Visiting Taipei with kids? Here’s an itinerary for one of my favorite days in the Shilin area. It’s not MRT accessible but taxis are not expensive.
Taipei Children’s Amusement park
For breakfast I suggest fan tuan 飯糰 at a local vendor near your hotel, then hop in a taxi and head to the Taipei Children’s Amusement Park which opens at 9 am. The entrance fee is 30 NT ($1 USD). We have been to the park several times and there are no lines in the morning. We purchased the all day wrist bands but I can’t find the info on the website for pricing. There are no age restrictions but the rides have height restrictions. My almost 4 year old was able to go on majority of the rides. There is an indoor playground for smaller children upstairs next to the food court. Food is expensive and terrible so grab snacks at the 7-11 near the entrance to the playground. The park is well maintained and very clean. Children’s temperatures are checked before entering the indoor playgrounds. They break regularly and clean all equipment.
Lunch at Din Tai Fung in Tienmu
What’s a visit to Taiwan without scarfing down a couple trays of soup dumplings at Din Tai Fung? The Tienmu location is a 12 minute taxi from the Children’s Amusement Park. My uncle swears they make the best beef noodle soup. The wait is shorter than the Taipei 101 location. Try to make reservations if you can.
National Palace Museum
I’m not usually a fan of museums but I really enjoyed the National Palace Museum. It’s more of a history museum than art. It’s a little boring for kids so this is an opportunity for your infants or toddlers to nap in the strollers while you take in the royal treasures. The museum is a 10 min taxi from Din Tai fung.
Adjacent to the museum is Zhishan Garden. I’m not sure of the entrance fee. On our last visit the ticket booths were closed and it seemed like you pay what you want in a donation box. The pond is filled with large koi fish. Grab some fish pellets let the kids feed the koi. There are so many fish you’d think you could walk across the pond on their backs. This is a nice relaxing stop to rest a bit to recharge for the rest of the day.
There are several indoor shrimp fishing ponds on Zhi Shan Road. This area is an 11 minute taxi from Zhishan Garden. This is so fun for the whole family. You pay by the hour and grill the shrimp for a small meal. You won’t find any place like this in the US. As for which fishing pond, perhaps ask the taxi driver. Or stop at a couple and pick the least crowded. With less people the owner is usually more attentive and willing to help you catch shrimp, especially if you have small children. Less competition for shrimp means faster fishing and kids won’t get bored. If you get 2 shrimp on a single pole you get a free beer or soda.
Shilin Night Market
Once you’ve had your fill of shrimping, take the 14 minute cab ride to Shilin Night Market. Ask to be dropped off on Jihe Road near the food court entrance. The later you go the more crowded it gets. Even if you are too early for dinner there are lots of games and activities. My favorite is the giant fishing game. There are fish scooping stalls. These are harder to find these days. Spend the rest of the evening exploring the market. Eat, eat, eat! Oh, and do a little shopping too.