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When picturing kid-friendly family vacations abroad, Manila might not be the first place that comes to mind. But there are actually lots of kid-friendly places in Manila that your child will love.
We’ve been to the Philippines several times with our children and it’s one of their favorite places. Of course, it’s also where my husband is from, so we have a personal connection to the city as well.
But our personal ties to the city have given us even more of an opportunity to seek out the best places to visit in Manila for kids and families. Trust us, these are places you don’t want to miss!
Tips for Visiting Manila with Kids
How to get around Manila with kids
Getting around in Manila can be tricky because traffic is terrible. Really terrible. Something that looks like a short distance on a map can take hours. And that’s typically true any time of the day, not just “rush hour”.
Honestly, there is no perfect option for getting around. But our preferred method of travel when we’re visiting Manila with our kids is using Grab, a ride-sharing service common in Asia. It’s convenient because you can use an app to request a ride and to pay, eliminating the need for cash.
Car seats are not commonly used in the Philippines. If you’re planning on bringing one, Grab often has options for securing a car seat (more often than not taxis will not have seat belts accessible).
For more details about how to navigate Manila transportation with kids, see this post.
Where to stay in Manila with kids
Because traffic is so terrible in Manila, it’s best to stay close to the attractions you want to visit. That way you’re not wasting so much time in transit.
Located right next to the airport is Resorts World, which includes a lot of the main hotel chains (Hilton, Marriott, Holiday Inn, etc).
You can literally walk to these hotels from the airport using the sky-bridge from the international terminal (Terminal 3). The hotels will also have airport shuttles if you prefer that route.
Located in resorts world is also a large mall and a casino.
The BEST kid-friendly places in Manila
Although all of these attractions are in the Metro Manila area, they are not necessarily close to each other (especially given Manila traffic…). So make sure to plan ahead to visit attractions near where you are and close to each other.
DreamPlay is a DreamWorks themed activity center for kids. It’s located in the City of Dreams, which is a casino complex and a mall.
There is so much here that your child will enjoy! There are slides (small and large), 3D and 4D shows, cooking classes, climbing walls, a puppet show, and more. And it’s all centered around the DreamWorks characters your children know and love.
You can reenter the same day, which we found convenient since there was so much to do. We were able to leave, take a nap, and come back for more fun later in the day!
Children over 10 can be left on their own as long as their parents drop them off and sign a waiver.
Some of the bigger slides and activities require children to be over 120 cm, but there is still plenty to keep younger children entertained. Our son was three-and-a-half and couldn’t stop talking about how much fun he had!
Located in the Mall of Asia, Lakbay Museo takes you on a cultural journey through the Philippines. On their website, they call it an “interactive millennial museum”.
Inside, you’ll have the opportunity to sample local treats, witness (and participate in, if you choose) traditional dance, play regional instruments, and take LOTS of photos!
The photo opportunities are one of the main attractions of the museum, so this is not a day you want to leave your camera at home!
The best word to describe Lakbay Museo would be FUN! It is such an entertaining, engaging experience. The staff is amazing and go out of their way to make sure you have a great experience.
We loved it, our kids loved, it and we would definitely go again!
As the first children’s interactive museum in the Philippines, Museo Pambata offers an engaging experience for children and families alike!
The museum is made up of various rooms containing themed interactive exhibits. Some of our favorites included the room on the human body and an exhibit where you can pretend to buy and sell in models of traditional Filipino shops.
The museum isn’t huge, but give yourself a couple of hours to make it through all of the rooms.
Just across the street from Museo Pembata is Rizal Park. Located in downtown Manila, Rizal Park is one of the largest urban parks in Asia. It is dedicated to the national hero of the Philippines, Jose Rizal.
Rizal Park stretches across almost 150 acres of land. In the park, you can find broad, grassy stretches, a massive water fountain, and beautiful gardens. Parks really don’t exist in Manila, so if you’re looking for a park experience, this is pretty much it.
It is one of the best places to visit in Manila if you want to take a break and relax as you stroll around the lush vegetation. There is also a small train that you can ride around the walkway of the park for a modest fee. The train was, of course, the highlight of the experience for my children.
Art in Island
If you’re looking for kid friendly places in Manila, you have to take a trip to Art in Island. Art in Island is a trick art museum located in Quezon City. The 3D art is painted in such a way that you are able to appear as part of the picture!
This is one of our favorite places to visit in Manila with our kids!
The murals are beautifully painted and really do trick the eye to look three-dimensional! There are lots of pictures to engage with and each has markings on the ground telling you where to stand to get the best possible shot.
This is another place where you absolutely want to bring your camera. It’s so fun posing creatively for pictures and the whole family will be delighted with the pictures you walk away with.
Fun City in Ali Mall
Fun City is a hidden gem in Manila. Tucked away in Ali Mall, Quezon City, this is one of the best indoor playground I’ve ever been to. And few people know about it! It really is catered to locals, as it would be tricky for tourists to find unless they knew it was there.
There is so much to do at this play center, my kids didn’t even know were to begin. And by the time we left I felt like we’d barely scratched the surface of what there was to experience.
Bouncy houses, a ball pit, dance rooms, slides, dress-up opportunities, a working excavator, ride-on toys, a sand room, water table activities…the list goes on.
Really, there is SO much to do here, you could spend all day. This was one of our favorite kid-friendly places in Manila. If you’re visiting Manila with young kids, this is one place you don’t want to miss.
Manila Ocean Park
This marine-themed park is located just down the street from Rizal Park.
The main attractions include a tunnel aquarium, a jellyfish exhibit, and an exhibit on creepy crawlies and snakes. There are also several engaging performances, including a bird show and a sea lion show.
While the main attractions of the oceanarium are definitely worth a visit, we felt that the smaller exhibits didn’t have a lot to offer. But if you stick with the big-ticket items, you’ll have a fun and memorable experience!
We bought the eight attraction pass and felt like we had plenty to do for the three hours that we were there. There are lots of food options inside, so it’s easy to find something for lunch or for a snack.
Note that it’s cheaper to book online before you go and children under 2 feet tall are free.
Intramuros is a historic walled city within Manila with sites dating back several centuries to the Spanish occupation of the Philippines.
Within Intramuros, you will find forts, museums, churches, historic sites, and of course, the famous walls that once completely enclosed the city.
A fun way to explore Intramuros is by kalesa (horse-drawn carriage). You can negotiate with one of the many kalesa drivers you’ll find along the streets for a tour with stops at the major attractions in Intramuros.
There are lots of sights to see in Intramuros, but some of our favorites were the Manila Cathedral and Fort Santiago.
There are so many great places to travel in the Philippines that the capital city is often overlooked. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t great, kid-friendly places in Manila
If you’re planning a trip to the Philippines with kids, consider taking some time to explore what Manila has to offer!
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