By Cheryl Antier

This is part 2 of a two-part article that gives you 10 of the best ideas for family activities when planning a vacation on the French Riviera.

6. MarineLand

MarineLand is Europe’s biggest marine park, located in Antibes. Come and watch as the Bottlenose Dolphins show off their speed, dexterity and agility – and marvel at the complete trust they display in their trainers, as man and dolphin work together in a beautiful water ballet. And your kids will enjoy the “talking” sea lion who seems a little jealous and constantly interrupts the show, wanting all the attention for himself.

Your kids are sure to fall in love with the “mammoths of the sea” after sitting spellbound during the whale show. Housed in a glass tank the size of a small lagoon, the killer whales offer a glimpse of what life is like as they demonstrate some of the natural behaviors of whales in their natural habitat – rushing onto the beach to catch seals, swimming at top speed to catch prey and even the showing off through jumps and leaps practiced by young whales.

Walk through the 30 meter tunnel that’s located inside a huge aquarium containing nearly 2 million liters of water, and you’ll get a look at sharks – up close and personal as they swim above, below and all around you. You’ll see Sandtiger Sharks with their huge teeth, Nurse Sharks that enjoy lying lazily in the sand, and Sandbar Sharks with torpedo shaped bodies that allow them to move swiftly through the water. A giant manta ray (almost 1.5 meters wide) shares the tunnel with these mysterious and deadly creatures, and you’ll feel as if you could reach out and touch them – but happy they can’t say the same thing!

The tropical aquarium gallery is home to the world of coral reefs, and gives you a look at the very different volumes represented: from small modules with starfish, shrimp, horse-shoe crabs and clown-fish in their sea anemones and multi-colored corals, to reef walls with monstrous green moray ells and so many other fish that you have to see it to believe it. The gallery is your invitation to stroll through the heart of the tropical seas of the world.

Dogs are allowed on leash, and MarineLand is handicap accessible. There is also a children’s playground available. The museum provides a variety of special activities every month, including a chance to see and touch with dolphins under the close supervision of their trainers.

Call for rates and times – reservations are required for special activities.

What to Bring: sweaters (it can get chilly inside the aquarium), walking shoes. If you have an infant, strollers are also recommended. Location, Contact Information and Hours of Operation: 306 av. Mozart Tel +33 (0)4 93 33 49 49 www.marineland.fr Call for fees and hours of operation.

7. Parfumerie Mollinard

Located in the city of Grasse, which is the perfume capital of the world, the Parfumerie Mollinard offers guided tours. Your children will see first hand how flowers are gathered, dried and used to create perfumes.

They will see the huge copper distilleries, and see how production of perfumes is carried out. They’ll also learn about a time in history when people were afraid of soap, and taking a bath was thought to make you sick as they visit the room where all of the Mollinard soaps are made – by only one man!

During the tour, they’ll learn about the mysterious geniuses who are known as “the nose” and who earn large salaries because of their ability to create exotic new perfumes. You can even create your own perfume (reservations for these special lessons must be made in advance). Dogs are welcome on leash, and the facility is handicapped accessible.

What to bring: Your curiosity.

Location, Contact Information and Hours of Operation:

60 bd Vicor Hugo

Tel +33 (0)4 92 42 33 11

Fax +33 (0)4 93 36 03 91

http://www.molinard.com

Open: all year, every day from April-September and during school holidays. 9am-6pm during the Christmas and February school holidays, 9am-6.30pm in April, May, June and September and 9am-7pm in July and August. Winter hours: 9am-12pm and 2pm-6pm, Mondays to Saturdays. Price: free entrance.

8. Musee Escoffier de L’art Culinaire (The Escoffier Art of Cooking Museum)

This museum is dedicated to Auguste Escoffier – a man known as the “King of Chefs and Chef to Kings.” He was known as the creator of many mouth-watering recipes, among them the “Peach Melba.”

The museum is located in the house Mr. Escoffier was born in, and has eight exhibition rooms dedicated to the most illustrious French Chefs of all time.

Your children will enjoy seeing what a real kitchen would have looked like in the 1800s along with all of the different utensils used back in those days. Kids receive a special map that offers special insights and information just for them.

After visiting the museum, take them to the Villeneuve Loubet – a village perched high on a cliff, and let them discover the giant maze and adventure playground.

9. L’Ecole des Champs

If you want a little grownup time, or are interested in finding excellent supervised activities for your children, then check out the School of Champs.

Situated in the middle of fantastic countryside, near Nice and Monaco (approx. 13kms), this children’s holiday and leisure complex, is unique in the region. It offers original activities centered around an educational farm, and includes a productive garden and comprehensive sports facility. They provide special workshops during school vacations, including: English, horseback riding, IT classes, music, arts and crafts, and also have an adventure park, and Indian camp and dance sessions. There is even a bus that services Nice and Monaco.

Location, Contact Information and Hours of Operation:

9, Route du Château, La Colle

Tel: +33 (0)4 93 54 03 83

www.ecoledeschamps.com

Open from April until the end of July during school holidays and on Wednesdays.

10. La Dolce Vita

You’ll be hard pressed to find another private beach anywhere on the French Riviera that was designed with families in mind. Take a walk along the pedestrian zone in Menton, and you’ll run into La Dolce Vita.

It offers a ramp for wheelchairs and strollers. A section of the beach has been designated for children, and there is even a roped-off section of the sea right next to the lifeguard shack where kids can play in the water in complete safety. You can rent inflatables and water toys.

If you fancy a dip in the water or want to lie on the beach quietly for a while, there are even supervised activities for children aged 5 and up, available every day from 9 a.m. until 5 or 6 p.m. (If your children are younger, they’re welcome to participate, but need an adult with them.)

They offer an air-conditioned children’s playroom and DVD movies are shown every afternoon at 2:00 p.m. (Younger children can even nap in a mini-bed just for them!) Your kids can eat lunch with you, or enjoy their own food in the Kid’s Club. The facility even offers private toilets and showers just for kids.

Your older children can enjoy access to some of Menton’s other private beaches and try water skiing as well as other water sports activities.

While your kids are enjoying themselves, if you get tired of lying on the beach, why not schedule some time at the gym, or indulge yourself in a relaxing massage?

What to bring: Sunblock, swim suits, towels and bottled water.

Location, Contact Information and Hours of Operation:

Promenade de la Mer Menton

Tel +33 (0)4 93 35 44 50

Open from May to September, from 9am to midnight. Call for prices and to make reservations.

There are literally hundreds of family activities waiting for you in the French Riviera. No matter what time of year, the ages of your children or their interests, you’ll find something for every member of your family in the French Riviera.

About the Author

Author Cheryl Antier invites you to learn all about where to go and what to do in the French Riviera from an American who lives there! Discover the best places to eat, stay and shop. Why settle for an ordinary vacation, when you can create an extraordinary one? French Riviera Vacation Guide

Source: EzineArticles.com