The best small zoos in Prague



Do your children love animals? From hand-feeding the sheep to riding a pony to petting a baby goat, these are the best petting zoos in Prague. Check out the local spots below to discover the fun family attractions and places to visit near you. Prague Zoo is not included in our list as it is not small, but it's worth a mention. Yet, it is the fourth best zoo in the world and the most visited tourist destination in the Czech Republic.

There is a lot more to forest or petting zoos than a place where people go to see a mix of domesticated animals and some wild species in an urban environment. They give visitors an insight into different types of farming and working practices. They provide new experiences and create magical memories for the whole family!  


Minizoo Milicovsky dvur, K Milíčovu 100/8, Prague 11

Located on the woodland edge of the Milicovsky forest, this fantastic outdoor facility is home to an ostrich, a steppe mara, a fox, a horse, pheasants, cows, ducks, geese, goats, sheep, pigs, rabbits and other pets. The small zoo also gives the opportunity to pet and feed farm animals with the food from feed dispensers. Most goats and sheep graze spacious pastures surrounding the farm. There is a sandpit with toys and a food stand that serves hot dogs, chips, sandwiches, hot and cold beverages. Enjoy lots of outdoor fun and adventure for less than 1 EURO (20 CZK is the entrance fee)! Monday is closed. An educational trail Miličov through the forest, several ponds and beautiful wooden playground near the farm make the area the best place for a day out with kids in Prague. Milicovsky dvůr can be reached by subway (Háje), by bus (Milíčov) or by car.
www.facebook.com/ 2035774800011674



Small zoo at Chuchle Grove, V Lázních 8, Prague 5

The zoo is nestled on the hill above Chuchle, in the beautiful area of a large forest complex called Nature Park Chuchle Grove. The small zoo run by "Forests of the Capital City of Prague" is a place to care for orphaned and injured wildlife in Prague. You will get a chance to see forest animals, such as mouflons, deers, does, fallow deers, wild pigs,raccoons, lynxes, ravens, owls, buzzards, pheasants, polecats and many others. Visitors are not allowed to feed or pet animals as the goal is to teach people about forest animals of the Czech republic and environmental conservation. They also have a refreshments kiosk with a sitting area as well as a wooden children's playground with a sandpit, a seesaw and other play elements. Visit this small zoo where rescued animals get a second chance! Open 24/7 and free of charge.



The Station of Young Biologists, Drtinova 1A, Prague 5

This indoor and outdoor facility offers little ones the chance to take part in a wide array of educational and fun activities, interactive animal shows, workshops, lectures, as well as visit and pet the animals. Explore a tropical terrarium, a home to crocodiles, monitor lizards, little monkeys, boa constrictors and anacondas or an aviary with numerous bird species. The outdoor runs include kangaroos, ponies,  goats, pigs or llamas. They also have a nice playground, a small pond, a refreshment stand, toilets and a garden gazebo. The entrance to the zoo is free but there is a symbolic entrance fee to the tropical terrarium and to the greenhouses (20 or 40 CZK). It is located on the hill above the Kartouzska health center close to the Andel metro station and Sacré Coeur park. Feedings are not usually available.
www.facebook.com/Staniceprirodovedcu



Toulcův dvůr, Kubatova 1/32, Prague 10

Located in the Hostivař area in Prague 10, this 8,5 hectare Environmental Family Center has a lot of friendly farm animals that the children will love to meet. The cows, horses, chickens, geese, pigs, rabbits, sheep, goats are well taken care of and the whole site is clean and well maintained. Visitors are not allowed to feed, hold or pet the animals. Your family can enjoy a play area, a beautiful cherry orchard, meadows or a wetland with a bottomland forest and a restaurant focused on serving healthy food prepared from the local raw materials.
www.toulcuvdvur.cz



There are more places around town where you can take the children to see animals. They are too small to be called "the best zoos in Prague", yet, children can enjoy there a lot of animal fun and outdoor adventure.

Wild Garden Hostivař, K Obecním Hájovnám 275/1, Prague 15

The 5000 ㎡ outdoor facility is located on the edge of the Forest Park Hostivař, between the the gamekeeper's lodge and the flooded quarry. You can see a herd of rare white fallow deer or a pair of mouflons. The flooded quarry is home to wild and muscovy ducks, swans and wild geese. Open 24 hours a week, the entrance is free. There is an amazing walk through the woods of the Forest Park Hostivař. With a beautiful wooden playground, open meadows for picnic, a Hostivař reservoir, it is the perfect spot to enjoy a family time together and connect with nature.



Animals at Kunratice Forest
, Zelená louka 451/1, Prague 4

Kunratice Forest is the attractive, large and lush oasis of calm perfect for recreation, relaxation and sports activities. There are numerous walking and cycling trails, playgrounds for children, benches and restaurants. In the outdoor area of the restaurant "Na tý louce zelený" children can see and feed sheep, dwarf goats and little pigs. If you follow a yellow tourist sign and walk along the Kuntraticky stream, you will arrive at a gamekeeper's lodge where you can admire spotted deer. If you are lucky, you might spot a herd of mouflons that can move freely across the forest.



