A voivodeship like no other (województwo małopolskie), Małopolska boasts of its attractive tourist offer aimed at children and their parents. Groteska Theatre (Teatr Groteska), Wieliczka Salt Mine (Kopalnia Soli Wieliczka) or Zatorland Amusement Park are just a few of the many attractions available in Małopolska. There are many possibilities. Young tourists may enjoy communing with nature by visiting national parks in Małopolska, such as the Tatra National Park (Tatrzański Park Narodowy) and landscape parks such as Wiśnicko-Lipnicki Landscape Park (Wiśnicko-Lipnicki Park Krajobrazowy). Parents with their children can stay in PTSM (Polish Youth Hostel Association) and PTTK (Polish Tourist and Sightseeing Society) youth hostels. Moreover, Małopolska Voivodeship offers many educational and cultural trails. All explorers will certainly be interested in a trip to the Bochnia Salt Mine (Kopalnia soli Bochnia) or a visit to the Stanisław Lem Garden of Experiences in Krakow (Ogród Doświadczeń Kraków). Amateurs of active leisure will also enjoy tennis courts, swimming pools and, in winter, ski lifts and gentle ski slopes.
Fans of crazy fun will be delighted by attractions offered by amusement parks, such as the Miniature Park in Inwałd (the description of Miniature Park in Inwałd) or the theme park complex in Zator, where you can go from the world of Greek myths to a garden of huge prehistoric reptiles.
The offer is really varied: apart from the undeniable sightseeing and cultural values of the region, you and your children can visit, among other things, amusement parks in Małopolska. Moreover, there are also interesting and unique local events and parties, and most museums organise educational workshops and classes for the youngest. They are very popular because they guarantee good fun and lots of excitement, and at the same time they are very educational. In the open-air museums of Małopolska, you can see craftsmen at work and learn about their once common but now rare professions, and in numerous castles, children can learn what life was like in the Middle Ages, what the customs and habits were then, and watch knightly tournaments. For a small tourist, ‘animated’ historical buildings have a completely different value, and the little ones will remember the visit for a long, long time.
On longer trips, children have their own pace of sightseeing and they tend to get tired or bored quickly. It is best to include a two-hour break for lunch at an inn or restaurant in the middle of the day. A meal eaten away from home, often in unique interiors, usually tastes exceptionally well, and having a rest at the table allows you to recharge your batteries before the next challenge. Don't deny your children a visit to the souvenir kiosks either–it's part of their world, and the trinket they buy will long remind them of the trip they went on together with you.
For animal lovers
What's going on at Krakow Zoo? This is a must-see at any time of the year. In the spring, the cubs are born, in the summer the animals like to lie down in their outdoor runs, in the autumn the flora of the garden and the Wolski Forest sparkle with colours, but the zoo is also interesting in the winter, because then we can admire Arctic animals, such as reindeer, in their full glory. Our children will be delighted. On the occasion of visiting the zoo, you can go to Piłsudski's Mound (Kopiec Józefa Piłsudskiego) or see the Camaldolese Hermit Monastery in Bielany (Kościół Wniebowzięcia Najświętszej Maryi Panny w Krakowie).
In Inwałd, you can visit 'Kucyk' the Mini Zoo. In the pens and aviaries you will see many species of birds and animals, both domestic and wild. You will make friends with donkeys, llamas, Cameroon sheep, goats, fallow deer, parakeets, wild ducks, emu and many others.
The animals in the Mini Zoo in Tarnów – Zaczarnie invite you every weekend from 12.00 p.m. until evening hours. The zoo has 13 species of animals waiting for you to come see them.
Sheep, rams, goats, llamas, fallow deer, horses and ponies are the inhabitants of the Mini Zoo at the Beskidzki Raj Hotel in Stryszawa.
Would you like to see what alpaca breeding looks like and how beautiful these animals are? You can do it at Happy Alpaca breeding farm in Lachowice (Gmina Stryszawa, near the border with Śląskie Voivodeship). You can approach the Alpacas as they graze in the pasture or even take them for a walk. The friendly owners will be happy to answer all your questions.
In Nowy Sącz, the Reptile House (Gadziarnia) is now open. The city terrarium once again invites visitors. It is easy to find – it’s on Jagiellońska Street. In two exhibition rooms, visitors can see such specimens as snakes, spiders, scorpions, turtles and even fish.
Let's discover Małopolska with children!
Places to go for walks among the attractions
In Krakow, we particularly recommend two walking routes that are sure to be of interest to the youngest explorers as well: 'On the wings of enchanted pigeons and children's busy feet' (available here) and ‘Animal counting-out rhyme, or family field game’ (available here). The walk 'On the wings of enchanted pigeons...' will allow us to look at Krakow from the perspective of the city's famous bird inhabitants. Together with the children we will learn the legend of the cooing bird, we will hear some interesting facts about the most famous sights of Krakow and we will use the energy of our kids in the best possible way – getting to know the city and counting the time needed to walk around the Barbican. The ‘Animal Counting-Out Rhyme’ route is a great option for small and big explorers, who like to solve puzzles and look for surprising answers on... building facades! A bear, a golden carp, a dragon or a singing frog are just some of the examples of animalistic inspirations that can be found on Krakow's buildings. Where were rams kept for sale? Why is the eagle in the 'Pod Orłem' Tenement House actually a phoenix and does anyone know that Stanisław Wyspiański designed it? These and many other cloven-hoofed and winged heroes can be found on the emblems of Kraków's tenement houses (and not only there!). We can go for an 'animal' walk accompanied by our four-legged companion!
