Madrid preview

Spain

For a city acclaimed for its unrelenting nightlife and buzz, it may come as a surprise that Madrid is very child friendly. While there are some areas where you should take extra precaution, Madrid is generally a safe city and not particularly dangerous for children. The city center, Sol, is the most “dangerous” area, and it gets increasingly safer as you move outwards.

Madrid is a member of several national organizations and projects to advocate children’s rights and to promote governance dedicated to improving the lives of children. The Spanish community of UNICEF developed a “Child-Friendly Cities Program,” which recognized 18 municipalities in the autonomous Community of Madrid as child friendly cities. Madrid is also a member of the Children’s City project that strives toward a new philosophy of evaluation, programming and projections to accommodate children in city plans. The project supports several activities that aim to promote children’s freedom and participation.

There are many activities and facilities for children of all ages throughout the city. Theatre groups have special programming for child audiences, and some bookstores offer storytelling, both in Spanish and English.

There are also many animal attractions both in and around the city. The Madrid Zoo and Aquarium are located just outside the city center and have a vast array of animals, including giant pandas and koala bears. If you’re looking for a fun day trip, Safari Madrid is about a 40 minute drive from Madrid and enables you to view safari animals, such as giraffes, zebras and monkeys from the comfort of your own vehicle. Some other day trips include Aventura Amazonia, an outdoor adventure park or Parque Warner, an American style theme park.

During the summer months, public pools are a great way to keep cool in the Madrid heat. There is also a water park in the city, Aquópolis, that contains many enormous pools and crazy slides. Although many people travel during summer holidays, summer camps for children are plentiful in Madrid. Whether you are looking for a day or overnight camp, many are bilingual, and there are several English camps around the city.