Family holiday fun


Putri Zanina and Zalina Mohd Som list school holiday activities that the whole family can enjoy

DO you find yourselves doing the same things with your kids every school holiday?

There’s plenty more to do than just letting the kids play in the swimming pool in some resort or other. Here are some activities that will thrill toddlers, teenagers and even you, if you are game to go sky high or deep underwater. Or perhaps you lean towards “intellectual” stimulation. The choice is yours.

1. 4th Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

(Today till Sunday, Putrajaya)
If you have witnessed the invasion of colourful hot air balloons in Putrajaya last year or the years before, you will not want to miss it this time around.
And if you have not, the fourth edition of Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is an event that will surely give you a high. It may look like an affair for balloonists and like-minded people but the event has impressed itself as an outing for everyone — big or small, young or old, balloonist or otherwise.

The festival has much to offer. While the skies are dotted with 26 colourful balloons in all shapes from 12 countries, the grounds at Monumen Alaf Baru in Precinct 2 holds a myriad of activities.
These include a para motor exhibition, a bicycle exhibition, helicopter joy rides, tethered hot air balloon rides, a remote control aeroplane model demonstration, meet and greet sessions with the balloonists and the Mountain Dew Extreme Zone for the adventure-minded visitors.

For four days, from 7am to 9am every morning, all participating balloonists will compete in a Hare And Hound competition, the first of its kind to be held in the country.
For the competition, a pre-determined balloon (the hare) will take off, followed by the “hound” balloon at pre-determined intervals. The hare then lands at a site and lays out a large piece of fabric at the landing spot.

The hound then attempts to drop their markers as close to the centre of the fabric as possible. The closest marker achieves the highest score.
In the evenings, these balloonists will take to the skies again for another free-flying session.

The event will also see the return of the widely-talked about and highly anticipated “night glow” event on Saturday night, where the balloons light up in a synchronised manner to the sound of music, culminating in a fireworks display.
This year will not be short of uniquely shaped balloons. Look out for balloons shaped like a birthday cake, a kiwi, a coin box and a cellphone.

There’s no admission fee but do expect heavy traffic leading to the event grounds. It is best to get there using the KLIA Transit from KL Sentral Station and followed by the bus services provided from Park & Ride points.  
Details at or call 03-7981 8769.

2. Leonardo Da Vinci Exhibition

(Until April 15, Seri Kembangan, Selangor)

Whether you’re a big fan of Leonardo da Vinci or not, you will love the Leonardo Da Vinci Exhibition, about one of the world’s greatest artists and engineers.

But if you are very much into machines and inventions, the exhibition at Mines Exhibition Centre in Seri Kembangan, is definitely the place to go this school holiday.

It presents in excess of 60 machines from the original da Vinci drawings, presented in four themes — War Machines, Flying Machines, Nautical and Hydraulic and Principles Of Mechanics.
Machines displayed in these exhibitions are the result of fine craftsmanship, interpretation, skill and modern day technology. They were constructed over a number of years by a team of Florentine artisans from the Niccolai Teknoart SNC group.

To come up with the machines, the artisans paid particular attention to detail, including the use of materials of the time — wood, cotton, brass, iron and cord —  to reflect da Vinci’s objectives.

Computer technology was also part of the process, used to calculate the exact scale and proportion of each model.  There was a great deal of skill required to identify the secret clues, the decoys and encryptions planted by the artist.
Best of all, some of these exhibits are interactive and working machines — many of which are scale models and life-size — that allow visitors to touch and handle them to gain a first-hand experience of how they work.
Explanatory notes and illustrative panels with da Vinci’s drawings accompany each model.

Art lovers, especially those who love da Vinci’s artworks, will appreciate the Artwork Exhibition, which presents 15 high quality reproduction artworks, giant art panels, computer animations, film screening and rare copies of Leonardo Da Vinci Codices.

The exhibition is on loan from the Leonardo Da Vinci Museum in Florence, Italy. It has travelled the world, showing in major cities and centres in countries like German, Spain, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, the US and United Emirates of Arab.

Open daily from 10am. For more details, email to

3.School Holiday Treats

(Until Sunday, Sunway Pyramid, Bandar Sunway, Selangor)

Shopping malls are probably the most visited during school holidays. They are often  packed with activities and promotions for kids and parents. With the on-going GP Sale, there are more reasons to go on a family outing at the mall.  
At the Sunway Pyramid, the GP Sale-a-Bration campaign at the entire Egypt-inspired mall is a double dose of celebration for the family.

Besides discounts at various retail and dining outlets, Sunway Pyramid has also lined up activities that both the parents and children can enjoy together.
Kids Zone on LG1 will be hosting two exciting activities this weekend. Kids who want to hone and explore their creative talents in arts should not miss the handcraft workshop run by Da Vinci Creative Kids at 3pm and 4pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Before they get their hands all tied up with art crafts, they can join a story-telling session by Aunty Soon from MPH, ambassador of Usborne (publishing house) at 2pm.

For adrenaline pumping activities, head for Sunway Pyramid Ice — the country’s largest indoor ice-skating rink, the 48-lane Sunway Mega Lanes and Stars Archery.
Then make your way to the 12-screen Tanjong Golden Village Cineplex to catch your favourite 3-D movie at the country’s first Digital 3-D IMAX theatre.
Sunway Pyramid was recently named the country’s most favourite mall, beating more than 300 shopping malls nationwide. The award was the result of an online voting contest organised by Tourism Malaysia.
For more details, call 03-7494 3101 or log on to


All-year round, weather permitting. Taman Pertanian Malaysia, Shah Alam

For a taste of high adventure, bring your kids to Skytrex Adventure where they can walk, crawl, glide and swing in the sky. It’s a place where they can really monkey around in and you can join in the fun too.