Animals at Kamyk Forest, Šatrova, Prague 12

Kamýk "zoo corner" is located in the eastern part of Kamyk Forest next to the gamekeeper's lodge. They have an enclosure for Cameroon and Walisser goats and a pheasant aviary. Tall ancient trees, a winding stream, walking and cycling trails or a beautiful wooden playground make the forest a perfect place for families to enjoy relaxation or sport activities.




How to choose a kindergarten in the Czech Republic

It is happening!
You made the decision to enroll your child into a preschool in the Czech Republic. Transition into an institutionalized childcare facility is a sensitive family issue, often more demanding for the parents than for the child. In this article, common questions regarding preschool education in the Czech Republic will be answered. Your child's life long educational journey may begin. Just remember, preschool is not only a childcare facility but a crucial part of your child’s education.


What age do children enroll into preschool?
Most children in the Czech Republic enter kindergarten at age three. Public nurseries for children younger than three are scarce and are usually available only in bigger cities. Parents who want their children to enroll earlier must opt for a private preschool.

Is preschool mandatory?
Yes. In 2017 preschool attendance became mandatory for all children who reach age five before the beginning of the next school year. This means that children residing in the Czech Republic (in length exceeding 90 days) shall complete at least one year of preschool education before commencing the mandatory elementary school attendance.

What types of preschools are there?
•    Public kindergarten (Státní mateřská škola)
•    Private kindergarten (Soukromá mateřská škola)
•    Nursery (Jesle)
•    Children group (Dětská skupina)
•    Forest kindergartens (Lesní školka)
•    Baby-sitting clubs (Mateřský klub)

What is a public kindergarten?
 Every school district in the Czech Republic has a state (or district) run kindergarten catering to children residing in the area. While most expats usually don't consider public kindergartens as a viable option due to the language barrier, especially those on a tight budget would appreciate the lower costs. One of the main advantages of public preschool is undoubtedly the fees, which would generally not exceed 1.500 CZK per month including lunches and snacks.
 Another advantage of public kindergartens is that once your (and your child's) registered residency falls into the school district, your child will be admitted at least for the mandatory preschool year, but usually in the school year following your child's third birthday. Public kindergartens operate under the supervision of the Ministry of Education. They are required to have a private garden, must follow strict hygienical rules and keep up with the Ministry approved Framework Curriculum Program for preschools. This curriculum (if followed) ensures a smooth transition into a public elementary school. The admission process takes place only once a year and it is unlikely to be admitted mid- term.
 One of the main disadvantages of state preschools is the classroom size. The current legislation allows for preschool classrooms to accommodate up to 28 (!) children aged 3 to 6 per teacher. The average size of the classroom, however, is twenty children and the capacity is lowered depending on the number of two years old as well as special needs children. It is common that an assistant is assigned to a class, however it is not a general rule and it always depends on the particular preschool’s funding. Furthermore, public kindergartens usually admit only fully potty-trained children.


Private kindergartens
 Private kindergarten is usually the go to option for expats who know their stay in Prague will be temporary. Non - Czech parents are often sceptic about Czech language education and choose the more comfortable option.
In order to be able to hold the kindergarten/preschool (mateřská škola) status, regardless of public or private, the childcare provider has to meet strict criteria laid by the current legislation.

This includes:
•    Follow the Framework Education Program (exceptions being certified Montessori, Waldorf and Emilio Reggio schools who follow their own curriculums)
•    Meet strict hygiene and premises requirements
•    Have a private garden

 Unfortunately, there are numerous childcare facilities that operate businesses resembling and acting as kindergartens, without holding the license and relying on the fact that non-Czechs won't know the difference. Make sure to inquire about the preschool's legal status before enrolling your child.
English (and other non-Czech) preschools are exclusively private. Expect monthly tuition fees to be as high as 25.000 CZK/month.
The admission process usually depends on the availability and is possible throughout the year. Private kindergartens often combine nurseries and preschools and are available for children as young as one year.

Nurseries (jesle)

 Nursery in the Czech Republic is defined as a "medical facility providing childcare to children aged 0,5 to 3". The reason for the "medical" lays in the fact that one of the legal requirements for the staff looking after toddlers is medical education, usually a pediatric nurse.Public nurseries are scarce and usually located only in larger cities. The classroom size varies but is generally comparable to public kindergartens.
 According to a research published by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, there are only 93(!) private nurseries, that legally provide daycare for children aged one to three, 50 of which are in Prague. Increased demand for institutionalized childcare has led the government to reconsider its rigid policy towards nursery and preschool providers. During 2014 it enabled slightly more flexible alternatives to the traditional educational preschool facilities.

What is a children group (dětská skupina)?

 "Dětská skupina" is a facility providing childcare for children aged 1 to 6. While the children group is subject to slightly lower demands in terms of inner spacing and garden (not mandatory), there are stricter conditions on occupancy - 6 children per teacher. The largest child group can be as big as 24 children usually split up into two classrooms. Currently, there are more than one thousand registered children groups in the Czech Republic.
 The biggest advantages of children groups are the size, family atmosphere and individual approach to the needs of children. The staff members have to be either a qualified teacher, child nurse, social worker or a certified nanny. From the viewpoint of a parent, the difference between private kindergarten and a children group is nonexistent, however, children group is eligible to provide childcare during the mandatory preschool year while numerous private kindergartens cannot since they lack their certification.

