Rich with history and bursting with action-packed attractions that appeal to children and adults alike, Nanjing is a city that’s ripe for exploration. Whether you’re seeking a culturally stimulating tour around ancient sites or high-octane water park thrills, our guide on family-friendly things to do in Nanjing points you in the direction of the Chinese metropolis’ most exciting locations.
Meet dinosaurs at Nanjing Paleontology Museum
Travelling back to the Jurassic era via colossal dinosaur bones and ancient fossils is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Nanjing Paleontology Museum is one of the world’s largest of its kind and is home to awe-inspiring displays of the giant beasts that once ruled the earth. The star of the show is its 70-foot long Mamenchisaurus skeleton that dominates the main museum hall—aspiring Darwins will certainly be impressed.
Take a dip at Happy Magic Water Cube
If its name alone doesn’t inspire joy, Happy Magic Water Cube’s wacky water rides certainly will. In Tangshan’s acres of pretty greenery, the water park presents the daredevil AquaLoop—the world’s only looping waterslide that dips to a knuckle-whitening 45 degree angle. Children who fancy flexing their surfing skills should head to FlowRider where they can cruise the crest of a wave. One of Asia’s largest water parks, Happy Magic Water Cube guarantees an afternoon of thrills and spills.
Discover old China at Gan’s Grand Courtyard
One of the best things to do in Nanjing is to get a taste for its fascinating heritage and history. Gan’s Great Courtyard is a 200-year-old estate, once home to the Qing Dynasty’s noble Gan family. Most of the rooms’ interiors have been lovingly restored to their former glory with mahogany furnishings and exquisite antiques throughout. There are beautifully manicured gardens with ponds and small boutiques where you’ll find local craftspeople creating and selling their wares.
See marine life up close at Nanjing Underwater World
An excellent aquarium that’s home to nearly 10,000 fascinating creatures from the deep, Nanjing Underwater World makes one of the most exhilarating family-friendly things to do in Nanjing. Catch a show of dives and splashes at the Dolphinarium, spot the waddling inhabitants of Penguin Island and take a stroll through its 74m-long underwater tunnel as sharks glide overhead. The Jellyfish Palace teems with an incredible array of colourful, ethereal creatures that are enchantingly illuminated.
Explore Purple Mountain
Rising into the clouds and presiding like an emperor over Nanjing, Purple Mountain dominates the city’s skyline. Aside from being a majestic natural treasure, Purple Mountain is home to key historic sites and cultural relics that beg to be explored. The Xiaoling Mausoleum of Ming Dynasty and Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum are imperial monuments and the final resting places for icons in Chinese history like Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang and Sun Yat-sen, the founder of the Republic of China. Purple Mountain is incredibly scenic too. Its Botanical Garden blooms with decorative and medicinal plants.
Situated on the south bank of the Yangtze River, Jumeirah Nanjing is an ideal base for a family break in the city.