Theme parks, ski-resorts and jungle safaris are not your only options when planning a holiday with the family. Ankita Mamgain uncovers the family-friendly side of some seriously grown-up destinations.
If you thought once you had a family, a visit to the so called ‘adult-only’ playgrounds would be a far-fetched fantasy, think again. Some of these places are filled with kid-friendly attractions, which don’t get as much attention as their other offerings. So you don’t have to wait until graduation or for a friend or relative to babysit in order to enjoy your kind of break. As it turns out there are many cities, which do not enjoy a family-friendly reputation but still offer plenty of entertainment options, from museums and parks to zoos, that actually appeal all ages.
This party capital offers a whole lot of fun for juniors as well. Barcelona’s whimsical architecture may be enough to captivate a young traveller, but this city is also home to a number of attractions which will keep the little ones occupied for hours.
In between the beach escapes and scouring magazines for the nightly bashes, take a trip to Parc Güell, its mushroom-shaped chimneys and kaleidoscopic mosaic walls seem straight out of a Dr Seuss book. For more open-air entertainment, head to Las Ramblas to sample the city’s true spirit with rows of street performers and food vendors.
Make sure to have dessert at Museu de la Xocolata (The Chocolate Museum) where you can do just about anything with chocolate. Who doesn’t want to bury their hands in liquid chocolate yumminess? In addition to a sugar rush this trip to the museum also includes fun chocolate sculptures, learning more about Barcelona’s cocoa history and discovering
how the confection is produced. And later, release all that pent-up energy at Tibidabo, an amusement park perched on the top of Mount Tibidabo.
This beautiful city offers many child-friendly options but they have been largely overshadowed by its infamous adult attractions. In the land of wooden shoes, you don’t have to go too far to find plenty of must-see family-friendly sights.
Don’t miss the Van Gogh Museum, which offers activities specifically designed for children, like drawing competitions, workshops and treasure hunts. Visit Anne Frank’s House, which presents Frank’s story with an uncomplicated approach. If the kids start getting fidgety with art, head to NEMO Science Centre, where amateur scientists can play with interactive exhibits that focus on topics such as electricity, gravity and genetics. Amsterdam also provides plenty of outdoor activities catered to children. Vondelpark offers an abundance of playgrounds, walking paths and cafés while Artis Zoo boasts more than 900 animal species. And no trip to the Dutch capital is complete without some pancakes. Docked in Amsterdam-Noord, The Pancake Boat offers all-you-can-eat pancakes with a cruise along the picturesque canal.
Bangkok is paradise for the hedonistic with its legendary nightlife where things can certainly get wild. However this haven for grown-ups extends a warm welcome to its junior tourists as well. Step away from Khao San Road and Soi Cowboy and you’ll find plenty to amuse your little ones, no matter what their ages. With intriguing culture, innovative museums and outdoor fun, Bangkok is wonderful for families. Visit Museum Siam, an interactive multimedia venue in old Bangkok, where kids can excavate fossils, fire faux cannons and explore a room full of traditional Thai toys. Do not miss Siam Ocean World aquarium where, in addition to the sharks, stingrays, sea horses and penguins, there’s also a soft play area. See the city from a different perspective by taking a cruise down the Chao Phraya river. And at most malls and public sites, you can unleash your children into perfectly padded playgrounds filled with squishy slides and ball pits.