Taking Kids with Autism to Visit Ephesus

Taking Kids with Autism to Visit Ephesus pin

With 250,000 inhabitants calling the place home at the height of its popularity, Ephesus in Turkey was once a prominent city in its own right. The town was also the epicenter of the cult of Cybele which later produced one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Temple of Artemis. Ephesus was additionally a seaport and a prominent trading stop, but the ruins are now located several miles inland.

Taking Kids with Autism to Visit Ephesus sea

Time and the forces of nature have clearly worked their combined powers on this destination and, as a result, it has taken over one and a half centuries to bring this once thriving place back to life. Archeologists have currently uncovered less than 20% of the city. However, there is plenty to see here for traveling families who love history.
Taking Kids with Autism to Visit Ephesus ruins

 

What You Will See

Library and Terrace House

Impressive restoration efforts have taken place at the library, once home to a vast collection of documents, and Terrace House, which houses some beautiful mosaics. Travelers should also keep an eye out for one of the oldest advertisements still in existence and what passed in those days for upscale bathroom facilities. Another point of interest is the town’s theater. It dates back to 200 B.C. and until recently bands used it as a venue for large rock concerts. Nowadays, only smaller acts can use the facility in keeping with the ongoing preservation efforts at the site.

Taking Kids with Autism to Visit Ephesus entrance

 

Seven Sleepers

Travelers might find interest in the plight of the legendary seven sleepers imprisoned in the nearby hills. According to legend, as a result of their beliefs, the local emperor forced these individuals to leave town. Unfortunately, the emperor also decided to imprison them in the cave they now called home. The only reason they didn’t notice their imprisonment is because their nap lasted almost two hundred years. Upon waking, they found their entire town had become Christian. The sleepers died shortly after this revelation. The cave on the slopes of Mont Pion where they supposedly slept remains a tourist attraction to this day.

Taking Kids with Autism to Visit Ephesus rest

 

Mount Nightingale

The house where the Virgin Mary possibly spent her final years sit on Mount Nightingale (a.k.a. Mount Koressos). A Catholic nun rediscovered this site in the nineteenth century, claiming she saw the place in a vision. While the Catholic Church has issued no official verdict on the matter, several Popes have visited the site, and the ruins do date back to the time of Christ. Even travelers who aren’t religious frequently mention in Trip Advisor reviews that they found the place “peaceful.”

Taking Kids with Autism to Visit Ephesus candles

 

The building itself is comprised of a small chapel area and a room off to the side where the lady is believed to have slept. Of course, the ground’s well-kept gardens contain a well whose holy waters are said to have miraculous healing powers. It stands to reason that those who choose to have a drink do so at their risk. This site nonetheless makes an excellent stop for travelers heading back to Selçuk after a day’s sightseeing at Ephesus.

Taking Kids with Autism to Visit Ephesus mary

 

Location, Hours, and Admission

From May to October, Ephesus is open between the hours of eight am and seven-thirty pm. The rest of the year the ruins shut down at five pm. New guests are admitted until an hour before the site closes, so there is plenty of time to get here.
Taking Kids with Autism to Visit Ephesus mosaicAdmission prices are currently thirty Turkish liras for adults and twenty for students. Of course, the best place to stay for those who plan on seeing the ruins is the nearby town of Selçuk.

Taking Kids with Autism to Visit Ephesus home

Ephesus sits in Turkey’s Central Aegean region. Although taxis to the site can be arranged for about fifteen Turkish liras, it is still much cheaper to use the minibusses available for about four lire per person during the busier portions of the year.

Taking Kids with Autism to Visit Ephesus pottyThese conveyances leave from Selçuk every fifteen minutes. Travelers who bring their vehicles should also know that parking at the site costs approximately eight lire.

Taking Kids with Autism to Visit Ephesus table

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Ephesus is home to many vendors selling food and drink. However, these services are expensive when compared to what is available nearby. Travelers should instead bring beverages and snacks.
  • It is a good idea to wear sturdy, comfortable shoes so that everyone can walk around the city with ease.
  • There is little shade on the site. Therefore, parents may want to take along items that will protect them from the sun’s rays. We recommend broad-brimmed hats, parasols, and high-powered sunscreen. Parents can also arrive early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the heat.
  • Visitors to Ephesus may want to hire a guide to avoid missing out on anything.
  • Ramps to the house on Mount Nightengale are provided for disabled guests. However, anyone who attempts to get up the mountain in a wheelchair will probably need assistance from another member of their party.Taking Kids with Autism to Visit Ephesus statue

Taking the Family to Istanbul Turkey

 

 

taking-the-family-to-istanbul pin-turkey

As a city that has sat at the crossroads of Western and Eastern civilization for centuries, Istanbul has a lot to offer visitors. The sprawling metropolis now exists in both Asia and Europe on either side of the Bosphorus Strait. Of course, the city once known as Constantinople used to be at the forefront of Christianity until the Ottoman Turks conquered it and subsequently converted the inhabitants to Islam. However, travelers of all faiths are welcome these days.

Taking the Family to Istanbul Turkey fresco

Grand Bazaar

An incredibly popular spot with visitors to the city, this undercover market, started in the mid-1400s. Today, it is one of the world’s oldest still operating markets. The Grand Bazaar took three hundred years’ worth of work to complete.

Taking the Family to Istanbul Turkey sky

The marketplace remains in much the same shape today as it was in those days. The narrow lanes still form a labyrinth that houses a wide variety of merchandise. Shoppers can easily spend hours or even days perusing the goods. Bargaining over tea is still the fashion here, though it has gone out of practice in other places.

The Grand Bazaar is open between eight-thirty am and seven pm on a daily basis except for Sundays and on holidays. Travelers arriving via public transportation should get off at the Vezneciler metro station or the Beyazıt-Kapalı Çarşı tram station.

Taking the Family to Istanbul Turkey cat

Turkish Baths

There are five historic Turkish Baths or hamams in the city of Istanbul as well as numerous modern equivalents. The traditional baths include a fifteen-minute scrub administered by a staff member of the same gender as the one bathing. This experience costs around eighty Turkish Lire in public bath houses but will cost a bit more at local hotels. Of course, guests should bring some cash to tip the attendants upon departing the premises.

Taking the Family to Istanbul Turkey blue

Men can often get away with wearing nothing but the towel hamam visitors are given as long as they avoid flashing anyone during their trip. Ladies should leave on their swimsuit bottoms for the entire process but be aware that going topless is typically considered acceptable behavior. In some hamams, it is deemed acceptable to bare more and in others covering up is encouraged.

Topkapi Palace

Once the Ottoman Turks took over the city, this is where they made their home for the next four centuries. Eventually, the rulers moved out, but the site functioned as an auxiliary unit with the royal mint, the library, and the Treasury remaining present in the building for some time after that. The palace is now a museum and a UNESCO site.

