Monday, August 28, 2017

7 Kid-Friendly Things to do in Stockholm

The truth of the matter is that I don't have children.  Some of the many hats I wear include: teacher, godparent, aunt, and older sister.  While I am not the absolute expert on such matters, I have actually taken my younger siblings on a vacation with me when they were children.  Since that time, as I travel, I find myself thinking about which of the things that I like to do, would be suitable for the children in my life?  On a recent trip to Stockholm, I was delighted to find that this is an incredibly family friendly destination.

When I have been traveling with kids, I have found that it works best when I plan highly active activities to alternate with ones that allow time to rest and recuperate.  This philosophy has worked for me personally, and influences my recommendations below.  Furthermore, all of the attractions and activities listed below are available on the Stockholm Pass (sponsor), which can save you a lot of money compared to paying for individual tickets and admissions.

So, without further ado, here are my Top 7 Kid-Friendly Things to do in Stockholm.

1.  Skansen- Open Air Museum

This is considered to be the world's first open air museum.  This museum was founded in 1891.  For any History buffs out there, this attraction allows you to stroll through five centuries of Swedish history, a great educational experience for your children.  Furthermore, Skansen boasts Stockholm's only zoo, and is the home to a great many wild, Nordic animals.  Skansen is easily accessed by public transportation (the tram), and the Hop On Hop Off bus and boat.  They are open every day, though hours of operation vary slightly by season, so you may want to check on times closer to your vacation dates.

2.  Hop On Hop Off:  Buses & Boats

It might seem a little funny to list this on my top five, but these are pretty fabulous.  Stockholm has been lovingly nicknamed the "Venice of the North" for a reason.  In Stockholm, you will find water and bridges for days, not to mention gorgeous historical buildings with stories to go with them.  While there are certain tours you can take to isolate certain aspects of the city, the Hop On Hop Off Buses and Boats are terrific.  They can be used as a means of transportation between attractions, or you can simply utilize them as a method of seeing the city.  Once you hop on, you can grab a seat on the double decker bus, or single level boat.  You will find a headset right in front of you.  If you choose to use the headset (or plug in your own earbuds), you will find that your route has been narrated.  You can learn about specific neighborhoods, and the tales that go with them.  This is a great opportunity to get off your feet without losing valuable time seeing attractions, a must for any parent with young children.  Note:  The Hop On Hop Off gets really busy first thing in the morning.  I might wait until some time in the afternoon to hop on and ride out the route.

3.  Junibaken
Junibaken is a children's cultural center, based entirely on children's books.  It is filled with music and
theater.  You can top on the Story Train to experience some of the tales of Astrid Lindgren, or experience my personal favorite:  Pippi Longstocking's house.  As a little girl, I was completely fascinated by the tales of Pippi Longstocking.  I loved the films, the books, and would walk around singing the theme song.  Even as an adult, the Pippi Longstocking house is an incredible life-like experience.  Junibaken has a cafe where you can easily stop for a bite to eat.  It's location is near a lot of attractions including the Vasa Museum, and could easily be paired with a number of other thing's you'd like to see.  It is easily accessible by the Hop On Hop Off bus and boat, as well as, by public transportation (the tram).

4.  Grona Lund Tivoli

Grona Lund Tivoli is the oldest amusement park in Sweden, and could easily absorb an entire day.  There are rides, snacks, and even concerts available all in one location.  Grona Lund Tivoli is super easy to access via public transit or the Hop On Hop Off Bus or Boat!  I do recommend checking out there website for hours of operation and concerts (which will impact admission fees).

5.  Under the Bridges of Stockholm (Boat Tour)

There are many boat tours in Stockholm, which comes as no surprise I am sure.  While, I am sure
you'd be happy with any of them, I would highly recommend this one in particular.  We went to the ticket counter early in the morning, and more or less had our choice of time slots.  We chose a tour at 1:00 in the afternoon, which is perfect for a two hour boat ride.  By 1:00, we had already been on our feet a good long while, and were ready for a bit of a break without losing valuable sight seeing time.  This particular tour is on a relatively small boat, single level, with booth-like tables that seat roughly six.  There is a snack bar available as well.   The snacks available aren't anything you couldn't just as easily have purchased at the grocery store (sandwiches, beverages, etc), but significantly more expensive, so I recommend popping into a store and buying some items for lunch to bring aboard.  I noticed many people doing this, and on this particular tour, the staff didn't seem to mind.  Plus, it will save you a lot of money.  This tour is pretty straight forward, just like the Hop On Hop Off buses and boats, there is a headset to narrate your tour.  Plus, you see some of the most beautiful parts of Stockholm, areas that might otherwise be difficult to access.  Again, this is really easy to access via public transit or the hop on hop off bus or boat.

6.  Toy Museum (Leksaksmuseet)

Leksaksmuseet (The Toy Museum) has such variety that your whole family will easily find an area of interest.  They have everything from porcelain dolls and barbies to cars, legos, and Star Wars.  There are sections devoted to mechanical toys, and toys made of tin.  Throw in a bit of cultural and historical context, and you've got the makings of a a fun-filled and educational afternoon! 

7.  Police Museum (Polismuseet)

This museum is highly interactive.  Ride on a police motorcycle, play with walkie-talkies, and take a tour of the jail cell in the special children's section of the museum, all while learning about the Swedish Police Force!

In lieu of my usual "budget savers and splurges" section, I want to bring a huge budget saver to your attention.  These are just a few of the many attractions available to you with the Stockholm Pass.  You can buy a Stockholm Pass for as little as 24 hours, or up to 5 days for a set price.  The price is for either an adult or child's pass, and can be a huge money saver.  I was given a 2-day pass to review at no charge, but I can tell you, had I not been given a press pass, I would have definitely purchased one because of the obvious savings.  I wanted to make sure to bring this to your attention, because while I love to travel, I also love to save money!

While there are many more children's exhibits and kid-friendly activities within Stockholm and in many of the museums and attractions, these items are at the top of my list. Have you been to Stockholm?  Do you have any kid-friendly favorites that aren't on this list?

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