Ten Best Things to do with Kids in Barcelona

 

Ten Best Things to do with Kids in Barcelona pin

Barcelona is a beautiful city inundated with life and culture. Tourists come from all over the world to see its famous attractions and enjoy the relaxing pace. Most travelers do not realize that Barcelona is very kid friendly as well. Below are the ten best things to see and do with kids when traveling to this great city.

Parc Guell

This park is extremely colorful and vibrant. Antonio Gaudi, a late 19th-century architect, created this park as one of this many love letters to his city. What is significant about Gaudi is that, unlike the other creators of his age who preferred geometrical straight lines, Gaudi built his structures with curved lines. Although the artist never finished Parc Guell, it has become a mainstay in the city for tourists and locals alike. Children cannot resist the bright colors and vibrant landscape. It is one of the most whimsical places in the city.6107332566_35daf531c6_z

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Pack some closed toe walking shoes for the kids, as there are many steps to traverse. Try accessing the park from the escalators in the back to save your feet!
  • Bring a water bottle because just like in any tourist landmark, the water will be expensive.
  • Pack some bandaids, sunscreen, and insect repellant.

Segrada Familia Cathedral

This famous cathedral, also created by Gaudi, has been under construction since the late 1800s. Construction on this and several other works by Gaudi stopped suddenly after he was unexpectedly struck by a horse pulled tram and, after being confused for a beggar, received subpar treatment and subsequently died.

Touring the Segrada Familia is a real treat. Kids will marvel at the model makers at work inside and can also view plans for the finished product. This is a truly spectacular sight and is a must see during any traveler’s visit.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Encourage kids to explore and ask questions. Segrada Familia is one of the few rare living church history lessons in progress.

La Pedrera

The last creation of Gaudi, La Pedrera has become a tourist attraction mainstay in the city. At its first creation, the building was the subject of controversy because of the unusual twisting construction of the windows and balconies. The distinct lines and forms always intrigue children. Admission is free for children up to 13 years of age. This place is a must see during your visit.

Ten Best Things to do with Kids in Barcelona building

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Be sure to visit the attic where the works of Gaudi are housed. Children always find this part particularly interesting.
  • Prepare kids by reading a little bit and introducing them to the work of Gaudi before visiting.

Picasso Museum

This museum houses some of Picasso’s most famous works. The Picasso Museum building consists of five former medieval palaces. Fans of the artist can see his most obscure paintings in chronological order, tracking his artistic development. It also has an area that is exclusively dedicated to children. The sights and sounds will delight kids and immerse in a culture as they meander through the museum.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • This would be a great place to visit on a rainy day. Staying indoors would be much preferred to fighting the weather outside with the kids under an umbrella.

Bari Gotic (Gothic Quarter)

This is one of the quiet neighborhoods of the city with a historical essence. If you are looking for a pedestrian/family-friendly environment, then Bari Gotic is your destination. Quiet strolls and simple café eating are the order of the day here.

Ten Best Things to do with Kids in Barcelona street

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Parents who forgot to pack a lunch for the day should not worry. The many cafés and restaurants offer ample food choices that are easy for tight budgets.
  • Don’t leave without trying the Spanish hot chocolate and churros.

Olympic Village

Designed for the Olympics held in Barcelona in 1992, parts of the village dominate the skyline. Kids will certainly enjoy the beach that is located in the village, and there are many playgrounds for them to explore and enjoy.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Make sure kids wear bright colored shirts or bathing suits so they will be easy to spot in the crowd. The Barcelona coastline can get quite crowded and this is a handy way to make sure to keep an eye on the kids at all times.

La Rambla

This is perhaps one of the most colorful and vibrant boulevards in the world. La Rambla is truly a one-of-a-kind street with street performers such as magicians, balloon artists, and mimes. A must see stop is La Boqueria, mentioned in the next segment, to help with hunger pangs and sensory overload.

Ten Best Things to do with Kids in Barcelona market

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Plan this trip on a day that is slightly overcast. This makes for a much more enjoyable stroll down the street, especially with kids who have light sensitivities or are prone to migraines.
  • Pickpocketing is prevalent, so don’t let the kids carry valuables of any sort and keep an eye on them.

La Boqueria

The La Boqueria is a massive market located in the heart of the city. The history of this market dates all the way back to the early 13th century! However, it was not legally recognized in its current form until 1835. All of the colors and smells will delight children, and all that food in one place certainly makes for an impressive display.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Let kids pick out a few items that they would like to eat or cook later. Involving them in the process is an excellent way to bond as a family and expose kids to new foods, textures, and cultures.

Font Màgica de Montjuïc

From its very first performance in 1929, this fountain show accompanied by music has been delighting audiences of all ages for almost a century now. Children are always captivated by the many different colors and sounds that the fountain features.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • This attraction is best viewed at night. Make sure to let it get good and dark so the kids will get the full impact of the display.
  • The best part is the fact that it’s only twenty minutes, which even kids with the shortest attention spans can sit through.

Columbus Monument

This monument, opened in 1888, is located directly in the center of the city. Parents can take children for a ride in the elevator to the top where they can enjoy a spectacular view of the city. The Columbus Monument is an excellent way to enjoy a part of Spain’s history, introducing your kids to the impact that Spain left on the world.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • The inside of the monument’s column has an elevator. Here you can take the kids to the top of the monument at night for a different scene. Check to make sure it is open beforehand.
  • Buy tickets ahead of time to avoid lines for the elevator.

Overall, families will find Barcelona very kid friendly and have a great time. Parents should introduce children to the art of Gaudi and Picasso ahead of time, so they will understand and appreciate the vibe of the city better.

Ten Best Things to do with Kids in Barcelona columbus

Day Trips From Brasov Romania With Kids

Day Trips From Brasov Romania With Kids pinMost travelers who actually visit Romania only see the capital, which is a shame because there is so much to see in the rest of the country. For visitors fascinated by legends and folklore, Brasov is the perfect place, since it is where one of the greatest iconic horror characters lived. There are many places and landmarks to discovered around the Romanian countryside, so here are the spots we recommend to first-time travelers.

Day Trips From Brasov Romania With Kids street

Peles Castle

The Peles Castle, located in Sinaia (about 44 km from Brasov), is our top choice. The castle is considered one of the most well-preserved in all of Europe, housing over a hundred and sixty rooms. Many of the interior and exterior decorations are wooden, adding both warmth and depth to the building. Though located in a rather unknown country of Europe, Peles is a fantastic structure to behold. It also happens to house one of the most valuable painting collections in Europe, with nearly two thousand pieces of art.But what sets it apart from other castles is the fact that every single room is decorated in an entirely different style than the next -Italian Renaissance, Gothic, German Baroque and French Rococo, Moor, and the list goes on and on.

Day Trips From Brasov Romania With Kids hill

Bran Castle

Bran Castle is a Romanian national landmark filled with history. It also was the inspiration for the dwelling of the famous literary character, Count Dracula.

Romanians have taken the legend of the Count under their wing and hold yearlong events honoring Dracula and local myths. These events range from live musical performances, family fairytale fairs, and of course a Halloween event. What parents should know about Bran Castle is that the castle does not include purposefully scary places. As a result, the castle is entirely family friendly to visit. Just recently, the castle held a storyteller’s fair for children where employees dressed in medieval costumes, played games, performed, and retold folkloric stories to visitors.

Day Trips From Brasov Romania With Kids castle

Sibiu

If travelers have had their fill of castles, then we recommend taking a lovely day trip to the city of Sibiu. Sibiu is a multicultural city that honors and unifies the different cultures ethnicities living there. Those interested in Romanian myths should visit the Liar’s Bridge. Liar’s Bridge connects the lower and upper parts of the medieval city. The urban legend has it that if someone sits on the bridge and tells a lie, the bridge will collapse.

