City breaks with the kids need not be a chore. Warsaw has enough green parks, fascinating museums and activity centres to keep your little ones happy. Who knows, you may even be tempted to join in with the fun once in a while…
Dinosaurs, Puppets and Sport at the Palace of Culture and Science
At first glance, this imposing 1950s Stalinist monolith doesn’t look particularly child-friendly. However, don’t be deceived as Warsaw’s Palace of Culture and Science has plenty to keep both big and little kids entertained. Zip up to the viewing terrace on the 30th floor for dizzying views of Warsaw’s city centre. Next sate your inner Darwinist at the Museum of Evolution, where you can rejoice in the shadow of large-scale dinosaur skeletons and marvel at fossils recovered from the Gobi desert. Meanwhile, the ‘Youth Palace’ is a special treat for active kids. Its swimming pool often hosts youth sports tournaments, while the basketball courts by the entrance turn into an ice rink in the winter. Don’t miss out on checking in at the box office for information on Teatr Lalka’s repertoire, Warsaw’s most charming puppet theatre.
Animals, Boats and Rickshaws at Royal Lazienki Park
A stroll in Warsaw’s Royal Lazienki Park on a sunny day is enough to keep even the most fidgety of tots from grumbling. European red squirrels are the park’s most ubiquitous residents and both big and little kids have great fun feeding them. Peacocks show off their colourful plumes, while deer, ducks and swans also inhabit the park. When your little ones get tired of walking, you can relax with a boat ride on the lake or catch a rickshaw for a spin around the park. Don’t forget to stop by the lakeside cafe to cool off in the shade with delicious ice creams and milkshakes.
Warsaw’s Favourite Sweets and Chocolate at Wedel Cafe
Choco-holics indulge their sweet-tooth at Wedel Cafe, where Warsaw’s famous confectionary is sold. Located on Szpitalna Street, this pre-war chocolate salon caters well with a tempting selection of desserts, hot chocolates and sweets. Established in 1851, the Wedel brand is responsible for a range of child-friendly chocolate bars (or batony) such as Pierrot, Bajeczny and Pawelky – all household names in Poland. Ptasie Melczko are fluffy vanilla or chocolate mallows coated in plain chocolate and make for a unique gift to take back home.
Firetrucks, Trains and Cars at some of Warsaw’s finest museums
Rest assured, this top trio will convince your kids that museums are anything but boring. Little boys will love exploring the 150-year-old depot where the Museum of Fire Fighting stores its gleaming firetrucks, helmets and fire-fighting equipment. The Railway Museum houses a wide collection of engines, models and train sets, while the disused rail tracks outside the museum are the resting place for a number of handsome steam engines – and even an armoured train from WWII. Meanwhile, the Museum of Motor Vehicles is located in Otrebusy, just outside of Warsaw, and is the home of around 300 antique machines, including a US tractor from 1895 and several Syrenas, Warsaw’s iconic Communist-era car.
Alexandra Szydlowska is a freelance travel journalist and editor based in London, UK. She writes for a range of online and print publications, with a special emphasis on Eastern European travel.