1. Zoo–Aquarium

    Madrid zoo is currently rated one of the best in Europe – within its confines you’ll find more than 2,000 animals representing 500 species, including endangered ones such as the white tiger. Young children, in particular, will enjoy the koalas. Free-flying birds of prey are the main draw of the aviary while sharks and other creatures of the deep lurk in the Aquarium. The Dolphinarium shows are another popular attraction.

    • Road A-5, exit (salida) Casa de Campo

    • Metro Casa de Campo

    • Open 11am–dusk Mon–Fri, 10:30am–dusk Sat–Sun & hols

    • Adm

  2. Parque de Atracciones

    This park boasts more than 40 stomach-churning rides as well as a host of other diversions like puppet and magic shows, and a virtual reality zone. The rides include Los Rápidos (a chance to try white-water rafting) and Top Spin, which needs no explanation. For the very young there are merry­go-rounds and train and boat rides.

    • Casa de Campo

    • Metro Batán

    • Open Jun–Aug: noon–midnight Mon–Fri, noon–1am Sat, noon–11pm Sun; Sep: noon–10pm Sat–Sun; Oct, Mar, Apr: noon–9pm Sat–Sun; Nov–Feb: noon–7pm Sat–Sun; May: noon–8pm Tue–Fri, noon–10pm Sat–Sun

    • Adm

    Parque de Attraciones
  3. Faunia

    This new science park claims to be the only one of its kind in Europe. Each of the 10 pavilions has been designed to recreate a different ecosystem with authentic sights, sounds and smells. Visitors can “experience” a tropical storm, journey to the polar regions and observe nocturnal creatures in their natural habitat.

    • Road A-3, exit (salida) 6

    • Metro Valdebernardo

    • Open Oct–Apr: 10am–dusk daily; May–Sep:10am–8pm daily

    • Closed: 12 Jan–8 Feb, Oct–Dec: Mon, Tue

    • Dis. access

    • Adm

  4. Warner Brothers Park

    This vast site is divided into themed areas: Superheroes is devoted to the fantasy worlds of Gotham City and Metropolis, while The Wild West recalls Hollywood westerns of the John Wayne era. You can also tour the replicated film sets of the Warner Brothers Studio.

    • Road A-4, exit (salida) 22

    • Train C-3A from Atocha

    • Open Jun–Aug: 11am–1pm (to midnight Sat); Sep–Nov: 11am–8pm Sat–Sun; Dec–Feb: noon–7pm Sat–Sun; Mar–May: 11am–8pm Fri–Sun

    • Adm

  5. Xanadú

    This snow park combines a skiing area and ski school with a vast shopping centre. Other amenities include cinemas, restaurants, bowling and go-karting.

    • Road A-5, exit (salida) 22 or 25 Arroyomolinos

    • Bus 496 or 529

    • Open 10am–2am Sun–Thu; 10am–4am Fri, Sat; shops open 10am–10pm

    • Adm

  6. CosmoCaixa

    This state-of-the-art science museum has been an enormous success since it opened in 2000. It aims to stimulate, surprise and provoke with interactive displays and hands-on gadgetry. Younger children are especially catered for in the Toca Toca zone where they learn about plants and animals and get to stroke giant tortoises, iguanas and snakes. The highlight for older children is the planetarium.

    • Road A-1, exit (salida) 16, Alcobendas

    • Train C-1 from Chamartín

    • Open 10am–8pm Tue–Sun

    • Closed 25 Dec, 1 Jan, 6 Jan

    • Dis. access

    • Adm (except last Sun of month)

  7. Aquópolis

    A welcome distraction, especially in the searing heat of summer, Madrid’s water park (close to the airport) opened in 1987. On offer are a range of giant water slides, toboggans, cascades and spirals. There’s also a lake, wave pool and toddlers’ paddling pool, as well as cafés and restaurants.

    • Road A-2 (15.5km) San Fernando de Henares

    • Open Jun, Sep: noon–7pm daily; Jul–Aug: noon–8pm daily

    • Adm

  8. Tren de la Fresa

    Great fun for the kids and a nostalgic journey into the past for the grown-ups, the “Strawberry Train”, pulled by an old steam locomotive, follows the original route from Madrid to Aranjuez which first opened in 1850. Hostesses wearing period costume give out helpings of the strawberries for which Aranjuez is famous. The price of the ticket includes the bus ride from the station, as well as entry to the palace, gardens and other attractions.

    • Estación de Atocha

    • Depart May, Jun, Sep–mid-Oct: 10am Sat–Sun; Return: 7pm

    • Adm

  9. Teleférico

    The cable car ride between Parque del Oueste and Casa de Campo is enjoyable for both kids and parents. There are fabulous views of the city skyline – the leaflet will help locate landmarks such as the Telefónica building, Torre Picasso, Torre Madrid and the Palacio Real.

    • Paseo del Pintor Rosales

    • Open Apr–mid-Sep: noon–dusk daily; 15 Sep–Mar noon–dusk Sat, Sun, hols

    • Adm

  10. Parque del Retiro

    The Retiro’s central location makes it an obvious place to visit if the children are in the mood to run wild. On Sunday afternoons (1pm), take them to the puppet show in the open-air theatre near the lake. They won’t need to know Spanish as the sense of fun is infectious .

    Parque del Retiro
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