Taking the Family to Istanbul Turkey ceiling

Although the palace has hundreds of rooms, only a few important ones are currently accessible to visitors. As is the case with many former royal residences, a lot of history took place here, and there is subsequently much to see. Some but not all of the gems from the royal treasury are on display in the public areas of the palace. Other treasures found here include the sword and cloak said to have belonged to the prophet Muhammad.

To visit both the palace and the harem area is thirty-six Turkish Lire for those over the age of twelve. Admission is free for children. The museum is open from nine am to six pm from the middle of April to October. It closes two hours earlier than the times above between the months of November and mid-April.

Taking the Family to Istanbul Turkey interior

Hagia Sofia

Although the present structure dates to 532 AD, earlier churches had been built on the same spot. The current building started off as a Byzantium church in and continued as such for a little over a thousand years. After the conquest of the Ottoman Turks in 1453, the Ottomans turned it into a mosque. Hagia Sofia became a museum in the 1930s and remains so to this day.

The former religious house is known for its ancient mosaics and other works of art that date back centuries. Travelers should plan to spend several hours taking in everything this place has to offer, but they should also keep in mind that that the museum can be crowded at times.

Taking the Family to Istanbul Turkey castle

Buying online tickets is a good way to avoid the lines upon entry. Admission is free for children and 30 lire for those over the age of twelve. The site is open from nine am to four pm from October to the middle of April. From then until September, the building remains open until six pm.

Blue Mosque 

Also known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, this religious edifice was constructed between the years 1609 and 1616. While many of the opulent decorations from earlier years have since been removed, the building retains a great deal of its original charm.

Taking the Family to Istanbul Turkey building

It is also still used as a fully functioning mosque. Therefore, women that want to view the site will be required to cover their heads with a scarf to obtain entry. Travelers of all faiths and genders should also keep their arms and shoulders covered as well. Cover-ups and veils are provided for those that have arrived without them, but anyone that is worried about the cleanliness of these garments may want to bring clothes to wear instead.

There is no admission charge for visiting the mosque, but the site often gets crowded, and travelers will want to plan accordingly.

Taking the Family to Istanbul Turkey floor

Autism Travel Tips:

  • The most difficult part of planning a trip to Istanbul is finding a time when the weather is pleasant. The city is known to fluctuate between temperature extremes. The months of September, October, May, and June are considered the best time to visit.
  • Travelers will want to bring along warm clothing and an umbrella any time they visit.
  • Those making their way to the city should double check the weather reports and adjust their packing lists accordingly.
  • Those at the Turkish baths who find the prospect of being bathed by someone else alarming can always scrub themselves. This choice will also save around 25 lire per trip.
  • The events and attractions that have lines offer no accommodations for autism.
  • The food in Istanbul might be spicy, which can be a problem for kids with food sensetivities.
  • The Topkapi Palace features a lot of walking areas. Parents should make sure everyone wears comfortable shoes.
  • The Topkapi Palace can get crowded. Parents should try to arrive at times when it isn’t as busy, usually early in the morning or late in the day.
  • At the Blue Mosque, parents should make sure kids stay quiet out of respect.
  • Most of the areas in Istanbul are not interactive. Parents should make sure kids know what they can or cannot touch.
  • Topkapi Palace is vast, so parents might just want to see the highlights.
  • Haggling is a way of life in Istanbul, so parents should check prices before buying anything.

Attending a Flamenco Show with Children with Autism

Attending a Flamenco Show with Children with Autism pin

 


Hello Margalit,

My name is Dondria, and I’m from New Orleans, Louisiana.
We are traveling to Madrid, Spain next month and my husband, and I were trying to decide on something. Our twin fourteen-year-old sons have autism. We have taken them places and done road-trips, and they have flown before, and we survived.
Now for this trip, they are older, and we think they will be able to cope even better. We were wondering whether we should take them to a Flamenco show or not since everybody that I spoke to seems to recommend it. Have you been to Spain? Did you go to a Flamenco show? I know so little about that country and the shows so I was hoping you could give me some tips and pointers.

Thanks in advance,

Dondria

Dear Dondria,

I’m so excited for you.
There is so much to see and do in Spain so be sure to read our posts. With the increase in the interest and popularity of Flamenco recently, there has been a new awakening to this art and dance form. About five years ago, it was declared to be one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. In fact, there are dance academies dedicated to teaching Flamenco all over the world.

Because of this, I have to agree with your friends. If you are going to be in Spain, you should try to go to a Flamenco show. It is authentic and a real cultural experience at the place where it all began.
I will share what I know and one of my personal experiences so it will be easier for you to make an informed decision regarding taking your sons along.

 

Attending a Flamenco Show with Children with Autism man

Booking and Length of Time

As you can imagine, Flamenco shows are very popular with tourists visiting Spain – in particular for the first time.
Flamenco shows typically happen during the evenings and can last anywhere between two to four hours depending on if they include a dinner. The best show need to be booked ahead otherwise you will struggle to get in, especially during the holiday season.
I’m glad you mentioned the age of your boys since shows like that are not necessarily recommended for children younger than the age of 10.

Specific Autism Concerns

With that said, though, taking children with autism to shows, may prove quite challenging. Scheduling can prove to be difficult since no parent can know for sure how their child is going to feel on that day.

Given the nature of the performance, the show can be quite loud. You should consider this if one or both of your sons has any sensitivity to noise.

The shows can be quite pricey anywhere between 50 to 100 euros. You don’t want to unnecessarily waste that money by not attending as planned or by leaving because your children are overwhelmed by the sensory experience.

Another issue is the fact that many of the most up-scale venues require a dress code. This fact can be a difficulty with a person who has sensory problems and might not be comfortable wearing button-down shirts or even a jacket.

One of the shows we attended was four hours long.! The venue had very few food choices coupled with uncomfortable seating close to the dancers. The room itself was also somewhat crowded and dark. The tables were placed close together forcing people to sit close to one another. It was almost impossible to move or get up to take a break.

Attending a Flamenco Show with Children with Autism ladies

Recommendations

Here are my recommendations for if you DO  decide to take your children.

Explain to them in advance what Flamenco is all about. You could show them a few clips on YouTube so that they can get an idea of what to expect.

Get a table that is not too close to the stage so that the experience is not as intense. Also, if you do have to leave early, it is easier and less disruptive to move.

Plan to go to one of the shorter shows. If they can sit through a movie, they will be able to sit through a shorter Flamenco performance.

Have a meal before attending the show. This way, the kids won’t get hungry or deal with food that they don’t want to or can’t eat.

I hope you have a wonderful time of making memories and that this will be the first of many good experiences for your boys.

Margalit

 

 

 

 

Eight Things to Do in Copenhagen for Families

 

Eight Things to Do in Copenhagen for Families pin

Located on the eastern coast of Denmark, this tenth-century fishing village has turned into a famous cultural city for all of Scandinavia. There are a variety of museums and even the two oldest amusement parks in the world in Copenhagen! Check out this list of what to see when visiting the city of spires.

