Children’s half-term-School’s out for autumn. In theory, this gives hard-working parents a chance to spend some much-needed quality time with their beloved offspring. In practice, however, the hard-working parents often keep their noses to the grindstone, and Copenhagen is instead awash with benevolent grandparents, called away from golf courses and knitting circles to rediscover their parenting skills. It all starts out on Monday with blissful smiles and model behaviour from respectful nippers, but by Friday, patience has worn thin and the city is chock-a-block with tired and desperate retirees snapping at the clearly out-of-control youngsters. But fear not, here is a guide to some of the half-term activities that could potentially make time fly and rescue your sanity.
starts Fri, ends Oct 21; various venues across Greater Cph
Walking with the Dinosaurs-If you missed this first time around, please do yourself a favour and book tickets for this dazzling theatrical spectacle. The incredible dinosaur show at Forum, of unprecedented size and quality, will captivate young and old alike. Marvel at the story of their 200 million-year domination of life on Earth. Fifteen unbelievably life-like dinosaurs have been recreated, and this is the chance to watch them walk, hear them roar and witness their fight for survival and supremacy. From the ripple of their muscles to the menacing glint in old Tyrannosaurus Rex’s eye, you will truly believe that the dinosaurs have returned. Seen by over seven million people in 31 countries and based on the BBC TV series of the same name, the show takes visitors on a prehistoric journey back in time. The mind-blowing realism gives the audience an idea of how carnivorous dinosaurs evolved to walk on two legs, and how the herbivores fended off their more agile predators. As Broadway director of the performance Scott Faris puts it: “We show them how the dinosaurs might have actually looked in their prime - huge, sometimes frightening, sometimes comical monsters − that fought for survival every day of their lives. Our dinosaurs move exactly like they are real − with all the roars, snorts and excitement that go with it.
Halloween in Tivoli-Tivoli has wholeheartedly embraced the Halloween tradition: so much that it has extended it to last from 12-28 October. With pumpkins aplenty, hay bales, spiders and scarecrows, be ready for a brand new blood-curdling experience featuring plenty of ghouls and goblins at the opening of Scary Silden (the Haunted House). It’s so scary that the under-12s can’t go in (it’s open from 18:00 every evening), and even some adults might need a hug as they emerge white-faced on the other side. Witches will be brewing magic potions, and an abundance of activities such as pumpkin carving, spider catching and the daily Halloween parade will absolutely keep the young ones busy. The usual activities, restaurants and rides are open, making the Tivoli half-term Halloween extravaganza a compulsory annual treat.
Vesterbrogade 3, Cph V; starts Fri, ends 28 Oct; tickets: adults 95kr, under-8s free adm, day-passes available for rides; www.tivoli.dk
If you still need your fill of dinosaurs, then check out the kid’s favourite hands-on museum, Experimentarium. Explore 800 sqm of a total dinosaur universe in ‘Follow the trail’
− featuring more than ten dinosaurs and an abundance of skeletons and bones. Tuck yourself into a nest alongside dinosaur eggs, avoid the razor-sharp teeth of the Tyrannosaurus Rex and watch a 3D version of the meteor shower that made the dinosaurs extinct. Also running is the exhibition ‘Water’, featuring over 50 thrilling activities and fascinating aquatic experiments. Fight with the power of the sea when you are caught up in a rip current or experience the giant rush of surfing the waves. On Tuesday nights, the museum is open to 21:00 for energetic and indefatigable families.
Tuborg Havnevej 7, 2900 Hellerup; adults 160kr, under-12s: 105kr, 09:30– 17 weekdays, 11-17:00 weekends www.exsperimentarium.dk
Circus Museum in Hvidovre-One of Copenhagen’s best kept secrets. The number 1A bus takes you right to the door of the Circus Museum. From 11:00 every day during the autumn holiday, Tapé the clown’s top class buffoonery and juggling will warm up budding young circus artistes of the future. After this, kids and adults can get a bit of instruction in trapeze, tightrope, juggling and other traditional activities. The museum itself is also well worth a visit as a glimpse into the history of Danish circus.
Hovedporten 6, 2650, Hvidovre; started 11 Oct, ends 19 Oct, open Fri-Thu; adults 50kr, children free; www.cirkusmuseum.dk (phone 3649 0030 to reserve tickets)
Revenge of the White Knight-There’s nothing like a touch of good old-fashioned jousting to raise the pulse as Tøjhusmuseet puts on its formidable knights’ tournament. Combine this with a medieval market − colourful stalls full of arts and craft from days gone by, the chance to shoot a bow and arrow and learn how to swing a sword − and you have the perfect recipe for a great day out. Will the white knights again manage to defend the honour of their family? Turn up and find out.
Tøjhusgade 3, Cph K; starts Sun, ends 20 Oct, open daily 10:00-16:00, shows at 11:00 and 14:00; tickets: 95kr, www.billetlugen.dk; www.thm.dk
Louisiana’s Children’s Wing-A trip up the coast to Louisiana’s Children’s Wing should satisfy the artistic and cultural needs of your budding future junior Picassos. Clay workshops recreating body parts, painting workshops based on portraits and animals, guided family tours, a flying carpet trip for the three-six-year-olds and an ingenious ‘Art Detective’ competition in which young Clouseaus can borrow a magnifying glass and discover what is hidden in the self portrait section. A surprise reward is on offer for the lucky winning sleuth.
Gl Strandvej 13, 3050 Humlebæk; starts Mon, ends 21 Oct, open 11:00-17:00; adults 95kr, children free; www.louisiana.dk
Frilandsmusset – Historical market-Another trip back into history – Lyngby this time, and back to an authentic 1800s village market that has a bit of everything. Meet jugglers, clowns, charlatans and country bumpkins. Taste homemade honey while the kids are stilt-walking, falling off penny farthings and knocking down stacks of tin cans with well-aimed balls. Don’t miss Bertram, the mechanical bull. There is no charge to come into the open air museum, but remember some cash for the activities and tasty titbits.
Kongevejen 100, 2800 Lyngby; Sorgenfri Station, buses 184/194; starts Sun, ends 21 October, open 11:00-15:00; free adm; www.natmus.dk
Milk City-Kindergartens throughout Copenhagen make use of the iconic green Arla milk crates. Arla, together with happenings artist Jonas Pindhund, have taken this one step further to create a towering emerald Milk City in the heart of town. Thursday to Saturday is the period when you can witness this crate-created architectural wonder while sampling Arla’s milky wares.