Another site to see is the Council Tower, one of the most famous monuments in Romania. The tower was used to defend the entrance gate into the second precinct. Those interested in religious history should see the Holy Trinity Cathedral, built in the early 1900s in a Byzantine style. The murals and stained glass work are breathtaking and comparable to those found in the main European capitals.

Day Trips From Brasov Romania With Kids gold

Sighisoara

Visitors fascinated with the legend of Dracula should take a day trip to the quaint city of Sighisoara. The city claims to maintain the home where Vlad the Impaler (thought to be the original Dracula) was born. Besides Vlad the Impaler’s house, guests can also venture to the Clock Tower. Here, they can see the entire city of Sighisoara from the top, or explore the Torture and Weapons Museum. There are some churches worth checking out in Sighisoara. One is the Monastery Church, significant as the only church in the area without a bell. The Saxon builders thought that one bell (the one in the nearby Church on a Hill) would be enough for the entire small city.

Day Trips From Brasov Romania With Kids mural

Rasnov Fortress

For the history buffs, we suggest visiting the Rasnov Fortress. Teutonic Knights built Rasnov Fortress as part of a defense system against the Tartars. As a result of the constant onslaught of attacks, Rasnov became more of a dwelling property than a fortress. The fortress, an integral part of Romanian history, is an interesting structure to explore. One can reach the fort via car or by trekking up the steep hill, which might be somewhat unpleasant on hot days.

Day Trips From Brasov Romania With Kids tall

Zarnesti Bear Sanctuary

Bound to please the entire family is a visit to the Zarnesti Bear Sanctuary. Founded by Cristina Lapis, the sanctuary is located in the Carpathian Mountains and covers over seventy hectares (roughly 173 acres) of oak and hazel forest. It is an interesting and inspirational place to visit. Guests can watch Romanian bears in their natural habitat and learn about the illegal and abusive exploitation of native bears. Potential visitors should call the Romanian Bear Sanctuary office based in Brasov and verify hours of operation. The sanctuary offers group visits, but it is best to call ahead to ensure a spot. This is because the sanctuary is a small place and cannot accommodate many people at once.

Day Trips From Brasov Romania With Kids bear

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Families traveling to Romania, especially to the area around Brasov, should remember that it might not be comparable to a Westernized country or setting. Hence, packing daily necessities that your child with autism needs should be a priority.
  • For Peles castle, be aware that there are lots of stairs and parents need to prepare kids for the fact that they cannot touch many of the exhibits.
  • While visiting Bran Castle, travelers need to be aware that it is a little hike to get to the castle itself, so dining down at the mini-mall restaurant setting and bringing bottled water is a good idea.
  • For Bran Castle, you may want to get an organized tour to hear the stories, depending on your child’s age. Some of the rooms are not that enjoyable for the younger kids.
  • To reach the top of Bran Castle, there is an area that visitors have to climb a narrow staircase in the dark, which might frighten some younger kids.
  • Sighisoara might be a good place for older kids and history buffs, but younger kids might find it less entertaining. Be aware that, since this is the Romanian countryside, some of the roads are unpaved and parents might want to sit and pack an extra set of clothes in case their kids step in mud.Day Trips From Brasov Romania With Kids suspicious
  • We do not recommend Rasnov Fortress for younger children who might not understand its historical and military significance. Getting up to the fortress is quite a hike, and many rooms in the fort are either wholly or partially destroyed, which the younger kid might find boring.
  • Be sure to wear closed-toe shoes because of the rough terrain in Rasnov Fortress.
  • Do prepare your child how to behave safely around bears in Zarnesti. Though not in direct contact, your child with autism needs to respect their space and not throw any food or objects at the bears. They also cannot stray from the path on which the sanctuary guides lead visitors.
  • The tours in Zarnesti are on the hour, so there might be a bit of a wait for which parents need to prepare their kids.

 

Introducing Your Kids to Romanian Foods

 

Introducing your kids to Romanian foods pin

Romanian cuisine has a history almost as robust as its flavor. Certainly influenced by the Ottoman meals, Romanian food also has strong influences from other countries it borders. Most of the country’s traditional dishes feature meat as the primary foundation, with other ingredients folded in nicely to give the dish a good appeal. Families in the mood for enjoying a standout culinary adventure should try the following ten Romanian staples that are sure to please.

Icre (Fish Egg Salad)

Straightforward and elegant are two words that describe this dish. One simply mixes carp fish eggs with oil, lemon juice, and chopped onion to make this recipe. Icre is typically served as a spread on crackers or small slices of toasted bread and makes for the perfect tasty snack for fish lovers.

Introducing Your Kids to Romanian Food

Zacusca (Smoked Vegetable Dip)

Mix eggplants (aubergine), red peppers, onions, tomato paste, olive oil salt and pepper to make this delicious vegetable dip that is Russian in origin. Usually made ahead of time and stored to use later, this vegetable mix is a staple in Romanian homes for the winter. Zacusca’s flavor improves with age but must be consumed once the container is opened since it can spoil. Most people eat Zacusca as an appetizer on sliced bread or as a  side dish. Also, one can add Zacusca to rice or polenta to enhance the flavor.

Salata de Vinete (Eggplant Salad)

Originally copied from the Turkish Babaganush, this eggplant salad is subtle and smoky.
Cooks first grill the eggplant until the outer skin is black and crusty. Then the cook peels the skin off and smashes the eggplant, mixing vigorously with oil, chopped onions, and salt until it resembles a rough paste.

Traditionally served over crusted bread slices, Salata de Vinete is part of the salads used by the locals in summer and a great addition to many school sandwiches. For a different flavor or creamier texture, experimental cooks can add yogurt or mayonnaise. For a spicier version adding some cayenne or garlic powder to the mix should help.

Introducing Your Kids to Romanian Food sauce

Muraturu (Pickles)

Muraturu was a prominent historical method of preservation in Romania since refrigerators were scarce in the countryside and vegetables were hard to come by in winter months. The traditional recipe calls for four parts water to one part pickling salt when it comes to pickling the vegetables.

The Romanian versions mix in some bay leaves, red peppers, garlic cloves, and whole peppercorns to bring out the pickling flavor. Traditionally, the vegetables and the add-ons are put outside in the sun for at least two weeks until they ferment and start the pickling process. Once the process is done, the containers are placed in basements for use throughout the year.

Introducing Your Kids to Romanian Food meat

Sarmale (Stuffed Cabbage)

Turkish and Romanian people often dispute the origin of Sarmale.
Romania, of course, claims this stuffed cabbaged dish as its own.  Traditionally stuffed with minced meat, rice, and sauerkraut, the dish flavor is robust and tart. The cook rolls pork or beef, sauerkraut, and rice into cabbage leaves then boils the cabbage in a tomato based sauce with bay leaves.

Ardei Umpluti (Stuffed Peppers)

Aredi Umpluti is a traditional Romanian stuffed pepper dish.
One makes Aredi Umpluti by stuffing pork or beef, rice, and onions neatly inside a bell pepper. The stuffed vegetable then cooks in the oven in a hearty tomato sauce for at least two hours.
Some recipes incorporate other vegetables and spices into the mixture to vary the flavor. This traditional dish works well for formal occasions as well as weekly family dinners.

Introducing Your Kids to Romanian Foods plate

Mititei (Grilled Spicy Sausages)

A tasty Romanian dish that is essentially a sausage with no casing.
Traditionally cooked on an open flame, one makes Mititei from a mixture of beef, lamb, and pork. Spices such as garlic, black pepper, and thyme are added to round out the flavor. The sausage like delight is something every traveler to Romania should try.

Mititei originated in Transylvania, created by renowned sausage maker, Lonescu Lordache, who made it when he did not have any skin to use for sausage casing. Mititei is a crowd pleaser for appetizers and pairs well with a nice chopped vegetable salad or as an entree with mashed potatoes and rice.