Eight Things to Do in Copenhagen for Families cake

Tivoli Gardens Amusement Park

Tivoli Gardens Amusement Park opened in 1843 in central Copenhagen, making it the second oldest amusement park (behind Dyrehavsbakken). Visitors can enjoy a roller coaster, Rutschebanen, built in 1915. They can also ride the oldest Ferris wheel still in use, built in 1943.

Eight Things to Do in Copenhagen for Families skull

There are also new rides, like the Star Flyer, that gives visitors a 360-degree view of the city. However, those who don’t want to go on the rides can still enjoy many other attractions. Tivoli regularly holds various shows at the Concert Hall. Also, the staff lights up parts of Tivoli with festive lights during the holidays, including the lake.

Dyrehavsbakken (Bakken) Amusement Park

The oldest amusement park in the world, founded in 1583, is surrounded by 400-year-old trees and thousands of deer in the forest of Jægersborg Dyrehave. There are thirty-three rides and attractions at Bakken, more than any other amusement park in Scandinavia. The park also boasts several restaurants, pubs, and live music, so there’s something for everyone in the family here. Due to its location and historical value, no big name brands can set up in Bakken, and all neon signs are banned.

Eight Things to Do in Copenhagen for Families street

The Little Mermaid Statue

Many of Copenhagen’s visitors make their way to Langelinje Pier to see the sculpture of the Little Mermaid. She is over 100 years old and was a gift to the city from Danish brewer Carl Jacobsen. The sculpture was inspired by the Hans Christian Anderson tale about a mermaid and is made of bronze and granite. The mermaid has been vandalized several times but is always restored because it is such a popular tourist sight.

Eight Things to Do in Copenhagen for Families statue

Amalienborg Palace

Amalienborg Palace, made up of four identical buildings, was constructed in the 1700s.  The Amalienborg Museum has rooms dedicated to the traditional and modern royal family. This museum displays history going back 150 years to Christian IX and Queen Louise, known as “the in-laws of Europe” because four of their many children ruled England, Greece, Russia, and Denmark. The rooms of these monarchs still stand intact to this day, reflecting the period’s tastes and personalities of the kings and queens.

Eight Things to Do in Copenhagen for Families water

Beside the Amalienborg Museum, the Palace also features an event for the changing of the guards. Each day at noon, the guards march from their barracks by Rosenborg Castle through the streets of Copenhagen to Amalienborg Palace.

Rosenborg Castle

Finished in 1633, Rosenborg Castle was one of Christian IV’s many lots and became his favorite summer spot. The palace was built in four phases in the early 1600s and was used as a royal residence until 1710. Guests can see artifacts from the kings and queens that lived at Rosenborg throughout the years, such as, sculptures, furniture and more. These objects represent the history of high Danish culture from the late sixteenth century to the nineteenth century. Of course, everyone wants to see the exclusive Crown Jewels displayed on a Schatzkammer, as well as the Throne Chair of Denmark.

Eight Things to Do in Copenhagen for Families ride

Hans Christian Andersen’s Childhood Home and Museum

Hans Christian Andersen and his parents lived in a small house close to St. Knud’s Cathedral for just over ten years. The exhibit in the home helps remake the interior in the image of the description Anderson gave in his autobiographies. Here, guests can see the simple rooms where the world-renowned fairy tale writer found inspiration.

Eight Things to Do in Copenhagen for Families ship

Next to the home is the Hans Christian Andersen museum, opened in 1908 and one of the oldest poet museums. It celebrates Andersen’s life, inspiration, and writings.

Hans Christian Andersen Fairy-Tale House

This museum focuses on what Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales. Here, visitors can see hand-written manuscripts as well as a trip to Andersen’s study to hear “him” speak about his life and travels abroad. Families can also enjoy the live fairy tale exhibit which boasts advanced lighting effects and a sound system translated in Danish, English, and German.

Eight Things to Do in Copenhagen for Families statues

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Tivoli joined the Accessibility Label Scheme in 2005, meaning parts can find info on the park’s accessibility online.
  • Public accessible parking spaces are available for Tivoli by the main entrance at the Glyptotek entrance. Wheelchair users can access all entrances.
  • Visitors who bring electric wheelchairs can recharge them at various charging points by the lockers near the Pantomime Theatre and near the Nurses’ Station.
  • Parents can book tickets for the Concert Hall and Glass Hall Theater in Tivoli.
  • Support companions are admitted to Tivoli for free.
  • Bakken houses absolutely no big name brands regarding vendors. Parents of kids who want something familiar ought to eat before going to the park.
  • The Bakken amusement park is free to get into, but parents will need to pay extra for a multi-ride pass.
  • The Hans Christian Andersen childhood home is not wheelchair accessible.

Eight Things to Do in Copenhagen for Families shore

 

Seven Moving Places to Teach Kids about the Holocaust

Seven Moving Places to Teach Kids about the Holocaust pin

The Holocaust is a dark historical event that can be hard to comprehend for most people let alone kids. Some parents may find it easier to visit particular sites offering educational and interactive resources than talk about the events with their children. For families wishing to introduce their kids to the topic here are some suggested sites to explore.

 

Seven Moving Places to Teach Kids about the Holocaust sign

Dachau Concentration Camp, Germany

Dachau, Germany is the location of the first Nazi concentration camp created in 1933. Initially, the camp held political prisoners. Soon the camp also housed not only Jews but artists, intellectuals, members of the LGBT community, and even the physically and mentally disabled. Sadly many of the detainees were subjected to cruel medical experiments and torture too.

Seven Moving Places to Teach Kids about the Holocaust path
A memorial was created for the prisoners in 1965 where visitors can visit some of the historic buildings in and around the camp. The landmark also offers access to its library and some special exhibits containing materials related to Dachau’s history.

Visitors should be aware that there is quite a bit of walking involved and that a typical tour can last anywhere between 2-4 hours.

Seven Moving Places to Teach Kids about the Holocaust walk

Resistance Museu, Copenhagen

After the original museum closed due to an intense fire in 2013, the archive and artifacts of the Danish Resistance Museum moved from Denmark to Brede, North of Copenhagen. Nowadays, travelers can only visit these archives if they make an appointment ahead of time. Officials are hoping the new facility will open by the end of 2018.

When we visited in 2008, our kids had just read Lois Lowry’s Number of the Stars novel that described the plight of the Danish Jews, so they found the museum and its artifacts fascinating.

Seven Moving Places to Teach Kids about the Holocaust window

Anne Frank House, Amsterdam

Located in central Amsterdam, the Anne Frank House is where the fifteen-year-old novelist lived during the war. Today, the house stands as a preserved national icon visited by thousands of tourists every year.

Seven Moving Places to Teach Kids about the Holocaust anne frank

 

The house acts as a biographical museum for Anne Frank, her family and those who also hid with them. The museum displays original maps, letters, and stories written by Anne and her family. Visitors can also see interviews with Anne’s father (the only member to survive) as they travel through the house.

Parents should know there are quite a few stairs to climb to get to the Franks’ hideaway. The tiny alcove can get quite crowded with visitors during certain times of the year.

