If visiting Madrid as a family, you can’t help but be concerned about just how many museums your kids will allow you to drag them through. Face it, centuries old artifacts are of little interest to their young minds. Madrid has plenty of playgrounds so you can always take breaks in between stops and allow them to burn off a little energy, but even this will only work for so long. On trips of this sort, I have always found it beneficial to alternate between a kid’s day and a parent’s day. Doing so does not mean the kids get a break from being immersed in culture, but in all their enjoyment they just may not realize it. Here are a couple of suggestions you may wish to consider along your journeys. Just between you and me, you’ll enjoy these activities also, but mums the word.
The Reina Sofia – Located in the heart of Madrid, this museum is enjoyed by parents and children alike. Surrealistic and colorful paintings by artists such as Dali and Picasso will hold any child’s attention much more than staring at paintings of flowers in vases. Sculptures are up close and personal, just within hands reach, rather than 6 feet away behind a thick glass barrier. Children prefer a closer observation.
The museum is a series of rooms with small exhibits, connected by a wide central hallway. It is not uncommon to see little ones burning off some energy in the hallway in between visiting the rooms, and no one seems to mind.
In addition to their regular admission hours and prices, there are particular times when admission is free. Check their website for more information.
Walk in the Centro – Since motorized vehicles are not allowed in the Centro, this is a great way for you and your family to immerse yourselves smack dab in the center of Madrid’s culture, without fear of wild and crazy drivers. As with any major metropolis, you will still want to keep close tabs on the kiddos, you’ll just have the comfort of knowing they won’t get run over.
The Centro consists of many different squares connected by foot only streets. Here you will find many shops and cafes, but best of all, you will see Madrid, as it is in its everyday life. You’ll be mingling with the natives. Your kids just might drag you into a chocolate shop, but how bad would that be?
One of the squares, beside Plaza Oriente, hosts a huge playground, generally intended for kids 5 and older because of the jungle gym, monkey bars, and tall slides.
As a side note, don’t forget to pack a stroller if you have a toddler. Better to push than tote them on your hip!
Editor’s Note: Check out this restaurant review for a great choice for family dining while in Madrid.