The family-oriented Portuguese welcome children everywhere and there are plenty of opportunities in and around Lisbon to keeps kids entertained.
You can combine your entertainment with theirs at some of the city's top attractions such as the Belem Tower in Belem, where children can run around the ramparts, and St. George's Castle in Alfama with its attractive terrace where peacocks roam around. You can also resort to some medieval storytelling in the cloisters of Jeronimos Monastery before heading next door to the Maritime Museum, which also has a children's section along with wonderful model ships and an adjoining Planetarium (there are sessions in English and child-oriented shows). Nearby, close to Belem Palace, are broad lawns for a family picnic or to burn some energy with a ball or frisbee. Not too far away is the Tropical Garden with its exotic species and ponds providing a pleasant space for restless tots and a good break for parents.
The fairytale coaches on display at the Coaches Museum down the street will appeal to older children, and teens might also enjoy the funky objects of the Design Museum back in the center of the city.
Along with Belém, Parque das Nações is the district with the most family entertainment, offering several attractions suitable for people of all ages. Mostly traffic-free and with riverside walkways, it is a good place for a day out, with cable car rides, bikes for hire, water gardens, international restaurants, and a playground known as "Parque do Gil." Not to be missed is the Oceanarium and its sharks, and the Interactive Science Museum with its thrilling hands-on experiments.
More children's play areas are found uptown, on the gardens of the Gulbenkian Museum (pictured above).
Also uptown is the Zoo, home to some two thousand animals, a fun dolphin show and a "monkey village."
A short metro ride away is Edward VII Park that contains a children's play area by its two greenhouses with a wide variety of exotic plants and ponds.
Another playground is found in Estrela Gardens, and for more luxuriant vegetation, head to the Botanical Garden.
If the weather doesn't permit fun outdoors, look into the lovely Marionette Museum, with puppets ranging from the medieval to the contemporary, and frequent puppet shows.
Another place that will delight the entire family is Pena Palace in Sintra. It's a fairytale building at the top of a mountain, overlooking the wonderful gardens of Monserrate Palace. Also in Sintra, you may want to consider a horse and carriage ride or taking a fun tram to the beach of Praia das Maçãs.
South of Lisbon on the shores of Costa da Caparica are more opportunities for some time by the sea, reached by bus from the capital, followed by a fun toy train ride. Another option for a great day out is to go on a thrilling boat ride in Setubal and observe dolphins leaping in their natural habitat.
And don't forget that simply going around Lisbon can provide hours of family fun just by riding the city's trams and funiculars (children under 5 ride for free).
For child-friendly events, check out the listings of the tourism office's monthly Follow Me magazine.
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