Seven Moving Places to Teach Kids about the Holocaust statue

Yad Vashem, Jerusalem

The Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel is a living memorial to the Holocaust that safeguards the memory of the past and its meaning for future generations. Established in 1953, Yad Vashem became the world center for documents, research, education, and commemoration of the Holocaust.

Seven Moving Places to Teach Kids about the Holocaust stone

Today, Yad Vashem is a comprehensive primary source for those who wish to learn about the victims and survivors of the Holocaust. Here, visitors can find a variety of original Holocaust-era documentation provided in English such as letters, diaries, and testimonies of survivors as well as photos.

Not to be missed is the outdoor garden. This place is dedicated to non-Jews like JanuszKorczakk who risked their lives to save kids and families during the Holocaust.

Seven Moving Places to Teach Kids about the Holocaust forest

Pinkas Synagogue, Prague

Aaron Meshullam Horowitz built the Pinkas Synagogue in Prague in 1535. Originally a private establishment, the Pinkas Synagogue is covered with 77,000 names of perished Bohemian-Moravian Jews. It is Prague’s second oldest surviving synagogue, connected with the well known Horowitz family.

Seven Moving Places to Teach Kids about the Holocaust bag
Exceptionally touching are the series of pictures drawn by children forced into concentration camps in Theresienstadt during lessons by painter Friedl Dicker-Brandeis. Before her deportation to Auschwitz, Dicker-Brandeis hid these drawings to ensure their survival, totaling 4,500 pictures.

Seven Moving Places to Teach Kids about the Holocaust bench

Shoes on Danube, Budapest

Travelers to Budapest can view this great iron shoe memorial created by Can Togay and Gyula Pauer.
The site is dedicated to those who died by the hands of Arrow Cross, a concentration camp enforcer run by the locals. Here, the victims were taken to the edge of the river and ordered to remove their shoes before getting shot and tossed in the Danube.

Seven Moving Places to Teach Kids about the Holocaust red

Holocaust Museum, Washington DC

The Washington DC Holocaust Museum holds a permanent exhibition that tells a narrative story of the Holocaust. At this museum, there are photos, film clips, historical artifacts and eye witness testimonies from this time. The museum also features numerous other exhibitions that change with time. These exhibits discuss how genocide happens and how to prevent it in the present and future.

Not to be missed is Daniel’s story. There’s also the thousands of shoes brought from Majdanek exhibits that create a powerful visual for visitors.

Seven Moving Places to Teach Kids about the Holocaust museum

Photo Credit: US Holocaust Memorial Museum

 

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Parents to kids with autism should prepare their children for the visits ahead of time by watching age-appropriate movies and reading books.
  • Due to the popularity of the Anne Frank House, parents should prepare to stand in line for up to four hours before they can enter the museum.
  • Many of these locations feature extreme content that might not be appropriate for younger kids. Parents should use discretion before visiting.

London Day Trips for Families with Autism

 

London Day Trips for Families with Autism pin

Although London itself is packed with plenty of things to do, sometimes the bustle of the big city is overwhelming, and travelers often find themselves in need of a change of pace. So, without further ado, here are some of our favorite day trips from that particular city.

Stonehenge

Perhaps the best known day trip from London, this ancient stone circle attracts attention from scientists, historians, neo-pagans, and the merely curious. Located just outside the town of Wiltshire, England, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is situated on a twenty thousand acre plot of land that is considered to be the most archaeologically rich area in all of Europe. Admission to the site is currently at £14.90 ($22.98 USD) for adults and £8.70 ($13.42 USD) for children between the ages of five and fifteen.

Complimentary admission may be available during the summer and winter solstice. At such times, guests are also allowed the privilege of walking through the stone circle. Seeing all of Stonehenge usually takes about an hour. However, visiting the site requires careful planning, especially if for those using public transportation as a means of getting there.

London Day Trips for Families with Autism stones

 

 Autism Travel Tips:

  • During the winter, the Stonehenge winds are harsh and may not be suitable for temperature sensitive kids.
  • The toilet is a mile and a half away from the site so kids should use the facilities before visiting.Families can take a shuttle bus from the  English Heritage visitor center to the site.
  • The ground is uneven. Parents should make sure everyone is wearing comfortable, closed toe shoes.
  • It is important to know that visitors are not allowed to vandalize the stones in any way.
    London Day Trips for Families with Autism spa

Bath

This historic spa town has been particularly popular during the Georgian era, and many sights remain from that period. The main attraction here is the Roman Baths, a spot that dates back over two thousand years. Those who want to test the health properties of the water for themselves can even sample it at the Pump Rooms for 50 pence (77 cents). Also, one can sip on luxurious Afternoon Tea at the Pump Room Restaurant.

London Day Trips for Families with Autism clock

 

Travelers that are interested in soak in the waters might want to head across the street to the Thermae Bath Spa. Other attractions found in Bath include the Abbey with its’ gothic architecture, the shop-lined Pulteney Bridge, and the famous Sally Lunn Bakery.

 

The town is easily reached by train from London in about an hour and a half. Travelers should make sure to disembark at the Bath Spa station if they are headed to the town center. Admission to the site is £13.50 ($20.82 USD) for adults, except during the months of August and July when the cost climbs to £14 ($21.59 USD) per visitor.

London Day Trips for Families with Autism water

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Children’s audio guides are available.
  • The bath water is smelly, and the taste is harsh. Some kids with sensitivities might not enjoy it.
  • Wandering kids might not be safe. Parents should supervise their children at all times.London Day Trips for Families with Autism ladies

Warwick

This particular town set on the banks of the River Avon is located about two hours north of London by car. However, trains also stop at locally at Warwick Station. The area is primarily known for its magnificent castle which dates back to the Middle Ages. Younger kids can enjoy the swordsmanship workshops or falconry displays all included in the price. They can also enjoy guided tours geared towards four to eight-year-olds where the kids see a real secret passage.

Another interesting spot in Warwick village is St. Mary’s Church, known for its medieval style architecture. The church was one of the few buildings to have survived the fire of 1694.

London Day Trips for Families with Autism swords

 

Castle admission costs vary seasonally but adult admission is generally around £14.95 ($23.05 USD) and entry for youngster typically runs about £8.45 ($13.03 USD). The building is open from ten am to five pm year round, but stays open an additional hour between the months of April and September.

London Day Trips for Families with Autism henry

Autism Travel Tips:

  • The dungeon experience and tour of the towers are not included in the admission costs.
  • Parents should buy tickets in advance, as the queue to buy tickets can take up to an hour.
  • Those waiting on tickets can enjoy the nearby cafe.
  • The castle has lots of steps and can be exhausting for some kids.
  • Some towers, like the princess tower, are only available for timed shows. Parents should pick up tickets for these shows as soon as they arrive, as they fill up quickly.
  • The castle has a nice playground for kids.
  • The exit is through the gift shop, so there is no way to avoid it.
    London Day Trips for Families with Autism castle

Stratford-upon-Avon

Although the famous English playwright Shakespeare spent most of his life in London, his birthplace has certainly capitalized on their most famous resident. Some the town’s buildings survive from the Tudor period, lending the village a medieval air. Of course, travelers won’t want to miss seeing Shakespeare’s birthplace, the Anne Hathaway home where his wife grew up, and the local church serving as the great man’s burial grounds. The guides liven up the experience by telling compelling stories. Families can enjoy the film which introduces Shakespeare’s plays to those watching. They can then travel a one-way route through all the open rooms of the house, observing the impressive displays.

