When looking for a family holiday excursion to entertain the kids, you really need to think about what your children are interested in or can relate to.
For example when we visited Penang with a toddler we went on a cultural tour and visited many of the temples and museums. Lewis at age 3 was not interested and seriously became quite annoying. It’s not his fault; we chose an activity that a 3-year-old was just never going to find entertaining.
So on our recent holiday we went about discovering engaging things to do with kids in Penang.
As I was doing my research and planning for travel with kids to Penang I thought of how Lewis (now 6) loves helping me out in the kitchen; as a result I suggested the Tropical Spice Garden.
We are staying at the Hard Rock Hotel in the resort area of Batu Ferringhi and the Tropical Spice Garden is only a short 5 minute local Rapid Penang bus ride away costing a mere RM1.40 each (Lewis is free).
Included in our entrance cost of RM67 (you can find the full list of admission costs HERE) we are supplied with an audio monitor and a map of the gardens.
Whilst there are guided tours of the Tropical Spice Gardens available we are not that organised to turn up at the right time, however the audio tour is more than acceptable.
The monitor is very easy to use with each plant station number so you are ensured to listen to the correct history, origin and use for the plant you are looking at.
After familiarising ourselves with the monitor and map we begin to explore the lush green rainforest and discover various palms as we make are way along the grey stone trails.
On entering the spice terraces there is a station set up with a globe showing the various spice origins and how Penang contributed to the spice trade.
As we walk around we point out spices such as vanilla, ginger, turmeric, nutmeg, curry leaf and cinnamon; we remind Lewis how we use these spices at home: cakes, curries, stir fries etc. By making the tour relevant to Lewis’s life ensures he is really enjoying the experience.
As we continue crunching along the stone pathway we find little waterfalls and cross over the suspended wooden bridges.
Further up the waterfall we find the Bamboo Garden and Tea Kiosk. I local man offers a refreshing cup of lemon tea, he tells us that it was made from the fresh water waterfall that runs past all year round.
This is the beginning of the beverage trail where we see cacao, coffee and tea plants growing with information boards below explaining the entire growing, harvesting and processing of each of these well-known beverages. We explain to Lewis that this is what our morning tea and coffee are made from, which encourages him to get up close and touch and feel the plants.
We have just about finished our tour of the Tropical Spice Garden; the smell of a fresh curry wafts by as we stand outside the cooking school whilst over looking the playground – a 3D interactive snakes and ladders game. Sadly there appears to be issues with the slides as they are covered over – Lewis is a little disappointed.
The shop is our last stop, we try to avoid going in but the design of the spice garden ensures you must pass through and hand in your audio monitor. However it was worth going in as we get to taste and smell some more spices including stevia and cinnamon. Of course you can also purchase some ground spices, aromatherapy oils and fresh tea.
Lewis enjoys this final moment of being able to put into place those spices that he uses when helping me cook in the kitchen at home.
You can find more links about this holiday at Penang with Kids 2014: all the travel stories
What types of excursions do you children like going on?