West of Central Madrid lies one of the largest urban parks in Europe – Casa de Campo. Former royal hunting grounds, the park now covers whopping 1.700 square hectares and offers a galore of thrilling activities for both children and adults.
Its name the park owes to a mansion which King Filipe II acquired in the 16th century – “casa de campo” means “country house”; and mansion soon became frequented by the members of the royal dynasty and noble families, who spent here weekends, hunting and simply enjoying serene landscape.
Today the area is much beloved by families with kids. Large lake steeping in radiant green forest, fresh air, and superb sporting facilities, from biking tracks, hiking and canoeing make the park a perfect weekend destination.
Also within the park are Parque de Atracciones
(Amusement Park) and zoo.
Inaugurated on May 15th in 1969 Parque de Atracciones receives some 100 millions of visitors each year. The guests can choose between over 30 attractions – some of which are kids-friendly, others would scare to death even the most courageous daredevils. Scattered all over the amusement park are countless food joints, souvenir shops, and to please the kids – live performances and even pony rides.
The history of the Zoo dates back to 1770 – when it was opened for the first time within the present-day Parque del Buen Retiro and showcased the animals brought from the American colonies. In 1972 it was relocated to Casa de Campo, where refurbished facilities of the zoo itself were complimented with an aquarium, aviary, a petting zoo and a dolphin exhibit.
Tickets to both – the zoo and amusement park – can be easily purchased via official websites (in fact, sometimes tickets purchased via web result less expensive due to special sales and offers). For the amusement park it is worth purchasing so-called “Speedy Pass” – for an additional fee you’d access any attraction from the list without having to wait in queue. Comes very handy, bearing in mind that during summer months and weekends the park gets extremely crowded.