London Day Trips for Families with Autism bard

 

Other places of interest include the Tudor World museum which offers insights into that particular period and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre where that prestigious acting troop makes their home. Stratford-upon-Avon is a two-hour drive from London, but the town can also be reached using the local train system.

Nearby, families can also experience Mary Arden’s Farm, the farm of Shakespeare’s mother. Volunteers dress up as different farm characters and do chores. Kids will love the falconry show here, and it can be relaxing to walk through the gardens for an hour.
London Day Trips for Families with Autism jester

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Shakespeare fans can enjoy the exhibition in the Visitor Centre for some extra details.
  • This location can get crowded in the summer.
  • We suggest booking online to avoid queues.
  • Parents can get a multi ticket that includes other properties.
  • Travelers have to take the train, bus, or a car to this location.

London Day Trips for Families with Autism view

Oxford

Located approximately 50 miles away from London, this historic college town has been occupied since the Saxon period. It was here that the University of Oxford was founded during the twelfth century. This event began the city’s standing as a premier place for academics, a reputation which has continued to this very day.

However, travelers should note that the various college campuses are spread throughout the city and are open at different times. Christ Church College, in particular, is home to several of the locations seen in the popular Harry Potter films.Christ Church Cathedral offers a family friendly “Head Hunt” trail where travelers can look closely at the details of the church. Exploring guests should seek out the stained glass windows near the St. Frideswade memorial to see the only image of a toilet in stained glass in any UK church.

Other interesting spots in this town include the Bodleian Library, which is among the oldest of its’ kind in Europe, and the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, built during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Also, Charles Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll, actually studied at Oxford, and the real life Alice was the daughter of the college dean. Watchful visitors can see Lewis’s many inspirations for his Alice series in the decor through Oxford.
London Day Trips for Families with Autism dining hall

 

Autism Travel Tips:

  • This location is a working college, so parents should plan when they go. The Great Hall will not be open to nonstudents during regular mealtimes.

 

Story Museum

This museum, based at Rochester house on Pembroke Street in Oxford, promotes the art of storytelling. The museum features several rooms based on different stories by British authors. Kids can enjoy playing in the themed rooms, such as walking through a wardrobe into snowy Narnia or the Bedtime with the oversized bed.Families can attend special events showcasing authors as well as workshops.

London Day Trips for Families with Autism complex

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Flighty kids can run around in the courtyard outside.
  • There is a cafe onsite for families to enjoy.

 

 

Taking Kids with Autism to Lisbon Portugal

Taking Kids with Autism to Lisbon Portugal pin

Lisbon is Portugal’s capital, and an excellent city itself. Here, travelers can practically step into a fairy tale with its castles, rolling hills, and beautiful coastlines. The following are some of the best spots in Lisbon to take kids, particularly with autism.

 

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Oceanario Oceanarium

The Oceanario Oceanarium is the largest indoor aquarium in all of Europe.
Designed by Peter Chernayeff, the aquarium is known for its distinctive building that resembles an aircraft carrier is built into the pier. The venue holds a vast collection of marine species ranging from penguins to jellyfish as well as many aquatic and terrestrial plants.

Taking Kids with Autism to Lisbon Portugal arch

The main exhibit; a 1,000-meter tank boasts four large acrylic windows on its sides and smaller focus windows strategically placed to ensure that it is a constant component throughout the exhibit. Visitors can watch sharks and rays swim by or get a good view of unique sunfish and sea dragons.

Taking Kids with Autism to Lisbon Portugal street

Belem Tower

Next stop would be the Belem Tower also known as the Tower of St. Vincent.
This historic landmark is known as one of the seven wonders of Portugal. It is a fortified tower located in the civil parish of St. Maria de Belem. The tower played a significant role in Portuguese maritime discoveries of the time. Commissioned by King John II, the tower was to be a part of the defense system located in the mouth of the Tagus River and act as a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon. Inside, visitors can see the tower’s gargoyles, dungeons, and cannons as well as the former royal bedrooms. Kids will delight in the story of the rhino’s carved image in one of the ramparts.

Taking Kids with Autism to Lisbon Portugal floor

Mosteiro Dos Jeronimos

This impressive UNESCO World Heritage site in Belem was built in 1502. The construction was commissioned by King Manuel the first. Families can see  Vasco da Gama’s tomb or stop by the museum detailing the building’s history.

Taking Kids with Autism to Lisbon Portugal sky

Gulbenkian Museum

The Gulbenkian Museum is mainly oriented towards ancient art, but it does house some modern pieces as well. The permanent exhibition galleries are distributed in chronological and geographical order to create two individual circuits in the overall tour.
Taking Kids with Autism to Lisbon Portugal alley

The first course highlights Greco-Roman art from classical antiquity and art from ancient eastern lands including Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Persian, and Armenian.
The second covers European art with particular sections dedicated to sculpture, painting and decorative arts, particularly the eighteenth century and works of Lalique. This circuit holds a vast range of pieces that reflect various European artistic trends from the eleventh century to the twentieth century.

Taking Kids with Autism to Lisbon Portugal tree

Electrico 28

Lisbon is famous for its construction on seven hills. While visitors can enjoy the beautiful views here, travelers can tire while exploring the city on foot. The Electrico 28 tram is the perfect solution for families, looping through many of the city’s famous locations. Kids with autism can enjoy the sights and the ride with its many ups and downs.

Taking Kids with Autism to Lisbon Portugal tram

What is unique about this tram is that it is a Remodelado tram, originally commissioned in the 1930’s and technically museum worthy. People still ride this tram because the unique design is the only one that can handle the steep inclines of the tracks. Therefore, this tram serves as an integral part of Lisbon public transportation network as well as a tourist gem.

Taking Kids with Autism to Lisbon Portugal piazza

Bairro Alto

Bairro Alto is considered to be Lisbon’s cultural and bohemian heart and a shopping mecca. Originally Bairro Alto was the place for artists and writers to come and live while working on their craft, but gradually it became culturally diverse and a vibrant place to party for locals and visitors.

Taking Kids with Autism to Lisbon Portugal statue

Families should visit at least one Fado Houses and listen to the traditional styles of Fado music. Fado music is a genre dating back to the 1820’s and is characterized by its mournful tunes and often sad lyrics.

Taking Kids with Autism to Lisbon Portugal street

Elevado de Santa Justa

The neo-gothic Elevado de Santa Justa in downtown Lisbon is one of the most notable landmarks in the Portuguese capital and is famous for looking like the Eiffel Tower. The resemblance lies in the fact that its designer, Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard, was Gustave Eiffel ‘s apprentice and was quite influenced by his work.

