1/13 Mud Maid, Cornwall, UK
In the Lost Gardens of Heligans, stumble across surprises in the Lost Valley & Ancient Woodlands. The iconic sculptures include the Giant’s Head, Mud Maid and Grey Lady and can be found on the sheltered Woodland Walk. The sculptures are wonderfully integrated into the natural landscape, created 200 years ago for the Tremayne family. A stroll in the gorgeous gardens (the largest restoration project in Europe) spread over 200 acres is a real treat for the family.
Price: Tickets cost £13.50
2/13 The First Underwater Museum in the Atlantic, Grenada
Renowned sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor created the world’s first underwater sculpture park off the west coast of Grenada in the West Indies. The prolific diver and underwater photographer’s submerged works were listed in the Top 25 Wonders of the World by National Geographic. Over time, the art turns into coral reefs that support an entire ecosystem. Crucially, the sculpture park has succeeded in diverting tourists away from fragile natural reefs. The sculptures can be viewed from a glass-bottom boat. They also make for unforgettable diving and snorkeling experiences.
3/13 The Child Eater, Bern, Switzerland
If you want to make it very clear what happens to kids when they’re naughty and not nice, take them to see The Child Eater fountain (Kindlifresserbrunnen) of Bern. The towering fountain’s ogre has been frozen in time, mid-chomp, for 500 years. There are sensible theories about the significance of this terrifying fountain – but the most plausible (and fun) theory seems to be that he’s the boogie man from Night of Fasting festival. That’s a lot less badly behaved children in Bern!
4/13 Giant Floating Baby, Singapore
The sculpture Planet of a large baby that seems to be magically floating mid-air was created by artist Marc Quinn for Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay. A reproduction of his son Lucas, the weight of the 9m long and 3m tall bronze baby is cleverly balanced on one hand, creating an illusion of a floating sculpture. The Gardens by the Bay have other quirky sculptures like The Giant Snail and The Magnificent Bull that will keep the kids occupied all day. There are also other attractions like the two Cooled Conservatories, Flower Dome, Clour Forest and the Outdoor Gardens.
5/13 The Ferryman’s End, Ireland
The Ferryman’s End in Victoria’s Way sculpture garden is a terrifying but intriguing work of art. We all know kids are fascinated by the macabre. The sinking ferryman is a symbol of someone losing touch with the world. Oddly enough, the park was created by Victor Langheld in 1989 after he visited India in search for spiritual enlightenment. So in this contemplative space, East has been transported to the West with 24 black granite sculptures in the Indian Sculpture Park including the 14 ft Fasting Buddha bronze and the Dancing Ganesha. A delightful day trip from Dublin.
6/13 Big Blue Bear, Denver, Colorado
The adorable 40-foot Blue Bear installation at Colorado Convention Centre by artist Lawrence Argent has become a huge hit with visitors. The artist wanted to transform the idea of convention centres as sterile spaces and it was such a success that it has now become a Mile High City icon. The curious giant bear is seen peeking into the lobby. Admit it, even as an adult, you want a selfie with this blue wonder.
7/13 “Sharing a Biscuit” sculpture-bench, Seoul, South Korea
Created by Ku Bom Ju, this is one of the oddest sculptures in the world located outside Bukcheon Museum in Seoul. The statue represents the culture of sharing and caring in Korean culture. Bukchon village, flanked by Gyeongbok Palace and Changdeok Palace, is a historical cultural area with the largest cluster of privately owned traditional Korean wooden homes in Seoul.
Price: Adult entry is 2,000 won.
8/13 World’s biggest Gollum, New Zealand
What’s more fitting than a massive Gollum statue to welcome you at the Wellington International Airport? Built by Weta Workshop, the 2,645-pound, 9.8 foot-high, 43-foot-long sculpture was created to celebrate The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The gleeful Gollum is reaching out to catch fish. The airport even renamed their terminal greeting passengers with a sign: ‘The Middle of Middle-earth’. In 2014, Smaug the Magnificent, considered to be the last of the great dragons in Middle Earth, joined Gollum and the Great Eagles at the airport. Precious!
9/13 Peeing Statues, Prague
At the Franz Kafka Museum in Prague, you are guaranteed to keep your kids entertained near the funny, famous peeing statues. “Piss” by the renowned artist David Černý shows two mechanical men urinating on a map of the Czech Republic. The controversial artist also created an installation at Futura Gallery in Prague where you can climb up a ladder and stick your head into a sculpture’s bottom!
Price: CZK 200 for adults, CZK 540 for a family ticket
10/13 Tarot Garden, Tuscany
The iconic Tarot Garden in Capalbio, Maremma is the legacy of the late French artist Niki de Saint de Phalle. The artist’s playful and surreal sculptures depict the 22 Major Arcana of the Tarot cards. The Tarot Garden makes for a fantastic family day out as her vision was to create an interactive, magical world that encouraged people to play, explore and touch her works of art. Inspired by Gaudi’s Park Guell in Barcelona, the esoteric sculpture garden is a fantasy land the kids will love. The Tarot Garden can be visited from Rome and Siena. Rome to Capalbio takes about two hours on the train.
Price: Adult tickets cost € 12.00, children under 7 are admitted free.
11/13 Vertical Face II, Burghley House, Lincolnshire, UK
The gorgeous Elizabethan Burghly House featuring a serpentine park holds delightful surprises in the Sculpture Garden. Here you’ll find the disembodied head of Vertical Face II – making for a slightly disturbing but memorable viewing. Apart from this intriguing sculpture, here you’ll find boulders like grinning Pacman faces and other contemporary works of art.
Price: Adult tickets cost £14
12/13 Grounds for Sculpture, New Jersey
Hamilton, only 60 miles from busy New York, offers a lovely escape tailor-made for the family. At Grounds for Sculpture in New Jersey, explore contemporary works by American and international sculptors. Quirky art meets nature in perfect harmony in this sculpture garden. Sculptor and philanthropist J. Seward Johnson had envisioned this 42-acre landscape park as an accessible contemporary art space for everyone, background no bar. It’s never too early for kids to imbibe a love of art!
The drive from New York takes about 75 minutes. By train, from New York’s Penn Station, take NJ Transit to the Hamilton stop.
Price: Adult tickets are priced at $15, kids under 5 go free.
13/13 Germain, Paris
Germain restaurant is a bold, quirky space designed by the Iranian-born French architect India Mahadevi. Sophie, a large striking yellow statue of a woman by French artist Xavier Veilhan, has half her body on the lower floor while her head seems to break through the ceiling to rest in the upper lounge area. The yellow complements the black and white floor, creating an arresting effect. Germain in the 6th Arrondissement in Paris, located at Rue de Buci.