Penang is one of the best tourist destinations in Malaysia – George Town is a magical place, but the rest of the island has plenty to do and see, too. There are also loads of child-friendly attractions, some of them nothing short of fantastic. This may well be the most comprehensive list out there of things to do with kids in Penang – hopefully it is useful both for those living on the island or visiting with kids.
Sightseeing with Kids in Penang
George Town has plenty of museums, of which at least the following are interesting for kids, too. Some of them are proper museums, others more geared towards photo-ops, so have a look at the reviews and entry prices before heading out:
Penang Gold Museum is a small museum, but the kids can learn how to dig gold in a riverbank – in the man made river inside the building.
[closed for renovation] Penang State Museum and Art Gallery at Farquhar Street is all about Penang history, culture, people and heritage.
Wonderfood Museum Penang on Lebuh Pantai is weird-but-true-type glimpse into Malaysian food.
Batik Painting Museum on Armenian Street.
Ghost Museum on Lebuh Melayu.
Upside Down Museum on Lebuh Kimberly.
Camera Museum located on Muntri Street.
Penang Toy Museum in Teluk Bahang.
Teddyville museum on the ground floor of the DoubleTree Resort, this museum has life-sized teddy bears that impersonate famous Penangites. Kids also can create their own teddy bear to take home.
IBox Glass Museum located on Jalan Burma lets kids make their own glass.
Colonial Penang Museum located at Jalan Ds. Ramanathan Scott Road.
Made in Penang Interactive Museum allows visitors to be a part of Penang’s lifestyle, culture and history. The exhibits cover figurines that tell about the culture and history of Penang as well as giant 3D art pieces that shows us the uniqueness of Penang.
3D Trick Art Museum and Time Tunnel have the usual 3D photo opps.
The Top is the latest attraction in Penang, and offers a fantastic view from the top of one the highest buildings in the city. It also has “Avenue of Adventures” with kiddie rides and a dinosaur exhibition.
Photo: The Top
Kek Lok Si is the largest and one of the finest temples complex in South East Asia. You can take the inclined lift to the top of the temple for a few ringgit.
Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani, Waterfall Hilltop Temple, is more tranquil than Kek Lok Si and has a great view.
Snake Temple at Sungai Kluang, Bayan Lepas, known as Shé Miào in Mandarin, is a unique temple with real snakes coiling around the pillars or trees in the temple.
Tow Boo Kong Temple (北海斗母宫), also called the Nine Emperor Gods Temple located at Jalan Raja Uda, Butterworth. Every year, the Nine Emperor Gods Festival is held on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month. This is when the spirits of the Nine Emperor Gods are believed to dwell in the stars descend to earth and possess the spirit mediums, putting them in a trance.
Sri Mahamariamman Temple in Little India is the oldest Hindu temple in Penang and has impressive sculptures of gods and goddess.
Reclining Buddha Wat Chaiyamangalaram in Pulau Tikus is a Thai Busshist temple, known as Sleeping Buddha by the locals.
Dhammikarama Burmese Temple is a beautiful Burmese Buddhist temple across the Reclining Buddha.
Khoo Kongsi is one of the must-sees in George Town. There are some wax figurines downstairs to give you an idea what life looked like in Penang hundreds of years ago.
Clan Jetties are an interesting place to imagine bygone years. Now busy with tourists, they are best visited in the late afternoon when it’s not so hot and the tour buses have left for the day.
Cheong Fatt Tze (The BlueMansion) on Leith Street has guided tours that take about 45min. If you’d like to stay a the mansion, there are 18 boutique rooms to choose from.
Fort Cornwallis is the largest standing fort in Malaysia, and while nothing spectacular, it may intrigue those interested in fortresses and cannons. There is lots of space to run around, and there is a playground nearby.
Penang Avatar Secret Garden at Tanjung Tokong is a new attraction, with nighttime lights by the beach that look truly impressive. Free entry. Note that parking may be tight.
Parks, playgrounds, farms and hikes in Penang
Penang Municipal Park (previously called Youth Park) located on Jalan Kebun Bunga is a fantastic place to relax and let the kids run off steam. There is a paddling pool for the kids, playgrounds (including an accessible one) and a giant chess board. Botanic Gardens are pretty and there is no entrance fee.
Photo: Penang Municipal Park
Traffic park, Taman Lalulintas between Jalan Lim Eow Thoon, Jalan Nirvana and Lebuhraya Bodhi, is a great spot for learning the traffic rules. There is also a small playground.
Escape adventure play park at Teluk Bahang has rides and games designed for a wide range of age groups, abilities, and energy levels. Operating hours: Tues – Sun, 10am – 6pm (closed on Monday).
Tropical Spice Garden in Teluk Bahang has lots of space to roam and offers garden tours, kids’ nature programmes, cooking classes and night walks.
Penang Hill‘s historic furnicular is fun, but try to come early and during the week to avoid queues. Penang Hill has a nice breeze and lots of space to roam. The Monkeycup is the only Nepenthes garden in peninsular Malaysia and has more than 100 varieties of pitcher plants.
Penang National Park (Taman Negara Pulau Pinang) at Teluk Bahang is the smallest in Malaysia. There is a canopy walk, but it is temporarily closed, check here for updates. If you like to hike you can do the 3 km trail to the beautiful Monkey Beach. There is also a small turtle conservation centre on Kerachut Beach. You can arrange a boat to pick you up at the beach from the stalls by the entrance.
