Prague with Kids
Visiting Prague with kids in tow? there are three main issues, places to play, places to eat and places to learn. If you’re a tourist then you may not be interested in the education articles but if you are an expat relocating here then you certainly will be. Prague has a lot of interesting places to go but, if you are in Prague with children it can get a bit tiring watching out for them on the narrow streets etc. My aim is to try and guide you to the most child-friendly places here. We have three children and so, this is a travelogue to point out places in Prague where you can stop to let the little monsters run around and tire themselves out in safety and to let the parents have a drink etc (depending on location). It’s mainly based for children up to 6 or 7 but, if there’s something else (Zofin, Letensky etc) for up to 10 then I included that as well. For older children I’ve included things like Cinema City (www.cinemacity.cz) and others but these would not always be suitable for under 5’s. Also further down the page you’ll find tips on Child medicine issues. If you are planning a longer stay and are looking at school options then check the Education and Prague Schools posts.
Prague with Kids – General Tips
Many people ask if all the Prague restaurants have child seats. Some do, most have the wrong kind i.e. parents like the child seat where a child’s legs go in either side of a middle support. Restaurants seem to think parents like child seats without this added safety and this results in the child sliding out from under the seat. Likewise, some restaurants still have the “screw onto table” seat long proven as dangerous for active children and not able to take the hit from an unobservant waiter or customer without detaching itself on one side. Even TGI Fridays has the “low back” type of chair not suitable for very young children. Many baby shops in the UK sell an item which looks like a small sheet of fabric (like a big nappy) but is really a clever device that can secure itself to both your child and most types of regular chair. I recommend this solution as a quick and easy backup in the event that a correct child seat is not present. Try my Child Friendly Restaurants page.
Eating in Prague with kids can be challenging. Children portions are almost unknown in Prague (TGI Fridays is an exception). You should really be selecting food which you can then share with your children. Bring their favourite biscuits etc as a backup.
If you are in the centre of Prague with kids and if you just want to buy a drink or some snack for the kids then stop at any “Potraviny”. 0.5L coke or juice will easily be half the price you would pay in a restaurant. Most potraviny’s still do small boxes of juice which works out cheaper than bottles (but cannot be resealed). If we are spending a few hours in town then we put a 1.5L bottle in the pram. This means we don’t have to stop for drinks every 15 mins, only ice cream……
Prague with Kids – Childrens Medicine
Following a little drama that we had in 2006 I thought that parents would like to know what is available for kids in chemists/drugstores here to buy off the shelf. If you wake up in the middle of the night in your hotel and your child is running a high temperature or has an allergic reaction to something then it’s not really the best time to try and get to a chemist. If a small child or baby starts to be incoherent or shaking then it’s a borderline hospital visit. You’ll be asking to be taken to the MOTOL hospital (biggest in Prague). If it’s still a high temperature then all of the following stuff is available from any Chemist/Lekarna which you can consider having available during your stay. You can also ask if the hotel has any of this as well. Always follow the stated dose (in Czech, “rok/roky/let” all mean years, “mesice” means months, “pul” means half);
1) Panadol Baby – 3 to 18 months. Taken orally. This is very popular with parents to give to smaller children running a temperature.
2) Panadol – Same make as above but for older children.
3) Paralen 100 – For babies and very small children. This is the rectal option.
4) Paralen 125 – Tablet. For children capable of swallowing with no problems. The doseage increases depending on the age but, generally children under 2 years get a half tablet.
5) Nurofen (Deti) – “Deti” means “children” in Czech but, it’s given in the same way as Panadol Baby.
If you have a small child or baby running a high temperature then you can alternate every 3 hours between Panadol Baby (Paracetomol based) and Nurofen Deti (Ibuprofen based). If you only use one type then you cannot administer a second dose until 6 hours after the first. We know that a dose of Panadol Baby followed after 3 hours by a dose of Nurofen if the temperature starts to return will work fine.
NOTE: if your child reacts badly to high temperatures i.e. 39/40 degrees then there is a prescribed medicine here called Diazepam (rectal for less than 18 months or in case of incoherency and it also comes in tablet form for symptom prevention) which is stronger than the usual children’s drugs and is used to treat the “shock” side of the illness. Again if you know of this problem then you’ll probably be prepared for it anyway.
If your child suddenly gets a rash or a sting then we generally use something called “fenistil”. Again it’s an orange box. It comes in “squeezy tube” or “oral” forms. The squeezy tube type is more for highly localised allergies or stings etc. The “oral” form is more for the “all over itchy” kind of allergy. This is often used in the Summer months here for it’s anti-histamine properties.
If it’s a troubling cough that is the problem then any chemist will stock “Robitussin Junior” which we’ve found to be quite effective.
