Madrid, the capital of Spain, was surprisingly not as kid friendly as expected. While there are a few different theme parks, the center lacked the choice of kid friendly museums that are often found in large cities. Yes Madrid is home to some pretty epic famous art museums and good restaurants such as this italian dining.
What To Do In Madrid With Kids
Madrid is also full of gardens but again these are more suited to a romantic stroll with your date and not so suitable for running kids around. For example, many of the green spaces had signs to not go on the grass, and the kids play grounds were often not under cover so all the equipment was unusable after hearing up under the Madrid sun.
That being said, we still found a bunch of fun things to do.
Zoo aquarium de Madrid
The zoo in Madrid is a fairly historic one, but with a great selection of animals to view. There are giraffes, elephants, camels, mountain goats, penguins, lions, kangaroos, bison, and many more. There is also a small aquarium mostly displaying sea life from the Mediterranean. We visited on a weekday which was nice as it was not very busy but that also meant many of the restaurants and kiosks were not open. I recommend taking snacks just in case.
To save a bit on your price of admission, buy your tickets online.
Parque de Attraciones
Located next door to the zoo is the parque de attraciones, which is one of the oldest theme parks in Madrid. The rides for the younger kids are in the Nickelodeon Zone which has attractions for all ages. Access to the rides is based on height and kids 120cm or taller can ride almost everything without an accompanying adult. Even little Zach, who just squeezes past 90 cm had a wide range of rides he could go on.
Tickets can be bought online and are often cheaper if bought in advance.
Warner brothers theme park
Another theme park option in Madrid is the Warner brothers theme park, which is similar to Parque de Attraciones but with Warner brother themed tides instead of Nickelodeon themed ones.
We didn’t make it to this one, as the other theme park was just a bit more convenient for us to get to.
Teléferico de Madrid
The teléferico de Madrid will take you from Rosaleda gardens near Arguelles station, to the park where the zoo and parque de attraciones is located. It spans 2,457 meters, at a height of about 40 meters, and takes about 11 minutes for a one way journey. It’s good fun for the kids but isn’t the most scenic teléferico I’ve ever been on. It is convenient for getting from the city to the park where the zoo and theme park are located, but you will have a walk a bit through the park to get to them. If you are running short on time, the metro will get you closer.
You can also take a pram on board, but you will likely need to collapse it as the cabins are not that large.
Paddle boats in parque Retiro
Another great activity that kids will love are the paddle boats in the little lake in Parque Retiro. The park itself is MASSIVE with lots of shady paths, gardens, statues, fountains, and playgrounds. There are also some art spaces to check out as well. But for kids, the highlight will be the paddle boats in the lake roughly in the middle of the park. You can either rent a paddle boat, or if you are feeling lazy, there are other non human powered options available such as center console boats.