Located in Taman Pertanian Malaysia (formerly known as Taman Bukit Cerakah) in Bukit Cahaya Seri Alam, Shah Alam, Skytrex Adventure activities are the first of their kind in the country. It promises “jungle trekking” like never before — you trek from tree to tree, shaded by natural canopy at a height that will leave you dizzy. The aerial obstacles are suspended in the air at between three metres and 22m (about the height of a seven-storey building).
There are three Skytrex circuits: Little Adventure, Big Thrill and Extreme Challenge.

Little Adventure is for newbies and little ones who which must at least be 1.1m tall. However, kids under 8 years old must be accompanied by an adult who will be joining in the climb.
It’ll be fun for the little ones to tackle the 23 challenges and mimic the behaviour of the animals that the challenges are named after. These include Rubah Terbang (Flying Fox), Tulang Naga (Dragon Bones) and Jungkit Arnab (Rabbit Flip-Flop).

The adventure ends with a thrilling 70m flying fox activity which takes them across two lakes to the finishing point.
Each person can complete the whole circuit in half an hour for each round. Max: Two hours.

Those game for bigger adventure should opt for the Big Thrill circuit with 26 challenges, which can be very difficult when you reach platforms which are 17m high. You have to cross Crazy Zig-Zag and fly on the Sky-crawl at the Bermuda Triangle! If you are not “lost” here, you get to experience The Earthquake, leap at the Happy Hopper and end the adventure with the grand finale — the Wild Revenge, which will take you to the finishing platform at a speed so exhilarating, you can hardly breathe.

This circuit takes two to three hours to complete and is meant for adults and kids aged 13 and above. Those younger must meet certain conditions including height requirement.
The mother of all Skytrex circuits is the Extreme Challenge that will definitely make any mother squirm. It offers 34 extreme challenges for adrenaline junkies. With some platforms reaching the height of 22m, it’s the ultimate in discovering the jungle animal in you.

It takes two to three hours to complete. Kids aged 13 and above can give it a go.

All participants must first go through Skytrex Initiation circuit before tackling Little Adventure, Big Thrill or Extreme Challenge circuits. Initiation is compulsory as participants are shown how to use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in compliance with safety system for high rope adventure.

Skytrex Adventure is certified by Cete Apave SudEurope, the main controlling body for high rope course and for rock climbing equipment in France.
The Skytrex Adventure Park is open on Saturday, Sunday and selected public holidays from 8.30am (for any number of participants).
On weekdays, the park is open for group bookings only (minimum of 25 persons).
Rate per person: Little Adventure RM35, Big Thrill RM45, Extreme Challenge RM50. Charges are not inclusive of Taman Pertanian Malaysia entry ticket (RM3 per adult, RM1 per child).
For details, call +601 3276 9841 (9am to 6pm) or email: or visit


Various venues, all-year round

Help your kids discover the wonders of the underwater world by enrolling them in Kids Scuba Programme, the country’s most successful diving training programme for kids.
It’s been around for more than 10 years and was introduced by dive master and Scuba School International Scuba Rangers instructor trainer and centre director Syed Abdul Rahman Syed Hassan.
The programme is open to children between 8 and 12 years.

To date Syed Abdul Rahman has trained more than 1,000 kids to become scuba rangers, which is part of the Scuba Schools International programme.
The Kids Scuba Discovery programme comprises an action-packed and fun scuba diving session in a swimming pool where the kids get a feel of being underwater, learn about diving equipment and perform basic scuba skills, such as playing underwater games. They also learn safety and underwater mobility techniques, including proper breathing techniques. Upon completing the programme, they will receive a set of Scuba Discovery Notes and a Scuba Discovery Certificate.

The programme is also open to family groups, including parents who wish to join their kids.
Scuba rangers can then go on to join the The Underwater Adventure programme in the open sea.

During school holidays, participants can join specially organised scuba camps at various marine parks to experience open water diving.
Families may also join the camps and enjoy games such as beach football and  telematches.  

If you missed the school holiday camp this month, here’s the Kids Scuba camping schedule for the rest of the year:

April 6-10: Liveaboard Dive Trip
May 26-29: Kids Scuba Camp Redang
June 2-5: Taman Negara Outdoor Trip
July 14-18: Bali Dive Trip
Aug 23-26: Kids Scuba Camp Langkawi
Aug 31-Sept 3: Pulau Tinggi  Dive Trip
Oct 26-29: Mabul Island Dive Trip
Nov 10-13: Kinabalu Park Outdoor Trip
Dec 7-11: Kids Scuba Camp Mabul/Sipadan

Details at Or call Syed Abdul Rahman at 019-3176 705 or email:


Little scuba ranger with his trainer in the Underwater Adventure programme

Leornado Da Vinci exhibition

Now, who isn’t excited looking at this sight of the much-anticipated Night Glow event

A bonding time with your kids while the hot air balloons dot the Putrajaya sky

Leave Your Comment

Leave Your Comment:

New Straits Times reserves the right not to publish offensive or abusive comments and those of hate speech, harassment, commercial promos and invasion of privacy. Your IP will be logged and may be used to prevent further submission.The views expressed here are that of the members of the public and unless specifically stated are not those of NST.