Taking Kids with Autism to Lisbon Portugal art

The elevator was originally designed to connect the Baixa with the Largo do Carmo in Bairro Alto. Today it is more of a tourist spot than anything else where tourist can take the elevator to the top and either cross the bridge into Bairro Alto or climb to the terrace for a fantastic view.

Taking Kids with Autism to Lisbon Portugal building

Castelo de Sao Jorge

This castle sits atop a hill near Alfama overlooking the Portuguese Capital. One can visit the battlements and also the museum. However, what this castle is known for is the observation terrace. Up here, visitors get a panorama view of the entire city. Kids can run through the ramparts or sit on a giant cannon in a picture-perfect, fairytale castle. Visitors can also see the ruins of the former royal Alcáçova palace here.

Taking Kids with Autism to Lisbon Portugal elevator

 

Lisbon Daytrips

Those looking for lovely day trips near Lisbon should visit Sintra and the beach towns of  Cascais and Estoril.

Taking Kids with Autism to Lisbon Portugal sintra

 

Sintra

This quaint UNESCO World Heritage town is only half an hour from Lisbon by train. Here, travelers can visit palaces and castles at the foot of the Sintra mountains. This prime location housed Roman, Portuguese, and Moorish royalty in the past. Families can enjoy the town’s many ice cream shops and restaurants. One can also see the city’s two palaces, Palacio de Pena and Palacio Nacional, both steeped in history and open to the public.

Taking Kids with Autism to Lisbon Portugal cones

 

Cascais and Estoril

These resort towns are also just a short train ride from Lisbon. Estoril features a famous casino said to have inspired the James Bond novels. Cascais is a lovely town with plenty of natural coves and fascinating medieval inspired architecture. Both places have plenty of restaurants and fishing shops for travelers to enjoy.

 

Taking Kids with Autism to Lisbon Portugal sea

 

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Drinks and snacks inside and around the Castelo de Sao Jorge are rather pricey.
  • Parents visiting the Castelo de Sao Jorge should take the family to the Tower of Ulysses to see a 360-degree view of the city.
  • The Tram 28 a favorite place for pickpocketing. Parents should keep their belongings in safe places where they can see them.
  • Near the Mosteiro Dos Jeronimos is the Pastéis de Belém pastry shop, where families can enjoy pasteis de nata, or custard tarts.
  • The Belem Tower has lots of narrow, steep steps. This fact can prove challenging for some kids.
  • The lines at the Oceanario Oceanarium can be long during successful seasons. Parents should save time by booking online.
  • Families can book sleepovers among the sharks at the aquarium.
  • Taking Kids with Autism to Lisbon Portugal up

 

Taking Your Kids with Autism to Prague

Taking Your Kids with Autism to Prague pin

 

As is the case with many European capitals, Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, has a rich, multi-layered history. Any traveling family will want to bring the kids to Prague for the experience. As the list below indicates, there are many remarkable sites in Prague that are open year round.

Old-New Synagogue (Staronova Synagoga)

This place is one of the oldest functioning synagogues in Europe. One can find the building located beneath street level because the surrounding road was raised to help control flooding in the past. Items of interest here include the restored seventeenth-century scriptures on the walls and the old wrought iron grill near the pulpit area. In keeping with the tenants of the Jewish faith, men will need to wear a head covering of some sort if they plan on visiting the site. However, paper caps are provided for visitors.

Taking Your Kids with Autism to Prague hall

Tram 17 is the best way to get to the church using the public transportation.

Old Jewish Cemetery

As far as graveyards go, this one allows for little space. In fact, the deceased buried here could find themselves in graves up to ten people deep. The cemetery houses over 12,000 surviving tombstones that date from the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries. Unfortunately, these markers remain in varying states of disrepair. Although people have not been buried here for some time, the site is still historically significant as one of the world’s oldest Jewish burial grounds in existence today. This space is a good place for a stroll if the weather is nice.

Taking Your Kids with Autism to Prague graves

Tickets to the cemetery are included with the Jewish Museum pass, which also includes entry to several synagogues in town. A combined ticket that includes admission to the New-Old Synagogue is additionally available to help travelers save a little money on their visit.

Jerusalem Synagogue

This hundred-year-old building was constructed just in time for the fiftieth anniversary of the emperor’s reign and was subsequently nicknamed the Jubilee Synagogue. Regardless of what it is called, the building has been recently opened up for regular public viewings.

Taking Your Kids with Autism to Prague sky

The structure features brightly hued, decorative elements from both the Art Nouveau and Moorish styles of design. Exhibits on Jewish history and architecture can also be found inside the synagogue as well. It is also worth trying to catch the monthly organ concerts for those who happen to be in town at the time they play. The building is open from eleven am to five pm every day except Saturday.

Prague Castle

This edifice, the world’s largest castle, is home to the usual historical artifacts, artworks, and other items that city visitors are sure to find intriguing. All of the monarchs that ruled here added their touches, and the result is a charming mélange of styles.

Taking Your Kids with Autism to Prague glass

While entering the castle costs money, only visiting the grounds is free. The park area is open from very early in the morning to very late at night. However, the buildings can only be visited from 9 am to 5 pm, and they close an hour earlier from November to March. Prague Castle can be reached easily by public transportation. Travelers taking the metro will want to get off at the Malostranská stop, and those taking a tram should use number 22.

St. Vitus Cathedral

Although it contains several old elements, a large number of renovations were performed just in time for church’s 1929 consecration ceremony. Gothic architecture, ancient mosaics, and modern stain glass can all be found here, but the overall effect is quite pleasing to the eye. Meanwhile, the ever-popular Saint Vitus himself rests in the Wenceslas Chapel. He is the one devout Catholics call on for assistance if they wish to avoid dog bites, lightning, or the more common oversleeping. Fortune visitors may also get to see the Czech crown jewels, which are only placed on display once every eight years.

Taking Your Kids with Autism to Prague art

Admission to the site is included along with the Prague Castle tour. The church opens from nine am to four pm most days of the week and holds Mass daily at seven am.

Astronomical Clock

From nine am to nine pm, the world’s oldest working clock gives a short performance at the turn of the hour. This spectacle is much loved by city visitors and remains one of the most popular activities in Prague. First, a bell rings. Then, a spectral figure of death flips an hourglass and the twelve apostles saunter past. Finally, a rooster crows to bring an end to the event.

Taking Your Kids with Autism to Prague tower

Travelers who are waiting to watch the tableau should note the four representative statues that flank the clock. These individuals represent the problems of invasion, greed, death, and vanity, all which were of primary concern to Czech citizens during the Middle Ages.

Those that want to watch the show should get off the metro at the Staroměstská stop.

St. Charles Bridge

With the destruction of the Judith Bridge by floods around the year 1342, the king commissioned a replacement known for years as the ‘stone bridge’ which now bears his name. At one time, cars could legally cross the structure, but that practice has since been banned. These days, St. Charles Bridge is filled with statues and street performers. Noteworthy views of the river can be found by climbing either one of the bridge towers.

