Prague with children
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 Seaworld (www.morsky-svet.cz - everything is inside i.e. lots of fish tanks, nothing big), or 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 a supervised "Sunday Brunch", Child medicine issues and babysitting services.
Friendly Restaurants and Cafes
Shopping Centre play areas
The Nostalgic Tram
Castle area playgrounds
Mala Strana area playgrounds
Ujezd play areas
Narodni play areas
Old Town play areas
Wenceslas (Na Prikope) play areas
Wenceslas (Franciscan Garden) play areas
Wenceslas (shops) play areas
Wenceslas (next to railway station) play area
Republic Square play areas
Podoli Leisure centre and play area
Charles Square park
Vinohrady park and play areas
Karlin play areas
Klimentska (close to Republic Square) play area
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 childs 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.
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.
In the centre of Prague, 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. 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......
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 Panadol Baby (Paracetomol based) with 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. It also comes in tablet form for symptom prevention) which is stronger than the usual childrens 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.
I wish I could say that places will be greeting families with welcome arms but, I live in the real world. It's much better than it used to be but still, it could be better. I find it amazing that after more than ten years here I can only recommend three or four places:
If you are like me then Sunday lunch is the one time in the week when you would like somebody to look after your kids while you eat. Hergetova Cihelna (www.cihelna.com) now has a great brunch option with kids supervision including a cinema (choice of dvd on a wide screen etc). For Adults you can get a set plate for 365kc or the "one refill" for 495kc. The kids set plate is 195kc. Best to reserve.
TGI Fridays (www.tgifridays.cz) have their main restaurant in Na Prikope (the road that links Wenceslas Square with Namesti Republiky) but, they have another combined facilty at Novy Smichov. The Na Prikope branch is our first choice by far. Childrens portions and colouring pictures to keep them occupied until the food comes. Some baby facilities and they will give you a bigger table if they have one available. Our kids' favourite here is the chicken finger dips.
Pizzeria Nuova (www.ambi.cz) has been here a couple of years and opened with the business plan of ENCOURAGING parents to bring young children. Unheard of concept previously, it has become a magnet for people with young kids. Great food and they have a supervised play area as well (best to be supervised by parents as usual). The waiters expect young kids to be running around so they are prepared for it and guess what....happy parents give good tips. Best to reserve if eating after 7pm. The restaurant is on the first floor so you have to negotiate a big set of stairs but, it's worth it.
Cafe Savoy (www.ambi.cz) reopened after a huge renovation. Not primarily aimed at parents but the staff is very professional and will distract your kids long enough for you to enjoy a nice coffee or thick chocolate. They have colouring sets as well.
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.
There is a babysitting service in Prague which I've started to recommend based on feedback, I've not used them directly. Domestica (www.domestica.cz/babys/en/index.htm) started as a house cleaning service and I believe that is still the core activity of the company but, in 2006 they started offering babysitting and nanny services as well. This is a "nanny employment" i.e. full-time scheme designed for the expat market in Prague or for working Czech parents etc for tutoring and travel to school etc but, babysitting in your hotel room for a couple of hours is also possible by prior arrangement.
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.
Nostalgic Tram 91
The Historic Tram runs from April until November (dates at www.dpp.cz). It starts at the Stresovice (pronounced streshovitser) Tram depot. It's a 40 minute ride down to the Prague Exhibition centre at Holesovice. There you can have a walk around and then get the next tram back to the tram depot. There are various stops along the route so unless you want to go to the Transport Museum, you'll probably get the tram at the rear of the castle at Hradcanska or Malostranska. Trams leave the start and end points on the hour 1200 to 1800 everyday. Adult ticket is 25kc and children 10kc.
Prague Castle Play Areas
This is the easiest area. 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. On the other side of the castle is Letna 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. In the castle itself if you walked towards the Golden Lane but stayed on the main road, at Jirska 6, you'll find the Toy Museum (Museum Hracek).
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.
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 (Rezava Kotva) 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 Restaurace 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).
At the other end of Narodni (before Tesco's) on the left is an Amusement Arcade (under the arches) and you'll see a sign for a "Laser Game".
