WARSAW FOR KIDS – Great Places for Families to Enjoy Warsaw!
Warsaw offers plenty of family friendly activities that are sure to interest and entertain kids and parents alike! Here are some family hot-spots and activities our Warsaw Exeter expert, Magda, and her family love in their city:
1. A walk in Warsaw’s Old Town
Castle Square – Warsaw’s Old Town
Warsaw’s Old Town is the most historic location in the city and the most popular of Warsaw’s tourist attractions. The area is a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Monument, and is a flourishing area of activity. The main square is charming, with colorful tenements and an abundance of cafes, bars, shops and restaurants. Look out for the Syrenka (Little Mermaid) monument, surrounded by a small fountain, in the main square. Syrenka is a symbol of Warsaw and is a local folk tale sure to be heard from fisherman or guides in the area. Taking a walk along the city’s defensive walls you’ll find a path, near the statue of the Little Insurgent, to Barbican. This alleyway links Old and New Town, and there is a Pieroggeria in Barbican thats perfect for trying the national dish! Pierogi can be filled with meat, cheese or fruits and are the perfect remedy for hungry tummies. Visit Warsaw’s city website for more information on everything there is to see in Old Town!
2. The Great Outdoors in Warsaw’s Parks and Gardens
Warsaw has a surprising amount of parks, gardens, and green areas, providing innumerable areas for family day-trips and picnics. Magda and her family’s favorite gardens in Warsaw are: Lazienki Park, Saxon Garden and Skaryszewski Park in Praga.
Chopin Monument – Lazienki Park
Lazienki Royal Park is one of the most beautiful palace/garden complexes in Europe. The park’s stunning palace is located on an island in the center of a lake, and is well-worth the visit for it’s spectacular views of the surrounding area. Major activities for families during the summer months include sailing around the palace pond in a gondola, feeding the resident carp that swim lazily around the lake, and watching the park’s peacocks wander freely about the grounds. Families and other park-goers can also enjoy a free public concert, at the Palace upon Water, on Sundays at noon. Of course, free tickets are limited, but if you arrive early to pick them up you can also be sure to find a nice spot to relax and enjoy the concert from!
Saxon Garden Fountain
Saxon Garden faces Pilsudski Square and the Grand Theatre. It is also the oldest public park in Warsaw! The garden was founded in the late 17th century and features numerous sculptures, a sundial from 1863, beautiful fountain and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It is a favorite of Warsaw locals and a popular venue for Sunday walks. Children will love the big playground, green open fields for games and sports, as well as, watching all the activity from passing cyclists and rollerbladers.
Aerial view of Skaryszewski Park (in the Praga district)
Magda’s absolute favorite place to picnic during the summer! It’s one of most breathtaking parks in Warsaw, with beautiful trees as old as time, sparkling waterfalls and lakes, and even houses several interesting sculptures from the 20th century. The park also offers a number of relaxing and fun summer activities, such as canoeing and sailing on the small lake, or roller-blading and cycling along its wide boulevards. There is also a horse stable that offers riding lessons for children and the horses love the attention from the little-ones. On summer evenings, concerts and film festivals are often held here and provide some calming entertainment after running around all day. After a busy day in the park Magda’s family loves relaxing on the grass and enjoying some delicious home-made cakes from nearby Misianka café!
Visit the city of Warsaw’s website here for more information on the many parks and outdoor areas the city has to offer!
3. Warsaw Zoo/ Zoological Gardens
Map of Warsaw Zoo
Over 5000 different animals call The Warsaw Zoological Garden home including some Polish natives, such as, otters and browns bears. The kids are sure to be excited at the sight of the exotic species the Garden has as well; African elephants, Rothschild giraffes, Indian rhinoceros, gibbons, various species of birds, reptiles and tropical fish make it easy to think you’re walking around in a Discovery Channel television show. The Garden’s birds wander around the zoo freely, lounging around the ponds and aviaries. Even better than getting to see the animals is actually getting to meet them! The kids can have fun petting and feeding the goats, donkeys and rabbits that the garden has in the safe environment of its petting zoo. With such a diverse number of animals to look at and meet, the Warsaw Zoo certainly has something to interest everyone! Click here for more info on the Warsaw Zoological Gardens!
4. A Field Trip to the Copernicus Science Centre
Entrance to the Science Centre
The Copernicus Science Centre is one of the most modern science centres of its kind in Europe. The Centre has tons of fun and interactive experiments that educate curious little scientists about our natural world. Hundreds of experiements and demonstrations await kids and teenagers: a humanoid robot Robothespian, electric poet Elektrybalt, earthquake simulator, and many others. There are currently over 350 experiments to visit, spread over two floors and five areas: Roots of Civilization, Humans and the Environment, LightZone, On the Move and Buzz. The Buzz area features a playground and experiments for younger children and is a favorite of Magda’s family. The Science Centre is a great venue to spend a couple hours exploring and learning! The staff there speak English and are very approachable. The Centre can get a bit crowded though, so Magda suggests a visit during weekdays in the morning just after opening or in the afternoon. The Copernicus Science Centre’s website is fun and interactive as well!