If penicillin based liquid antibiotics are prescribed for children by a doctor then it’s likely to be something called OSPEN.
You may have noticed that www.ambi.cz has appeared a couple of times. It’s a great restaurant chain here in Prague but, the “friendly to kids” options have been specifically chosen i.e. don’t expect the whole group to operate as child friendly.
Prague with Kids – Shopping Centre Creches
The last four major shopping centres to open all included good play areas for kids including supervision. In the centre of Prague the best one is at the Flora centre (4th floor) and the latest is the Palladium centre (Namesti Republiky). Out of town you’ll find similar services at the Metropole Zlicin, Novy Smichov and Chodov. You normally register your kids (you leave your mobile number and address) and they get a locker to put their shoes etc. Some places also make them wear a vest with a number. Play equipment varies but the area is usually secure and you should expect to pay about 60kc per hour.
Prague Play Areas – Letna Park
If you are visiting Prague with kids then you’ll certainly be on the lookout for places to play. On the other side of the castle is Letna Park and most people arrive here to see the view back over toward the Old Town Square and the river bend. The viewing area is by the “Metronome” (the site of Stalin’s Statue – now removed). For older kids, this is skateboard territory, for younger kids walk back into the park near the tennis courts and you’ll find two play areas. If the skateboarders want to run on the half pipes etc, on the far left of AC Sparta Athletics you’ll find the “Rodeo Skate park” (opens in Summer 1000 to 2000 Monday to Sunday). There is an open air cafe for ice-cream and beer etc by the tree-covered scenic viewing area about 100 metres from the “National Technical Museum”. For coffee or something to eat, walk in the direction of the playgrounds and a little restaurant will be on your right (opens 11am). As mentioned earlier, there are two outside playgrounds here. The second bigger one has better playground equipment. Take a ball and there’s also a huge grassed area to run around in.
Mala Strana Play Areas
As you step onto Charles bridge coming from Mala Strana, about 50 metres on your right is a stone staircase. If you go down here (Kampa) and back under the bridge next to Kampa Restaurant you’ll find the Certovka playground. It has climbing frames, slide, sand pit etc. OK for ages up to 10.
Also from the stone steps go into the pedestrianised square and go out the other end into the park. Lots of grassed area good for football and frisbees. About mid-way along on the left is the Chidrens playground good for all ages. Keep kids away from the areas directly under the trees as these are common places where some of the local drug addicts will shoot up after dark.
In the opposite direction as you walk from Kampa towards Manesuv Most (if you stand on Charles Bridge and have the Castle on your left then you will be looking at the Manes bridge i.e. the next bridge upriver). From the Mala Starana side you use a road called Luzickeho Seminare walking gently uphill and through an open area (past the U Pava hotel). On the left after about 25 metres you’ll find a gate in the wall. You come into the garden called Vojanovy Sady and on the right is a small playground for under 5’s with a small climbing frame/slide and roundabout. There’s also a toilet here.
On one side of the castle is Petrin (Little Eiffel Tower) lots of space to run around but, no playgrounds. The mirror maze (50kc) is usually the top childrens attraction.
Ujezd Play Areas
The area between Mala Strana and Andel is called Ujezd. If you are here, you will have been on your way to the “Cantina” tex-mex restaurant, La Bastille or to the funicular. The funicular (50 metres from the ujezd tram stop and signposted as “Lanova Draha”) takes you up the hill to Petrin where you’ll find the Stefanik Observatory and Mirror Labyrinth (Zrcadlove Bludiste). Times vary with season but, open every weekend during the daylight. Outside the entry to the lift are the lower slopes of the hill where many locals will be found laying on the grass and enjoying the sun. Definitely a place for ball games.
Adjacent to Ujezd, actually on the riverfront on the Ujezd side of the Legie Bridge (National Theatre on the opposite side) continue along the “river road” pavement for 200 metres passing the canal locks. On the left is now a footbridge, cross over it and you are now on “Detsky Ostrov” Childrens Island. This is a big playground with lots of climbing frames, swings, roundabouts. It also a small astro football pitch, skateboard “half-pipe” and two fixed table tennis tables. Nice restaurant (Manu) but not in the childrens playground area. No dogs and no smoking in the children area.
Narodni Play Areas
This is one of the main streets and you’ll probably be walking along the river road or looking at the National Theatre. From the National Theatre, turn left to walk away from the castle along the river road. After about 50 metres you will see a large yellow building with a bridge leading to it. This is Palac Zofin and it is situated on a little island. The outside part of the restaurant has a swing, toy cars and other things for under 5’s to play on. Behind the restaurant is another play area for older kids (renovated in 2006 into a more artistic area). At the near end of the island you’ll find a hire place for rowboats and peddalo boats (you have to leave a deposit so allow 2000kc).