Old Town Vicinity
Although there is nothing actually on the square itself, there are a couple of places very close to it. If you exited the square between the St Nicholas church and the Cerna Liska hotel then you come to a road. 30 metres on your left is a more a collection of toys rather than a museum but it's a nice diversion. If you had crossed the road and continued past the shops, the second road on the left is Valentinska and at No.1 in this road is the Marionette theatre. If you exit the square in the direction of Dlouha then turn right at the roundabout and you'll find Bohemia Bagel which has a small childrens area.
Wenceslas Square (south end - pedestrianised)
It's actually the street called Na Prikope. There are three shopping centres very close together.
TGI Fridays. Situated across the road from Slovansky Dum. A regular stop for us. Balloons, pens, pencils and drawings to colour-in for the children. Childrens menu available with reduced portion size.
- Cerna Ruze - On the right as you walk down from Wenceslas Square. On the ground floor in the far corner is a coffee shop where outside (during the Summer) you will find a few bits for under 5's to play with.
- Myslbek - 50 metres past Cerna Ruze and on the left. Here you will find Mothercare and the baby changing room in the "Next" children section (upstairs). Mothercare has a little Lego play area.
- Slovansky Dum. 100 metres past Myslbek and on the right. In the rear courtyard is Cafe Pavlina. Outside is a small area sponsored by Sparky's Toys containing 3 or 4 plastic houses and a small slide. 5 or under.
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 (shops)
About halfway up on the left you'll find the "C&A" shop. Go into the shop and up the escalator. On the first floor is the kids clothes section and in the corner you'll find the play area with a nice little "plastic-ball pit" and frame as well as a video of the day and some art stuff.
After C&A you'll find the Palac Knih (big bookshop). On the first floor in the childrens section is a small area for kids. It has a small plastic house, boxes of building blocks and books and a couple of small tables for drawing etc. Generally they have a childrens video playing on the TV. The bookshop cafe is on the same floor but not with a view of the play area.
About halfway up Wenceslas Square on the right you will find Marks and Spencer. Next to it is the entry to Oasis City (www.oasiscity.cz) which is a place where you can leave children under supervision. It's up on the third floor. There are different levels depending on the age of the kids. Older kids can play scalextric racing and the climbing frames etc are for everybody. They take kids from 2 years old and charges vary depending on the time but, if you allow for 60kc per hour it will be pretty close. You pay per half-hour after the first hour. When you drop off the kids you fill in the personal details form and take a "Oasis" card. When you come back to collect the kids you go up fourth floor reception/bar to pay then go back to the third with the receipt and "Oasis" card (don't lose this card as you'll be charged 2000kc according to the smallprint). There are a couple of tables on the third floor to have a drink but the main bar is on the fourth.
Further up the square you'll find the Western Union office. Two doors lower down is a small doorway which marks the entry to the "Hajek Ovocny Bar" (Fruit Bar). This is a first floor cafe selling a very good selection of cakes, fruit (in syrup etc) and ice cream. It's nice and cool in the Summer.
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.
Namesti Republiky (Republic Square)
At the Palladium Shopping Centre there is a cafe on level -1 close to the main entry on the left called Cafe Neo. It has a climbing structure for kids and the cafe tables are right next to it.
Adjacent to the Kotva shopping centre (opposite the Palladium), there is a pizza restaurant called Pizza Nuova (www.ambi.cz) at Revolucni 1 which has a special area where kids can play (supervised at the time of writing).
Around the corner from Namesti Republiky in Na Prikope is www.tgifridays.cz. Always a stop for us when in town. If you are staying long term in Prague then ask for the "loyalty card" which can be used at both TGI outlets and Planet Sushi in Andel.
Going south down the river 3km from Charles Bridge you come to Podoli. There are two things here that you would be coming for, the swimming pools at the sport centrum or the Botel Racek (Floating Hotel). There is a very nice play area about 100 metres from the sport centrum going back up 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.
Karlovo Namesti Playground
Walking away from the centrum on either Jungmannova or Vodickova will bring you to a road which goes uphill. At the top of the hill is Karlovo Namesti (Charles Square) which is divided by a main road. The first part of the park has a nice water fountain around which many people sit and enjoy the atmosphere. If you cross the road, the other part of the park has a playground at the far end with climbing frames, see-saws and a slide/sandpit. There is no cafe here but, many people take advantage of the mobile "chicken-grill" on the road in the far left corner for something to eat or drink. On the "tramline" side of the second half of the park is a small shopping arcade. DO NOT GO IN THIS PARK AT NIGHT.