Mamaliga (Boiled Polenta)

Unchanged throughout history, mamaliga dates back to feudal times when Romanian peasants had to cook with very few ingredients.
Commonly consumed when there was no bread available, mamaliga consists of corn meal derived from maize flour. Classic Mamaliga, served cold or hot, has a creamy texture and a mild flavor. However, many family recipes season it with slices of sausage or other meats for texture. Cooks can add milk and soft farmer’s cheese to give weight and smooth out the grainy mixture.

Introducing Your Kids to Romanian Food dessert

 Papanasi (Fried or Boiled Flour and Semolina Dessert)

Eating fried papanasi is one of those memorable moments that most visitors to Romania recall.

This dessert is a light, yet delicious Romanian delicacy that is an either fried or boiled semolina sphere that can be filled with some soft sweet cream. It is often topped with a creamy, tart jam and sometimes whipped cream. Although it’s rather simple to make, this dish will please anyone with a sweet tooth. Adults can complement it with a sweet dessert wine for the best flavor experience.

Savarina (Cake)

Savarina is essentially rum soaked sponge cake, a delight for adults.
The cake is named after 18th-century lawyer and gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. One makes Savarina out of sweet yeast dough and, after baking, soak it in rum overnight. Cooks serve Savarina either with a sweet pastry cream on the side or a dollop of whip cream and fruit on top. The result is a sweet, moist, light and fruity treat more catered to the adult taste buds than the kids taste buds because of the strong, bitter taste of the rum.Introducing Your Kids to Romanian Foods cream

When visiting Romania, parents should try to introduce their kids to all these dishes and see which ones they like. Clearly, the sweet dishes will probably be an easier sell to most kids. However, many of the Romanian dishes are salty and will appeal to some of the kids. Even the pickiest of family members might find a new favorite when visiting Romania.

 

 

Visiting the Alhambra Palace with Family

 

 

vISITING THE aLHAMBRA PALACE WITH FAMILY1

The Alhambra Palace is a UNESCO world heritage site located in Granada, Spain that features well-preserved Moorish Architecture. It is also a vast and beautiful palace that travelers from around the world flock to see. Visitors can gaze at this fantastic “pearl set in emeralds,” cited as an example of Muslim historical art. If visitors find themselves in this part of Spain, they absolutely cannot miss this fantastic piece of history.

Visiting the Alhambra Palace with Family landscape

Alhambra’s History

The Alhambra Palace was originally designed as a small fortress in the year 899. This fortress was forgotten by history until its renovation in the mid-thirteenth century. The fortress officially converted into a palace in 1333. The Alhambra Palace, as recognized now, was built for the last Muslim rulers in Spain.

Traveling European scholars rediscovered Alhambra Palace in the nineteenth century. Through its restoration, the Alhambra Palace has become one of Spain’s major tourist attractions and is the country’s most significant and well-known example of Islamic architecture.

What to Marvel About

The palace is composed of a series of rooms and courtyards intertwining to create a fantastical maze of architecture and design. The palace’s tremendous size can be attributed to the gradual addition of rooms varying in dimensions and connecting each other. As travelers will find out, the majority of the buildings are quadrangular in shape with the rooms opening up to a central court.

Visiting the Alhambra Palace with Family water

Not only is the Alhambra Palace itself large, but it is also surrounded by an enormous woodland. The park (Alameda de la Alhambra) is a gardener’s paradise because of the overgrowth of wildflowers, roses, oranges and myrtles all planted by the Moors. Not to be missed is the dense forest of English Elms that were brought over by the Duke of Wellington in 1812 and which enhance the natural elements of the palace.

Not to be Missed

One should take the opportunity to visit the Hall of Ambassadors. The Hall of Ambassadors (Salón de Los Embajadores) was the grand reception room and also where the Sultan sat to greet his guests. The hall is exquisite with four-foot walls covered in tilework that hold a series of oval medallions with inscriptions, interwoven with flowers and leaves. The ceiling is also exquisite, painted in white, blue and gold inlays in the shapes of circles, crowns, and stars.

Visiting the Alhambra Palace with Family tile

Those interested in stories and legends should stop at the Hall of the Abencerrajes. The hall itself is splendid with a honeycomb style dome and beautiful mosaic tiles, but it is the story itself that draws pedestrians. Legend has it that the last sultan of Granada invited the chiefs from the Abencerrajes family to the Hall of the Abencerrajes (Sala de Los Abencerrajes) and slaughtered them all because of a romantic dispute. In the room, there is a fountain where you can see rust spots claimed to be the blood of the murdered chiefs.

The Courtyards

There are a few courtyards that one must see if visiting Alhambra. Probably the more famous of the courts is the Court of Lions. The Court of Lions (Patio de Los Leones) is surrounded by a gallery supported by 124 white marble columns. Paved with colored tiles and white marble, the court gleams in the sunlight creating an airy feeling as guests stroll. Various depictions of foliage adorn the columns themselves. In the center of the court, you will find the famous fountain lions. The fountain is an alabaster basin supported and surrounded by twelve marble lions. The Lions all represent strength, power, and sovereignty. As visitors walk around the fountain, they will find at the edge a poem written by Ibn Zamark attempting to put the wonders of the Court of Lions into words.

Visiting the Alhambra Palace with Family fountain

Another important court to visit is the Court of Myrtles. The court holds a pool to help keep the palace cool in the warm summer. Interestingly, this pool is also a traditional symbol of power. Water was scarce at the time, and keeping the pool full was a challenging and tedious task. There is also a pond set in marble full of goldfish with myrtle growing along the sides, which is said to encourage peace and tranquility.

Our Take

We took an organized tour so that we wouldn’t have to deal with tickets or entrances. The palace is wondrous, but it’s best enjoyed with older kids. Even our children had one or two moments where, after seeing several of the halls, they were a little “halled out.”

The most interesting thing we explored was the Women’s Quarters. Here, walls separated the harem from the rest of the palace. The separating wall had tiny peepholes that the women could peek through to see what was happening without being seen themselves.

Visiting the Alhambra Palace with Family arch

Not only did our kids learn about Spanish history and the Moors, but they also saw the different beautiful mosaic designs on the walls and exquisite wood carvings unique to the palace. Our family considered it a day well spent.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • The best time to visit is in spring or fall, as it gets crowded and hot during the summer. It is also best to visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid these crowds.
  • You can buy tickets ahead of time, which we highly recommend. Your family can also take an organized tour of the palace.
  • The palace is easy to walk, though there are a lot of stairs. Prepare your kid for walking, and make sure everyone wears comfortable shoes.
  • If you visit in the summer, you may have to deal with bugs or heat. Bring sunscreen, water, insect repellent or a mini fan from home, or consider coming in the fall.

Visiting the Alhambra Palace with Family door

  • Pickpocketing is frequent around the area. Watch your belongings, wear a money belt under your garments, and don’t bring electronics unless you’re prepared to hold them in hand at all times.
  • Visitors are not allowed to touch things within the palace. Prepare your kid for this accordingly.
  • The palace is vast, and you could easily spend an entire day there without noticing. However, for kids, two to three hours is enough time to explore the best parts of the palace.
  • If your child is not a history or architecture fan, they might feel bored by the guided tour. You’d be better off just seeing one or two halls and courtyards and calling it a day.
  • Wheelchairs are available in the main ticketing office. There is a wheelchair accessible route through Alhambra, though visitors taking this course won’t see the entire palace.
  • You can buy replicas at the shop, all handmade by local artists. Our son fell in love with a beautiful bone model. These are expensive but well made.

