Playground Hopping in Prague
11 family friendly play areas (i.e. monkey bars, zip lines & water attractions) for almost-summer days
Franciscan Garden (P1)
This small playground hidden on the site of a 16th century monastery is a perfect spot to let your toddler’s energy run wild or to give your older child a break from doing the tourist thing in the city. As one of the only green spaces in the shopping district near Na Příkopě and Wenceslas Square, the playground is inside the grounds of a small city park with benches and rose bushes. With a sand pit and a jungle gym, a climbing spider’s web and a pedal merry-go-round, the playground is a nice respite from Prague’s crowded cobblestone streets. Although it’s not the best playground Prague has to offer, I’ve found that the location comes in handy when you need to give your kids some freedom in the middle of a day spent in the city.
For a sweet treat afterward, visit nearby Ovocný Světozor, a local café chain famous for its strawberry and banana flavored soft serve ice cream as well as its assortment of desserts, including fresh sundaes, agar cakes and fruity whipped cream cakes.
Tram: 3, 9, 14, 24 (Vodickova)
Metro: green, yellow (Mustek)
Open: April - September 7.00-22.00, September – October 7.00-20.00, October – April 8.00-19.00
Kampa Park Playground (P1)
When my children were preschool aged, this was my family’s favorite Prague 1 playground. The playground is situated beside the Kampa Museum and the entrance to the playground can be from either end of the park. I prefer to walk down from Charles Bridge (either take the steps or follow the sloping road around). Walk through Kampa Island, along the river in the direction of the Kampa Museum. The playground itself is raised above the grassy island. It has a sand pit, water fountain, slides and swings geared to children aged 6 and under.
The luxurious grassy space on Kampa just beyond the playground makes an ideal spot for a family picnic, birthday party or class gathering. Take a Frisbee or a soccer ball, a sketch pad for drawing or a book to read and relax while your children run free in the oasis of green. Kampa Park is a popular spot for students and tourists. Public bathrooms are available under the playground, and there are plenty of cafes, restaurants and shops to pick up picnic supplies in the area.
Open: April - October 8:00-19:00, November - March: 8:00-17:00
Location: Kampa Island (reached best from Charles Bridge)
Tram: 12, 20, 22, 57, 91 (Malostranske Namesti), to enter from the South take 6, 9, 22, 23 (Ujezd)
U Vodarny (At the Water Tower) (P2)
For children who like to imagine, this Prague 2 playground has a large, wooden water tower structure, complete with a turret and plank bridges modeled after the real water tower nearby. My sons have spent several happy mornings storming the tower and acting out other made-up scenarios with kids they’ve met on the playground. There are also sand pits, wooden swings and climbing equipment. For older children, the playground complex includes an in-ground trampoline, basic skate park and rubber courts for ball games. The Vinohrady district has a plethora of sidewalk cafes and restaurants nearby.
Tram: 10, 16 (Vinohradská vodárna)
Metro: green (Jiřího z Poděbrad)
Open: May – September 8:00-21:00, October – April 8:00-19:00
Na Vyšehradě (P2)
For a playground visit that combines Prague history with amazing views of the Vltava River and the city of Prague, Vyšehrad is the place to go. Legend has it that Prague was first founded on these grounds, and within the park you can see the ruins of a fortification built by Charles IV in the 10th century. The park also houses one of Prague’s oldest buildings, the St. Martin Rotunda (11th century).
Located high above the Vltava in the fortress known as Prague’s “other castle,” this Vyšehrad playground is a perfect match to its ancient setting. Vyšehrad’s playground is a fort-like maze of wooden climbing structures, bridges, alcoves and lookouts with carved mythological creatures such as Přemysl or Bivoj from Prague’s rich legends. The playground is situated in a shady area and it’s a great place to stop by after or before checking out Vyšehrad’s famous cemetery where Czech artists Smetana, Dvorak and Mucha are buried. The St. Peter and Paul cathedral is another worthy site to see, particularly the ornately decorated doors. Within the Vyšehrad complex, there are a few cafés for drinks or quick snack.
Metro: Red line (Vyšehrad)
Tram: 7, 8 or 24 (Albertov) or 3,7,17 or 16 (Výton)
St. Peter & Paul Cathedral Open: April-October 10:00-18:00, November-March 10:00-16:00
Riegrovy Sady (P2/P3)
Home to one of Prague’s most famous beer gardens, Riegrovy Sady is also popular with joggers, dog walkers and stroller-pushing parents. Bordering Prague’s Vinohrady and Žižkov districts, the park is a place where locals mix with tourists. The beer garden has a large screen projector showing popular sporting events.
For the younger crowd, the entrance to a large fenced in children’s playground (near the beer garden) is from Chopinova Street (metro Jiřího z Poděbrad). The upper portion of the playground has two slides, lots of sand pits, a jungle gym and swings. Paths lead from the top playground through the park down to Rajska Zahrada, a smaller, but no less picturesque spot for outdoor fun on warm days. Enjoy a Gambrinus 10°, a Kozel 11° or the Czech classic Pilsner Urquell from one of three beer stands. To satisfy your hunger try a grilled sausage or visit the Park Café for a larger selection of food.
Metro: green (Jiřího z Poděbrad)
Park Café: www.restauraceriegrovysady.cz
Rajská zahrada (P3)
Located just beneath Riegrovy Sady on the sloping hillside above Prague’s University of Economics, the Rajská zahrada outdoor playground, café and covered patio area are a respite for parents who don’t have the energy to chase their children through a larger play area. While the back of the park is a beautifully terraced hillside with a fountain, the front playground is a small enclosed area with a slide, swings, sand pit and wooden play equipment. The café has outdoor seating within arm’s reach of the gated play area. Courts for ball games and equipment are available for rental. Although the playground itself isn’t shaded, a covered patio with play equipment makes a nice escape on sunny days. Best suitable for smaller children or for those times when you’d like to have a chat with a friend and still watch your children at play.
