Tucked away in a little corner of Pudong’s Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park, the Shanghai Animation and Comics Museum, may be a little bit out of the way, (the nearest metro station, Jinke Lu, is still a 14RMB cab ride away), but the three-storey museum, packed with children’s cartoon heroes, plenty of kid-friendly activities, a 3D movie theatre, and a wide selection of Shanghai’s own animation history, is sure to keep families entertained all afternoon.
Start with ‘The Evolution’ hall, easily the most interesting and entertaining of the three. Here the history of animation is presented in a entertaining way with cartoon favourites, Mickey Mouse, Jessica and Roger Rabbit, Kungfu Panda, and even Astroboy dotting the information points. There is also the chance to watch some of the earliest animation films ever made, including Steamboat Willie, the first animation film with sound; and Flowers and Trees, the first colour animation film, (be prepared to hoist the little ones up though, as the screens scattered throughout the section are at adult eye-level).
The next hall, ‘Animation’ offers a look at Chinese animation through the ages including an wide selection of Shanghai’s oldest cartoons and details on Shanghai’s most famous illustrators. However, while this provides plenty of colour, the static exhibitions are likely to be of more interest to adults than very young children.
For more interactive activities head upstairs to the second floor, where you will find the real highlight of the museum, the clay moulding station. From 10RMB, kids can spend a couple of hours recreating their favourite cartoon characters in ceramics, although prices can go up to about 100RMB depending on the complexity and amount of material needed. Here, children can also try tracing illustrations, sand painting or trying out some early video games on computer consoles.
The third-floor theatre (an additional 50-60RMB) is best avoided however, as its 3D movies are only screened once a day during the week (at 6.15pm, after the museum closes) and only twice on weekends.
Audio tours are available for 10RMB each, with a deposit of 100RMB. Guided tours (Chinese only) are available for 20RMB and last about 40 minutes for a tour of the first two floors of the museum.