If you have children, you already know that while on an outing the kids start out enthusiastic but later become bored, tired or even annoyed; possibly spoiling an otherwise excellent day. Sometimes you can bribe them with promises of what they can have or do after you finish your trip, but I leave it to you to decide whether that’s a good strategy or not. Nevertheless, it doesn’t always work.
The historical center of Prague is beautiful and I go there every time I can, even after all the years I have lived here. As a parent of three small children, I can offer you another option on tackling bored kids, all while sneaking in a bit of rest for yourself. Take them to a playground!
Even though the center of Prague is full of palaces, churches, restaurants, statues and monuments of all sorts, it is not entirely devoid of playgrounds where the children can play and you can sit for a while – and have an ice cream and a cup of coffee. Let me introduce three of them.
Františkánská zahrada (Franciscan Garden)
This one is situated at the very center, between Jungmann Square (Jungmannovo náměstí) and Wenceslas Square (Václavské náměstí) where it can be accessed from both, as well as from Vodičkova Street. The garden is surrounded by buildings and you are unlikely to find it without knowing that it’s there. The garden offers many seats but your children will certainly appreciate the well-equipped playground which can satisfy the needs of children from perhaps two to 10 years of age.
Closeby (at Světozor passage from Vodičkova Street) is a confectionery where you can have an excellent ice cream, cake or coffee. On the other side of the garden, on the way to Jungmann Square, is café Postu which is quite family-friendly. The playground provides drinking water and just behind the wall separating the playground from the rest of the garden, stands a statue of a boy, which is also a fountain designed for washing hands – which is handy if your children played in the sand. Toilets are also available in the garden.
Don’t be surprised to hear your mother tongue! Many parents who visit the playground with their children are foreigners.How to get there
Františkánská zahrada has by far the best connection– it is just meters from the exits of metro station Můstek (both A and B lines) as well as the tram station Václavské náměstí (tram numbers 3, 9, 14 and 24). It is worth taking public transport from elsewhere to get here.
If you need to give your children (or yourself) a break and you happen to be near the Charles Bridge (Karlův most) or the nearby Prague Castle, you can visit the park at Kampa which has a playground. This one is rather small and is suited for children up to six years old. There are also six benches which are shaped as Czech mythological beings where you can sit while your children play. Several restaurants and cafés are within walking distance, toilets are situated next to the playground. You can also take your children – if they go – to look at the Čertovka, which is a branch of the Vltava and separates Kampa from Lesser Town. Yes, Kampa is indeed an island and the Čertovka banks resemble Venice a bit.How to get there
Only by a tram to the station Újezd (tram numbers 6, 9, 12, 20 and 22).
Slovanský ostrov – Žofín
My last tip will also lead you to an island. The official name is Slovanský ostrov (Slavic island) but it is widely known as Žofín. Situated at the National Theatre and with an easily recognizable Mánes Gallery with a large tower at its southern tip, the island offers a large and interestingly organized playground with some rather unusual elements. What makes Žofín playground unique is the small train called “Pražský lvíček” (Czech Lion Cub). Your children can take a ride for the rather symbolic price of 10 CZK. The train is a scaled-down model of the historical steam machine “Český lev” (Czech Lion) of 1841. You can also rent a boat at Žofín and float on the river.
There is only one restaurant on the island itself (Žofín Garden), but nearby Masaryk Waterfront (Masarykovo nábřeží) offers several more choices.How to get there
Only tram to the station Národní divadlo (tram numbers 6, 9, 17, 18 and 22).
Hopefully, your children will not get bored, but if they do, try one of the playgrounds. With my children, I always plan to end our walk through the center at one of them or at least consider it an option. I highly recommend you to do the same, it can prevent an excellent day from becoming a spoiled one!