Visiting the Alhambra Palace with Family end

Top Five Family Activities on Lanzarote Island

top-five-family-activities-on-lanzarote-island

 

Although the Spanish Canary Islands could have once housed the legendary Garden of Hesperides, these islands were mentioned by Pliny the Elder in his encyclopedia of the natural world. At that time, Lanzarote received the descriptor of a “purple island,” and the island’s name from the natives was Tyterogaka, meaning “one that is all ochre.”This was the location of the filming for original Planet of the Apes, and the island it is especially notable for its “Martian” landscape.  Today, people living on the island rely primarily on tourism and agriculture for their income. As is the case with any popular travel destination, there is plenty to see at this spot so here’s a list of some sights you should check out on your next visit.

Top Five Family Activities on Lanzarote Island landscape

Timanfaya National Park

Travelers will want to take advantage of the complimentary bus ride around the lava fields at this national park. Commentary on this trip is in three different languages including English, and the journey lasts about fifteen minutes.
Hungry visitors should stop by the onsite restaurant which uses heat from the volcanos to cook the food that they serve. Our kids were fascinated with the process and watched it over and over again. Travelers should be aware that people arriving on organized tours get sightseeing priority over those that have made their own way to the site and make their plans accordingly. The park can be found about a half hour drive from the nearby town of Puerto del Carmen.

Top Five Family Activities on Lanzarote Island sky

Be sure to take a camel ride, because it is a once in a lifetime experience that your family will remember forever. Instead of riding on top of a blanket like in most countries, two people ride on each side of the camel in a basket. According to the tour guides, they only use female camels that are more friendly and less likely to bite visitors. The ride is twenty minutes along the uneven sand dunes, and we spent the first five minutes in fear of the camel tripping making us fall from the basket.

Top Five Family Activities on Lanzarote Island camel

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Be sure to try a meal cooked over a volcanic rock while you’re here but rest assured they also have  spagetti  on the menu for th picky kids.
  • The national park is wheelchair accessible. Admission users get in for free, and some coaches are specially made to handle wheelchairs.
  • For the camel rides, prepare your child, especially if they are afraid of heights.

César Manrique Foundation

This unique home was created using the natural lava bubbles found here as a design element. The building is now home to a tidy museum that houses the modern artworks of its’ former owner, including sketches by Picasso and Miró. As the video shown by the museum explains, Cesar Manrique was a visionary who tried to protect his island from the effects of rampant commercialism. The house itself provides travelers with an excellent view of the surrounding area. Visiting this spot will only take about thirty minutes, and the grounds also contain a place that sells snacks as well as a gift shop.

Top Five Family Activities on Lanzarote Island rocks

Autism Travel Tips:

  • You can grab a cup of  hot  chocolate and churro  in the garden.
  • This place is best for family members particularly interested in art and unique architecture.
  • The home is small and easy to explore quickly. It’s recommended as a quick stop during your vacation rather than an all day excursion.

Papagayo Beach

Papagayo Beach is a beautiful area with fantastic views and a perfect blue sea. It’s not very crowded most days, and the area is considered by main to be “pure” and “unspoiled.” Most of the nearby facilities are away from the beach, but there are restrooms and restaurants where you can get a bite to eat if you haven’t thought to bring your own provisions. You can find some special eating areas inside the nearby volcanic tunnels.

Top Five Family Activities on Lanzarote Island red

Autism Travel Tips:

  • You will need to rent a car to get to the beach. Part of the drive is down a dirt road so plan accordingly.
  • Visitors will need to be able to maneuver up and down a flight of stairs to access the beach itself.
  • It’s a rocky beach, nothing like the sandy beaches of the Carribean, and some people might not like walking in the rocky areas.

Rancho Texas Lanzarote Park

As a current holder of a Certificate of Excellence from the folks at Trip Advisor, this animal populated area in Puerto del Carmen is sure to delight young children. Some performances take place on the grounds, and these are well worth making an effort to see, particularly the sea lion and parrot shows. Tasty, good value meals can also be found on the premises as well. Toddlers under the age of two are admitted free of charge. The park is open every day from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm but it does open a half-hour earlier than usual on Fridays.

Top Five Family Activities on Lanzarote Island food

Autism Travel Tips:

  • There is a Country/Western night that involves sitting with or next to strangers in proximity. If your child needs a lot of personal space, this might not be the best night to come.
  • Teach your kids to be respectful and wary of the local animals by telling them not to get too close to or touch them.

The Devil’s Caves

This cool spot is a good place to get away from the blazing hot sun, particularly during the summer months. The caves are an excellent place to view the impressive white crabs that make their homes here as well as the usual cave features such as stalagmites and stalactites. The site is open between the hours of 10 am and 6 pm, with the last tour departing promptly at 5 pm. The tours themselves last a little less than a full hour.

Top Five Family Activities on Lanzarote Island rocky

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Those coming here should be aware that the cave walls can be quite narrow in places and there are no elevators on the premises.
  • The tour guides speak multiple languages, but their accents can be thick so keep this in mind when you and your family want to visit.
  • In the caves, water can drip on your head at any point. Kids need to be aware of this.
  • The caves are dark with uneven ground, and there is a strange smell because it is underground. Kids who are sensitive to any of these factors might have issues navigating the caves.

Favorite Family Spots for Exploring Salzburg, Austria

Favorite Family Spots for Exploring Salzburg, Austria pin

Salzburg, Austria is a beautiful place to visit, whether you come for the winter skiing in the Alps, or you visit in the summer to rummage through the traditional markets for antiques. It is a great city to explore for all ages. Music has put Salzburg on the map for many generations, from Mozart 300 years ago with his operas and classical music, to Rogers and Hammerstein with their Sound of Music Broadway hit.

Whether you wish to stay in the city for a couple of days, or you’re just there for a day trip, Salzburg has a lot to offer for the entire family. Here are our favorite family friendly spots to discover on your next vacation.

Favorite Family Spots for Exploring Salzburg, Austria carriage

Salzburg’s Mozart Trail

Salzburg is the birthplace of the iconic composer Mozart. For those interested in his life and works you can spend at least an hour listening to a handheld guide and explore his birthplace along the trail. The part of the audio tour that our kids loved was listening to Mozart’s music. Not far from the trail is one of Mozart’s residences, sadly destroyed during WWII and reconstructed later. It is still worth a visit, especially if you have the Salzburg card.

In the birth house, you can find documents detailing his early life, so if you’re a music buff or a fan of the composer this is a must see! For that perfect selfie with Mozart, stop by the Mozart Platz and photograph yourself with the composer’s statue from different angles. Make sure you don’t leave the city without trying the famous Marzipan chocolates named after the Salzburg’s beloved prodigy.

Favorite Family Spots for Exploring Salzburg, Austria building

Mirabell Garden and Park

This location was made famous by the Sound of Music movie, as the scene for the song “Do Re Mi” was filmed in its gardens. The palace, originally called Altenau Palace, was commissioned by Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau who presented it to his wife Salome Alt as a token of his love in 1606. It was renamed Mirabell by Wolf’s successor, Markus Sittikus von Hohenems, and the palace itself was also redesigned from 1721-1727.

It is thanks to designer Lukas von Hildebrant that we have the palace as it is today; Hildebrant was the one who was able to integrate the individual buildings into a self-contained complex. Now the gardens of the palace are the real must see with iconic images such as the Pegasus Fountain installed by Kaspar Gras and the four groups of statues around the fountain that represent the four elements and were designed by Ottavio Mosto. Also, you have to stop by the Hedge Theater and visit the Dwarf Garden where you can see misshapen creatures made from white marble.

Hohensalzburg Fortress

The Hohensalzburg Fortress rests atop of Festungerg, a small hill in Salzburg. This fortress was commissioned and began construction in 1077 by the command of Archbishop Gebhart von Salzburg. Gebhart decided to build it as a precaution due to an ongoing confrontation between the Pope and the Emperor who disagreed with each other about who should be the one to appoint the bishops. As a result, Gebhart maintained his loyalty to the Pope and ultimately sided with him. Thus the creation of the Hohensalzburg Fortress commenced.

