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Guide to Expo fun spots for children

THE major film in the USA Pavilion tells a story about young people meeting at World Expo 2030 - and realizing all of them had visited World Expo Shanghai 20 years before, back in 2010.

When they meet in 2030, all these young people are elites in their fields and they start sharing experiences. They find that all of them were inspired by some exhibitions at the Expo Shanghai.

The story reminds us that the World Expo should be very important to children. Inspirations during the 184-day event may stay with them for their entire lives and even affect their lives.

Theoretical forums, exotic architecture and complicated technologies may not interest the next generation. But many exhibitions and activities are sure to draw them in, make them think, spark ideas and discussions - and be a whole lot of fun.

Here are some of the most attractive exhibitions for children younger than 10 years old. Parents should not let their kids miss the Expo.

Good news: children under 1.2 meters tall get in free.

No.3 dock

Abilia Experience Center

The project simulates a real community and children, aged seven to 15, can choose among 25 professions, including doctor, teacher, policeman/woman, banker, engineer, scientist and many others.

The idea is to give them ideas about professions they might want to pursue.

Every day three 90-minute simulations are staged.

The interior, equipment, props and work uniforms seem authentic. The children wear uniforms and receive virtual payment for their work.

The area includes a media center, newspaper agency, power company, bank, police station, fire station, hospital and other typical work centers.


Free chocolate

When children (and adults) run low on energy and need a sugar fix, the Belgium Pavilion is the place to go.

A chocolate factory offers a view of the chocolate-making process.

Everyone gets free chocolate and kids can eat their fill.

Some of the chocolate will be made into figures of Shanghai's landmark buildings.

There's a quiz and lucky draws for children.

First prizes are a trip to Belgium and a diamond cut in Belgium.


Alpine tram ride

Parents can take their children to the Switzerland Pavilion when they feel tired after a busy day at the Expo. Inside they can relax and take a journey through the Swiss countryside, from meadows to cities to the Alps and its glaciers.

The chairlift ride is enormously popular. The 10-minute journey takes visitors on a tour and carries them up and outdoors to the roof garden. Tram and part of the garden are covered in case of rain.

The pavilion also features a 10-meter-high screen in the atrium, showing the IMAX film "The Alps," about a mountaineer who died in conquering one of the notoriously treacherous peaks - and his son who followed him and succeeded.


Cirque du Soleil

World-famous Cirque du Soleil, which only performed in China in 2007, brings its "Quidam" show to the Expo.

Children will be able to get up close with performers.

The 6,000-square-meter pavilion in a zigzag shape is designed by the troupe, so the exhibitions are very performance-oriented, giving children fresh, vivid experience.

The Canadian national treasure troupe welcomes visitors at the entrance of the pavilion.

Clowns will amuse visitors at the waiting area of the pavilion, bringing them laughs as soon as they enter.


Tiny houses on Happy Street

The pavilion is open air and features 26 small, distinctive houses on streets shaped in a figure "8," a lucky number in China.

In each of the houses actors and actresses dress in Dutch costumes and typical dress, work, play and greet visitors.

Visitors gather in front of the houses and watch what's happening inside, learning about Dutch innovations in urban planning and handling issues of energy, water, air and space.


Big fun park

A cartoon girl guide greets visitors to the Sweden Pavilion, which has been turned into a fun park for children around the world.

Pippi Longstocking, a nine-year-old girl famous as a fictional character in children's books by Astrid Lindgren, will guide visits.

A "Magic Swing" attracts many children.

Many electronic devices let children play while learning about the Swedish spirit of innovation.


Santa Claus

The Finland Pavilion has recreated the North Pole Santa Claus Village in Lapland and St Nick himself is there to send greetings and give gifts to children around the world.

At a Santa Claus Post Office children can send a real postcard to their friends, signed by Santa Claus and postmarked by the Santa Claus Post Office at the North Pole.

As last year's Christmas celebration, Santa left his home in the remote mountains of Korvatunturi in Lapland Province to visit the Finland Pavilion, which was under construction.

"I like the color of the China Pavilion, which is the same color as my suit," says Santa. He says he likes reading and swimming - as well as the real sauna at the Finland Pavilion.


Fairy tale world

The Russian Expo organizers are trying to turn their pavilion into the "best city, best life" in children's eyes.

Giant strawberries, flowers and trees create a comfortable city close to nature. Children walk along a path as if in a fairy tale.

Along the way they meet giant foods and plants.

The City of the Sun is a hall in which the sun always shines, coming through every window to create a translucent labyrinth with virtual displays.

The City of the Moon focuses on space exploration.


Little Mermaid

Many children know the story "The Little Mermaid," daughter of the sea king who meets her dream prince, a mortal. She decides to leave her undersea kingdom, give up her tail, painfully grow two feet and gain a human soul.

Children can sit near the Little Mermaid and listen to the story in many languages. The national treasure sculpture has been moved from Copenhagen Harbor to a 20-meter-wide pool in the center of the pavilion.

Visitors can walk barefoot through the shallow water and get as close as 5 meters of the iconic statue.


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