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. 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.
The Vinohrady Pavilon (old indoor market in a big red building) has opened a small kids area mainly for under 5's. Supervised except lunchtimes.
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 Albatross 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.
A little way out of town but easy access, just take the No.18 (Petriny) or No.1 tram (Bila Hora), Petriny is 20 mins from Narodni. Go a few metres further and turn left onto the main road. You'll see the park wall at the end of the road (200 metres). The side entry is 30 metres on the right. A large wooded area, forest play area and the "Star House" (closed on Mondays). Large grassed area just outside the park. It's also the location of a training layout for young bike riders i.e. a scaled down version of road junctions and signs etc.
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.
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. Next to the park is "Morsky Svet" (Sea world) described later. 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.
Places to go kart racing (older kids)
Go Kart Centrum (www.kart-centrum.cz). Prague 5 Radotin. A little way out of town i.e. bus or taxi but, worth it if the children like to kart. Cheap during the week and a 700m track. Inside and outside.
Kart Areal (www.kartareal.cz). Prague 9. Located inside Cerny Most shopping complex (Cerny Most metro). Inside 500m track. Good choice for beginners and they have "double seaters" for parents to drive younger kids.
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.
For those who are in Prague with kids who wanted to "go to the beach" instead, then take a look in the "Podoli" section of this page and also the small private beach at www.smichovskaplaz.cz.
Beckland (www.beckland.cz) has opened next to IKEA in Zlicin. Great place to leave older kids if you want to go shopping in Tesco or Ikea etc. 190kc for a whole day or you get a 30% discount for entry after 6pm).
Seaworld (www.morsky-svet.cz) is located within the Vystaviste (Exhibition area) at Holesovice, Prague 7. Don't expect too much but, the staff have done a good job with the available resources. Adult entry is 120kc, kids 4-15 are 70kc (family 2 adults, two children over 6 was 380kc in July 2006). Open everyday from 1000 to 1900. Contains about 50 fishtanks with lots of different types of aquatic fish. Biggest examples are some juvenile white tip sharks 60cm. I actually enjoyed the decorations that completely cover the walls and ceiling i.e. divers, sharks, dolphins, manta rays etc but, I'd have trouble to stay there more than an hour. If you are driving, use the carpark in front of the "T-Mobile" Arena (home of the Sparta Ice Hockey club).
Jungleland (www.jungleland.cz) is about 150 metres from the Radlicka Metro is you are travelling by public transport. If you are driving then take the Radlicka turn from the Smichov bypass and you'll see a sign on the left BEFORE you take the sharp left bend at the top of the hill. It's part of a sports centre. It's a large inside play area with varying difficulties of things to play with. It also has a small restaurant in the building. You pay by the hour and you can hire the whole place for parties etc.
McDonalds at Florenc has a nice inside play area. All the drive-thru's have little outside play areas.
Vysehrad (Kongress Centrum) is the other place where skateboarders and in-line skaters meet.
Sparky's toystore has a Rocket Slide but, it's a toystore so be warned, lots of nice things for kids to want. In the basement you will find a reasonable selection of party stuff.
Hotel Marriot (behind Namesti Republiky) does a Sunday Brunch and runs a play area for 2yrs to 7yrs at the same time.
Albert (Supermarket) D1 junction 6, has a supervised centre for children over 3. Slides, plastic balls, videos, art stuff etc. Pay per half hour. Take the locker key with you (don't give it to the child).
Europark (Shopping Centre), Sterboholy, has a supervised centre for children over 3. Slides, lots of climbing frames and a special "sound and light" area.
Spectrum (Shopping Centre), D1 junction 6, has a supervised centre for children over 3 (under 3 requires an adult or child over 10 to be there as well). Slides, videos, computer games, art stuff etc. Also has a pet shop with some unusual creatures. 10kc.
IKEA (Superstore), Zlicin is the last stop at this end of the yellow metro line, a free bus service takes you the few hundred metres to the shopping area. IKEA has a supervised area for children over 3 (under 7) and a separate place for videos which has the appearance of a little cinema. Upstairs in the restaurant is a play corner for under 5's. Very popular with young families. Very child friendly place. Pay per hour.
OBI (DIY store), Roztyly branch has a built in cafe with childrens corner.