The fortress is considered one of the best preserved of its kind in Europe and is an iconic landmark of Austria with its towers peaking out high above the city’s skyline. The interior is richly decorated with intricate Gothic wood carvings and decorative paintings decorating the Golden Hall and the Golden Chamber. It is an informative place to visit for a couple of hours.Favorite Family Spots for Exploring Salzburg, Austria white building

Haus der Natur Museum

What better place to spend a chilly afternoon than in a warm museum? The Haus der Natur Museum is Salzburg’s Natural History Museum. It holds all aspects of nature such as a science center, aquarium and even a reptile zoo. The aquarium is considered to be one of the best in Central Europe with high standards of maintenance. It is famous for its vast collection of Mediterranean species and tropical corals.

The museum also has a 10,000-liter tank that is home to seawater sharks which you can see feeding every Monday. The reptile zoo is an extensive collection of lizards, snakes, and amphibians. There is also a hands-on section that allows kids to do experiments in science and engineering. It is a nicely organized museum with five floors, making it easy to find the exhibits.Favorite Family Spots for Exploring Salzburg, Austria water

Salzburger Freilichtmuseum

The Salzburger Freilictmuseum is an open aired museum where you can walk around and explore collections of farmhouses and pieces of folk art from all around the province of Salzburg. Located within the community of Groβgmain, there are about 60 farmhouses as well as traditional barns, skilled worker’s houses, mills, fields and orchards still in use, and mountain cabins. The whole museum spans over 500 years of folk art and architectural tradition of rural Salzburg and also has exhibits that display folk dance and musical performances.

Favorite Family Spots for Exploring Salzburg, Austria red

Spielzeugmuseum (Toy Museum)

Less of a museum and more of a kid’s playground, this is an ideal place to take young kids. There are some historical displays, but the location also provides great fantasy and imagination spots for kids to play. They have toys dating back to the 1600s. This museum is part of the Salzburg card.Favorite Family Spots for Exploring Salzburg, Austria river

Before you leave town, make sure you take your kids to experience a slice of Sacher Torte at the Hotel Sacher. Here, you can not only discover old fashioned ruins but also enjoy a slice of Sacher Tore chocolate cake and some hot chocolate.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • If possible, take the funicular for the Hohensalzburg Fortress. There is a guided tour on the funicular. It can be rather pricey, around 12 euros a person.
  • Get the Salzburg city card to skip the lines. Some places, like the Mozart Trail, are free with the Salzburg card.
  • Be aware that some of the signs in the local museums might be in German with no available English. Download a translator app on your phone to facilitate in explaining the exhibits to your kids.
  • Go early to most places to avoid the crowds.

Top Four Family Friendly Spots on Germany’s Romantic Road


Top Four Family Friendly Spots On Germany's Romantic Road pin

As a traveling family, we are always looking for new things to explore and activities to introduce to our kids.
While researching itineraries for a  summer road trip to Germany we discovered the Romantic Road. The Road  is a  220-mile route  that travelers can take between Würzburg and Füssen in Southern Germany, specifically in Bavaria and Baden-Württenmberg.

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The route was devised in the 1950’s by travel agents as a way to lure tourists back to Germany after World War II. The Romantic Road was originally a trade route in medieval times that connected the center of Germany with the South. There are many picturesque towns and castles along the way, and the road is thought of by many travelers to possess “quintessentially German” scenery and culture.

The Romantic Road runs through towns and cities such as Nördlingen, Dinkelsbühl and Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
It can be a mini-adventure of itself of an at least 2-3 days road trip or can be divided into two long day trips out of Munich . Driving along these old country roads, viewing the historic sights, is delightful. After  exploring the Romantic Road on our last trip to Germany here are the top four spots we recommend for families.

Top Four Family Friendly Spots On Germany's Romantic Road landscape

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Rothenburg ob der Tauber lies in the district of Ansbach of Mittelfranken. The town’s name translates to “Red Fortress above the Tauber” a fitting name as the city sits on a plateau overlooking the Tauber River. Rothenburg ob der Tauber is known for its well-preserved medieval old town as well as the Night Watchmen’s Tour. The tour takes place at night and you are led around the inner walls of the town by the guide wearing the full garb of a 14th century night guards, great fun for kids!  It’s fascinating to walk around, especially for those interested in medieval history.

Younger kids will be especially interested in the Doll and Toy Museum. Older kids might get a kick out of the medieval crime museum, where they describe the specific crimes and punishment of medieval times. Our son with autism couldn’t get enough of this museum and wanted to try out the chair in the top picture. There is also a German Christmas Museum with wooden toys and ornaments.

Top Four Family Friendly Spots On Germany's Romantic Road trees

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle needs no introduction since most children know it as Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in Disneyland. The castle is a 19th century Romanesque Revival palace. The Neuschwanstein Castle is on top of a hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria. Ludwig II of Bavaria commissioned the castle as a retreat and also to pay homage to Ludwig’s friend and composer Richard Wagner.

Ludwig II paid for the castle with his personal funds, not the Bavarian public funds, but alas was only able to spend eleven nights there before he died. The castle was immediately opened up to the public after Ludwig’s death in 1886 and has millions of visitors each year. The castle is so outstanding  to look at that it has been in several movie productions and served as inspiration for Walt Disney and his film Sleeping Beauty. A staggering 1.4 million people visit this every year, as one of the most famous attractions in the world.

Top Four Family Friendly Spots On Germany's Romantic Road arch

Linderhof Castle

Prince Ludwig built another castle not far from Neuschwanstein called Linderhof after falling in love with the area during his hunting trips in the Alps. The building cost a staggering amount of German Marcs in those days and almost bankrupt him. It was built as an homage to Versailles, France and some places in it are miniature copies of it. It even has its own hall of mirrors, like the original French palace. Some call it the little Versailles in the Alps.

The surrounding gardens of the palace are gorgeous with elements of the Baroque or Italian Renaissance. The outside landscaping and structures in the park are not to be missed, particularly if you are a Wagner fan, as they are a direct homage to the composer’s operas. The good news about this palace is that it is small, although the gardens are extensive.Try to get there in spring or summer, as the gardens are more spectacular in summer than in winter.

Ulm Münster Church

The Ulm Münster is rumored to be the tallest church in the entire world. It is a fine example of Gothic Church Architecture in Germany. You can see the steeple from miles away. It is a Lutheran church, and more of a cathedral because of the size. Furthermore,The church has become closely associated with the town of Ulm.

Standing at 530 feet, the Ulm Münster offers terrific panoramic views of Ulm. Visitors should be careful be careful as the passageway to the top is small and there is not a whole lot of wiggle room.
The Church makes an excellent road trip stop  for those people who need to see the biggest/tallest landmarks available.

Top Four Family Friendly Spots On Germany's Romantic Road device

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Buy tickets in advance to most of these places, especially the Neuschwanstein castle. Castle  tours start  at a set hour, down to the very minute, so make sure you don’t miss it.
  • If your child is a big Disney fan and you have to choose, then your absolute priority should be Neuschwanstein.
  • Many of these areas have a multitude of steps to climb.
  • Many of these buildings are medieval, and the rooms can be poorly lit.
  • Huge lines in the summer can be a significant deterrent, especially for Neuschwanstein. So try to travel off season.
  • Get a guided tour, because they get the tickets for you and you bypass the line.
  • Advise your kid about proper etiquette in these historic buildings. Often you are not allowed to touch anything.
  • Don’t leave the area without having a slice of authentic Black Forest cake.

We’re always looking for new things to ignite my family’s imagination and encourage their interests while we travel. If you’re anything like us, you’ll want to add Germany’s Romantic Road to your itinerary.

Top Ten Paris Experiences For Families with Autism

Top Ten Paris Experiences For Families with Autism pin

Paris is known as the most romantic city in the world, and there are lots of specific activities for adults to enjoy. In the beautiful city of lights, it can be difficult to think of activities fun for your child or children. But as Paris is a huge, wonderfully varied city, there’s always something for everyone. Here’s a list of the top ten experiences in the city of Paris enjoyable for kids of any age.

