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Quito with kids – top things to do with children

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Carrousel La Carolina Quito Ecuador

Visiting a big city can be daunting with children , especially when they are young. But Quito has a range of options that can keep little ones entertained and is well worth a visit. Entrance fees are typically low, and parks provide plenty of free fun. Below, in no particular order, some of Kat’s tips for you and your family of what to do in Quito with kids.

 

1) Museo del Agua Yaku

The museum of water sits high up on the slopes of the Old Town and a taxi will take you here ($3 from the Old Town, $ 6 from the Mariscal – walking not recommended as it is very steep). It explains the history of Quito’s first water plant and while most of it is in Spanish there are some English explanations. Children are entertained by a room full of soap bubbles, as well as an outside area with water fountains (take spare clothes!!) and a play area specifically for 2-5 year olds. There is a cafe serving snacks and ice-cream, and adults can enjoy splendid views over the city and across to Panecillo hill. Entry USD3/ adults.

Water fun at Museum of Water Quito Ecuador

Water fun at the museum

2) Hit the parks!

One of Quito’s bigger parks, Parque La Carolina (taxi from the Old Town $5, less from the Mariscal) has it all – green spaces and food stalls make for a perfect picnic spot, an artifical lake with water features and pedalo boat hire are great fun. When we were on a Saturday there there was bouncy castles and merry-go-rounds.  Add ice cream, candy floss and a large playground and it’s a winner.

Another good park to visit with kids is Parque El Ejido – with plenty going on and some lovely wooden playgrounds to scramble about on. There are street vendors so it makes for a good lunch spot, too, and you won’t have to bother bringing a picnic.

Pedalo boats La Carolina park Quito Ecuador

Pedalos at La Carolina Park

3) Botanic Gardens

Sat in Parque La Carolina, Quito’s Botanic Gardens are a lovely area to explore for both kids and adults alike. Two greenhouses host, amongst other plants, a huge variety of beautiful orchids and there is a lovely ponds and a network of paths to take a stroll. A cafe serves snacks and drinks. Entry USD 3.50/ adult.

 

4) Vivarium

Another great spot, also located near Parque La Carolina, is the Vivarium where kids can see snakes, lizards and other reptiles. Entry USD 3.75/ adult.

 

5) Teleferico

The Teleferico (or TeleferiQo) takes you to a viewpoint on the Eastern flank of Rucu Pichincha, high above Quito, offering a splendid view – so make sure you go in decent weather. You will reach altitudes of almost 4000m so its best done when you are acclimatised. With older kids you will be able to walk along a network of paths. Younger children (and you) will still enjoy the adventure of the gondola ride. At the bottom of the teleferico there is an amusement area, which is great fun for kids – and impossible to by-pass.  USD 8.50/adult.

Teleferico Quito Family Holiday Ecuador

Teleferico

6) Calle La Ronda

Set in Quito’s old town the La Ronda street has been turned into a pedestrianised street with beautifully  restored colonial facades. You can’t always guarantee that it’s busy, but Friday and Saturday late afternoon evening tends to be. There’s usually live music somewhere and plenty of restaurants – it has a relaxed feel and kids will enjoy tasting chocolate at Chez Tiff and learning how to spin wooden spinning tops at Zalabartes (and seeing – buying? – beautiful hand-crafted wooden toys). Round dinner off with an ice-cream from Dulce Place with a range of exotic flavours and it’s a good evening for the whole family.

Wooden Toys, La Ronda, Quito, Ecuador

Wooden toys, La Ronda

7) Panecillo Hill

A great spot to view the city and get a close look of the beautiful winged Virgin Maria (the largest in the world). Make sure you take a taxi there and back as the walk has been deemed unsafe (in terms of pick pockets). Once at the top you can enjoy the fabulous views, purchase food and souvenirs and during August you can join the locals in flying kites high up into the sky – you can buy kites here.

Quito Panecillo Kites Ecuador

Kites at Panecillo

8) The Interactive Museum of Science

A great interactive museum based around the sciences, inviting kids to participate and experiment. Most explanations are in Spanish so it suits best if you have a basic understanding of the language, but there are staff members around that can often help out with some English. There is a section for littler ones, and a more educational area for slightly older kids (8/9 years).

 

9) Mitad del Mundo Museum

Visiting the Middle of the World or “Mitad del Mundo” monument is good fun with kids – even if it is quite touristy and not that authentic, there’s still a lot going on and taking the good old “one foot North and one foot South” photo at the bright yellow line is always entertaining. Next door at the Intinan Museum you can do various experiments that relate to the equator and while rumour has it that some of them have been created with a little extra “help”, they are still fun for children old enough to have an interest in science.

 

10) Planetarium

Set in the park La Alameda this planetarium is a hidden gem, especially if you are interested in astronomy. Speaking Spanish is of advantage as there are only few English explanations, but even so you can enjoy your visit and may be able to get a guide in English. The 18th century observatory is beautifully restored and there are night star gazing tours available. Also offers nice views of Quito. Entry USD 2/ adult.

 

 

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