Taking Your Kids with Autism to Prague market

Travelers will want to check out the Bearded Man, a carved stone head, which helped locals determine if the river was going to overrun its’ banks in the old days. One can find him in the downstream parapet on the Staré Město side of the river. A new flood gauge located nearby serves as a distinct contrast to this historical figure, showing the progression of technology since then.

Skoda Auto Museum and Factory Tour

Located in a village outside Prague (Mlada Boleslav), this small museum holds a lot of vintage automobiles made by the locally owned Skoda Company. The museum arranges the cars in chronological order from the earliest models to those released about twenty years ago. Guests should check out the depository section of the museum to see the less-than-pristine cars. International can read the displays in English, Czech, and German.

Taking Your Kids with Autism to Prague gate

Those wanting the tour need to book tickets weeks in advance to get a spot.

Cafe Imperial

This classy and affordable restaurant features elegant Art Nouveau-style decor. Many travelers comment on the beauty of the building as they dine here. Of course, the primary focus at any eating establishment is the food. The attentive wait staff serves up a variety of traditional Czech dishes for breakfast and lunch. Previous diners recommend the Café Imperial’s dill soup, veal cheeks, and Black Forrest cake.

Taking Your Kids with Autism to Prague small

Guests are welcome here every day of the week from seven am to eleven pm.

Kutna Hora

This former silver mining town is now a UNESCO World Heritage site that makes a perfect day trip from Prague. The journey takes a little over an hour each way. One of the local churches (Saint Barbra’s) dates back to 1388, created by the same person responsible for much of the work on St. Vitus Cathedral. However, most travelers come here for the unusual Sedlec Ossuary, located only a short walk from the center of town.

Taking Your Kids with Autism to Prague building

Sedlec Ossuary

Thanks to an enterprising abbot who obtained some dirt from Golgotha and sprinkled it around the adjacent abbey cemetery, Christians clamored to get buried here in the Middle Ages. Unfortunately, bodies started piling up due to some wars and plague epidemics in the area. In 1870, a creative woodcarver decided to transform the skeletons that remained into a decorative element for the local church. The result is nothing short of striking, albeit a trifle macabre. The bones of thousands now adorn the building’s walls and ceilings in various artistic patterns. Even the chandelier is made from the bits and pieces that people left behind when they departed for the afterlife.

Taking Your Kids with Autism to Prague tomb

One can usually visit the site between nine am and five pm, but it is open longer in the summer and closes earlier in the winter. Travelers to the village may also want to take advantage of a local bus that runs between the church, the ossuary, and the train station.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Due to the city’s temperate climate, the weather is pleasant year-round. Even so, travelers that hate the heat might want to avoid visiting in the summer months. Those who dislike the cold should wait until spring or summer.
  • Travelers that come to Prague in December should be sure to stop by the city’s famous Christmas Market. Holiday items are the primary focus of this shopping extravaganza, but there are also plenty of traditional food and drink options on hand for those who prefer to browse through the offerings rather than purchase anything.
  • Visitors to the St Charles Bridge should keep a close eye on their belongings for pickpockets.

Taking the Family to Stockholm’s Vasa Museum

 

 

Taking the Family to Stockholm's Vasa Museum pin
Lots of people have heard the story of the Titanic. But stories of massive ships sinking tragically on their maiden voyage have happened throughout history. The Vasa Museum in Stockholm Sweden displays the sixty-four gun warship Vasa, a well-preserved ship that sank in 1628 on its first journey. Today, this is Scandinavia’s most visited museum. Families who love maritime history will enjoy this museum.

Taking the Family to Stockholm's Vasa Museum art

History

The Vasa was built during a war between Sweden and Poland-Lithuania. In August of 1628, the ship set sail from Älvsnabben on a calm day. The ship passed under the bluffs of modern day Södermalm and was taken by a sudden gust of wind. These blasts continued as the ship traveled and pushed the gun ports under the sea’s surface, causing water to fill the lower deck. The water kept pouring in until the ship sank. Despite the efforts of rescue boats, thirty people died in the accident. Hundreds of Stockholm residents who had come to see the ship sail witnessed the Vasa as it sank.

Taking the Family to Stockholm's Vasa Museum people

After archeologists unearthed it, Vasa was stored in Wasavarvet (“The Vasa Shipyard”) from 1961 to 1988. Here, conservationists treated the ship with polyethylene glycol. In 1981, the Swedish Government held a competition to design the museum building for the ship. 384 architects sent in ideas, and Marianne Dahlbäck and Göran Månsson won the contest. The museum officially opened June fifteenth in 1990. Today, four other ships in the nearby harbor have transformed into museums – the icebreaker Sankt Erik, the light vessel Finngrundet, the torpedo boat Spica, and the rescue boat Bernhard Ingelsson.

Over three hundred and fifty ideas were submitted, and Marianne Dahlbäck and Göran Månsson won the contest. The museum officially opened June fifteenth in 1990. Today, four other ships in the nearby harbor have transformed into museums – the icebreaker Sankt Erik, the light vessel Finngrundet, the torpedo boat Spica, and the rescue boat Bernhard Ingelsson.

Taking the Family to Stockholm's Vasa Museum detail

What You Will See  

Visitors can take a twenty-five minute guided tour around the ship to learn about its history from the construction and maiden voyage to the salvage and preservation. Guided tours are included in the price of the admission.

All in all, the museum features fourteen exhibits for visitors to explore and learn about the ship and the period. Through paintings, photos, films and the artifacts themselves, visitors learn about the hard work put into restoring and preserving this ship and the memory of those that were aboard.

Taking the Family to Stockholm's Vasa Museum bones

The museum also includes over 40,000 items discovered on the ship. Everything from weapons to utensils to chests from aboard the ship is on display. Even after 50 years of going through the items and learning about the ship, discoveries are still being made!

Parents and kids can also enjoy the “Family Trail” tour designed for children six years and older. Kids will also enjoy the Sailing Ship exhibit on the sixth floor. This exhibit is interactive and visitors can equip and sail their own Vasa, attempting to keep it from capsizing.

Also in this exhibit is a replica of the platform on the Vasa that was 17 meters (about 55 feet) above the deck for visitors to get a feel for what it would have been like to stand up there above the ship!

Taking the Family to Stockholm's Vasa Museum shoes

Families should not miss the Vasa Museum Garden, filled with flowers, vegetables, and medicinal herbs that the crew of the Vasa might have taken with them, or that one might have found in the farms and towns at that time.

Location, Hours, Admission 

The Vasa Museum is located on Galärvarvsvägen 14, 115 21 Stockholm, Sweden. It is open daily from 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM. Admission is 130 SEK ($13.81) for adults and 100 SEK ($10.62) for students. Children younger than eighteen get in for free.

