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Initiated by China's honorary president, Soong Ching-ling, Children's Palaces provide after-school programs for high-achieving children, with advanced instruction in music, art, science, sports, and computers. Of the two dozen children's palaces in the city, this is the largest, the nicest, and the most visited. Besides meeting children and peeking in on their classes, you'll be able to admire the gorgeous colonial setting. Built between 1918 and 1931 by a Jewish family from Baghdad, the Kadoories, this sprawling mansion was known in colonial Shanghai as the Marble Hall for its grand hallways and gigantic marble ballroom with ornate fireplaces and glittering chandeliers, all reasonably well preserved despite years of children's activities. To tour this Children's Palace, it's best to call ahead for an appointment or make arrangements through CITS or your hotel concierge.