How to Travel with Kids. Part 1Russ Bily
Often after the birth of a child, the family begins to live by the new rules. The way of travel also change. However, maybe this is an excellent opportunity to let yourself, an adult, plunge into the pleasant world of childhood again?
In any case, it is possible and necessary for everyone to receive pleasure. I will tell you about the places that will please the whole family, especially children. I hope you’ll see that traveling through Europe with kids can also be funny, exciting and accessible.
In my previous articles, I gave a lot of information on how to travel, what to see, where to go, and what to buy in major cities of Eastern and Central Europe.
In this article, I’m going to give you recommendations where to go and what to do with kids in Prague, Vienna, and Salzburg. I would be happy if you find these suggestions useful.
Czechs are very family-oriented, and there are plenty of activities for children. An increasing number of Prague restaurants cater specifically for children, with play areas and so on, and many offer a children’s menu.
I. Outdoor Places for Kids
This classic outdoor play area in central Prague has a whole range of diversions, from the lookout tower and observatory to the mirror maze.
Prague ZOO is also considered one of the best in Europe and could easily keep your kids busy for one entire day. The zoo does its best to be a pleasant and exciting place for everybody, and if you take a few minutes and organize your trip, it can be an unforgettable experience.
One of the most appreciated pavilions is the Indonesian Jungle and the Monkey Island, where you can have a look at the abundant flora and fauna of the jungle.
Another place that your kids will love is the Children Area and the Children Zoo, a specially built farm, where kids are allowed to enter some enclosures and play with different domesticated animals.
There are also some slot machines, where kids can buy low calories granules and feed their favorite animals.
At the southern end of Malá Strana, traffic-free Children’s Island is equipped with playground equipment, rope swings, a mini football pitch, a skateboarding area and a cafe-bar where parents can have a cup of coffee or beer.
For children who like skateboarding
The area around the metronome monument in Letna, the massive park to the east of the castle, is a favorite with local skateboarders, while the park’s paths provide a perfect surface for inline skating.
If you’re visiting Prague in winter, an outdoor ice rink gets set up at Ovocný Trh in Staré Město.
Parks & Playgrounds
There are safe, well-designed playgrounds all over the city, with convenient city-center ones at the north end of Kampa Island and on Slav Island. There’s an extensive list of play areas at www.livingprague.com/kids.htm.
In summer you can hire rowing boats and pedalos from several jetties around Slav Island, and splash around on the Vltava with your kids.
II. Child-friendly Restaurants
Famous among Prague parents for its family-friendly Sunday brunch, riverside Hergetova Cihelna actively encourages parents to bring the kids any day of the week. The upper lounge is equipped with high chairs, a nappy-changing station, a breastfeeding area and a play area with lots of toys.
Ambiente Pizza Nuova
Kids love pizza and parents will like the large, supervised play area for kids. This restaurant welcomes families and provides highchairs and a children’s menu.
It is a Japanese sushi restaurant that has a children’s play area.
It is a garden restaurant in the middle of green Stromovka park, next door to a playground. Parents can eat and drink while their kids can run around in safety.
III. Indoor Activities for Children
When the weather outside is as cold as it has been for the past few weeks, a lovely activity to undertake with the kids is to visit a children’s theater. Prague marionette theaters and Prague theaters for children display the best of the best entertainment for children, and your little ones will surely be happy and tell everyone about this fun experience.
Moreover, if you buy marionettes for your children, it is more than probable that marionette performances will take place also at your home. These puppets can be purchased at any of the numerous marionette shops in the center of Prague proving the long tradition of marionette theater in the Czech Republic.
In my article “Shopping in the Czech Republic and Austria,” I mentioned marionettes as a genuinely Czech souvenir, beloved by many tourists.
Popular theaters for children in Prague include the Spejbl and Hurvínek Theater and Divaldo Minor Theater.
If your little ones are between four and ten years old, then the Spejbl and Hurvinek Theatre is a fun option. The comedies are for both children and adults and combine visual and musical settings.
Divadlo Minor is a wheelchair-accessible children’s theater that offers a fun mix of puppets, clown shows, and pantomime. There are performances at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and at 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and you can usually get a ticket at the door.
The performances in both theaters are in Czech, but most can be followed regardless of which language you speak.
Shark tanks and touch pools are among the attractions at Mořský Svět, Prague’s aquarium.
