My Daughter Summer is an active 2.5years old toddler who loves outdoor, animals, loves to climb anything and love to jump in puddles.
Few months ago we embarked into journey of nature-rich parenting. We decided to intentionally bring her out to nature everyday even just an hour. Nature helps her to calm down and to be focus. It also helps us to cut down screen times and great way to get fresh air and vitamin D.
Due to the nature of our jobs we supposed to live in Kota kinabalu but we ended up living in Penang. I thought Penang has very little to offer when it comes to natural playground for my family (comparing it to Sabah) but I was wrong.
We don’t bring her to big parks everyday but if we do the list below are our must go places. Theres a lot of things you can do here. The best part is that most of these places are free! We try to avoid arcades, crowded and noisy places and mall playgrounds. I believe these places doesn’t help my daughter as much as natural playground does.
Heres my list of places my family visited. Warning: lots of photos here.
I love taking photos of my daughter and this is a good way to preserve these memories. Below are top 9 places we love to visit here in Penang.
- Saanen Goat Farm
Laid back but promising farm. I put this as my number one list because this is my favourite place to go in Balik Pulau area. Approximately 30 minutes away from town, Saanen goat farm offers your family a natural and unique experience in feeding goats, petting cute cats, dogs, rabbits and even some sugar gliders. All free of charge. They even provide free grass to feed the goats. We even pick lots of mulberries here and eat it fresh.
The way this farm earn is through selling their fresh goat products like goat ice cream, goat milk and goat yogurt.
2. Audi Dream Farm
This farm is located in Balik Pulau and just few minutes away from Saanan Goat farm.
There’s a lot of farm animals here. Horses, lots of species birds, rabbits, goats, geese, ducks and chickens. They also have lots of vegetable plantations that the kids can enjoy and learn.
Unlike in Saanan, you need to pay in this farm. 7rm for adults and 3rm for kids (3 years old above). For foreigners 15rm for adults and 7 for kids.
The place is well maintained. Have a lot of vegetable plantations and even flower plants. Summer enjoyed feeding the rabbits especially and my husband was ecstatic about feeding the birds.
3. Entopia Butterfly Garden
Newly renovated, its great place to expose your little ones to insects and bug world. Aside from lots of lovely butterflies, they also have different reptiles and opportunities to pet some of them. It’s pricey but worth a visit. They have mini theatre showing some animals in their normal habitat and some indoor museums that can educate kids about these little creatures.
4. Penang Hill
The monorail ascending to the top of the hill is an experience one cannot miss if in Penang. See the amazing view of Penang Island and overlooking the famous Penang Bridge. Kids can go to Owl Museum and enjoy watching the squirrels and monkeys roaming around the hill. You can also ride their tram for 30rm good for 5 pax and it will bring you around up to the Monkey Cup Cafe.
There’s also newly open attraction called The Habitat. It’s a tree top walk experience wherein you can see Penang Island 360deg.
5. Batu Ferringhi Beach
Don’t miss the sunset! It’s breathtaking. Visit around 5:30pm so your kiddo can play in the sand and play around without worrying about the Sun! I always love to pick pretty shells here together with my daughter Summer. She loves building sand castle and we love swimming together.
Kids can also experience riding a donkey or a horse in the beach. Adults can enjoy water sports here like parasailing, banana boat, jetski etc.
6. Youth Park
A huge park for family with a lot of trees and monkeys roaming around. There’s a big playground for kids. Lots of slides, see saws, swings and monkey bars. You walk further in you will see public pools that are decent and a small water falls. There’s also a big skate park. Summer enjoyed watching big kids playing skating boards here.
7. Penang National Park
This is my favourite place in Penang. You can hike easily to monkey beach for about an hour depending on your speed. Along the way you will see beautiful hidden beaches and really beautiful scenery. If you are fit you can carry young toddlers in baby carrier. I saw lots of fathers carry their child in hiking carriers.
You can also have the option to ride a motor boat. It will cost you 80rm for 2 way. Your lucky if there are other passenger to share the cost. What was the most memorable thing we did here? It’s digging clams in the sand, putting it in our buckets and actually cooking it for our dinner.
We swim here and also did lots of water sports.
8. Botanical Gardens
This park is just 15min away from us so we go here often. You can enjoy amazing nature walks here as the place is preserved forest. You can also have option to ride buggy for 10rm (foreigners price) and 3rm (local price)per adult.
There’s a Japanese garden where you can see lots of flower plants too.
Summer enjoys watching lots of squirrels, monitor lizards and moneys roaming freely in this garden.
9. Relau Metropolitan Park
This place is a hidden gem for me. Probably not very popular to a lot of tourist or expats like me but I’m glad my friend recommended it. It’s very quiet here and not a lot of people playing in playground compare to youth park. There’s a mini swimming pool, exercise equipments for adults and lots of huts and benches to rest.
When you are here you felt you are with nature. You can find tropical fruit trees (durian, mangoes, jackfruit etc) that are fruitful when they are in season.
Summer also managed to pick some bananas, found some spiders and even small frog.
I’m grateful to live here in Penang and to have a chance to raise my toddler here. I believe this will help her a lot in learning different things about her world. It also helps us her parents to enjoy parenting her and showing her the surroundings.
What is helpful I think is to reflect in the end of the day what we have done together. For example, if we went to the beach that day and did lots of activities there. I will then recall all those things before we sleep and let her think what is her favourite thing we have done. She will say, “pick shells or build sand castle”. I really enjoyed doing this as I feel connected to her and what we have done together and I believe it is helping her to be mindful too.
Its definitely difficult to consistently bring out your child to these places but it is all worth it especially for kids below 7 years old.
These books motivates me a lot when it comes to the importance of outdoor play and open-air learning :