Things to Do in Prague With Kids
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Prague is an exquisitely beautiful city, with gorgeous architecture, parks and outdoor attractions, galleries and museums, and a good public transit system -- perfect for getting around with the family. It's also not too big and still one of the more affordable European capitals to visit. Whether you're looking at Prague as a family city break or as a jumping-off point for more of the Czech Republic and Central Europe, here are some fun things to do with kids in the Czech capital.
Many visitors do a double take when they see the Petřín Tower, rising on a hill to the south of Prague Castle. This observation tower looks like a mini Eiffel Tower -- or the uppermost parts of the Eiffel Tower, at least. Getting to the tower, built in 1891 (four years after its more famous French counterpart), from the bottom of the hill requires a pleasant walk through a park with lovely views across the Vltava River and the older parts of Prague. You can also take a short, steep funicular ride from Ujezd. Entrance to the tower costs around $5 for adults, $3 for kids, or $13 for a family ticket.
Paddleboats on the Vltava River
In the warmer months, hire a paddle boat from one of the small islands in the middle of the Vltava River, connected to both sides of the city by bridges and footpaths. The river is calm, and you can't actually go too far because of the river's lock system. Younger kids might enjoy riding in a swan-shaped boat.
If it's not paddle boat weather, you can still enjoy a scenic river cruise. Many operators offer these rides at the bridges, on both sides of the river. A cruise is a fun way to give little (and big) legs a rest while taking in the cityscape.
Puppet Theater and Shopping for Puppets
Prague takes classical dance, music and theater seriously. For children, the most appealing theater is The National Marionette Theatre, where puppets bring to life Mozart's “Don Giovanni," “The Magic Flute” and others. These carved wooden puppets are works of art, with elaborate costumes and delicate, individual features. Family-friendly tours of the National Marionette Theatre are offered a couple of times a week.
If you or your kids take a fancy to the puppets and want to take one home as a souvenir, there are many shops in Prague where you can buy them. The best ones aren't cheap, but kids might be satisfied with a smaller, less well-made figure that they can play with.
Laterna Magika (Magician's Lantern Theater)
In addition to the National Marionette Theatre, the Laterna Magika is a multimedia theater that stages modern dance, drama and music performances. Check the program to see what's on while you're in town. There's always something fun showing, from circus acts to black light theater to dance and drama adaptations of favorite kids' books, such as “The Little Prince.” A lot of what's on at Laterna Magika is kid-friendly and doesn't require knowledge of the Czech language.
Old Town Square and the Astronomical Clock
Prague's Old Town Square is one of the city's most iconic spaces. Even kids, who aren't too easily impressed by church architecture, may be enchanted by the fairy tale-like twin spires of the Týn Church. In another corner of the square, the Astronomical Clock, an elaborate 15th-century clock, counts the hours as moving figures above and around the clock emerge from cubby holes and do a little dance. While throngs of people gather to see this spectacle, it's actually quite a short and underwhelming performance. Still, younger kids might be amused, and the clock itself is fascinating (if rather confusing as a method of telling the time).
Go Up the Žižkov TV Tower
For an entirely different perspective of Prague, head to the Žižkov TV Tower, in an eastern suburb. The 709-foot-high telecommunications tower was built in the late 1980s and is a dramatic departure from the Gothic, Renaissance, baroque and neoclassical architecture of the central city areas. Prague's residents don't think too highly of the communist-era construction, but it provides great views of the city from its deck. Plus, faceless bronze baby sculptures -- 10 in all -- crawling up the side of the tower are sure to amuse kids. They're a permanent installation by Czech artist David Černý. Tickets for the viewing platform cost around $11 for adults, $7 for kids and $26 for a family ticket.
If you don't have time to travel throughout the Czech Republic (or even if you do), check out Czech Repubrick. This delightful museum displays miniature Lego models of famous Czech landmarks and monuments. Kids will enjoy spotting buildings that they've seen around Prague, such as St. Vitus Cathedral, the Astronomical Clock and the National Museum. There's also a well-stocked store selling an impressive variety of Lego sets. Tickets cost around $10.80 for adults and $7.80 for kids (up to 15). Family tickets start at around $25 and kids shorter than 100 centimeters (3.2 feet) are free.
Kingdom of Railways
The Kingdom of Railways is another great miniature museum — you may not want to visit both this and Czech Repubrick unless you or your kids are madly into miniatures. But choose this one if anyone in the family is into trains. Check out miniature models of Prague, Karlovy Vary, Central Bohemia and other areas, complete with authentic replicas of their railway systems. Adult tickets cost around $11, kids (up to 15 years) tickets are $7 and family tickets start at $24. Kids below 100 centimeters (3.2 feet) pay $2.
Easy Day Trips from Prague
The Czech Republic is not a large country, so it's easy to get out of Prague for a day or two and visit sites that will interest parents and kids.
Divoká Šárka is within the Prague city limits. The nature reserve is set around a deep gorge. On a hot summer day, you can have fun at the outdoor public swimming pool in the middle of the valley, plus there are walking and cycling tracks around the reserve. It's an easy 30- to 40-minute tram ride from central Prague.
Kutná Hora is a town about an hour's drive east of Prague that's most famous for its unusual Sedlec Ossuary. The church is “decorated” with the bones and skulls of thousands of Black Death victims from the 14th century, which were exhumed in later centuries to make room for renovation and reconstruction of the chapel. Some visitors might find the skeleton chandeliers and coat of arms a bit too macabre, and younger kids could be easily freaked out. But, it's nevertheless an interesting and peculiar site, worth visiting if you have older kids who won't be scared.
Tourists discovered Prague long ago, so don't expect to have the city to yourself. The main tourist attractions (Old Town Square, Prague Castle, the Lesser Quarter and the Jewish Quarter) can get uncomfortably crowded during peak season in the summer. To avoid the worst of the crowds, come in the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn, which also offer pleasant weather. The winter is cold and snowy, but there are plenty of indoor attractions and, apart from the Christmas period, there are fewer visitors around.
If you and your kids are mobile, much of Prague is easily navigable on foot. To visit outlying attractions, the three-line metro and the tram and bus systems are efficient and will take you practically anywhere you'd want to go. Don't fail to buy tickets and to validate them at the entrance of the metro or on board the trams: Ticket officers are usually out in force and will fine you if you aren't traveling with a valid, stamped ticket.
As in most large European cities, beware of pick pocketing and petty theft. Don't leave valuables in easily accessible sections of a bag, or draped over the back of a chair. Prague is not a dangerous city, but theft does occur on public transit and in busy tourist areas.
Leverage Your Sightseeing Spending
To maximize your spend on tours, museum admission and more, don't forget to use a credit card that rewards you for purchases coded as "entertainment." (More often than not, entrance to sightseeing attractions codes as "entertainment" and not "travel.") The Citi Premier® Card earns 2 points per dollar on entertainment expenses like visits to art galleries, museums and theater performances.
Prague is a fascinating city to explore with your kids with plenty to keep you busy for days. Have you been to Prague? What did you think?
Europe is full of family-friendly destinations. Here are some more trip ideas:
- Why You Might Want to Tour Europe By Train, Not Plane
- London to Paris and Beyond: Eurostar Guide for Families
- Paris Hotels on Points for Families of 4
- 10 Free (or Nearly Free) Things to Do in Paris With Kids
- Visiting Paris in Winter: Is It Worth the Trip for Families?
- Are River Cruises Right for Kids?
- 5 Top London Museums for Kids
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