Bukit Mertajam on the mainland is the most popular hiking destination in these parts. Those who can brave the climb will be rewarded with a great view.
At Bao Sheng Durian Farm the kids can learn about durians, taste them during the season and admire the view.
Bukit Dumbar Recreational Park in Jelutong is a green spot popular for jogging and flying kites. There is also a kids’ playground.
Straits Green Playground-by-the-sea next to Straits Quay at Tanjung Tokong has a playground with water spray (4:30pm-6:30pm) and a jogging and cycling track.
Occupy Beach Street & Car-free Sunday: Lebuh Pantai turns car-free every Sunday 7am-1pm and the place transforms into a street market. Bike rental available.
Ayer Itam Dam and Taman Rimab are popular places for evening walks, jogging, cycling and picnics with a view of the city, located on a hill just to the south of Kek Lok Si Temple. Air Itam Dam is a good starting point for jungle trails and gets busy on weekends. There is a pedestrian pathway around the dam reservoir with access to a number of jungle trails. Note that there is limited parking available.
Titi Kerawang is a small waterfall, a short walk from the road.
Tropical fruit farm in Teluk Bahang is a good place to get to know the local fruit.
Kidland at Prangin Mall by Komtar is an indoor playland where kids can try out different jobs and earn money – to be used for rides and activities.
Adventure Zone at the Golden Sands gives parents a few hours of peace when kids slide and climb: there are drop slides and multiple sections of modular play equipment, and a separate toddler zone.
Cartoon World is on the 5th floor of Gurney Paragon shopping mall.
Sports with kids in Penang
Laser Battle Penang is located at Queensbay Mall.
Go-karting at Drift Kart at Autocity Juru, at Perai on the mainland. Drift Kart is outdoors, and will close if it’s raining heavily – contact them before heading out to avoid disappointment.
Bowling can be found at Penang Bowl in George Town, the oldest bowl in Penang that opens daily till late, at Aspiration Centre located at Sunshine Square, Bayan Baru or on the mainland at Mega Lanes on the 4th floor of Mega Mall, Seberang Jaya.
Arts & Crafts
Straits Quay Arts & Crafts runs arts classes on the weekends for kids over 6.
The School of Hard Knocks, Royal Selangor Visitor Centre at Straits Quay offers visitors a chance to try out crafting a pewter dish the traditional way using tools like the hammer, mallet and wooden mold.
Rozana’s Batik on Lebuh Acheh is one of the most family-friendly batik painting options in Penang with classes on both batik and tie-dye. Do book ahead!
In2Art offers arts programmes and classes at eGate Penang, Level 5.
Entopia (previously known as Penang Butterfly Farm) at Teluk Bahang is a tropical bird sanctuary with a great educational touch. There are indoor and outdoor activities in the park. Read our review on Entopia here.
Penang Bird park, also known as Butterworth Bird Park, is located at Seberang Jaya.
There are at least two goat farms in Penang: At Saanen Dairy Goat Farm in Balik Pulau the kids can feed the goats, meet other farm animals and try out goat’s milk products. Similar activities are available at Happy Goat Farm. Audi Dream Farm offers farm visits complete with meeting the animals, cycling and other activities and buying the fresh farm produce.
Aquarium Penang – Institut Penyelidikan Perikanan (FRI Aquarium Batu Maung) is a small, low key aquarium at Batu Maung.
Countryside Stables at Balik Pulau offers horse riding from hacks for experienced riders to horse carriage rides and pony rides for kids.
Purrfect Cat Café on Muntri street may interest cat-lovers.
Science & Technology
Tech Dome is a science discovery centre located at the iconic KOMTAR geodesic dome.
Penang Science Cluster in China Street Ghaut, is a non-profit organization with a mission to spark interest in science and technology, create a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship among our young in Penang and Malaysia. They run science cafés and various workshops
Tours in Penang
You can find many Penang tour companies in George Town, offering anything from half-a day to few days packages. Tours by Locals has been recommended and LFSS organises interesting tours like the Evening of Lights at Khoo Kongsi. Junglewalla specialises in nature tours.
Cooking schools in Penang
Penang Port is the hub for ferry services linking George Town (Raja Tun Uda Ferry Terminal) and Butterworth on the mainland (Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal).
Hop-On Hop-Off Penang is another great way to explore Penang.
There is also a free shuttle bus called Rapid CAT (The Central Area Transit) that serves the central areas of George Town.
Trishaw is a great mode of transport to get around central George Town. Agree on a rate, sit back and enjoy!
Bike tours are offered by big and small tour operators, such as Matahari Cycle Tours & Travel and Metro Bike.
Or grab one of the new LinkBikes, Gergetowns city bikes that can be found and dropped off in 25 spots around the island.
Photo credit: Link Bike
Penang Digital Library
George Town Public Library
Penang Children’s Library has not only books, but a pretend-play area called I-Play Toy Library. For a small annual fee kids have access to a variety of toys and dress-up clothes perfect for role play.
Annual festivals in Penang
- Penang Anime Matsuri in May
- Bon Odori Festival in July
- Penang International Dragon Boat Festival in December.
- For Wesak Penang’s Buddhists take to the streets around Jalan Burmah in a night-long procession to celebrate the founding and founder of their religion.
- Tai Tong Restaurant is a perfect restaurant to visit if before Mid-Autumn (Mooncake festival) – many lantern hangs in the shop for sale.
- The best Chinese New Year lantern decoration can be found on Jalan Raja Uda, before CNY.
Click here for a calendar of events in Penang.