Traveling with children can be an exhausting experience if you don't plan ahead. Prague offers many options, including museums, theaters, cinemas, and parks with playgrounds. If your brood gets tired of walking, take a tram ride. The kids will quickly forget about sore legs. Also, the Vltava River offers the possibility of exploring the city from yet another angle. Below are some places to take your family to make visiting Prague more enjoyable.
The Toy Museum (Muzeum hracek; tel. 224-372-294), situated within the complex of Prague Castle, at Jirská 6, is a place to come with your family to see and feel the nostalgia of the past. This is the world's second-largest exposition of toys, where you can find everything from pieces dating back to ancient Greece up to a collection of the most popular toys of our time. It is open daily from 9:30am to 5:30pm. Admission is 60Kc adults, 30Kc students (children 6-15), free for children under 6.
On Petrín Hill
Kids will enjoy the funicular ride to the top of Petrín Hill, capped by the Petrín Tower, a miniature replica of the Eiffel Tower. Once there, look for the Labyrinth (Bludiste; tel. 257-315-212; www.pis.cz), a mirror maze that you walk through. Like the tower replica, the Labyrinth was built for the 1891 Prague Exhibition, an expo that highlighted the beauty and accomplishments of Bohemia and Moravia.
Inside the Labyrinth is a gigantic painting/installation depicting the battle between Praguers and Swedes on the Charles Bridge in 1648, a commemoration of the fighting that ended the Thirty Years' War. In 1892, the building's other historic exhibits were replaced with mirrors, turning the Labyrinth into the fun house it is today. It's open April daily from 10am to 7pm; May to September daily from 10am to 10pm; October daily from 10am to 6pm; and November to March Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 5pm. Admission is 70Kc for adults and 50Kc for children above 10 years.
Also in the park is the Stefánik Observatory (tel. 257-320-540; www.observatory.cz), built in 1930 expressly for public stargazing through a very big telescope. It is open April to August Tuesday to Friday from 2 to 7pm and 9 to 11pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 10am to noon, 2 to 7pm, and 9 to 11pm; September Tuesday to Friday 2 to 6pm and 8 to 10pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am to noon, 2 to 6pm, and 8 to 10pm; March and October Tuesday to Friday 7 to 9pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am to noon, 2 to 6pm, and 7 to 9pm; January, February, November, and December Tuesday to Friday 6 to 8pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am to noon and 2 to 8pm. Admission is 60Kc for adults and 40Kc for children.
The funicular departs from a small house in the park just above the middle of Újezd in Malá Strana; tram no. 12, 20 or 22 will take you to Újezd.
Elsewhere in Prague
Budding astronomers can try to catch the stars at the Planetárium in Stromovka Park, Královská obora, Prague 7 (tel. 220-999-001; www.planetarium.cz). There are shows daily under the dark dome, including one in which highlighted constellations are set to music and another that displays that night sky. The shows are in Czech, but the sky is still fun to watch. To reach the planetarium, take tram no. 12, 14, 15, or 17 to Výstaviste and walk through the park to your left about 200m (600 ft.). Admission is from 50Kc to 150Kc. It's open Monday to Thursday from 8:30am to noon and from 1pm until the end of the last program at 8pm. Saturday and Sunday hours are from 9:30am to noon and from 1pm until the end of the evening program (8pm).
In the somewhat dilapidated Výstaviste fairgrounds adjacent to Stromovka Park is Krizík's Fountain (Krizíkova fontána). A massive system of water spigots spout tall and delicate streams of color-lit water in a spectacular light show set to recorded classical and popular music. Small children are especially fascinated. There's also a small amusement park on the fairgrounds. The water/music program (tel. 723-665-694; www.krizikovafontana.cz) runs April to October from 7 to 11pm, and in the summer it's 8 to 11pm. Admission is 200Kc, free for children under 6. Take tram no. 12, 14, 15, or 17 to Výstaviste.
In the same complex -- the Výstaviste fairgrounds -- is located an attraction called Sea World (Morský svet; tel. 220-103-275; www.morsky-svet.cz). This permanent exhibition of sea fish and animals as well as simulations of the underwater world appeals to children and adults. Sea World is open daily 10am to 7pm and tickets cost 240Kc adults, 145Kc children. Take tram no. 12, 14, 15, or 17 to Výstaviste.
If you are visiting Prague with kids, leaving the city center for a short trip makes for a good break. Try a trip to the Prague Zoo, which is situated in Prague 7-Trója, U Trojského zámku 120 (tel. 296-112-111; www.zoopraha.cz). Take bus no. 112 from Nádrazí Holesovice on the C line all the way to the zoo park. It is open April, May, September, October daily 9am to 6pm; June to August 9am to 7pm; March 9am to 5pm; January, February, November, and December 9am to 4pm. On weekends the place is packed with Praguers; it's better to plan the trip on a weekday. A family ticket for 1 day costs 450Kc for two adults and two children.