Taking the Family to Stockholm's Vasa Museum ship

Autism Travel Tips:

  • This location is a very popular museum, so families should try to get there early because it will likely be quite busy. It can take anywhere from half an hour to two hours to go through.
  • Luggage is not permitted in the museum, and there is limited luggage storage space, but there is a coat check.
  • There are toilets at the entrance and on the third floor, and there is space for baby care at the bathroom at the entrance.
  • People who may need assistance in reading the exhibit text may bring an additional person for no extra fee. There is also a model of the ship for those who might be visually impaired.
  • Braille information is available in English and Swedish.
  • The museum is wheelchair accessible, and there are elevators on all floors.
  • There is a café on-site that can accommodate those with gluten or lactose-free diets.

Taking the Family to Stockholm's Vasa Museum words

 

Taking Kids with Autism to Madrid Spain

Madrid is a popular travel destination for international travelers. It’s high standard of living, and thriving economy attracts many visitors year round and the culture that is prevalent throughout the city keeps them coming back for more. There are dozens of attractions throughout the city that attract all ages. Here are our favorite spots in Madrid for families who have children with autism. 

Taking Kids with Autism to Madrid Spain church

Theme Parks

Warner Brothers Movie World (Parque Warner)

Parque Warner, just south of Madrid, is a booming amusement park full of well-known and beloved movie characters. From Superman and Batman to Yogi Bear and Scooby Doo, visitors can find the park littered with rides and shows that feature all Warner cartoon characters.

There are many different rollercoaster rides perfect for all visitors, from children to thrill seekers. The park also features water rides for hot summer days. For those who are not interested in rides, the live shows, performances, and food attractions are the best in the area.

Teleferico

The Teleferico cable car runs a fifteen-minute track from Paseo del Pintor Rosales to Casa de Campo. Here, travelers can get a fantastic view of the Parque del Oeste, the Egyptian Deborde temple, the Manzanares River, and the Royal Palace.The cable car runs noon to nine PM, and rides are free for Madrid card holders.

Taking Kids with Autism to Madrid Spain color

Parque de Atracciones

Parque de Atracciones is Madrid’s main amusement park. This park is open every day May to mid-September and weekends for the rest of the year. Young children can enjoy a special area of the park, and there’s plenty of thrilling rides for older kids. Families can enjoy the park’s bars, restaurants, and outdoor shows.

Faunia

Faunia is a zoo theme park that features miniature versions of different ecosystems in several domes. Travelers can see the Amazon jungle filled with exotic birds and a recreated tropical storm as well as a Penguin World with an artificial Antarctic in the same park.
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Outdoor Areas

El Retiro

El Retiro is a must-visit spot for anyone visiting Madrid. This beautiful park is home to over 15,000 trees. The lush landscape makes El Retiro the best location to lounge around, take a break, and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. Kids can enjoy activities like biking and roller blades or take a boat ride over the pond.

Guests here can find several gardens with classical themes, a lake where visitors can go for a boat ride, and monuments and fountains dedicated to historical figures. Located in the center of Madrid, El Retiro is easy to get to, so there is no excuse to pass up stopping by this beautiful park.

Burrolandia Donkey Refuge

This Donkey Refuge is only a fifteen-minute drive outside of Madrid. Kids can pet or feed the over twenty-six donkey residents. While entry is free, any donations will go to the center’s upkeep. The center is open Sundays from 11 AM to 1:30 PM.
Taking Kids with Autism to Madrid Spain building

Real Madrid Stadium

The Real Madrid Stadium hold over 85,000 spectators and is home to numerous football games throughout the year. Even the FIFA World Cup has taken place at the Real Madrid Stadium. The stadium was first constructed during the 1940’s and has since become an even larger venue. Tours offered throughout the stadium. This place gives sports fans a chance to see some behind the scenes action right up until the game begins.

Historical/Art Museums

The Prado

Located in the center of Madrid, the Prado is the national art museum. It is home to many historical art pieces from throughout Europe. There are pieces dated from the twelfth to nineteenth centuries. The beautiful old building holds 7,600 paintings and thousands of sculptures, drawings, and historical documents. The entire collection at the Prado is based on the former Spanish Royal Collection. Within the Prado, one can find numerous pieces from famous artists such as Francisco de Goya, Diego Velazquez, El Greco, Titian, and Peter Paul Rubens.

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Museo del Arte de Reina Sofia

The Reina Sofia is one of the world’s largest contemporary art museums. The museum used to be a hospital. Today, it houses the works of several famous artists such as Dali and Picasso as well as more modern artists in temporary exhibits. Parents can let kids enjoy various workshops and tours, and children will likely find the exterior glass lifts fun to travel inside.

Caixa Forum

The Caixa Forum in Madrid features numerous exhibitions on history, art, political debates, and social events. Here, families can observe Spain’s first vertical garden, boasting 15,000 plants. They often host great workshops for parents and kids.The Forum is open daily from ten AM to eight PM, and admission is free, though some events may charge.
Taking Kids with Autism to Madrid Spain street

Palacio Real de Madrid

This palace originally held the local royalty, though now it is mainly used for ceremonies. Today, visitors can see the Palacio Real de Madrid’s beautiful gardens and architecture. For free, guests can explore the King and Queen’s quarters as well as the palace’s pharmacy with hundreds of bottles for herbal remedies. Art from different famous Spanish artists decorate the walls throughout the palace.Travelers should check out the Changing of the Guard, a popular event every Wednesday from eleven AM to two PM.

Shopping

El Rastro

The El Rastro flea market happens every Sunday morning all along Plaza de Cascorro and Ribera de Curtidores. Here, visitors can find many interesting artistic items that one can’t find anywhere else. It is certainly the best place for a unique souvenir.

Taking Kids with Autism to Madrid Spain play

El Corte Ingles

The El Corte Ingles is a famous shopping center on Gran Via. This center is made up of several buildings and features a vast collection of Spanish designer clothing. Brands here include Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Dior, Hugo Bos, and Bulgari. Those looking for some high-end fashion directly from Spain should come here.

Fuencarral Market

At the Fuencarral Market, one can find interesting and offbeat items. This market was originally made as an alternative to department stores and has grown to feature the art of some of Madrid’s most skilled artisans and designers. Family members into alternative items like piercings, tattoos, and extreme hairdressing will love this market, though it is certainly for older kids. At the market, travelers can also listen to the on-site DJs playing music.
Taking Kids with Autism to Madrid Spain tree

 

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Faunia is not a cheap day out. Guests are not allowed to bring in food from outside, and queues can be long.
  • In Palacio Real de Madrid, one can rent a locker for coats and cameras since photos are not allowed inside the buildings.
  • Caixa Forum’s workshops are great to bring flighty kids to since the admission is free and one can leave at any time without wasting money.
  • Some artwork in Reina Sofia is extreme in their content, which is either violent or sexual. Parents should make sure to avoid particular areas that might be too much for younger kids.
  • Those with the seventy-two-hour version of the Madrid card gets free entry to the Parque de Atracciones. There are no accommodations in the parks.
  • There might be long queues to enter the Prado in the summer so parents should consider purchasing tickets online.

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