One of the most common questions that I get asked as a family guide is what museums I would recommend for kids. Well, it depends on the interest of the parents and how much research they want to put in to make the exhibit interesting for their young ones. Some mums and dads are nuts about Art and can open up the world of Picasso for their offspring. Others are crazy about football and Camp Nou is the first stop on the list. In other words, adult exhibits can also suit to children when presented in the right way. However, some museums just appeal to kids with very little help from us grown ups. If you want to relax, have fun learning and be fascinated alongside your kids, take advantage of this list below.
- My top 10 Museums for Kids in Barcelona
My top 10 Museums for Kids in Barcelona
Cosmo Caixa (science museum)
Great Value and children love it. This massive building houses a planetarium and stages a tropical forest in the Amazon recreating its environment. The museum is interactive, educational and has many floors to explore. Don’t worry about loosing time as there is a giant pendulum that ticks away in the centre reaching from the ceiling to the bottom floor. It is located in a suburb so be prepared to take transport there. Under 16: free entrance. Visit website
El Rei de la Màgia (Magic Museum) Permanently closed
Not visited by many, this Magic Museum is owned by the shop on Princesa street (also worth a visit). It is a small exhibition space complimented by magic shows that are performed in the theatre at the back (usually they start at 6pm on Saturday and Sundays but check website for the timetable). These reasonably priced, intimate performances offer a unique and local experience for the family (most will be in Catalan or Spanish only). Visit website
Museum of Ideas and Inventions Permanently closed
This small exhibit is a new edition to the city. Families can have great fun viewing its whacky and original inventions. Find anything from mops with microphone handles to coffee cups that include a space for your biscuits. A tunnel slide gets you to the lower floor which is a kid’s zone. Here, your little inventors can create their own ideas for the next big break through in design. Each month a winner is selected!
Situated in a medieval ship making yard, the immense building on its own is worth a look. Telling the history of sea life and the development of boats, it has enough models (including a life size galleon replica) and scenes to keep the younger ones occupied. For a little extra cash, you can include a tour of the Saint Eulalia schooner. Afterwards, grab a coffee at their beautiful outdoor garden terrace. Under 6: free entrance. Visit website
Museu Blau (Natural History Museum)
Located by the beach in the newly developed Forum area, cycling to get there might be a great family activity. Permanent and visiting exhibitions are housed in this fabulous new modern building of over 500m2. There are installations showing the development of our planet, sound effects and a special area dedicated to children under 7 years old. If you biked it there, maybe a beach visit to Poble Nou on the way back to the centre would make a great half day itinerary. Under 16: free entrance. Visit website
A classic activity for kids which includes models of famous historical figures to film stars. Be warned that some exhibits are not recommended for very young eyes. Round off the visit with a drink at the fairy cafe (Bosc de les Fades). You will be seated in a make believe forest with a few fairies around as you sip your beverages. Visit website
Mammoth Museum Permanently closed
Quirky and centrally located, this is a small enough museum to take in. It displays prehistoric bones and reconstructed animals alongside copied cave drawings. When supervised, they sometimes allow the kids to handle teeth and mammoth tusks! Under 5: free entrance.
They tell the story of chocolate, starting from the Americas right through to its European development. Very clever chocolate sculptures, videos and memorabilia are on show. It is not very large to tour so you should have time for a cup of Spanish thick hot chocolate in their adjoining cafe. Under 7: free entrance. Visit website
Museum of Automatons of Tibidabo
If planning a visit to Tibidabo Park with the kids, have a quick peek at this museum. It is full of wonderful machinery, some of which date to the 19th century. Although not state of the art, some of these strange contraptions transport you into another dimension, almost like Alice in Wonderland. The Hall of mirrors is also in the park if you fancy some ridiculous family fun. Visit website
Not one that struck me as a place favoured by children but my young clients have convinced me otherwise. Kids love the huge scale and design!
Parents will also be glad to hear that there is a child’s audio guide available (suitable for 6 to 12 years old). Queues can be massive so make sure you pre-book the tickets on the Sagrada Familia website to skip the long lines. Visit website
On my Kids and Family walking tour we include a very special surprise museum that will make you feel a little smaller than usual 🙂
To get the best value out of your museum visits, remember that state owned museums are free the first Sunday of every month (for the whole day) and every Sunday afternoon after 3pm (some shut in the afternoon so check the timetables). Museums can offer family tickets or combined tickets with other attractions and sometimes, discounts are given if you book your tickets online. A little research and planning could save on your pocket.
If you are thinking of visiting Barcelona with your children, don’t miss our special post Gaudí for kids: a family guide for Barcelona, the best way of making the most of Gaudí while having fun all the way.
Photograph by Sarah_Ackerman