So one of the MAIN reasons that I wanted to take my son to Rome for his 2nd birthday was the amazingly cool Children’s Museum, Explora!!
Actually I wanted to go here the last time we visited Rome but we didn’t make it because there were traffic restrictions in the area, it was raining, we didn’t want to take public transit and YOU MUST enter at 10am, which means leaving the house at 9am, which for us and our friends is practically like saying “you must get there with your eyes closed” ….. aka impossible.
This time we stayed with our friends and were getting ready in the morning, we were already running behind, it was raining (again…sheeesh I have NO luck when it comes to weather while on vacation), traffic was blocked AGAIN (this time with the city’s biggest marathon) and all other odds were against us.
I was beginning to give up hope, but my friend Nicola, Gillian’s Roman husband, could see my despair at the thought that I wouldn’t get to Explora for my son’s birthday, especially since I had organized to meet with another friend AND ordered a cake. He quickly found a work-around driving route that could get us there while avoiding the blocked off streets and somehow we made it in time to have a cappuccino at the bar before entering!!
Explora is the coolest thing EVER. Now, maybe that is just my inexperience talking, to be perfectly honest, before having a kid I didn’t often frequent children’s museums. So, in all honesty, it could be that this museum sucks and I just have no idea!
But really…IT WAS AMAZING. I had the time of my life and I think (hope) my son and his little friends did too!
- The real truck that kids could climb into and “drive” the wheel
- The water gun, water technology play area
- The mini supermarket complete with carts, baskets, dairy, bakery and vegetable departments and cash registers
- The “garden” where you could plant your own carrots and potatoes
- The cars, gas stations, sports bikes and rowing machine
- The vault!!!
- The old computer keyboard, secret underground mouse-hole style cubbies that kids could crawl into and be all futuristic!
- Ugh…..and SO MUCH MORE – the gravel pit, the 0-2 play area with the giant lite bright, the mirrors and huge scales!
I would recommend this to ANY FAMILY visiting Rome with kids under 10 years old. Rome is a beautiful city, but let’s be honest….when it rains it’s not so great, especially if you are pushing a stroller. Plus, there are only so many Roman Ruins and churches that kids can take, so every now and then it is fun to plan something for them to enjoy.
My husband and I have a rule whenever we go on vacation “One thing for us, one thing for our son per day”. Soon I’ll share my Berlin itinerary with you, where we balanced historical sightseeing with visits to Kinder cafes and playgrounds.
Obviously you wouldn’t want your whole vacation in Rome to be about your kids, but it is important to remember that, technically, it is THEIR VACATION TOO! So they should be enjoying it.
It will make the whole experience so much better for everyone if they have a good time and are tuckered out in the afternoon so that you can actually enjoy the things you want to see in peace!
The Location and Hours
It isn’t difficult at all to get to Explora, you can check their site for the best public transit (VERY close to both bus, tram and the subway), but the GREAT thing about the location is that it is in the CENTRE of Rome! A 20 minute walk from this Children’s Museum will get you to either the Villa Borghese Public Gardens, The Spanish Steps or even Castel Sant’Angelo!
As I mentioned before the entry hours are something to be taken into consideration because you can only enter AT CERTAIN TIMES! For insurance and security reasons they limit entry times and the amount of people that are allowed to enter and they also impose exit times.
For example, we entered at 10 am and at exactly 11:45am they announced that our play time was over. After each play session the toys and objects are tidied up and prepared for the next group. The entry times change depending on the month, so I would recommend checking their site, but standard times are 10am, 12pm, 3pm and 5pm and each play session lasts for an hour and forty-five minutes.
This was perfect for us because we got in, played, had lunch in their restaurant and then left just in time for the kid’s nap time!
Birthday Parties + The Food
There is an on-site cafe and also a restaurant/pizzeria with decent food and decent prices. Both adults and kids can eat for around 12 euro plus drinks.
We had a very small group. There was our family, my friend Gillian’s family (you may remember her from the Real Mom Street Style feature), and my friend Raffaella (I’ve also featured her great style in this post). So, instead of organizing a full birthday package deal, I just arranged a birthday cake (for an extra 30 euros , they give you several options but you must call at least 4 days in advance), and brought my own Peppa Pig decorations.
I left the decorations with the restaurant manager, explained how I wanted it set up and they took care of the rest. Sadly, I also had big George and Peppa balloons that flew away when we opened the trunk….oh well…. we had a great time even without them (I should have saved my money!).
Happy 2nd Birthday to My Little Man!!!
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