Forrest kindergarten (lesní školka)

 Is a unique concept with its roots in Denmark in the fifties. Throughout history, schools provided children with shelter, warmth and education. Schools were often the only place shielding children from bad weather and hard work in the fields. As our society became more industrialized and warmth under a roof became more accessible, children didn't spend enough time outside. An average Czech child spends only 2 hours per day outdoors. In comparison, the average American child is said to spend 4 to 7 minutes a day in unstructured play outdoors, and over 7 hours a day in front of a screen.
 Forrest kindergartens provide a unique educational concept outdoors. A certified forest kindergarten provides children with full-fledged preschool preparation while following the Framework Curriculum Program. Children here obtain their knowledge while closely observing nature. Their stay outside turns from free play to a lifestyle. The terminology might be confusing, but the forest school concept can be brought into an urban area and is not solely dependent on the presence of an actual forest. In Prague, there are multiple forest/outdoor curriculum schools, yet the accessibility of English-speaking ones is limited. At Cherry Tree, we provide children with forest school inspired education while following the Framework Curriculum Program.


What are baby-sitting clubs?

 Baby-sitting clubs or so called "mother centers" (Mateřská centra) aim to provide some level of networking for otherwise isolated mothers on maternity leave. Since the usual maternity leave can take up to 3 years, Czech mothers often seek children activities where both parents and their children can socialize. Such clubs offer music classes, dance activities, arts & crafts, etc. However, a certain level of parental involvement is usually required since these centers are not legally permitted to offer prolonged childcare.

 In conclusion, each one of the above-mentioned options has its advantages and disadvantages. Every parent has a different preference and some favor location over premises or price over classroom size. No matter what your taste, situation or options are, don't rush with choosing the right preschool facility for your child. Nothing quite beats the feeling of knowing that your child is safe and happy and that you did your best in finding a school that really fits. Allow yourself enough time to decide, visit, ask questions and choose with your heart.

Important questions to ask when choosing a preschool

1) Is there a garden on the premises?
2) How often and how long do you stay outside?
3) What is your legal status?
4) Do you follow the National Framework Curriculum?
5) Can children complete their mandatory school year at your school?
6) Are you open throughout the summer holidays?
7) What health and safety measures do you take regarding COVID-19?
8) Are your teachers certified?
9) Are the teachers in your school native English speakers?
10) What does your adaptation program look like?

Anna Meissner is the founder of Cherry Tree, an English-speaking preschool in Vinohrady and an active mother of three young children. Cherry Tree is inspired by the forest kindergarten concept and aspires to give urban children the option to "grow with nature". Anna and her team are keen to assist expats and locals alike in finding the best education solutions for their children. Contact her directly via www.cherrytree.cz or via Instagram @cherrytreecz


Anna Meissner


A nature walk with children in Prague 9 – Prosecke rocks and Podvinní Park

The Natural Landmark Prosecke Rocks lies in the northeastern part of Prague on the area of two neighboring districts - Prosek and Libeň. The protected area includes a sandstone rocks and an extensive network of artificial underground tunnels that were created during the sand mining. The blue hiking path no. 1105 leads through the Natural Monument. If you want to spend a day out with kids in the nature, you cannot go far wrong with Prosecke rocks. Expect spell-binding views out over the city, peaceful nature, an educational nature trail Vysočany - Prosek - Střížkov,  a bobsleight track and Podvinní Park - city's premier greenspace area and a hidden gem of Prague 9.


The natural lookout point called "A Lookout of Ema Destinova" in the immediate vicinity of a garden colony offers a charming view of the metropolis along with several benches and large mature trees. Beautiful views can be enjoyed from  the second vantage point „a Lookout Prosecke rocks“,  two platforms made of stones and  secured by wire, that is located about 600 meters away.

With a large forest, stunning rocks and meadows, it is the perfect place for little ones to work off any excess energy, and a sighting of bats, squirrels, lizards or blindworms is the icing on the cake.  A narrow lane brings you to the end of the forestpark and to the busy Prosecka street.

On the left you will spot Machalka Vineyard and on the right a bosleight track with a children´s playground. Machalka vineyard was restored from 1996 to 2000 by the association of volunteers, who  now holds there concerts, neighbours and wine festivals. At the stand you can reward your efforts with a refreshing sparkling wine or a glass of red wine. In winter months from Wednesday to Friday, they serve a delicious mulled wine,  which is a warming celebration of traditional festive spices.  The popular hot beverage with the scent of vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, lemon or fragrant apricot is sure to warm you on a cold day.  Children will be thrilled with 1 kilometr long bobsleight track, the playground with slides and climbing frames, or the rope park (open only on weekends).

A steep path along the forest and the bobsleigh track will take you to Park Podviní - one of Prague´s premier green spaces. Located in the heart of Vysočany district, it offers a wide range of (opportunities for) leisure activities, such as playing games and team sports, jogging, relaxing or picnicking. As the river Rokytka flows through the park, there are small lakes and bridges, picturesque streams and waterfalls.


