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A Holiday Guide to Beijing for Families
Despite the long history of the Cold War and all the mystique of the cloak and dagger operations, Beijing is now a terrific holiday destination for families. As a group traveling together, each individual from the children to the grandparents will find something interesting to see or do.

Children are often quite taken with the various acrobatics shows that are performed across the city. The acrobats are all skilled professionals who perform death-defying feats in a variety of combinations. There's also the Beijing Zoo, which is inhabited by rare animals including Giant Pandas, Sichuan golden snub-nosed monkeys, Manchurian tigers, white-lipped deer, Tibetan yaks, sea turtles, polar bears, kangaroos, and zebras.

The history lovers must visit the many historically important locations in the city. These include the Great Wall of China, Tiananmen Square, and Forbidden City, which was built during the Ming and Qing dynasty. Locals have a great deal of fun wading into and fishing in the large moat around the Forbidden City. A separate ticket has to be bought for entry to Tiananmen Square. Tourists can buy a certificate with their name on it in Chinese characters (if requested) to mark the date and time that they visited the famous Square. National Day on October 1 is one of the best times of year to visit it, since the troops will be out on their maneuvers in full splendor. Forbidden City contains more than 800 buildings and pavilions; each one carries items of historical interest. A guide may be particularly useful to explain the significance of some of these items.

The Summer Palace, which is one of several World Heritage sites in the city, is a huge attraction with its creative Chinese landscaping in the gardens. Families can enjoy some time together in the gardens since they also serve as a recreational park. The Temple of Heaven is also a must-see for the architecture and history surrounding it.

For those who love to travel the world, the Beijing World Park offers a glimpse at some of the most famous monuments around the world, such as London's Tower Bridge, the Eiffel Tower, the Egyptian pyramids, and the New York Twin Towers. The kids will be particularly happy with the park's Mickey Mouse chocolate fountain.

For the ladies, there are plenty of opportunities to shop till you drop or spend a pleasant evening at the Peking Opera. Wangfujing Street is one of Beijing's most famous shopping districts. Complete with everything from department stores to food stalls serving "interesting" specialties, such as sparrows, scorpions, crickets and silkworm grubs, among other regular items.
About the Author
Orson Johnson writes for Holiday Velvet, a website providing Beijing holiday rental accommodation and worldwide holiday rentals.
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