Penanging

Local children look on as Merle and Mathilda play at Escape.

Local children look on as Merle and Mathilda play at Escape.

We hit the ground running in Penang, since there is simply so much for families to enjoy here. Several of our favorite outings were within minutes of our Miami Green apartment. This was a relief after the hours we spent driving to these types of places in around Bali. Another added perk: Mathilda, still at the tender age of three, was always free.


First up, the Tropical Spice Garden, a lush, verdant showcase of plants and flowers native to this region. Situated on a forested hillside next to the sea, it is an outdoor, buzzing, thriving, impeccably labeled display, with an accompanying audio program the kids found quite enthralling.

Mathilda listens to a lovely voice with a British accent describe the merits of the world's rainforest.

Mathilda listens to a lovely voice with a British accent describe the merits of the world’s rainforest.

When I am in these places, I dream about having a green house in our home.

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The huge swing above the garden was magical.

To our surprise, we found a brightly painted configuration of platforms and slides at the top of the garden.
To our surprise, we found a brightly painted configuration of platforms and slides at the top of the garden.

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Tummy-slider,  Mathilda.

Tummy-slider, Mathilda.

I just love these places that clean the lungs as well as the spirit.


We have a butterfly museum near us in Colorado, but the Penang Butterfly Farm takes it to the next level. This place was filled with so many butterflies, they were landing on our clothes, even our noses. Mathilda was thoroughly enchanted. Meanwhile, Merle delighted in the displays of intensely creepy creatures, including massive fighting beetles and millipedes. Observing a wiggling cocoon always gets me excited. I saw this for the first time a few months ago in Thailand.

 

I will miss the beauty and variety of butterflies I have seen all over Southeast Asia.

I will miss the beauty and variety of butterflies I have seen all over Southeast Asia.

Also just down the road from us is Escape, a new, top-notch, Eco-conscious adventure park in the jungle.

Mathilda tears it up at Escape.

Mathilda tears it up at Escape.

It features rope courses, crazy slides, and climbing challenges even for kids Merle and Mathilda’s age. Monkey School is an awesome section with mini zip lines combined with an obstacle course.


Merle’s favorite was Foxy Burrow, a little house where he had to find his way out through a maze in the dark.
Merle's favorite was Foxy Burrow, a little house where he had to find his way out through a maze in the dark.
He also tackled Go Ape in order to ready himself for his upcoming Colorado climbing season.
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Eric, you should start charging for use of your rope swing. By the way, if you cannot see Merle, don’t worry, he is up in the air somewhere.


Not only was Escape fun, but it was also challenging enough mentally and physically to instill a sweet sense of confidence in both kids.


Nothing like riding bikes, and what better place to do it than beside the sea.
I found a great bicycle rental shop nearby at Straits Quay, a high-end residential, retail and dining development. Its lovely promenade by the water gave us a chance to catch a breeze, enjoy the view, and exchange hellos with friendly locals.


Planning the chance for Chris to ride with the kids was a hit. They are all itching to get home for new bikes and more riding.
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George Town beckons in the distance. Street art, food, temples, and Penang’s exquisite Botanical Gardens are next.

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