You and your children will be amazed by the journey through the planets, the stars, the most exciting constellations and celestial highlights of the northern and southern hemispheres.
Here the kids can not only get to look at art but make it, add to it, and change it. There are paints and materials to play with, and even workshops for five- to 12-year-olds. Children are not only exposed to art visually, as is common in classical galleries but are involved actively through touch, ensuring that they remember and enjoy the experience much more and at the same time get to fully experience the works of art. Take your children to the Art Gallery for Children where children become the creators of art.
It is Europe’s most extensive private collection of Lego models, with a play area at the end where kids can build stuff from Lego themselves. In Lego Museum, you can also buy your kid a perfect present, as there is a shop with the variety of Lego toys.
It has got a high-tech renovation and is a dazzling presentation of the country’s industrial heritage. Start in the main hall, filled to the rafters with historic planes, trains and automobiles. There are separate halls devoted to exhibits on astronomy, photography, printing, and architecture.
Related: Travel from Berlin to Prague
Vienna – the City for Kids
Vienna is not only an imperial city of the Habsburg Monarchy but also a city for kids, which is full of facilities for fun and unlimited leisure enjoyment for the family.
Austrian capital has plenty of space for action. Unlike many other major cities, Vienna boasts huge green areas, where children can play. If your little princess wants to dance in a hooped old-fashioned skirt, or your young detective wishes to find some organism with a special microscope, travel across the starry sky, or hunt elephants in an asphalt jungle, there will be no problem here.
Here are some of the places you can visit in Vienna with your children:
ZOOM is not a museum in the direct sense of the word; it is rather a center of leisure and children development. For kids, the “Ocean” program is a large room, filled with different toys on a sea theme. Here is a tunnel with a transparent soft floor, under which water splashes, a ship with a steering wheel, ropes to get on board, octopus suits and fishing rods with magnets to fish, slides, a telescope, and pirate treasures.
For older children, classes are more serious: a workshop of handicrafts made of recyclable materials, such as plastic bottles and boxes. It’s a “real” construction; children like dressing up in a sling and a helmet and working with real laying bricks.
For children of 8-14 years, there is an Animated Film Studio. This is a permanent exposition of the Museum, and there are also interactive exhibitions devoted to art, architecture, and science.
When visiting the museum on the birthday, a birthday child receives a small gift at the cash desk. This place is perfect for children of all ages. Depending on the age, you will be offered one of the programs.
ZOOM is located in the MuseumsQuartier, and here is another excellent place for children DSCHUNGEL (Jungle Theater). This is a theater for children from 6 months to 18 years. The performances are created by modern people; they are exclusive, with an unheard plot, interesting for parents.
Tickets should be booked in advance. The ticket office starts usually working from 14.30 or one hours before the performance.
There is also a family cafe in the theater. The cafe menu has many positions for vegetarians and a separate menu for children.
The Zoo in Schönbrunn is a place where you can stay the whole day with children.
On the website of the residence (http://www.schoenbrunn.at), you can read about all the news and exciting events that are held here on a regular basis. A local zoo, a museum of carriages, and a labyrinth will be a perfect entertainment for both you and your children.
The zoo, by the way, is the oldest in the world, from 1752. In 2010, it was named the best in Europe. Conditions here are very close to natural. In this zoo, there are more than five hundred species of animals. Here in 2010 for the first time in the world, a baby panda was born at the zoo.
Both children and adults will be interested in a walk through the labyrinth. It was built in 1720, by 1892 it was uprooted, and in 1999 it was completely restored according to historical drawings. Here on the territory of about 2700 sq.m. there are various forms of labyrinths and a beautiful playground with an Archimedean screw and a giant iron bird, which you can climb. It was designed by Günter Beltsig, a specialist in unusual constructions for children’s playgrounds.
In the Schönbrunn castle, there is a children’s museum. The symbol of the institution is a funny ghost Poldi. Here, children can get acquainted with the history of the Habsburg family, try on Imperial costumes, dresses, and wigs, learn how to cover the table of the emperor, how things were with hygiene, how the imperial children differed from ordinary children, play old toys, and so on. The museum has several thematic programs, held in different languages.
You can devote the whole day to this museum with more than a century history. Here you can see a real locomotive, model airplanes, a paraglider, a collection of bicycles and motorcycles, old musical instruments and toys, a collection of prostheses, make an ultrasound to a pregnant woman or be a surgeon, learn how to charge solar panels, try to work out energy and boil water. But the most interesting thing is that almost everything can be touched. For kids from two years, there is a special zone MINI – not just a playground but a real scientific adventure.
