The Philippines is an exciting travel destination, welcoming more than 3 million tourists per year to its islands. While many of its visitors come from Asian nations, the U.S. is its second-largest market, according to the Philippines Department of Tourism, and English is one of the two main languages spoken in this country. According to a 2012 article at Forbes.com, the Philippines is one of the friendliest nations in the world, and the youngest visitors are welcome with a variety of kid-friendly activities that include amusement parks, museums and zoos.
Enchanted Kingdom bills itself as the Disneyland of the Philippines. This Santa Rosa City amusement park is divided into zones including the dinosaur-themed Boulderville with its kiddie rides, Spaceport, featuring the nation's only triple-loop roller coaster, and Victoria Park with its costumed characters and Grand Carousel. Star City, in Manila's CCP Complex, has a variety of rides for the whole family. Little ones can drive their own bumper cars or ride a miniature Ferris wheel, while older kids can enjoy a log flume ride or take a spin upside-down on the Philippines' only inverted roller coaster.
Splash Island, in Biñan City, is a water park featuring water slides, a lazy river and a series of giant inflatable platforms and structures that make it easy for children to play in the pool even if they don't want to get in too deep. The park also has several dry-land attractions that will appeal to older kids, including paintball and ATV rides. Ocean Adventure, in Subic Bay, is an aquarium which houses marine animals such as sharks, turtles and sea lions. One attraction sure to appeal to youngsters is the family dolphin encounter where you can get right in the water and play with one of these creatures.
The Avilon Zoo, in Barrio San Isidro, is the largest zoo in the Philippines, and houses its most diverse collection of animals -- more than 500 species. Children can experience some of these animals close at hand in the zoo's Farmland area, where they can feed giant tortoises, ponies, deer and donkeys. The Manila Zoo is much smaller, housing just more than 100 species, but it has all of the popular zoo favorites such as lions, tigers and elephants and animals native to the Philippines such as long-tailed macaques, bearcats and crocodiles. This zoo also features several playgrounds for the little ones, as well as a lagoon where you can rent a boat for a family outing on the water.
The Philippines has several interactive museums sure to appeal to kids' desire to explore and have fun, and parents' wish to have their kids learn as they play. The Mind Museum, in Bonifacio Global City, has more than 250 hands-on exhibits designed to teach kids about science. These exhibits fall into five categories: Atom, Earth, Life, Universe, and Technology, and the museum also has two outdoor parks where kids can learn about nature. Museo Pambata, in Manila, focuses on the social and natural sciences. Its themed areas include a neighborhood shop where kids can buy and sell play groceries, a replica of turn-of-the-century Manila, and a global village where children can play with dolls, toys and musical instruments from around the world.