A city that provides a host of leisurely activities and entertainment for adults is definitely the norm, as not all locations focus on the requirements of kids. After all, the average six-year-old will want something other than strolling along cobble stones scoping out historical buildings and fascinating food fairs.
Barcelona is one of the exceptions, as it perfectly caters for the old, young, and the young at heart due to its extensive range of family-friendly locations and activities scattered throughout the city. Taking excitement, visual delights and safety into consideration, we scope out some prime options to keep in mind when visiting Barcelona with kids that will help keep little ones entertained for hours and hours…
Tibidabo Amusement Park
Located at the top of Tibidabo Mountain for prime views of the surrounding city, Tibidabo amusement park is one of the oldest three parks in Europe. It boasts 25 fantastic rides (catering more for the younger crowd than adults) and is less than an hour away from the city centre by public transport and shuttle buses.
Want your little ones to learn while visiting Barcelona with kids? Then consider CosmoCaixa, one of the largest and most exciting museums in the entire Spain. With everything from sand-dune exhibitions and flooded forests to a 1,000m² jungle greenhouse and free-roaming animals, this space is chock-a-block with thrilling activities and sights that are sure to teach even adults a thing or two.
The 80-m shark tunnel is definitely one of the highlights, along with some of the world’s best and colourful Mediterranean fish (with as many as 450 species) to be found here. In addition to discovering a host of other sea critters (like flapping rays and sea horses), you can also treat those busy ones to the interactive zone, Planeta Aqua, where they can marvel in the antics of some Antarctic penguins up close.
How does 7,500 critters (ranging from tiny geckos to majestic elephants), pony rides, a petting zoo and a mini-train roaming through the grounds sound? These elements are what make Barcelona Zoo so fascinating to both children and adults, and is another must-see attraction when discovering Barcelona with kids. The zoo caters for those wishing to learn more about the strange world of animals, those hoping to see some exceptional creatures (“Land of Dragons” focuses exclusively on Komodo dragons), and those just wanting to relax with a delicious picnic while a host of wonderful activities fill up the background.
Magic Fountain of Montjuïc
What do you get when you mix colours, lights, motion, music and water acrobatics? Pure magic, and it can all be experienced at the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc, situated mere minutes away from the Espanya metro station. This exceptional design, which had its first performance nearly a century ago in 1929, is a visual delight for kids and adults and is considered one of the must-see attractions when visiting Barcelona.
Please note that the “magic” takes a break on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and that show times vary throughout the year.
The Chocolate Museum
As Barcelona’s culinary creations are internationally known, it’d be a travesty if it didn’t include something for the little ones – and The Chocolate Museum sees to that. Here at ‘Museu de la Xocolata’, visitors can learn about the history of this sweet sensation, how it impacted both culture and economy throughout the years, as well as its nutritional value. For the younger ones, various activities can be chosen from, such as Painting with Chocolate (which is exactly what it sounds like), Lollipops with Family, and Chocolate Artists where children are taught the basic techniques for handling chocolate in the sweetest, most enjoyable way.
Peek a Boo
Adults travelling in Barcelona with kids might require a break now and again, and for that reason, Peek a Boo is definitely recommended. As it’s located indoors (making it ideal for rainy days or when the weather is simply too hot to be wandering outside), this park is perfect for kids who want to enjoy anything from slides and sound pipes to play areas and creative workshops while Mom and Dad grab a coffee in peace and quiet. Professional babysitters are on duty to keep an eye on all the little ones.
Barcelona is filled with (friendly) dragons throughout the city, and it’s your little one’s responsibility to locate them! This 2.5-hr activity, which is recommend for ages 6 years and older, takes the kiddies on a scavenger hunt through Barri Gòtic to show them the various dragon sculptures hiding in the architecture, teach them the differences between the various kinds (for example, marine and forest dragons), and the stories behind these fascinating creatures.
If the combination of fresh air and sightseeing appeals to you (and your kiddies), Barcelona offers up a range of outdoor parks:
PARC DE LA CIUTADELLA is ideal for anything from family picnics and hiking to hitting the lake on a rowboat and tiring yourself out on spacious playgrounds. It is also here where visitors can discover the Barcelona Zoo and its range of animals.
PARK GUELL is as visually enticing as it is entertaining. Designed by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí, this one-of-a-kind attraction boasts twisting rock formations, tipping columns and other kinds of weirdly wonderful creations that are sure to leave both young and old intrigued. Due to its popularity (and the fact that only a certain number of guests are allowed access every 30 minutes), booking is advised.
In addition, the nearby 4D cinema at the Gaudí Experiència takes viewers on an interactive journey via active stereoscopic vision, surround sound and moving seats with special effects to find out not only how this nature-inspired space was designed, but also to give you a glimpse into the life and work of Antoni Gaudí.
And when all is done and those little tummies start rumbling, Barcelona again saves the day with its variety of family restaurants; see Family Dining: Child-Friendly Restaurants in Barcelona.