Eiffel Tower

It sounds cheesy and completely cliché but stopping at the Eiffel Tower is a rite of passage for anyone visiting Paris. You can take the elevator or the stairs up the tower. The ticket line for taking the stairs is much shorter and moves faster than the one for the elevator. However, the stairs only go to the second floor, and you will have to take the elevator to the third. You can buy tickets to the elevator in advance, but you better be quick seeing as how they sell like hot cakes. Either way, you will get to the top and experience a magnificent view of Paris.

Top Ten Paris Experiences For Families with Autism view

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Each level has a couple of hundred stairs. By the time you’ve reached only the second tier, you’ve walked seven hundred stairs. Unless your kid likes stairs, definitely preorder your ticket online and ask for accommodation when you get there.
  • The main issue with the Eiffel Tower are the crowds. Not only do you need to prepare your kid by packing an entertainment device like an iPad or Nintendo DS to amuse them, but once you reach the site go to the front of the line and ask for help with any possible accommodations to shorten the time in line.

The Louvre

Famously known as the home of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa the Louvre holds and maintains thousands of incredible pieces of artwork. There happens to be a private tour designed to take kids on a scavenger hunt through the Louvre. A private guide will come and lead you through the museum using puzzles and clues to find the prize. The tour is fun and educational, introducing kids to the history of art by taking them through a broad range of collections.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • The scavenger hunt can be somewhat pricey for a family with several kids. If you want to do it on your own, getting the Paris Pass is recommended, since you will have a shorter line.
  • Be advised that the Mona Lisa is  actually a small painting in a moderately sized room, so there is an actual line to see her. If you’re interested in seeing her, head over there first before your child loses interest in the museum.

Top Ten Paris Experiences For Families with Autism above

Luxembourg Gardens

The Luxembourg Gardens are a lovely little park area with a playground and a fountain pond in which children can play. You can sit and enjoy the beautiful architecture of the surrounding buildings while your kids laugh at the Marionette Theater or spin around on the old carousel.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • The gardens are a pleasant place to sit and let off steam between destinations. You can also have a picnic lunch while the kids run around or feed the birds.
  • You may want to introduce your kids to the Luxembourg Garden by reading Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, either the full version or an abridged version .

Jardin des Plantes and Natural History Museum

For a more educational trip, the Jardin des Plantes and Natural History Museum is perfect for kids. Founded in 1793 during the French Revolution, the garden used to be the royal garden of medicinal plants until Louis XV in 1718 allowed the gardens to focus on natural history. For children, there are plenty of things for them to see including the Menagerie, the world’s oldest zoo in the world. The Jardin des Plantes is a hidden gem that not many visitors know. It’s a wonderful location to take those family photos.

Top Ten Paris Experiences For Families with Autism river

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Although it is a park, you are not allowed to step on the grass. Advise your kids to be mindful.
  • This museum is an excellent activity for a sunny day; it can get somewhat muddy on rainy days.
  • Take your kids to the herb section, since it’s not only fascinating, but it’s a pleasurable sensory experience with all the different smells.

Notre Dame Cathedral

Top Ten Paris Experiences For Families with Autism dome

If your child is a fan of Disney, then you can take them over to the Notre Dame Cathedral, the main setting for Disney’s adaptation of Victor Hugo’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” There you can see gargoyles, gothic architecture and intricate façade featuring biblical characters. It is a working cathedral, so you must be quiet and respectful while in the building. Not to be missed are the incredible stained glass windows. Some Sunday evenings might be hosting concerts worth listening to for the acoustics.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Like all churches, running around or shouting is not acceptable. Prepare your child accordingly.
  • You can visit the bell towers if you’re physically fit since there are several hundred narrow stairs to climb with little possibility to change your mind midway.

Pompidou Center

Another fun activity would be to take the children to the Pompidou Center. What’s so special about this place? It’s an inside-out building! The pipes and escalators are on the outside of the building and are color coded so that children can know what pipe does what: green for water pipes, blue for air-conditioning ducts and yellow for electricity cables. There is also a fantastic modern art gallery inside as well as a permanent exhibition of art from 1905-60 which showcases art from Chagall who drew illustrations for the fables written by Jean de la Fontaine.

Top Ten Paris Experiences For Families with Autism city

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Check out the rooftop cafe for delicious sandwiches and a view of the Paris skyline.
  • The escalators and elevators in this place are fun to take up and down just on their own and can be a very sensory activity for kids with autism, especially younger children.
  • Not to be missed: the Stravinsky fountain next to the center, along with the antique clock on the wall.

Galeries Lafayette

No visit to the city of lights is complete without some shopping. The best places to shop are the Parisian department stores, and the iconic Galeries Lafayette is one of them. Forming the department store are several buildings that occupy a few blocks in the city. It provides a shopping extravaganza for the locals and tourists alike. Make sure you explore the large food department, sampling some of the cold cuts and desserts that they sell.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • For the perfect Parisian selfie, take the elevator to the rooftop where you can get your perfect postcard snapshot in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Top Ten Paris Experiences For Families with Autism background

Paris Catacombs

The catacombs are part of the city’s museums and are infamous as the world’s largest gravesite, holding the remains of over six million people. In the 19th century, the city renovated the underground caverns into what we know now as the catacombs. The site first opened to the public after the 1815 Napoleonic War. The catacombs are in underground tunnels in a small part of the city known as the Mines of Paris, beneath Rue de la Tombe/Issoire. The rumor is that the Parisian members of the French Resistance used the tunnel system during WWII against the Nazis. In 2009 it was briefly closed because of a vandalism incident.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Be aware that visitors need to descend a narrow stone stairwell 90 meters underground in partial darkness. It can be frightening for some.
  • There are carefully arranged human bones on the walls and caverns, which though artistically arranged might not be suitable for younger kids.

Musee des Egouts de Paris

Not for the faint of heart, this is an underground tour of Paris’s sewage system. Visitors can sit and traverse the city from side to side just like in Victor Hugo’s famous description in Les Miserable when Jean Valjean is trying to escape Javert, the police inspector. A highly historical place and quite the engineering feat of its time, one can visit the museum and get the information via posters and info boards.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • This museum a sewage museum so it is reasonably smelly. For people with autism who are smell sensitive, this might be difficult to endure.
  • Be aware that the place is somewhat dark, and the floor can be slippery because of water seepage.
  • If you plan on visiting, introduce your kids to Victor Hugo’s books, including Les Miserable and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Top Ten Paris Experiences For Families with Autism family

Sightseeing on Bike

If you are looking for a more active way to view the city you can join any one of the many companies that offer bike tours, the most famous of these being Fat Tire Tours. You can see the central Paris attractions while enjoying the lovely French weather on your bike. The tour last about four hours and you bike around four to five miles so be mindful if you have young children as this type of tour may not be for them. The company also does segway and night tours of all the sights.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Do not book this tour unless your kids are experienced bikers. Traffic lights in the city might split your group.
  • You might want to pack a lunch and bring it with you since the bike tour only stops in one particular place for everybody. This site tends to be a bit pricey without as many food options as needed if your child is choosy or has dietary restrictions.
  • The company does offer tandem bikes and trailers for those not comfortable with their kids riding on their own.

Though Paris may be considered the most romantic city in the world, it is still a family friendly place. So if you are thinking of taking a trip that the entire family could enjoy, Paris can easily be one of those locations.

 

Taking Your Kids to Paris Museums

 

Taking Your Kids to Paris Museums pin

Whether you’re by yourself, visiting with friends or bringing the entire family along, Paris has something for just about everyone. There is so much to do in the city that you could spend an entire year abroad and never experience everything. Paris boasts an extensive selection of over 200 different museums of exceptional quality. Here are my top six Paris museums for those with kids.