Wenceslas Square Franciscan Garden
The park is called Frantiskanska Zahrada (Franciscan Garden) and can be considered “off the beaten track” as many tourists never come here. There are three entries, the easiest to describe is to go to the middle of Wenceslas Square where the tramline runs across. Turn into Vodickova and after 20 metres there is a Shopping Arcade (also Svetozor Kino) on the right. Go to the end of the arcade and turn left into the park. On the right in the far corner is the children play area (bring a bucket and spade). Play area underwent reconstruction in 2009. Lovely place. No dogs.
Wenceslas Square (north end – railway station) Playground
The first road that runs parallel with the highway is called Opletalova and has the park directly opposite the Main train station on one side. Half way down the road (in the direction of Hybernska) there is an entry into this pleasant little playground with slides, climbing frames and roundabouts etc.
Podoli Playground (Riverside – Prague 4)
Going south up the river 3km from Charles Bridge you come to Podoli. If you are in Prague with kids and fancy a swim then there’s a large pool complex in Podoli. There is a very nice play area about 100 metres from the sport centrum going back down the river. The access is in the next road back from the main road. Lots of play things, slides, see-saws, sand pits (with buckets and spades), play house, roundabout and a small grassed area for ball games etc. No Dogs.
Vinohrady Playgrounds (Prague 2)
Half way up Vinohradska directly opposite Jiriho z Podebrad metro stop is a small park. The entry to the playground is from the side road. Contains climbing frames, see-saws etc. Cross the road called “Slezska” and on the other side is an even larger playground. The next metro station up the street is Flora. This is the location of the Flora shopping centre. The centre’s main attraction is the IMAX 3D Cinema (Family Ticket for 2 Adults and 2 kids is 600kc). Each floor has somewhere for smaller kids to play and a supervised section is at the top adjacent to the fast-food shops.
300 metres from Florenc is Karlinske Namesti (big church on one side) on the other side is the road called Sokolovska and in the corner is the play area. The entry to the playground is from the side road. Contains climbing frames, slide, see-saws, sand pits, roundabout etc.
Many people like to walk along the riverside. If you start at “The Rudolfinum” walking away from the castle, you can walk down to the water’s edge and continue past many of the moored boats and the Botel Albatros until you are forced up onto the main road. There is a footbridge which crosses the road and on the other side about 50 metres back is a play area which has some climbing frames etc. Most of the local kids use the playground for football or hockey.
Prague Zoo is located at Troja. By public transport from Holesovice you can get the tram number 3, 17, 25 and walk the last part of the journey or the bus number 112 will take you straight there. It has a reasonable standard of facilities for the animals and a liberal use of perspex reduces the number of iron bars but, if you like to see wide open spaces this is NOT your ideal destination. An adult high season ticket is 90kc and children between 3-15 are 60kc. You can buy a family day ticket for 270kc (2 adults and 2 children). Zoo is open from 9am everyday to 4pm in the winter rising to 7pm in the summer. The Zoo webpage is www.zoopraha.cz. There is a petting zoo i.e. a few goats and others on the lower side of the gardens and two childrens play areas (plus open air theatre and little railway). Take some 5kc coins for the food to give to the animals or there are a couple of machines which accept notes and return coins. Be warned, there are one or two older goats who like to remind you they are there with a little butt. No problem for adults but, it will knock a child over. The webpage has an English option for “Virtual walk”. Click on this option for a map of the park.
Stromovka Park (Prague 7)
This is next to the Exhibition Park accessible by the No.5 tram from Namesti Republiky, no.17 from National Theatre and no.12 from Mala Strana. Great if you are in Prague with kids and want them to get some exercise. In the park, the first thing you’ll find is the Planetarium. If you follow the signs for Troja you stay next to the fence for a while. When you get to the bar/restaurant on the right you’ll find an in-line skate rental office (40kc per hour and a 3000kc deposit). Keep following signs for Troja until you find the yellow “zoo” and “Kralupy” sign. You go under the railway bridge and shortly arrive at the river. Follow signs for the zoo from now on and the boat dock is on the other side of the bridge with the big “P” sign. 100kc adults, 60kc kids, 75 min journey to Palackeho Bridge (300 metres from the National Theatre). There is no actual playground in the park but, it borders the fairground.
Prague with Kids – Private Beaches
For those who want a day or two in the sun and feel sand under your feet take a trip to Zlute Lazne (www.zlutelazne.cz). Between 0900 and 1400 it’s 100kc for adults and and 60kc for kids and ISIC student cardholders (children under 1 metre tall go free). After 1400 it’s half price, after 1700 it’s free. Popular as a night beach party place.
Another option on the other side of the river at Smichov is the small private beach at www.smichovskaplaz.cz.