Metro: green (Jiřího z Poděbrad)
Rajská zahrada café: www.facebook.com/KavarnaRajskazahrada
Dětský ostrov (P5)
The popular playground in Prague’s Smichov district is called “Children’s Island” and is reached by crossing an arched bridge over the Vltava River. Reconstructed in 2009, the playground is divided into different age-appropriate sections and has a variety of water attractions for the warmer months. Although the playground is fenced in, while visiting you have the feeling that you are on the water. For younger children, there are the usual assortment of sand pits, slide and jungle gyms. Older children can enjoy climbing equipment, a simple skate area, petanque and courts for playing ball games. During warm months, there is a large fountain and a water mushroom for cooling down. There is no restaurant, café or snack bar within the playground limits, so pack a snack or be ready to leave the playground for refreshment. The island is shaded and has covered gazebos for enjoying picnic lunches.
Trams: 9, 12, 20 (Arbesovo náměstí)
Metro: yellow (Anděl)
Open: April - October 9.00-20.00, November – May 10.00-18.00
Ladronka Areal & Playground (P6)
If you’d like a flat, paved surface to practice roller blading or to teach your child to ride a bike, the Ladronka Park, located high above the city in the Prague 6 district, is a good place to start. The park has two enclosed playgrounds for children, one is a newer facility beside the Ladronka Grill Restaurant and the second is across the track in the shade. Ladronka is a very popular spot for sports enthusiasts, and on the weekends and evenings the track can be crowded. In addition to the track, there are courts for beach volleyball, soccer and other ball games. The Ladronka Grill gets busy during high season and expect to wait for service. However, the restaurant rents portable grills (including firewood, a starter, plastic dishes & cutlery) as well as a picnic blanket, so you can easily do your own outdoor dining (300 CZK/3 hours).
Ladronka Grill: www.ladronka.com
Location: Best reached by car, parking on Tomanova Street
Tram: 18, 36, 8 or Bus 174 (Vypich stop)
Boasting Prague’s other favorite beer garden, Letna Park, with its prime location overlooking the Vltava River, has a lot to offer even its youngest visitors. With a giant metronome (turned amateur skate park), paved paths for rollerblading, learning to cycle or strolling a sleeping baby, Letna is one of those parks that has it all. The 25-hectacre city park has a rich history including the historic Hanavský Pavilion, a Neo-Baroque structure built in 1891 for the Jubilee World’s Fair, now a luxurious dining experience. Letna is currently hosting the Czech Beer Festival. Later in the summer, Letna will also host the annual family-friendly Letni Letna, an international festival of circus & theater acts with workshops & activities for children.
For families, choose from several children’s playgrounds, including an older open play area close to the beer garden with bright colored, funky horse statues to climb as well as a newer gated playground complex with climbing equipment, a zip line and several slides. The newer playground is located on a flat, sunny spot by the rollerblading path, making it a perfect spot to relax and catch the sun’s rays on chillier spring days. Near the playground, there’s a low key café for ice cream, quick eats and drinks. For a nicer dining experience, try the indoor-outdoor restaurant in Letná chateau that serves specialties from the grill.
Czech Beer Festival Prague: www.ceskypivnifestival.cz, 12.5 – 28.5 2016
Letni Letna: www.letniletna.cz, 18.8 – 4.9.2016
Tram: 1, 5, 8, 12, 25, 26, 51, 56 (Korunovacni) or 5, 12, 8, 20, 57, 91 (Chodkovy Sady)
Stromovka is Prague’s largest city park and borders Prague’s Exhibition Fairgrounds, the site of the World Jubilee in 1891. The park itself is massive and best explored in multiple visits. It is the closest thing Prague has to NYC’s Central Park and is a prime spot for joggers, rollerbladers, horseback riders and families celebrating birthdays, reunions and other gatherings. Within the park, there are several playground areas for children, including a giant wooden swing, which even fits adults.
However, the newest playground, nicknamed the “tram” playground, is the spot where families with young kids flock on the weekends. With a range of play equipment, a climbing spider for older children, tram cars for aspiring drivers and plenty of interactive jungle gym type features, it’s a crowded place on warm weekend afternoons. The playground is situated on site of the original tram depot, and history lends its name to the playground’s café Vozovna (Tram Depot), a garden restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. Although Stromovka is spacious, eating options within the park are limited, making Vozovna an even more appealing rest stop if you’ve forgotten a picnic lunch.
Vozovna Restaurant: www.vozovna-stromovka.cz
Tram: 1, 3, 12, 17, 24, 25, 53, 54, 91(Výstaviště Holešovice)
Gutovka is one of Prague’s newer, large-scale leisure complexes, located in the residential Strašnice neighborhood. Gutovka is a place where you can easily spend the entire day and keep children of various ages, abilities and interests occupied. The highlight of the area (at least for smaller children) is an elaborate water park. With its specially designed chutes, rivets, wheels and slides, the Gutovka water area is one-a-kind for budding scientists, especially those who like to get wet and dirty at the playground.
Gutovka also includes a traditional playground, a climbing wall, a skate park, a miniature golf course and beach volleyballs courts for rental. While the skate park, climbing wall and miniature golf are paid attractions, the expansive water areal and traditional playground are free to the public.
To top it off, there’s an on-site non-smoking restaurant called Barka in a building shaped like a lighthouse. After a full day of splashing around performing water experiments, climbing rock walls or training your scooter tricks, dine on the terrace overlooking the areal. Reserve a table online.
Metro: green (Strašnice)
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