Travel: What To Do With Children In Prague
European travel can be tough for kids, who aren't interested in the art, architecture and antiquities that grown-ups are. Here are five local sites/activities that are sure to fascinate kids in Prague.
European sightseeing excursions can often be completely boring to young children, who cannot appreciate the art and architecture of Old World cities. Often, activities for children are not listed in guide books, which are geared toward adults. Like most of Europe’s capital cities, however, Prague has a multitude of sights and sounds that appeal to the younger set. Here are a few ideas; any hotel concierge can help with the specifics (directions, tickets, etc.)
The Prague Exhibition Grounds From April to October, a spectacular light show takes place at dusk at Kriziks fountain on the grounds. There is an informal open-air theatre to watch the performance from.
Kralovska Planetarium Located next to the Prague Exhibition Grounds, the planetarium puts on several star shows a day. Have your hotel concierge check showtimes for English language performances.
The National Musuem The exhibits here should prove of interest to middle school-age children. They focus on minerals, botany, and zoology. One of the highlights is a reconstructed, full-size whale skeleton. This museum is open on Mondays, when many others are closed.
The National Technical Museum Older children will enjoy the collections of historic transportation methods, including antique bicycles, cars, trains, and planes. Open 9 to 5 daily, except Monday.
Prague Zoo Located within a woodsy area, exhibits are well spread out and designed to give a certain freedom to the animals. This is one of the few places to see the Pryzewalski horses -- these wild horses, native to Asia, are extinct in the wild, but are bred at the zoo.
Boat Excursions There are a variety of different tours of the Vltava River, departing from various points. A hotel concierge should be helpful in finding itineraries.
Petrin Park There are several interesting relics here that were constructed for the Prague Industrial Exhibition of 1891. Of most interest to children is a maze built of mirrors that they can explore. There is also an imitation of the Eiffel Tower, approximately one-fifth the height of the original in Paris. The most fun way to reach Petrin Park is to take the ‘funicular,’ a cable-propelled train that climbs the hill. It departs from the Mala Strana station.
The Clocktower at Old Town Hall An astronomical clock that dates to 1480 puts on an elaborate show every hour on the hour. Crowds often start gathering twenty minutes in advance. As the clock strikes, intricate mechanical figures go through their paces: the Grim Reaper pulls a bell cord, Christ and the Apostles appear, and other characters perform other feats.
Theatre Puppetry is a national art here; while performances are likely to be in Czech, children may still enjoy the flamboyent puppet shows. Of interest to older children is the “Lanterna Majika,” or Magic Lantern Show. This is a multi-media performance that combines slideshows, film, music, dance and mime. Themes are often quite surreal and performances are fascinating enough that they sell out quickly.