The central element of the park is a stone fortress in the shape of a lizard's back with a lengthwise corridor, two tunnels along with a viewpoint and a staircase. Another dominant feature of the area is a 10 meters high oak trunk. The authors of the project were allegedly inspired by the "Giant's Walk", a natural phenomenon and a special geological formation in Northern Ireland.


The kids will be enchanted by this park and its outstanding natural beauty.  There is an excellent variety of activities and adventures to choose from . The park includes a rope park, stepping stone pathways or two modern playgrounds with some original play elements.


Podviní Park offers its visitors large green areas, a peaceful meadows ideal for recreation and relaxation, a covered picnic areas, a public fireplaceand magnificent antient trees. Although Podviní  is very popular with locals, it never feels overcrowded.  It is a beautiful oasis of greenery and tranquility away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Prague's natural spaces – Natural Park Říčanka with kids

Located on the eastern border of Prague on the areas of Běchovice, Dubeč and Uhříněves, Natural Park Říčanka, is one of the oldest nature reserves in the city. It is a spectacular landscape rich in history and wildlife. The blue walking trail and an educational path called Dubeč – Uhříněves were created in order to provide an outdoor education experience. It boasts three Specially Protected Areas: the Quarry Rohožík in Dubeč, Lítožnice (a system of ponds, adjacent forest complexes, meadows and valleys around the Ricansky brook) and Uhříněves Game Preserve. Visitors are attracted mainly by its beautiful nature - floodplain forests, flowering meadows, clean natural springs, ponds and picturesque routes along  the stream. It is a perfect place for hiking, sports and leisure activities. Most of the routes are suitable for prams and bikes.


Dubeč educational trail leads from the pond "V Rohožníku" along the prehistoric housing estate and the quarry Rohožník to Podlesky Millhouse and Uhříněves Game Preserve. The marked station no. 2 called Quarry in Dubeč (Lom V Dubči) is a convenient starting point and it is easy to park the car there.  You may be lucky enough to spot foxes as there is a fox´s den close to the second stop.  The stony path will take you to the fishing pond V Rohožníku (stop no. 3). The tiny pathway along its shore leads to the station no. 4 - Natural Park Říčanka (Přírodní park Říčanka). If you walk along its shore, you will reach the station no. 4 – Natural Park Říčanka (Přírodní park Říčanka).


A narrow lane along the meadow takes you up to the forest  and to the 5th station - Natural Landmark Rohožník (PP Rohožník). A woody hillock Rohožník is a protected heritage asset and an important archaeological site with rich finds of pottery and tools from a period of the first settlements in the Neolithic Age.  Situated on a boundary of a hillside and a meadow, the stop no. 6 - Prehistoric settlements (Pravěká sídliště) introduces one of the longest inhabited places of the area. This settlement has been established in the Eneolithic period about 2000 B.C.E.


The stop no. 7 - Under a quarry (Pod lomem) is located near a border of a forest and a playground for outdoor sports. The quarry Rohožník in Dubeč consists of two separate protected areas and represents a unique geomorphological phenomenon. The abandoned quarry on the rocky ridge of Rohožník is worthy of closer inspection. It has a unique outcropping of quartzites and horizontal milling on its walls.


If you take a beautiful pathway along the brook and the meadow, you will come to a concrete ford and the station no. 8 -  On the Bank of Říčanka  (Na břehu Říčanky).


Proceeding through the grassland along the brook, you will pass by a concrete bridge and see a blue tourist sign that will bring to the stop no. 9 - Podlesky Millhouse (U Podleského mlýna). The breeding of European deer is situated under the dam and behind the stream. Right next to the millhouse you can spot horses. Podlesky lake and its surrounding lands are home to all kinds of birds, fish, other animals and plants. There are several old oaks on the 200-meter-long dam and the largest of these memorable trees is over 6 meters in circumference. At this point, you can continue from the 10th stop - At Podlesak Lake (U rybníka Podlesák) to the Uhříněves Game Preserve - a floodplain forest complex. Another option is to set off towards to the Natural Labyrinth in the area of the former Manor Garden in Dubeč.


The most appealing part for children is perhabs the area of Manor Garden (Panská zahrada) with a playground and a natural labyrinth located near the former fortress. The garden includes a grotto, a bush maze, a lookout point above the the vineyard and a meditation meadow along with a watercourse. A straight path from the area of the Manor Garden leads to the Natural Landmark Lítožnice - a system of three ponds with adjacent meadows around Říčanský stream and a valuable biotope for birds, vertebrates and insects.



Trip with kids along the Rokytka river from Hrdlorezy to the Lookout Tower Doubravka XIV

Looking for a great day out in Prague for children? Take a break from the city with an amazing family-friendly nature walk on the territory of Prague 9. There are plenty of cycling routes, sport and educational trails to choose from in Hrdlorezy and Kyje but a walking or cycling trail along the river Rokytka surrounded by woods and nature is one of the most beautiful ones. Start your walk below the Cherry Orchard (Vrch Tresnovka) near Kaufland Jarov Shopping Center. Walking through a housing complex „Green city“, you will run across a fitness gym for adults and a children´s playground suitable for all age groups.