Musee d’Orsay

The first stop you should make is the Musee d’Orsay. Located on the left bank of the Seine, this museum started out as a railroad station. Today it houses works of art by those of Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cezanne, and Van Gogh. Unlike the Louvre, which houses many pieces art and can seem overwhelming, the Musee d’Orsay is smaller and situates their art with a distance between pieces to give the air of welcoming spaciousness.

 

Taking Your Kids to Paris Museums hallway

A fun feature of the museum is the interactive guided tour. Designed to entertain children with lessons about the exhibits while their parents wander the museum, this tour is free for children ages 5 to 10. It doesn’t require any previous booking and is an excellent way to keep the little ones entertained while you take a look around. Another feature is their scavenger hunt which you can review via THAT d’Or.

You can find the Musee d’Orsay at 1 de la Legion d’Honneur, 75007, Paris. Admission is free for anyone under the age of 18.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Unlike other museums, this Musee d’Orsay is a smaller, more manageable size. It is pleasant and filled with light, so it feels less like a museum than most famous Paris museums.
  • If you’re traveling with small children or anyone requiring the use of a wheelchair, you will enter from the priority gate entrance.
  • Like in most museums, kids need to be mostly quiet.
  • There are plenty of places to sit.
  • Be sure to prepare your child for proper museum etiquette before arriving.
  • For the younger kids, have them read kids’ books about Monet and Degas, like “The Magical Garden of Claude Monet” or “Degas and the Little Dancer.”

Louvre

Taking Your Kids to Paris Museums pyramid

The Louvre was first built as a royal palace and fortress. The museum itself didn’t open until 1793 and only housed 537 paintings. It is the largest museum in the entire world and is one of the cities most popular tourist attractions. Visitors of the Louvre can visit almost any time year round, except on Tuesdays, Christmas Day, New Years Day and May Day (May 1st). It is open to receive visitors Monday, Thursday and Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm and Wednesday and Friday from 9 am to 9:45 pm. Admission for children under 18 is free.

The Pyramids were added to the entrance in 1989, designed by world famous architect, I.M Pei. They’re comprised mainly of glass and metal.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Consider getting a Paris Pass to enter the Louvre, because the lines can be horrendous and the Paris Pass allows you in on a different line, equivalent to the Disney fast pass. One of the benefits of having the Paris Pass is the fact that you are allowed multiple entries so you can come back the next day. The pass is perfect for kids with little patience to sit for extended periods of time.
  • If you don’t wish to purchase a Paris Pass, you can speak to the person in charge about helping and accommodating children with disability.
  • Some private companies offer scavenger hunt tours that add a level of interactivity and engagement for kids.
  • The Louvre is equivalent to several theme parks put together. Don’t expect to see everything in one visit. You will need to map out your visit and decide what areas you want to visit ahead of time.
  • There is a lot of walking in the Louvre. Although it is wheelchair friendly, there is still a lot of distance from section to section. Make sure your child has comfortable shoes.
  • Unlike other museums, there aren’t a lot of places to sit, and crowds are a major issue, so visiting late afternoons and evenings is recommended.
  • If possible, avoid the days of waived museum entrance fee, because those days are typically crawling with visitors wall to wall.
  • If you have kids with autism that tend to get lost or run away, make sure they have a hotel card with the address in their pockets, along with a small GPS locator in their clothing or backpack.

Taking Your Kids to Paris Museums decoration

Musee de Cluny

Before entering the museum itself, you walk through the Boulevard of Saint Michael, where you can stop and see the remains of the Gallo-Roman baths built 14 centuries before. The Musee de Cluny’s collection includes art from antiquity all the way to Renaissance times. It features some true masterpieces like the Pillier des Nautes from the 1st century and the tapestries that make up La Dame a la Licorne (The Lady With the Unicorn) dating back to the 15th century.

The museum offers both independent and guided tours. When there are exhibitions, the admission fee is a little higher to cover the costs. Group tours are also available to visitors, but you must call ahead of time from Monday to Friday during the hours of 9 am to 4 pm. The museum is free to visitors the 1st Sunday of the month and is free for anyone under 26 from countries within the European Union as well as primary and secondary school teachers. Musee de Cluny is closed on Tuesdays and opens again, except for holidays, from 9:15 am to 5:45 pm.

Taking Your Kids to Paris Museums faces

Autism Travel Tips:

  • The museum is small, contained, and manageable.
  • If your child is antsy and needs to let out energy, make sure that you spend half an hour or an hour in the beautiful Luxembourg gardens that are close by before you get to the museum.

Centre Pompidou

Centre Pompidou was designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers. It is known today as a 20th-century architectural marvel and is recognizable by its exterior escalators and enormous brilliantly colored tubing. It is home to the National Museum of Art and is internationally renowned for its 20th and 21st-century art collections.

Taking Your Kids to Paris Museums red

The museum is open to visitors for groups, independent and guided tours. You can always purchase an annual pass if you’re planning on visiting multiple times, and adults under 26 can buy these passes at a discount. Group bookings must be made in advance Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:30 am to 1 pm.

Those eligible for free entry must be either under 26 and a resident of the countries of the European Union or primary and secondary school teachers. They can purchase their tickets from the Georges Pompidou Centre Cash Desk.

The address for Centre Pompidou is at 75004, Paris.Autism Travel Tips:

Autism Travel Tips:

  • The Centre Pompidou can be a sensory overload. Unlike other museums, where the main thing is to see things, there are interactive exhibits where you engage many of your senses, so multiple short visits are better for younger kids.
  • Just like the Louvre, this is a spread out museum, so be prepared to travel long distances. A multi-day pass or yearly pass is not a bad idea.
  • Some kids with autism, especially those who crave movement, will find the outside elevators very relaxing.
  • Be sure to see the Stravinsky fountain, a brightly colored fountain made by Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle.
  • The rooftop cafe is a good place for a quick lunch as well as scenic selfies with the Parisian skyline.

Taking Your Kids to Paris Museums statue

Conciergerie

Conciergerie is known as a museum by tourists, but before its conversion into a museum, it was a palace, then a prison. In the 14th century the palace, then known as the Palais de la Cite, was abandoned by the King of France, and it was turned into a judicial building with an attached prison. During the French Revolution, it was home to hundreds of prisoners later beheaded by the guillotine. In fact, the infamous Marie Antoinette lived her days imprisoned here.

In 1914 the Conciergerie was decommissioned and dubbed a historical monument. It is now open to the public and is a popular tourist attraction. Although it is open to the public for viewing, the Conciergerie sees use as a law court, so only a small portion of the museum is viewable to its tourists.

Taking Your Kids to Paris Museums fountain

Visitors can enjoy both guided and self-guided tours upon arrival. There is no booking required for the guided tours. For self-guided tours, the visitors guide is available in some languages. Guided tours last for approximately 1 hour and are open during the hours of 11 am and 3 pm. Admission is free to those visitors who are under the age of 26. You can also indulge in Tour Lectures, which last for about an hour and a half.

The Conciergerie is located at 2, Boulevard du Palais 75001, Paris and is accessible via subway, Bus and Rer (Parisian train system).

Autism Travel Tips:

  • There are 20 total stairs to travel, so the Conciergerie isn’t wheelchair accessible.
  • Some might find the history of the Conciergerie either fascinating or disturbing. Younger kids might find it a little scary because it’s non-interactive, not colorful and it covers a morbid era of France’s past.
  • It is highly recommended to get the Paris Pass that includes this location since it is a bit pricey for what it offers.

Taking Your Kids to Paris Museums tube

  • Do talk, if possible, to your kid about the French Revolution. The Conciergerie brings the French Revolution’s violence and brutality to life.
  • The lines are not too long, as this is one of the less famous museums.
  • You can see some of the cells including the one where Marie Antoinette spent her last days.
  • Though not a must see, it is good for kids with autism that are fascinated with history.
  • Can be coupled with a short visit to the Saint Chapelle church.

