The answer to this question depends largely on your definition of “kid-friendly.” I recently read a blog post about kid-friendly activities in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Edinburgh Dungeon made the list. Needless to say, I’m not quite sure three year-old T-Rex is ready for torture chamber tourism.
If you’re headed to Prague with a pram, take note. You better have a good one. A weenie US stroller (yeah, Graco, I’m talkin’ about you) is not going to cut it. An umbrella stroller will have you pulling your hair out. You need a super-sized European stroller or at least one with inflatable tires. The streets are full of cobblestones. I don’t remember much of anything in the city center being paved.
You’re also going to need some serious gun of the bicep and tricep variety. You will be carrying your pram up stairs more than once. I only saw two of the tram lines with modern cars. That means at least four steep, narrow steps up into the car. We didn’t take the stroller on the subway, but I did notice that some stations sported elevators. Ironically, the elevator at the Florenc station opens right on McD’s doorstep. I wonder how much Ronald paid for that.
We did bring our trusty backpack carrier but only used it on our day trip to Karlovy Vary (post on this tomorrow or Thursday). We walked everywhere, and it would’ve been too much for T-Rex. Using only a backpack carrier might work for you if you’re going to take public transport all the time. We’re too cheap, er I mean, adventurous to do that.
You also might want to know that avoiding stairs will take you off the beaten path. Literally. Half the trails down Petrin Hill were steep and frozen solid. My stroller is pretty awesome but a broken tailbone is not. You will, however, get different (and often better) pictures than every other tourist in Prague. Bonus!
When your little legs are tired and in need of a tasty barbecue chicken baguette from Paneria, you’ll search far and wide for a high chair but won’t find one. In fact, very few food joints had high chairs. Those that did only had one or two. Yep, good ol’ McD’s included.
Fortunately, I did have ONE moment of clarity before we left and decided to order a Sack N Seat. Whoa, baby, I LOVE this thing. It weighs nearly nothing and is the size of a used balled up nappy. It worked on every chair Screech used (except one – ironically at the Golden Arches). If you’re a travelin’ mama, get yourself one of these!!!
After your little ones have dunked their last chicken nugget, they’ll be whining for the potty. And you’ll be whining that the free ones are few and far between. Even McDonalds (seriously, you’d think I was obsessed – I’m not – why does this place keep coming up in my post?!?) made me pay 5kc – but then gave out coupons for 5kc off a menu item. While I think that’s completely fair, some other potties were guarded by extortionists masquerading as janitors.
FYI – I was totally unaware of this before moving to Germany – it is perfectly acceptable in Europe for little boys to “water the flowers” anywhere except fancy schmancy gardens. In Prague, I even saw a mother pull down her little girls pants in the park to make yellow snow. I think I’m still a little too American for that.
The monstrous Palladium shopping center had free bathrooms – but a pay to play kids area. I can’t complain though – the admission price comes with a babysitter. Rock on!
But despite all of these headaches, you CAN do Prague with kids. Uh, hello, I just did. But truth be told, I had a little help from this website. I was addicted to this guy’s details, marking down oodles of park locations and family-friendly restaurants on my map. We visited parks almost every day to give a boys a break from the boring grown-up sites. One amazing park right on the Vltava River even made it on the itinerary twice.
Okay, okay, so I’ve told you mostly the frustrating parts of the kid-friendly argument. But the bottom line is you can (and I did) do Prague with kids. Just know beforehand, it’s not suburbia. Be prepared to give up things you are used to (wide sidewalks come to mind). Have a latte, take your kids to the park (or the babysitter in the mall!), and enjoy your trip.
Have you been to Prague with kids? What was your experience?