It is a beautiful museum that will be interesting to all ages. Here you can become a conductor of the Vienna Philharmonic, get acquainted with a variety of sounds through ear tubes and horns mounted on the wall, try to create your own music and record your own disc, look at giant musical instruments, find out what the child hears in the womb, listen to a really interesting story about the most famous Austrian composers, and much more. The museum regularly hosts concerts for children. After visiting the House of Music, you can walk to the city park (Stadtpark), where you can find an excellent children’s playground and a gold monument to Strauss.
This is a nine-story building, where the aquarium is located. Here are represented a variety of fish, turtles, sea stars, jellyfish, corals, toads, lizards, and snakes. There is a zone of the tropics with bats, singing birds, jumping monkeys, and where crocodiles lie by the water. In one of the aquariums, there are built-in transparent plastic hemispheres, with the help of which you can find yourself among the fish. And another viewing platform is from the terrace on the roof of the house; it offers a beautiful view of the city.
To interest a child with painting and architecture, it is worthwhile to go to the Vienna House of Arts (Kunst Haus Wien). The museum has uneven surfaces: both the floors and the walls are wavy. Here you will see the variety of colors and greenery. On two stories, there are pictures of the artist, and on the ground floor, there is a shop and a cafe with a lovely summer terrace.
One of the symbols of Vienna is the Vienna Ferris Wheel. It was built in 1896-1897. Visitors rise in closed red trailers to a height of 65 meters. At the foot of the wheel, there is a small exposition “The Wheel of History,” which tells about the 2000-year history of Vienna.
The Ferris Wheel is in located in Prater. Here is a huge amusement park, including the zone for the youngest visitors. Here you can ride a miniature railway or take a pedicab and walk along the main avenue of the park.
Also, you can not only eat but try to make a traditional Viennese Strudel with children in Cafe Residenz (www.cafe-residenz.at, www.strudelshow.at).
Related: Travel from Prague to Vienna
Despite the fact that Salzburg isn’t a big city in Western Austria, it is also interesting for visiting with the whole family. So the history and personalities of the City of Mozart feature many exciting and fascinating milestones. Not only adults but children can learn all about the city at their own pace, at the same time having a lot of fun.
In my article “Shopping in the Czech Republic and Austria,” I wrote about what souvenirs to buy from Salzburg. In Salzburg’s Toy Museum, you can not only enjoy Austria’s most extensive collection of toys but also buy some for your kids. It has some beautiful hands-on exhibits.
Here you find everything that makes children’s and parents’ hearts beat faster – classical tin toys, parlor and patience games, children’s umbrellas. There are a lot of wooden toys. The jolly range is completed with small gift articles and Toy Museum souvenirs – for example, pliable pencils, the orbit rubber ball, and the Confetti rubber eraser.
A Puppet Show in the Salzburg Marionette Theater
The highlight for most visitors is the Kasperltheater (puppet show), which has been held in Salzburg every Tuesday and Wednesday for the past 25 years. The Salzburg Marionette Theater is famous for its artistic perfection, attention to detail and the loving precision used to create the costumes and stage design. The Salzburg Marionette Theatre performs major operas with recordings of world-famous orchestras and singers. For children, one-hour afternoon programme will be perfect.
Take a trip to the zoo. A visit to Salzburg Zoo is guaranteed to keep the kids happy. It is located approximately 15 minutes from the town but is rather huge. The zoo has more than 800 animals.
Salzburg Zoo captivates big and small visitors, so it’s an ideal excursion destination for a family in the south of Salzburg City.
Related: Travel from Prague to Salzburg
If you are visiting Europe with kids and wish to take your little ones to the zoo, the marionette theater, visit children’s parks and playgrounds, the Czech Republic and Austria are the countries of many options for children.
If you want to travel to Vienna with kids, visit www.getyourguide.com beforehand to get more information about tickets and prices for children’s attractions in the Austrian capital.
Before visiting Salzburg, check the details at www.salzburg.info/en/salzburg/family.
If you are thinking about the most suitable, comfortable, economical, and the easiest way of transport during the trip with your little ones, be sure that traveling in a private car with a local driver-guide, using our service https://www.besttrips.eu/, is an ideal solution for you!