In Muszyna a walk can be combined with looking for curiosities, as the walking paths lead through themed gardens: Sensory Gardens (Ogród Zmysłów), Garden of Fairy Tales and Legends (Ogród Baśni i Legend), as well as Magical and Classical Gardens. The plants planted in the Sensory Gardens and the accompanying small architecture are intended to induce a feeling of relaxation. The five composition zones are enriched by an outdoor gym, a viewing tower and a Garden Café. While looking at the Tatra peaks, we can go down to the Gardens of Fairy Tales and Legends. There, stone sculptures and small huts take us back to the time of the Studnice (goddesses of mineral water), goddesses, herbalists and Ladies Midday. This theme was inspired by the musical entitled 'Mussina – Bishop's Town' (Mussina – Biskupie Miasteczko). Another curiosity is the 'Magical and Classical Gardens'. They take us back to ancient Greek mythology. There we will meet Adonis – the beloved of Aphrodite, Greek muses or Hebe. This year, beautiful birds have settled down around them – a birdhouse has been created. Aristocratic peacocks, rose-ringed parakeet, crane, mandarin duck, pheasants and other beauties eagerly present themselves to the guests.
The Irena and Mieczysław Mazaraki Museum (Muzeum w Chrzanowie) invites children to take a walk in the garden located by the Urbańczyk House (Dom Urbańczyka), which is open to visitors. During the walk, you can travel four hundred million years through an open-air geological museum. There are araucarites. i.e. fossilised tree trunks, which are a unique geological attraction. We will also see specimens of melaphyres, diabases, porphyry, dolomites with fauna, impressive ammonites and sponges. The advantage of the open-air geological museum is that we can visit it on our own – all the specimens are perfectly labelled and described.
The Miniature Park and the Stronghold in Inwałd (Warownia Inwałd) are also unusual places for walks. There, you can relax among the world's most famous mini-monuments. The Miniature Park boasts of a new attraction – a fragment of the Great Wall of China made in 1:2 scale. Another attraction waiting for you in Inwałd is the Garden of John Paul II (Ogród Jana Pawła II), which invites you to wander along alleys among the works depicting the figure of the Holy Father, St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City and the Basilica of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Bazylika Ofiarowania Najświętszej Maryi Panny) in Wadowice. An important part of visiting the Garden is entering the Viewing Tower and the possibility of seeing the painting from a height. In Inwałd, you can also walk among dinosaurs! The Dinolandia Amusement Park is home to over 50 of them, of various sizes, including pterosaurs, ichthyosaurs and other prehistoric creatures. This is the only collection of these animals in Europe and it comes from the United States. More information: http://www.dinolandia.pl/
The observation tower in Krynica-Zdrój invites you for a walk in the treetops. The tower is almost 50 meters high and offers breathtaking views. To feel the power of this building we can compare it to a 17-storey skyscraper. Under the treetops there is also 'In Search of the Lost Incluse... the Trail of Krynica's Mysteries’ – a educational path with 15 boards and installations that will bring you closer to the natural and cultural resources of the area of Krynica and its surroundings.
Or maybe you would like to play Indians? The Fort Wapiti Indian Village (Wioska Indiańska Fort Wapiti) in Zalasowa awaits you. You are guaranteed an encounter with American Indian culture in a beautiful place, among climatic tepees, where an open-air museum guide will tell you about Indian culture and art, and animators will provide good care and entertainment for children.
For parents of children aged 3––5 we recommend the booklet 'Wandering Around Małopolska for Preschoolers' ('Małopolskie wędrówki dla przedszkolaków'). Colourful illustrations and a rhyming text will encourage the youngest ones to get to know our region.
Sightseeing and adventure - questing
Children love to play and solve puzzles. An ordinary walk can turn into a treasure hunt when we follow the clues of the quests. There are many of them in Małopolska. Nearly 60 different quest walks available in Małopolska can be found here: https://questy.com.pl/. A few selected quests are presented here: https://visitmalopolska.pl/-/questing-czyli-spacery-ze-scenariuszem.
Closer to nature – Landscape Parks in Małopolska
The area of landscape parks in the Małopolskie Voivodeship is characterised by outstanding landscape and natural values and a large number of monuments. It constitutes an excellent area for tourism, especially sightseeing. Numerous hiking and cycling tourist routes lead through the parks, and didactic paths have been marked out. The whole area has excellent conditions for recreation and family spending time in nature. In order to encourage children to be active and help them become acquainted with the values of landscape parks, the programme 'Discoverers of Landscape Parks' was created.
Mountain trips with children can be made in an easier way – the gondola lift to Jaworzyna and the ropeway to the top of Parkowa Mountain (Góra Parkowa) have already started operating. We also encourage you to use the ski lift located on the slope of the beautiful Pusta Wielka mountain in Wierchomla Mała, which is resuming its operation. Almost 1600 m in length, it is said to be one of the longest four-seater chairlifts in Poland.
Adrenaline and Sports Emotions
A team of experts from Energylandia has developed a number of procedures that will ensure the sanitary safety and comfort of entertainment for Guests and employees. It is worth noting that there are over 300 hand sanitizer station within the facility, and after closing time, the whole Park will be sanitized by specialized drones.
On bike tours with children
Below you will find suggestions for trips and cycling routes which have been specially prepared for family visits to the most beautiful areas of Małopolska. The routes have been divided into sub-regions and represent an easy difficulty level. The surface is largely asphalted and separated from road traffic, with no uphill roads or significant elevation, making it an inviting trail for beginner cycling enthusiasts.