Tokyo is teeming with opportunities for families to learn and play, but the nation's capital doesn't have a monopoly on educational fun.

Osaka has many great places for kids, including the popular Big Bang Science Museum. Located between downtown Osaka and the Kansai International Airport, Big Bang is filled with activities designed to nurture interest in science and technology.

Well, most activities are educational. Some are just fun. For example, one of the venue's star attractions is a four-story-high vertical obstacle course. I'd head here first, as it will help burn away the kids' excess energy. The course is replete with padding and barriers to prevent injury (the four stories are split into nine levels). Still, before they enter, the staff will fit your kids with a helmet. Parents are allowed to enter as well, but my wife and I chose to take the elevator to the top instead, and "time" our kids' ascent on a stopwatch. They loved this, thankfully, and demanded we repeat the process so they could beat their own records.