I am a mom of two kids, living in Buenos Aires. So by experience, I’ve discovered the best ways to entertain my kids in the city. While Buenos Aires is a child-friendly city from the cultural and entertainment point of view, it has its downside such as the frightful state of public transportation, obstacle-ridden sidewalks (a nightmare for any mom with a stroller), and the all-to-frequent absence of public restrooms. In South America, you are not going to find the neatness and order that is so common in US cities. You are going to find dirty streets, lack of punctuality, and an overall feeling of disorder. But once you understand the dynamics of the city and accept it for what it is, you can enjoy the impressive number of activities available to entertain, educate, and inspire children and adults alike.
Children are centerfold to cultural activities in this city. If you come to Buenos Aires with your kids, you can easily make a long list of activities to enjoy with them. There is something for every budget and taste. Here are some of the excursions I have experienced with my sons, although any tour guide can inform you of many more, I’m sure.
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FOR ANIMAL LOVERS
If your children love animals, you have several options. You can visit the Zoo of Buenos Aires, but it is an old structure with Victorian cages and animals in poor living conditions so I don’t recommend it. You can better enjoy a day at Temaiken, a modern zoo where the animals have comfortable and more appropriate habitats. It has a wonderful aquarium, some attractions with seals, and even a farm. You will see many native animals as well as those from all continents. It´s comfortable to visit with very young children or babies because you can rent strollers and there are many different meal options.
Another outdoor activity is The Chocolatada Farm, designed so that the kids spend a day indulging in farm activities, exploring aspects of farm life, kneading bread and drinking chocolatada milk (chocolate milk), all under the watchful eye of staff.
FOR LITTLE SCIENTISTS
Are your children little scientists like mine? Buenos Aires has many museums to visit, but my children’s favorite is the Museum of Natural Sciences. Again, expect facilities to be a tad run down, and the exhibits dusty, but kids will be delighted to look so closely at the tiny insects and huge dinosaurs.
There are more fascinating museums for the little ones with free or very affordable admission, like the Museum of Toys and the Say No to “Do Not Touch” Museum, an interactive museum where the premise is to touch, to open and close and to experiment. Children love this place.
If they like astronomy, you cannot miss the Planetarium. It is located in a fantastic area of Buenos Aires, accessible for all. I recommend the Journey to the Stars experience where you will be able to make a spectacular outer-space trip with your kids. It’s just $5 for adults, and free for children under 3.
FOR THEATRE JUNKIES
If you want to watch top quality theatre performances at more than reasonable prices, try the San Martin Theater, right in the center of Buenos Aires, which is always offering great shows for adults and children.
FOR NATURE LOVERS
Buenos Aires rests on one side of the La Plata River, a very wide body of water. For that reason we have plenty of nautical activities. You can enjoy a sailboat for two or three hours with your group in order to experience the city from a different perspective.
Near the city of La Plata, The Republic of Children, inaugurated by Evita Perón, is a mininature city for kiddos. There are small houses, little museums, a tiny city council, small squares and entertainment, everything to scale for the tots!
SURVIVAL TIPS FOR KIDS IN BUENOS AIRES
Traveling with children in Buenos Aires requires some preparation. Make sure you throw the following items into your tote bag before you hit the street.
- Wipes or wet towelettes. As I said before, not everything is clean enough, including public restrooms, if you are lucky to find them. So these towels can be very helpful on any occasion.
- Always carry a plastic bag or two. Trash cans are few and far between so be prepared to hold onto yours for a while.
- If you have a baby, chose a light and manageable umbrella stroller. The city was not built for bulky strollers.
- Carry plenty of diapers and portable changing pads as you will not find a designated place to change your baby in most stores or public places.
Be ready to have fun and despite, some inconveniences, enjoy great cuisine, a rich culture and a beautiful language.