Summer holiday may be a distant memory, but winter break is just around the corner, another chance to pack up the family and head for the horizon – which may fill trip-planning parents with equal parts joy and dread. For every twinkle in a child's eye as they discover the world, there are often ten renditions of the old "I'm bored" song and dance.
Fortunately for guests at Peninsula Hotels' nine luxury outposts across the globe, the Peninsula Family Moments program, running until the end of this year, combines family-friendly savings with kid-oriented experiences that get little visitors involved in the destination and its culture. Cooking dim sum in Hong Kong, making straw puppets in Beijing, learning a little martial arts in Bangkok or taking a surf course in Beverly Hills, each is designed to make kids feel like a part of the place, so they'll take home more than just T-shirts as souvenirs.
As part of the program, Peninsula hotels around the world compiled 'insider' tips for the top ten things to see and do in their respective cities. Put together by little local residents themselves, each 'Pen Ten' list was made for kids, by kids.
Here, we've borrowed the ideas from the masters and put together a Global Pen Ten selection of the most active, educational and all-around interesting things to do once your clan has checked into your Peninsula family suite.
The Peninsula Hong Kong
When staying at the brand's flagship inn, kids can take a stroll through the Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden with its numerous plant species and animal residents both wild and tame.
The Peninsula Beijing
At BeYou World, kids can be kids and adults at the same time. Set up as a mini city complete with roads, shops, restaurants and all the necessities of a modern town, children are encouraged to pick a career and play at work – fighting 'flames' as firemen, cooking real pizza as chefs, piloting mini airplanes – under the supervision of trained caregivers.
The Peninsula Shanghai
Just because you're in the middle of the city doesn't mean you have to forego ski adventures this winter. Shanghai's Yinqixing Indoor Skiing Site is out of the elements and free of trees, making it a great place for young first-timers to build up their ski legs.
The Peninsula Bangkok
Against an enchanting backdrop of wild flowers, tropical ferns and a running waterfall, watch over 500 butterflies – including several rare species – flit between blossoms at the Bangkok Butterfly Garden and Insectarium.
The Peninsula Manila
Culture vultures-in-training will be in heaven at the Museo Pambata in Manila. No stiff artefacts and inaccessible artworks here – the exhibitions are interactive, exploratory and discoverable, designed for kids to learn by doing, seeing and maneuvering.
The Peninsula New York
The original 1922 Jane's Carousel has been moved to the Brooklyn Bridge Park, affording riders and watchers views of downtown Manhattan, as well as both the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. Grab ice cream afterward at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory housed in a 1920’s fireboat house.
The Peninsula Chicago
In the summer, take a seat for one of America's most iconic sports played by one of its most beloved teams. The Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox are two major league baseball teams with big-time fans. If you're visiting later in the year, check out the Chicago Fire soccer (read: football) team in action.
The Peninsula Beverly Hills
The equine affine won't be able to say "neigh" to a horseback trail ride through the Hollywood Hills, catching some of the best views of Los Angeles and its scenic mountain-valley habitat.
The Peninsula Tokyo
When in Rome, right? Gaming gurus can step into the six-story ultimate arcade at Club Sega in Akihabara, while lovers of all things pink and feline should check out the Hello Kitty Store at Sanrio World Ginza – like being inside the mind of a Hello Kitty mega-fan. Either way, it's a pilgrimage to the source of the phenomenon.
For more information and complete Pen Ten lists, visit the Peninsula Hotels homepage