Sunday, January 29, 2017

Ljubljana with kids

My husband was playing with our toddler and I was holding our newborn when we talked about our days in Ljubljana the other day. How we miss the city. How we miss living there, to put it correctly. Then it seems that we're not the only ones missing the city. Yesterday before coloring, our toddler picked out one set of crayons out of her several sets and said to me "we bought this one in Slovenia!", and I remember vividly that first day when we got there and got her some crayons in Hofer supermarket on our street.

Ljubljana was not just a great city for us adults, it was a cool city for the toddler too. If you have a chance to spend several days in Ljubljana with your kids, here are some of our favorite activities to do in the city:

The zoo. But not just an ordinary zoo.

We're not too much of a zoo people. My husband don't go to the zoo (unless I spend hours begging him), he hates seeing animals in captivity. I don't love zoo for the same reason, but I can at least go into ones because my toddler enjoys them very much. The toddler and I spent lots of time in Ljubljana Zoo (without my husband), and we liked it! It's not nice to say, but we like their zoo much better than our Zagreb zoo. Probably because it feels much more natural. It feels like you're walking in the woods, no asphalt roads, no cages, no cemented walls, lots of trees, huge spaces for the animals, playgrounds for kids that perfectly fits the nature, my toddler loved being here! The entrance fee is €8 for adults and €5.5 for toddlers (free for babies up to 2 year old).

The elephant was one of my toddler's faves, along with seals, bears, giraffes and monkeys
The great swing -one of many playgrounds that fits perfectly in the natural scene
They set free some birds to walk around the zoo with the visitors. My toddler got herself a seal (plush) from the Zoo shop.

Loving the on-surface trampolines. The lake behind it is full of ducks and birds, with monkeys hanging around on the trees

Tivoli park. For long walks and squirrels.

We spent many many days in Tivoli park. We walked there a lot, we had ice creams, we had dinners, we went to the playgrounds, and we looked for squirrels. It's a huge green area full of walking and cycling path, with a lot of children playgrounds, fountains, cafes, public facilities like pools, mini golf and concert hall, and there's a castle and a lake in it. If your kids are full of energy like mine, they'll love being here.

Fountain search, after squirrel search
One of the many playgrounds within Tivoli park

Search for the dragons. They're everywhere.

Dragon is the icon of Ljubljana. It's part of the city emblem and my toddler think it's very cool (so your child might too). You can make it a game. Tell them the legends of the dragons of Ljubljana, or just simply search them in the city. Obviously, you can find them on the famous Dragon bridge. But we were lucky to find a guy in dragon costume walking around the city once :) 

Explore the castle. Take the funicular.

My toddler loved funicular rides. Ljubljana funicular is very modern, spacious transparent glass cabin from which you can enjoy the view of the city while driving up or down. It cost €4 round-trip and free for kids younger than 7 year old. The funicular is located in Krekov Square where the famous Ljubljana puppet theater is also located. They have shows for all ages including the youngest toddlers, so you could even take your child see one. We also took the Urban train to go to the castle once, it's 100% electric and, which kids do not love little trains? Up at the castle, except the main museum, you could also take the kids to the puppet museum if they're into it, or they can just run around like mine. 

The toddler, my husband and my mother in law entering the castle complex of Ljubljana

See Ljubljana from another point of view. Take the river cruise.

Our toddler hates boats. You might remember when she opted out from boat ride on Danube river in Vienna (this post) and she again refused boat ride on Ljubljanica river in the center of Ljubljana. But if your child enjoys boat ride, you should definitely do the river cruise. It costs €8 for an hour of ride and could be booked here.

Do a daytrip, maybe?

The benefit of being in Ljubljana is, at least in my opinion, you can practically see different parts of Slovenia very easily. It's a small country and Ljubljana is in the middle of it, you can go anywhere you want within two hours if not less, and a daytrip with kids from Ljubljana is very feasible. I'd suggest Postojna Cave (read our story here) and Predjama Castle (read our story here) combined; or the coastal towns (read our story here); or maybe beautiful Otočec and Novo Mesto. Whatever you choose, I'm sure the kids will enjoy!

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