Vietnam's main cities offer a good choice of activities for children, but in most of the tourist towns and countryside areas, nature is the main attraction. The country's zoos are less sophisticated than most in the west, but the parks are well tended and often include lakes with boat rides to keep the little ones happy. Families visiting Saigon can take the kids for a splashing time at the famous Dam Sen Water Park where unique water slide thrills include the incredible "Space Bowl". However, some of the slides are less than smooth, so caution is advised. The park also has a restaurant, health centre, and mechanical dinosaurs add to the appeal. More cultural perhaps is the Dai Nam Tourist Park outside Ho Chi Minh city. This is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Vietnam and built around the spectacular Dai Nam Van Hien Temple. The site includes an amusement park, an open zoo, shopping areas, hotels, ans restaurants serving local and international food. It also boasts an impressive man-made mountain range.
Beyond the bustle of Saigon, Hanoi's two main family oriented attractions are the local circus and the famous water-puppet theatre. Out in the countryside, children will also enjoy a visit to one of the country's national parks. Cuc Phuong National Park boasts an Endangered Primate Rescue Centre, a unique opportunity to view gibbons enjoying themselves in safety and to learn about the fight to protect them from extinction in the wild. Vietnam's endless coastline also means the beaches are ideal for young children, although rip tides are common in some areas so advice should be sought in advance of a swim in the sea. Other kids activities on offer around the country include visiting a crocodile farm on the Mekong Delta, elephant riding at Lak Lake, exploring the legendary Cu Chi tunnels, lantern making in Hoi An, paddling a conical canoe in Nha Trang and fishing in the emerald waters of Ha Long Bay.