicycles to use on the premises. Tree Top Adventure features zip lining and a large climbing structure and playground, and The Fair offers balloon pop and shooting games and archery. Older children and adults may also want to try the challenging sport of beach tennis.
Ideal for younger children, this “farm” (it is more like a small amusement park) is good for a couple hours of fun. It houses lots of gentle animals, including sheep, pigs, deer, donkeys, chickens, alpaca and birds. Children can enter some of the enclosures to interact with and feed the animals. Other activities include miniature pony rides and going on carousel, Ferris wheel and train rides. There are also lots of photo ops with themed props, including fake sheep!
10. Pipo Pony Club
This pony farm/theme park is great for families with small children as it features Shetland (miniature) ponies that kids can feed and ride. There are also pony toys that children can play on, as well as lots of horse themed props, including mythical creatures and characters from My Little Pony, for photo ops. Bored teens and adults can try their hand at riding a mechanical bull or watch a performance where riders showcase their impressive horse manoeuvring skills.
This unusual attraction is a hit with children (and some adults) as it features the concept of “travel treasure hunting with teddy bears” in displays with over 2,000 bear dolls. Over 2,500 square metres in space, the museum is divided into 12 zones: Inca, Dinosaur, Fossil, Africa, Thailand, Under the Sea, Eskimo, Santa Town, Space, Fairy Tale, China and Europe. Weekends feature a special teddy bear show.
12. Sai Kaew Beach
What’s a visit to Chonburi without going to the beach? Head to Had Sai Kaew (not to be confused with Had Sai Kaew on Ko Samet) in Sattahip for a clean and beautiful one-kilometre stretch of beach. Along with a picturesque mountain backdrop, there are plenty of trees around for shade, as well as a shallow coral reef. As the beach is part of the Chumpol Sattahip Naval School, you have to pay a small entrance fee as well as deposit your ID (driver’s license, passport, Thai national ID card…) at the entrance.
A 200-square metre indoor play area for children at the Royal Cliff Hotel, Funtasea provides a great edutainment experience. Here, kids can join a range of creative classes such as cooking, origami, balloon modelling and pottery, or engage in a variety of fun arts and crafts. Funtasea also features an intricate maze and toys, as well as baby-sitting services so parents can lie by the beach and get a couple hours of down time!
14. Harbor Pattaya – New!
This central Pattaya mall offers a number of family-friendly attractions new to the area. It features Harbor Land, a 2,500+ square meter indoor playground with a huge ocean-themed climbing frame, over 20 slides, and various obstacle courses and play features. In addition, there are rope courses; a Kidzoona Molly Fantasy playground; an ice skating rink and snow park (to open in October 2016); rock climbing; zip lines; and the first Asian branch of JumpXL, the international Dutch trampoline park (opening on 12 April 2016).
15. Ramayana Water Park – Opening mid-April 2016
The latest (and largest) addition to the water park offerings in Thailand, Ramayana features over 184,000 square metres, spanning seven zones with various designs, rides and attractions: Whizzard, Aqualoop, Bumerango, Colorado Drop, GAT/CRT-140, Dual Waves Pool, Lazy River, Duelling MasterBlaster, and The Vortex. There are also several swimming pools, including one with a swim up bar for adults and a 70-metre long track pool for water aerobics, volleyball and basketball.