This impressive museum of marine sciences is the perfect place to spend the day with children. Not only is the building itself incredibly attractive – rising from the side of the Monaco cliffs in consistent splendor – it is home to vast sea fauna collections, and its exhibitions, which last for varying amounts of time, are unique and insightful. Importantly for the little ones, the aquarium, situated in the basement, presents more than 6000 specimens to be ‘oohed’ and ‘aahed’ at.
Oceanographic Museum, Avenue Saint-Martin, Monaco, France, +37 793 153 600
Monaco’s only deep-water port is the perfect place to take a walk with the kids. It’s free to amble – always a plus when family holiday expenses are concerned – and the impressive boats and yachts will be awe-inspiring to the junior observers. Major cruise ships also dock here; quite the sight when some can measure up to 300 meters in length.
Changing of the Guards
Time your visit to the old town with the traditional Changing of the Guards ceremony, which takes place outside the Prince’s Palace. Each day at 11:55AM on the dot, this modest-in-size (but not lacking in pageantry) ritual takes place. A fun pause in the day before a spot of lunch, we think.
Prince Rainer III established these Zoological Gardens, built into the Monaco rocks, in 1954 and they make for a fun morning or afternoon activity for the whole family. It is quite typical of a city zoo, a fairly small and compact space, but it does have a good range of animals and exotic birds and a little play area for small children. Keep a look out for the infamous hippo – the star of the show.
Zoological Gardens, Place du Canton, Monaco, France, +37 793 504 030
Louis II Stadium
This stadium located in the Fontvieille district of Monaco is home to the Monaco national football team. The land it’s built on was actually reclaimed from the sea, and the stadium has been ingeniously built at the top of an multi-use structure, with sports halls, a multi-story car park and swimming pool beneath it. A great visit for all the Thierry Henry wannabes.
Louis II Stadium, 7 Avenue des Castelans, Monaco France, +37 792 054 021
Perfect for tired-leg sightseeing, hop on Monaco’s little train for a guided tour of the city. Lasting 30 minutes, the tour takes you around all the sights of Monaco, feeding you all the interesting facts and figures. It runs pretty much all year round; February to November.
Monaco Tours, Avenue Saint-Martin, Monaco, France, +37 792 056 438
Rainier III outdoor swimming stadium
An appealing option, especially in summertime, is to let the kids spend the afternoon cooling off and splashing around in this open air pool right on the harbor. It is run by the municipality and the rates are reasonable, considering it’s Monaco. It is open from May through to October and, interesting fact here, in the wintertime it is turned into an ice-skating rink.
Rainier III Nautical Stadium, Route de la Piscine, Monaco, France, +37 793 306 483
Monaco Top Cars Collection
Prince Rainier III was an avid car enthusiast and, since 1993, visitors to Monaco have been enjoying his private collection of cars. There are around 100 models on display – vintage models to racing cars – so take your time wandering around this unique collection. One for the small kids, but equally for the big kids among us… A great attraction out of the heat, too.
Exotic garden and observatory grotto
A real must-visit in Monaco. The Exotic Garden, opened in 1933, is filled to the brim with exotic plants, such as cacti and succulents. Due to its climate, the garden shows off these ‘dry-zone’ varieties brilliantly; and kids will get to see a vast selection of unusual plants in their natural habitat. As well as the garden itself, delve down (almost to sea level) into the observatory cave as part of your visit. There are around 300 steps to descend and ascend, so that’s something to keep in mind if you have smaller kiddos.
Exotic Garden, 62 Boulevard du Jardin Exotique, Monaco, France, +37 793 152 980
Ni Box bowling
To escape the heat for a while, and for some lighthearted fun, you can find a well-equipped bowling alley in the heart of Monaco. Open solely in the afternoons from 2PM onward, you’re guaranteed to have a few hours of entertainment here.
Ni Box Bowling, 35 Boulevard Louis II, Monaco, France, +37 797 987 777