We spent today at the Harry Potter Studios tour and it was really soooo good. Nobody will want to read through that post when it happens because I took a picture of everything. Just know for now that I am the proud owner of a Ravenclaw phone cover, a Luna Lovegood wand of my own, and the most tasteful Harry Potter sweatshirt I could find. Because it’s almost my BIRTHDAY, that’s why. Obviously my 12th.
This isn’t that post, but today put me in mind of the next Prague post. Can you make Europe fun for differently aged kids (without wanting to throw yourself off the nearest picturesque bridge?) Absolutely yes, though it was actually easier for the youngest kiddo. 16 is an awkward age for Prague. You might be slightly young to care about every damn adorable cobblestone in the street and too old to enjoy some of the kid entertainment. Here is how we broke up all the regular touristy stuff, which I will say both kids seemed to enjoy quite a lot despite our worries.
After making our way to a farmer’s market out by the tv tower, and then going to look around at the weird tv tower, we decided to go to the Prague Zoo. I think we went in the afternoon as a bit of an afterthought because we expected a small city zoo. It is NOT a small zoo. At all. We flat wore ourselves out that first day by underestimating the zoo after a pretty busy morning. Highlights of the zoo include several playgrounds, lots of hidden pathways, and an indoor exhibit with free flying bats. They would swoop right over your head. Very creepy. It was a hit with both girls right up until Sam and I did the chairlift and then got hopelessly lost inside the zoo despite our map. Then it was a lot of walking and cursing the fact that we didn’t set up our phones to use internationally without wifi. When we finally found Sergio and Rosalind nearly an hour later, it turned out they were both totally happy. She was playing on the giant playground and having ice cream while he had a couple beers on the deck overlooking the whole thing.
Okay, I guess someone else took the zoo pictures so here is a totally unrelated picture of Rolo feeding the swans at a market. She loved that too.
A giant toy store? Always good. It had toys to buy, of course, but also many play areas. Some of the areas were free to use (Lego’s, kinetic sand, two story slide) and some required a pay card (carousel, various games). There was plenty to keep everyone happy.
We actually found a number of playgrounds to entertain the 7 year old. One every other day or so. However, the standout was one we found while trying to find something to entertain the teen. Gutovka is a wonderland of multiple play spaces that baffle the poor American mind. Creativity! Danger! Adventure! Exploration! My kid had to use her brain, her muscles, and her common sense at this place. It was great.
They have a sort of splash pad that works with a set of simple machines the kids have to figure out and work successively to keep the water moving around the park. Ingenious.
There is a slide so tall and slick that Rolo came out of it the first time with not a single inch of her body touching metal. She was also sideways. The only safety measure in place was a crash mat stuck on the wire fence for kids to whack into at the bottom.
They have a grownup ropes course as well that you can pay $3 to try. Us three girls did it, and it was a lot of fun. Rolo did a great job and through her slight hesitation made a 15 minute task a half hour event. She is now a huge fan of zip lining.
We never even tried the climbing wall or the skate park. There was probably even more that we didn’t notice. Totally recommend going out to this play area. Fun fact: a restaurant and snack bar that serves slushies alongside Czech beer. You can drink everywhere in Prague.
No, seriously. For about 80 cents we could grab a cone or cup of gelato on every corner. One perfect scoop to lighten the day. We did this for the girls twice a day. Every day.
All of this is not to say the girls really needed additional entertainment. They were total travel champs. In fact, Rolo is an almost endless bundle of energy that never gets sore legs. So we made her carry the camera equipment, umbrellas, and bottled water in her backpack everyday. Pack mule! The girls also liked Petrin Hill, Charles Bridge, the street performers in the square (Bubbles! Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles! Rolo never tired of the bubble making guys) and all the historical attractions we took them to. I’m just putting all this out there to tell you how we split it up and how you can keep from overwhelming a kid with too much historic/art appreciation in a European destination. I think it made the 7 year old a lot more receptive to the informational stuff because she got good breaks in between. Just my thoughts.
Also, feed them lots of ice cream and Kinder eggs.