5. Roof Garden Relaxing at the Warsaw University Library
University Library designed by Marek Budzyński and Zbigniew Badowski
Closely located to the Copernicus Science Center is the Warsaw University Library which boasts a beautiful roof-top garden. A somewhat overlooked location by most tourists, the garden provides a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the city and is one of the largest roof-top botanical gardens in Europe. The garden is the perfect place to admire the view of the Vistula river, Old Town, and Swietokrzyski Bridge. This is a great place to snap some pictures of the city and a great backdrop for taking family photos, as well! The gardens’ visitors can also see directly inside the library through special windows giving them a glimpse of the University’s vast collection of books and areas for students. An entertainment centre on one of the lower stories called HULA KULA has bowling lanes and interactive play area too! Click to learn more about the University of Warsaw’s Roof-top Garden.
6. The Palace of Culture and Science
The Palace is the tallest building in Poland
The Palace of Culture and Science is definetely a landmark of the city and one of the most characteristic bulidings in Warsaw. Comissioned by Stalin as a gift from the Soviet people, it was completed in 1955, and built using an estimated 40 million bricks! The viewing terrace on the 30th floor has a magnificent panoramic view of the capital, and is another great family vacation photo spot. The main building boasts over 3,300 rooms and you can visit the Palace interior with a licensed guide. Once inside, the ground floors become a maze of halls and corridors. With huge chambers named after Eastern icons like Uri Gagarin, and Madame Curie. It is decorated with brass chandeliers and secret elevators hidden throughout the Palace of Culture and Science certainly make for an interesting tour! Click here to learn more about Warsaw’s Palace of Culture and Science.
The other areas of the complex house many institutions, museums, theatres and cinemas. The greatest attraction for kids, especially boys, is the Museum of Technology. It houses a collection of old motorbikes, cars and bicycles, exhibitions dedicated to computers, jukeboxes, radio transistors and houshold equipment. The astronautical engineering exhibition is a wonderous experience too; with models of rockets, lunar landings, and an enormous planetarium, you and your family will leave the museum feeling like astronauts returning to earth after a trip through the stars.
7. The Warsaw Rising Museum
Replica of Allied B24 airplane
This is one of Poland’s best museums and a historical landmark of Warsaw. History buffs young and old, will appreciate the historical and informative exhibitions the museum has, with regards to Poland, during and after the Second World War. The museum opened on August 1st, 2004 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the fight for Warsaw, and is a tribute by residents of the city to those who fought and died to bring freedom to the country. Occupying a former tram power station, the exhibition halls are split over several levels, leading visitors through a chronological story of the 1944 Uprising of Warsaw. The exhibition displays all aspects of the battle, as well as, everyday life in Warsaw during the Nazi occupation. Interactive displays and exhibits with sounds effects engage and entertain young museum-goers as well. Different halls focus on key efforts and events of the Uprising, such as, a walk through a replica radio station, a covert printing press, and a mock sewer that freedom fighters used to travel through city, while staying hidden. There is a great exhibit that houses an exact replica of a B24 Allied plane, once used to make supply drops over the besieged city. Your experience culminates at a viewing platform overlooking the “peace garden,” which provides a relaxing atmosphere after visiting the exhibits. The Museum of Warsaw’s Uprising is certainly a great place to visit to gain insight into the city’s past and revel in its triumphs since its liberation. Visit the Warsaw Rising Museum’s website for more info!
8. Musical Merriment at the Chopin Museum
Music lovers shouldn’t miss out on a visit to the Chopin Museum housed in the Ostrogski Palace. The museum is one of the most modern biographical museum in Europe, opening in the spring of 2010 to help mark the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birthday. The museum features a selection of multimedia exhibitions and touch screens displays, all accompanied by commentary and information in several languages, paired with musical samples.
The museum’s exhibits make up the world’s richest collection of memorabilia related to both Chopin as an individual, and his work. The collection includes manuscripts and printed copies of Chopin’s works, his correspondence, autographs, notes, works of art, and personal items belonging to the composer. (including his piano!) The entire exhibition consists of 15 rooms, each one creating a separate mini-museum and represents a different stage of his life and musical career.
The museum also offers educational activities for children age 3 to10. “Saturdays with music, Sundays with art” are featured every weekend. This is an excellent and educational way to get your children engaged and inspire creativity! The Chopin Museum not only highlights a brilliant musician’s life and works, but also opens visitors up to the amazing world of imagination and expression that is the arts. Click to visit the Fryderyk Chopin Museum’s website!
Warsaw’s abundance of museums provides families and children a great selection of intellectually stimulating activities, while still offering a medley of opportunities to spend time with your kids in more active ways too! There are several public swimming pools and aqua parks open year-round, and there are even more outdoor options for fun during the summer season. Horse-back riding, skating rinks, go-kart tracks, climbing walls, bowling and many other forms of family entertainment can be found around the city. Magda suggests making a visit to the Family Entertainment Centre HULA KULA at the University Library, Kolorado Jelonki, or HOP-SIUP Recreation complex Arco for some family fun outside of museum visits!
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