Best things to do with kids in Porto
It’s the best place to get the ball rolling. Never mind the ball, what about the skate, the push scooter or the bike? Let your kids loose amid the 83 hectares of Portugal’s largest urban park. Bring rackets, footballs, a picnic blanket and something to eat – and don’t forget to bring some bread so your kids can feed the ducks. As for your children, you can feed them at a good sandwich kiosk with a kids menu, Soundwich.
You just can’t take your kids to Porto without spending a few hours walking through the Serralves gardens (actually, even if the children stayed home you’ll want to go there). Once a private estate, now it is a park with almost 20 hectares of land, where you will find hundreds of species of trees, a farm with some animals, a vegetable garden and several artworks spread throughout the property – you can have fun trying to spot them. There are also lots of beautiful settings for a photo shoot.
First you have to tell the little ones that this beautiful complex of saltwater swimming pools was designed by architect Siza Vieira (a VERY important person in Porto). Then tell them there’s a pool just for them, where children can even play water polo. Parents can keep an eye on their offspring from the bar, which has a lounge area good for sunbathing.
A park with 35 hectares and hundreds of animal and plant species to discover. Its aim is to educate visitors about the region’s wildlife. There’s a small zoo, filled almost exclusively with native fauna; a natural reserve for birds, amphibians and mammals, some of them endangered species; and an eco- museum where kids can see, for instance, a working watermill.
Every child loves animals. That makes the Santo Inácio Zoo, in Gaia, a great family outing. There are zebras, hyenas and tigers; wildebeests and giraffes; water buffalo and blackbucks. Special features include the feeding of the penguins and a reptile show.
Also known as the Santa Maria da Feira Ornithological Park, this zoo is unique in Portugal: it specializes in the conservation and presentation of birds. It has around 500 birds from 150 different species from 80 different habitats, representing the natural environments from all continents. There are flamingos, vultures, macaws, ostriches, emus and more.
Kids are fascinated by the bottom of the sea. Even if they never watched The Little Mermaid, they’ll go crazy for colorful fish, tiny sharks or twirling stingrays. If you take your kids to Sea Life, they will be entertained for hours with its gigantic aquarium, underwater tunnel, rocky pools filled with starfish and hundreds of fishes.
Your children may not be aware of but the Portuguese were great navigators and prime movers of the Age of Discoveries. They can learn about this in a fun way at World of Discoveries. The place has replicas of the ships used, dioramas of wars and battles, and even high speed boat rides.
Here you will find all sorts of exhibits. If one of your kids likes cars, take him or her to see The Engine of the Republic – Cars of Presidents, where one of Portugal’s most significant automobile collections is displayed. Another exhibition in the same vein is The Automobile in Space and in Time, where automotive history is thoroughly explained. If your kid is more of a chatterbox, show him the Communicate exhibition, featuring several interactive games where all five senses are employed.