The trail will take you across a meadow into the wood close to the housing complex Smetanka. There is an Outdoor Fitness Gym Smetanka and a pleasant shady playground called “U Schodu” with some wooded play elements.


The third longest watercourse in Prague, the river Rokytka, flows right next to the playground. Take “Pod Smetankou” street until you reach Spartak Hrdlorezy. The little ones can enjoy a wide range of adventures, such as playing pooh sticks, discovering fords and waterfalls, watching various animals including wild ducks, nutrias, frogs and trout.


A garden restaurant Brezanka adjacent the football pitch Spartak Hrdlorezy offers snacks and drinks for reasonable prices. Enjoy a cold craft beer or a homemade lemonade while your children play at the playground that is located under the grown chestnut tree.


Little feet can tire easily and the whining “I can't go any further” may start at some point. If you choose to continue the walk, the in-line track and climbing wall will keep kids entertained as well as tree climbing or wildlife spotting.  If you take streets “Čelakovicka” and “Lanska”, you will get to the fishing lake in Kyje (Kyjsky rybnik) where you can spot fishermen catching carps, pikes, zander or catfish. Kyjsky pond offers large green areas along with some picnic spots on one side. The other side features Smetanka Nature Park, a children's playground, few pubs and restaurants. 

A 2-km-long trail will take you to the Nature Park Cihadla and to the Lookout Tower Doubravka XIV, a 23,5-m-tall observation tower made of acacia wood. This amazing tower reward its visitors with spectacular views of the city.

Family-friendly day trip to Čimický a Ďáblický háj in Prague 8

Čimický and Ďáblický Groves, pleasant forest parks on the territories of Bohnice, Ďáblice and Kobylisy, are perfect places to walk, cycle, as well as rest and relax in nature. The hiking trails, yellow, red and blue, are suitable for cycling, jogging or cross-country skiing in winter months. There are 5 children´s playgrounds, an outdoor gym for adults, several ponds and lookout points, a gamekeeper´s lodge and the Ďablice Observatory. These idyllic reserves offer the best alternative for all of you, who prefer to spend a peaceful time with children far from the agitated city life.

If you travel by public transport, the bus stop „Vozovna Kobylisy“ is one of many possible starting points of the walk through Ďáblický háj. A 2-km-long walking route from this point to Dablice Observatory is accessible by first bikes, prams, strollers and bicycles. After about 500 meters, yellow hiking path will take you to the first children’s playground  with benches, a seesaw and a wooden swing and slide set. It features a picnic area with fireplace and wonderful rocky surroundings.


A straight walking trail leads to the largest and most attractive playground of Ďáblický háj, which includes a wooden train, a gazebo, swings, slides, and benches. There are some ponds on the eastern edge of the forest, where children can observe newts or dragonflies. A lookout point close to the second playground offers excellent views. 

Located in the north-eastern edge of the forest close to Ďáblice Observatory, the Fit Park along with children's playground "Na Znělci" cater for children and adults  alike. The Ďáblice Observatory is built on a rocky promontory of the Ládví Hill, which offers unique views of the Central Bohemian Uplands and Říp Mountain. Mysterious Ládví Hill reaches a height of 359 m a.s.l., which makes it Prague´s highest natural peak on the right bank of the Vltava river. According to legends, it was a sacred place dedicated to the gods.

From the bus stop „Vozovna Kobylisy“ you can move smoothly to Čimický háj. When visiting this forest park, you will have an opportunity to enjoy various recreational outdoor activities or simply relax in a comfortable café located about halfway to the gamekeeper's lodge. They serve delicious coffee, homemade lemonades and traditional Czech desserts from natural ingredients. Located on the crossroad in front of the gamekeeper's lodge, a memorial oak tree is the oldest tree in Čimický háj.


There are two children´s playgrounds, surrounded by greenery and trees that provide welcome shade on a hot, sunny day. The smaller unfenced playground in front of the gamekeeper´s lodge has a swing, small play elements and wooden statues.


The bigger fenced playground will captivate kids with some original play elements, such as a replica of a horse-drawn carriage or a tractor with a trailer.



Day Trip near Prague – Beroun, Tětín, waterfalls and viewpoints


Over a 1,000-year-old memorable site, Tětín, is linked to captivating historical events and a mysterious past.  Located in a beautiful protected area of Cesky kras in the Beroun district, it is a perfect place for a day trip from Prague.  There are two different educational trails, Tetin viewpoints (Tětínské vyhlídky and Tětínské vyhlídky II.), that meet near the Baroque church of St. Ludmila in Tetin and on the 9.května square.  The first walking trail with 5 stops leads through the historical part of the village, the square and churches and explores historical and culturally significant sites of interest. The second 2.5 km long route with 10 stops starts Pod Valy street through the tunnel to the Damil Hill.


