My first trip to Madrid was rushed and unexpected; and the most unexpected part of it – last minute 3 of my siblings decided they wanted to accompany me, and even better – all three wanted to check out two amusement parks located in the city. I was… Well, not happy. I was never a big fan of roller coasters and train rides – not that I was afraid or anything, it just never was my thing; and I definitely preferred traveling on my own.
Anyway, like I said, “they have decided” – without even asking – and I had to rearrange my entire itinerary, to include the amusement parks and also, just in case, look for some fun activities we could do together.
To my big surprise, Madrid, arguably one of the liveliest Europe’s cosmopolitans at night, is a superb destination for families with kids. We had less than a week in the city, and we could not attend to all those kids-friendly attractions – but the ones we added to the list were clearly worth the visit. And yes, I enjoyed every one of them; at some point, even to a greater extent than my brothers and sister.
We were traveling in summer, and not paying a visit to a beautiful El Retiro in this time of the year would have been simply a big mistake.
The Buen Retiro Park
Lush gardens, quiet flowers-bedecked alleys and radiant green lawns, fine sculptures and several exhibition halls – are among the things you will find here. But the highlight is definitely a large artificial lake – rent a boat and row slowly enjoying the sun and tranquility.
Quite the opposite of the Retiro Park is Casa de Campo.
There is nothing fancy and princely about this park – although the colors are just as bright, and the air is fresh and clear. If you enjoy jogging, hiking or biking – this is definitely your place to go. Plus, inside the park are Madrid’ Zoo, with aquarium, dolphin exhibit, aviary and a petting zoo; and most importantly – Parque de Atracciones, with over 30 attractions, and excellent kids’ activities.
The second amusement park is Parque Warner – it lies outskirts of the city, but you would not regret the trip (which does not take more than 40-50 minutes from the city center anyway).
Many attractions in the park are named after favorite superheroes and cartoon characters. Especially for the youngest visitors of the park there are also shows and activities performed by the actors dressed up just like famous comic and cartoon figures.
Another spectacular outdoor attraction is Faunia, a natural park.
The penguin exhibit is a must; and so is cuddling and stroking those animals you liked the most – in Faunia the majority of them are allowed to walk freely and interact with the visitors.
Museo del Aire is an excellent choice for the most curious kids.
This aviation museums holds a collection of some 150 aircrafts (although only 100 of them are displayed at a time), missiles, engines, wooden propellers and much more aircraft-related articles. Every first Sunday of the month you can see some of the planes in the collection in full action – when they parade flying above the city.