Hotel des Invalides

The Hotel des Invalides was commissioned in 1670 by Louis XIV. It was used to accommodate wounded soldiers while giving them hospital care. 5,000 soldiers of the Great Army were sent to Hotel des Invalides in 1815, after Napoleon’s abdication. Today the site is known for museums and monuments relating to the military history of France. Here you can find armoury and WWI-WWII artifacts.
It is also known as the burial site for famous war heroes of France, such as Napoleon Bonaparte. The building from the outside is impressive with a domed, golden top which stands out in the Parisian skyline. As you enter, the center is Napoleon’s  impressive tomb. A little-known fact is that the Hotel des Invalides is a currently functioning hospital for modern day veterans.

Visitors are welcome to visit between the hours of 10 am to 6 pm from April to October and 10 am to 5 pm from November to March. You can access Hotel des Invalides via the Metro and tickets are free to children.

Taking Your Kids to Paris Museums lake

 

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Hotel des Invalides should be visited in connection with the Conciergerie, since it’s not that far from it and it is still part of the French Revolution and what came after it (the Napoleonic Era).
  • Try not to skip visiting Napoleon’s tomb, although there is somewhat of a line. The tomb is a magnificent sight of its own. Visitors see the massive marble mausoleum by standing on a staircase and looking down.
  • The Hotel des Invalides is a part of the Paris Pass. Napoleon is very much alive in death, so even now lots of people come to visit him.

If this is your first time in Paris, it’s important to make a list of famous paintings or exhibits that you can’t live without seeing. Understand that Paris is a treasure trove of sights that cannot be covered in one trip. Families should do their best to have a fun time and create magical memories and not stress out over seeing every sight. Parents should bear in mind that Paris is not just about the museums; so make sure they experience Paris as a whole, with all its restaurants, flea markets, and even its famous cemeteries. The trick for all visitors is to enjoy your time in the city of lights as much as you can, and leave a little something for next time.

 

Top Four Destinations in St. Petersburg, Russia

Located on the Baltic Sea, St. Petersburg is known as the second largest city in all of Russia. Peter the Great founded the city in 1703, and it was the imperial capital for nearly two centuries. Today St. Petersburg is known as Russia’s cultural center with offerings like the ballet, theater, and the Russian Museum, which houses Russian art. St. Petersburg is filled with rich history and architectural gems that one can’t pass up if you’re thinking of traveling to the city.

Depending on what part of the year you’d like to visit, St. Petersburg is a beautiful place to visit. There are times during the year when you can make the most of your trip. For example, there’s the White Nights, a time when the sun doesn’t set until midnight. These nights happen June of every year and are the perfect time to take in the nightlife.

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As the second largest city in Russia, covering every inch of ground within the city is next to impossible if you’re only visiting for a day. The key to taking in all the sights and smells of St. Petersburg is to research ahead of time and find the places you’d like most to see and narrow them down to a handful of your favorite, must-see locations. Some of the best places in St. Petersburg include, but aren’t limited to:

Church on Spilled Blood

Located on the assassination location of where Emperor Alexander II in March of 1881, the Church was built between 1883 and 1907. Officially, the Church is named The Church of Our Savior On Spilled Blood and the funding for the church was provided almost entirely by the imperial family and private donators. Both the exterior and the interior of the church are home to beautifully detailed mosaics that were designed by prominent Russian artists. The church closed its doors for some 30 years after the Bolsheviks began destroying churches across the country. Church on Spilled Blood wouldn’t open its doors again until 1997.

You can’t miss the Church on Spilled Blood from the outside. It’s simply massive. Although you can take in its magnificence from the outside, free of charge, you have to pay for a ticket to view the thousands of mosaics inside of the church.

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The Church itself is small, so you can expect to spend no more than an hour inside seeing the mosaics. You can visit the Church on Spilled Blood via the Nevsky Prospekt metro station. The Church is open from 11 am to 7 pm. From Thursday to Tuesday the ticket office closes at 6 pm.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Take into consideration that the tour is somewhat long. The guides expect participants to keep quiet. If your kid is not an avid art, architecture or history buff, you might want to skip this tour.

Hermitage Museum

Considered one of St. Petersburg’s most popular visitor attraction, the Hermitage is one of the world’s largest museums. It houses over 3 million items, so you won’t be able to take them all in during your trip to St. Petersburg, but you’ll leave with a craving to return to see everything you missed. Take a guided tour to catch all of the highlights.Top Four Destinations in St. Petersburg, Russia white

Admission to the Hermitage includes entry to the main museum complex as well as the different branches. You can also visit each section individually, such as the Winter Palace of Peter the Great or Menshikov Palace. Admission is free to preschool aged children, school children, and students. To avoid long lines at the museum, you can purchase tickets online. The address of the Hermitage is 2 Dvortsovaya Ploschad or Palace Square.

For travelers and residents alike, the Hermitage Museum is accessible to those with disabilities. The museum has multi-level floors, and each has electric lifts. They also feature elevators for greater maneuverability.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • There is no AC, and the place can become very stuffy.
  • It is frequently crowded with people.
  • The best times to go are either very early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the tour groups are gone.

St. Issac’s Cathedral

St Issac’s Cathedral was originally the main church in St. Petersburg. It was also the largest cathedral in Russia, built between 1818 and 1858. The intention behind St. Issac’s was to be one of the most impressive landmarks in the Imperial capital. Now, 180 years later, St. Issac’s still sports the impressive exterior and interior that residents of the capital have admired for years.

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Not to be missed are the bullet holes on the side of the building. These were never fixed since the locals wanted, and still want, to remember the Nazi invasion back in WWII.

The Cathedral is closed on Wednesdays but is open to the public daily from 10:30 am to 6:00 pm. Evening openings in the summer are available May 1st through September 30th from 6 pm to 10:30 pm. White night openings start from June 1st to August 20th from 10:30 pm to 4:30 am.

Admissions for the Cathedral is 250 Rubles for adults, 50 for children. Audio Guide is available in Russian, English, German, French, Italian or Spanish and can be purchased for 100 rubles.

The address for St. Issac’s is 4, Isaakievskaya and is accessible via the metro.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Bear in mind that this is a church and inside voices are heavily encouraged. Remind your child at all times to whisper.
  • Take a guided tour so that you can benefit from the stories and history involved.

Peterhof Palace

Peterhof Palace is one of St. Petersburg’s most well known and popular attractions. Also known as Petrodvorets, Peterhof Palace has often been referred to as the Russian Versailles due to its grandeur and elegance. In fact, Versailles was the inspiration behind the construction of Peterhof Palace. During the 2nd world war, Peterhof was overtaken by German troops.

The best time to visit Peterhof Palace is during the summer season. In the summer, all of the buildings are open to visitors and the famous fountains housed within the grounds are in full operation. However, summer is also the most crowded time and ticket waits can get lengthy.

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When traveling to Peterhof Palace, there are several different modes of travel available. Electric trains are running from Baltiskiy Station to Noviy Peterhof and take about 45 minutes. The station itself is about a 20-minute walk from the gates to the Upper Garden. There are also several buses that can get you where you need to go during your visit. The metro is also available and takes a little over an hour to get to your destination.

There are separate sections for admissions to the different buildings at Peterhof Palace. Each of these sections has different prices, and there are discounts for children and students.

The Lower Park is wheelchair accessible. Admission is free to The Upper Garden, said to have been a formal garden dating back from the reign of Empress Elizabeth. The Grand Palace sits at the very center of the Peterhof estate. There are many other wings of Peterhof to visit during your trip.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • When traveling with younger kids, have them watch Anastasia, an animated version of the story of the last Russian princess before the revolution.
  • When we visited, they made us put on shoe covers to preserve the old wood floors. Prepare your child accordingly for this.

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