If you travel with small children and you aim for kids to experience free play surrounded by nature, wildlife and beautiful views of the picturesque landscape, we recommend that you take only some parts of these walking tracks and visit other attractions in the area - quarries, viewpoints, Tetin rocks and waterfalls. If you set off from the public parking lot near the church of St. Ludmila and take an unmarked narrow forest path along Tetin Rocks, you will come to two amazing waterfalls. From Tetin direction, it is easier to access the smaller 1.5 m high waterfall, from which you can look at a 10 m high waterfall. The descent to the large waterfall and an adjacent cave is risky and challenging for children and adults alike. The best option is to take the same route back and continue along the educational trail to the remnants of the early medieval Přemyslid castle Tetin. According to historical records, a duchessses and a patroness of Bohemia, St. Ludmila, the grandmother of St. Wenceslas,was murdered at Tetin castle in 921.


Magnificent views of Berounka river  from the viewpoint near the baroque Church of St. John of Nepomuk are definitely the highlight of the trip. Yet, children may like even more a beautiful playground near the church. Then you can take the walking track “Tětínské vyhlídky II.” or head to the top attraction for children – a Bear Farm. Located approximately 5 km from Tetin, the Bear Farm in Beroun  offers a unique opportunity to observe two brown bear brothers, Matej and Kuba, well-known from the popular Czech bedtime story “Little bears''. The Bear Farm includes an indoor and a large outdoor enclosure with trees, swings and a pool. There is a wooden children's playground and a refreshment stand next to the Bear Farm. Situated less than 5 minutes’ walk from the farm, a lookout tower on the top of Beroun Town Hill offers splendid views of nature reserves of Czech Karst, Kokorin valley and Děd hill. 



The best destinations for trains and aircraft for children in Prague

Certainly all of us adults had a period in our childhood when we were interested in trains. Whether we loved family train trips, played with our grandfather and his childhood trains, or just watched the hustle and bustle of the train station. How many of uscouldn’t resist running and waving at the trains as they began their journey? How many of us were impatiently waiting for the driver to respond to our waving?
If any of you have missedthe classic visit to any Prague train station, we have for all you parents and grandparents of small train enthusiasts a few tips on where to go in the center of Prague for a pleasant walk with the possibility of observing moving trains.

Viewpoint at the Nusel steps
If you take the tram No. 11 or 6 to the Nuselskéschody stop, you can find it near the former railway station Praha - Královskévinohrady in Bělehradská street. The building is now used for renting offices, but on its front exterior you will see a winged railway wheel confirming its original purpose, which it served until 1944. Above the former railway station rises a steep Nusel-Vinohrady hillside, on which the Nusel stairs rise up. At around the first third of the staircase above the baroque chapel of the Holy Family,there is a branch leading to the park Grébovka, where we can take a turn. The walkway will take us directly above the trails, leading either to Vršovice or Smíchov. From this place, you can enjoy the view of the railway yard from a distance, after which the train will pass by to pick up passengers or freight transport. Directly below us is the beginning/entrance of three vineyard tunnels leading to Central Station, so it's fun to see the trains appear and disappear in the deep darkness. From our train observation tower, we can set off further down the Nusel steps to the aforementioned Grébovka park. Here, too, there is something to discover, which is the building itself Gröbeho villa, vineyard with vineyard gazebo, a perfectly mowed park with a lake and statues or Grott - an artificial cave.


View from the corner of Španělská and Mánesova streets
A spectacular view of the busiest and largest railway station, not only in Prague, but the whole Czech Republic, is at the corner of two Vinohrady streets - Španělská and Mánesova.
The best way to get there is from the Muzeum metro station or the homonymous tram stopinVinohradská street. Thanks to the well-known three vineyard tunnels (which we have already visited on the Nusel steps), which are below the street level, we get an excellent view of Prague Main Station from above. Arriving and departing domestic and international trains tracks are here. From our observation tower you can see not only the tracks,but also the historic buildings of the modern part of the Main Station, as well as the platform. It is worth mentioning that the historic building and hall above the yard are the largest Art Nouveau monuments in the Czech Republic.
Little enthusiasts will surely enjoy watching the traffic lights, as well as counting the wagons passing directly below us. And when just a short time of admiring the train goes by too fast and is not enough, we can have fun watching another very busy artery of the capital - the highway, which is parallel to the track. As soon as we’re donewith those train adventures, we can run to meet the city's other challenges, like randomly visiting the National Museum, Wenceslas Square or going up the Vinohrady Avenue to Rieger Park.


Výtoň
We have one more activity for you, although small in terms of train passages, but still serves as a very nice, tried and true one. In particular, another place like that in the heart of Prague is Výtoň and over the Vltava river is the arching railway bridge that connects the bank of the river below Vyšehrad with the opposite side in Smíchov. The bridge has been used for rail and pedestrian traffic for almost 120 years and it is a dominant feature of this part of the city.Unfortunately, due to its recent poor technical condition, it has become a much discussed subject in needof rescue and reconstruction. The passing and roaring trains can be seen both directly from the very popular playground at Výtoň and the river from Náplavka. During the warmer, summer months, we recommend visiting the nearby Italian ice cream parlor. And where to go further? How about walking up to Vyšehrad? Or along the embankment along the Vltava in the direction of Podolí? An unique experience would be totake your children for a ride with a seasonal ferry that can transport you to Císařskálouka or Smíchov, and it usually operates from March to November. It’s the best way to make sure you won’t miss such an unusual view of Vyšehrdská Rock from Císařskálouka.
And those who feel like it’s not enough to watch the trains from a distance and who wish to experience an atypical train ride, they should head to the famous Prague Semmering.

Trip to Prague Semmering
The track of the historic motor train number 122 runs from Prague Main Station to Prague Zličín and offers an unusual experience. Why? This track is nicknamed for its charming vibe, natural scenery and beautiful views of the Prague Semerring metropolis (Semerring is an Austrian historical mountain railway). This journey will be an interesting experience for your little onesas it will also take you through some already well-known places. During this less than 30 minutes ride, you will experience passing through the Vineyard tunnel and crossing the railway bridge below Vyšehrad, where you should not forget to enjoy the view of Prague Castle. Further behind Smíchov, we will take the train along two Hlubočepy stone viaducts up to the rock cuts in Žvahov, so that we can finally enjoy the natural scenery around the track in the Košíře-Motol nature park. Whoever has the time and desire to extend the train trip by walking in the fresh air, can stop at the stop Praha - Cibulka and go for a walk in the forest park Cibulka, which is named after a romantic Empire chateau, that now is sadly just dilapidated remains. Part of this former English park with are not only a number of different tree species is a Chinese pavilion, but also a lookout tower, a hermitage, lakes and several statues, which are remnants here, reminiscent of the former glory of the whole area. At the final station Zličín, you can use the return connection to go back or take the tram line of the city public transport. The motorbike of Prague Semerring runs all year round on Saturdays and Sundays, as well as public holidays.

From machines to airplanes - sightseeing mounds at the Václav Havel Airport Prague
If your children have become train experts and want another transport adventure, take them to the Prague airport for some of the best sightseeing ramparts. You will become part of the fan base right away, which consists of aviation enthusiasts, photographers and families with children. Near the Ruzyně airport there are two ramparts, one near the village of Kněževes and the other near Hostivice, both equipped with information boards that show the general public the different types of common transport aircraft and explain the layout of the airport area, using a map. For photographers, special visors are created in the fences around the airport to get the best shot.

The Kněževes Wall has recently been reopened and offers even better viewing conditions than the original wall, as it is generally larger and above all higher, ideal for observation. This popular viewing platform is located behind the runway directly opposite the airport buildings, so you can see not only takeoffs and landings, but also the movement of the aircrafts from and to the terminal stands. Be sure to not miss the landing or takeoff of the largest two-story airliner Airbus A380, which flies to Prague airport daily- just make sure to check the time of arrival and departure. The best way to get to the sightseeing ramp is by car from the third exit of the D7 motorway from Prague. Due to the increasing amount of visitors and popularity of the viewing platform, especially for families with children, the construction of play areas and activities is planned for all the young aviation enthusiasts.

Hostivický wal
is the second favorite observation point for air traffic and is accessible only on foot or by bike from nearby Hostivice. There is a comfortable asphalt road (suitable for strollers) about 3.5 km long, so keep in mind the extraone hour,or so, that it will take to cover this distance. Despite the bad availability, this prospect offers an amazing view of both runways, so you will not miss any aircrafts. The taxiway is located only 75 m from the rampart, so you will be able to see a plane land literally in front of you. Your little aircraft fans will be so close to the aircraft that they can smell aviation gasoline and see pilots in the cockpits as they work. Also, maybe try to wave at them, maybe you will be lucky and your pilots will respond by waving back through the window. There is no refreshment around the rampart, so fill your backpacks with drinks and snacks, as well as a lot of energy and good mood.

Lookout terrace right at the Václav Havel Airport Prague
For those who want to see the aircrafts parked in the stands at the terminal, as they get prepared for departure, a panoramic terrace is available at the airport. It is located in the departure hall of Terminal 2, before entering the connecting building to Terminal 1.

Marta Koucká

 

La Casa Argentina, all that and kid friendly too

Dlouha is probably the hippest streets in Prague's Old Town and La Casa Argentina is one of the reasons why. As the name suggests, La Casa Argentina is an Argentinian restaurant, which means beef to me but this is much more than another steak restaurant. They have multiple dining areas, live music, live animals and an amazing kid's play area.


La Casa Argentina has four different dining areas, all decorated with their own distinct themes. When you walk in off the street you enter the Caminito Street room, named for and decorated to depict the famous street in Buenos Aires. This room seats about 60 people and features its own bar and a small stage. There is live music every night as well as Latin dancing.


Next to the Caminito Street room is the Salon Iguazu. This bright, sun lit room seats about 30 people and the decor is inspired by the beautiful Iguazu falls north of Buenos Aires. I'm told at one time there was an actual water fall feature in the room but due to some recent renovations it had to be removed, so now the dominant feature in the room is a large fish tank at one end.

Passing through Salon Iguazu you enter a nautical themed room called Puerto La Boca. It also has its own bar and looked like it would seat 45 to 50 comfortably. This room is also the home of La Casa Argentina's chameleon and two pigmy marmosets.


Upstairs from Puerto La Boca is the largest of the four dining areas, Salon La Isla. This room has its own bar and seats up to 90 people. The Salon La Isla is a large bright space, separated from the rest of La Casa Argentina by a set of stairs. It struck me that it would be the perfect place for a small wedding reception or a birthday party.

Just off the Salon La Isla is La Casa Argentina's magnificent children's area. If you are visiting Prague with children, or live in Prague and like most of us, you have children, this may be the most important information about the restaurant. I have been in Prague about ten years and have had at least one kid for eight of those years. I have seen all manner of wonderful child friendly spaces in restaurants and cafes around Prague but this is the best child friendly zone I've seen. There is a structure with balls to jump in, slides to go down and things to kick and climb on.

La Casa Argentina Prague for kids
It's perfect for the 3 and ups who don't have the patience to sit and wait for food to arrive. This clever little kid's area has its own washroom and a small kitchen with a sink and a microwave oven so you can prepare formula and baby food for the younger children. The fact that this family friendly spot has its own washroom is convenient but to have a small kitchen area, as well, really puts it over the top for me. As if that weren't enough, there is another small room just for younger children and babies. It's a small quiet space with toys and places to sit away from the noise and confusion of the main play area. This spacious children's play area is staffed with nannies and is free to La Casa Argentina diners and available to anyone for an hourly fee, so you could just drop the kids off while you shop in Namesti Republiky or along Dlouha.

La Casa Argentina Prague
As I said La Casa Argentina is about beef. They have 12 kinds of steaks, with a mix of U.S. and Argentine meat but they offer more than just red meat. La Casa Argentina menu has something for everyone. There are pasta and seafood options as well as an array of salads, desserts and of course, a great children's menu. Although I had beer, I think it's worth noting, they boast 119 wines and cocktails.

If you're out with friends, on a dinner date, or looking for a place the whole family can enjoy, La Casa Argentina is the place to be in Prague's old town.


Steve Meyers




La Casa Argentina Prague
Dlouhá 35/730, Prague 1

Opening Hours:
visits the official web site

TEL.:
 
+420 222 313 096, +420 602 360 060

Garden in Paradise in Prague 3

The Paradise Garden (Rajska zahrada) is a quiet, yet full of life, place in the city center, close to the Riegrovy sady park on the border of Vinohrady and Žižkov. Its name is not to be taken lightly as it literally translates to what you will find there - a garden in paradise. Currently, the park is one of the youngest in Prague as it was recently renovated and, therefore, it boasts a wide range of leisure activities along with modern facilities. Surrounded by beautiful and rich greenery, the complex pays tribute to nature in its purest form. The park features a lake full of brightly colored fish and turtles as well as a long water cascade resembling a waterfall.


Rajská zahrada is a sought-after oasis, ideal for all ages, as everyone will find a way to enjoy themselves - children and young kids can play on the playgrounds and sports grounds. Gourmets will be delighted with snacks, cakes and refreshing drinks in the family cafeteria. Adults can enjoy beautiful panoramic views or relax at one of the benches that are deliberately placed under the trees to provide plenty of shade on a hot, sunny days. Park administrators allow picnic activities, sunbathing or relaxing on the blanket at large green areas.


A fenced playground with climbing frames, swings, a little house, a sandpit and a slide for preschool children is located right in front of the café. Therefore, parents can easily keep watchful eyes on children and enjoy some of the  homemade goodies at the café. Children of school age will be impressed with wooden climbing structures, table tennis tables, a petanque court or a tartan floor multi-purpose field. A wide range of sports equipment for tennis, volleyball, football or basketball is available for borrowing. Showers, changing facility and the most modern outdoor playing fields (lighted for use in the evening) make the area very popular among young people and athletes. Rajska zahrada is divided into different zones which offer visitors a wide range sports and leisure activities.


The upper part of the park close to the entrance from the Riegrovy sady features gorgeous plants, tall trees and colourful flowers. If you're looking for more privacy, this is a perfect place to relax, read a book or meditate.  As the area is away from the playgrounds and sports fields, visitors can enjoy an undisturbed rest and amazing panoramic views. If you walk down from the rest zone, you will see a large gazebo with a cascading stream that flows down to the pond with fish and turtles.  Surrounded by greenery, an outdoor gym was designed for adults and children older than 10. Ping-pong tables are situated close to the outdoor gym and the paddle set with balls can be borrowed from the park administrators.


If you take the winding paths and go down, you will reach the playground where school-age children cheer with happiness and joy over a multi-level wooden set of climbing frames with a sandy bedrock. The lowest part close to the entrance from “U Rajské zahrady” street offers a popular café with a shaded terrace and toilets. The youngest children and toddlers will be thrilled with a safe play area equipped with a set, carpet and toys, which is located right next to the café. It is a perfect place for summer birthday celebrations for children. There is a fenced playground with an artificial surface, a little house,  swings, slides, sandpit and freely available first bikes.


The tartan area for ball games and the running tract adjacent the café attract small footballers and sports enthusiasts.  Does this all sound like a fairy tale to you? Yes, Rajska zahrada is a child's paradise and a parents' relief....




Marta Koucká