Croatia is a great country if you’re travelling with kids – with plenty of beaches (which can often be very shallow), relatively still seas, many family-friendly hotels and lots of interesting attractions, there’s plenty to see, do and enjoy if you’re visiting as a family. But what if you’re heading to Croatia’s capital city, Zagreb? You’ll be pleased to hear that there’s plenty to do in Zagreb for kids as well!
Maksimir Park is a lovely park – the city’s oldest – in the northeast of Zagreb. There are wide paths, forested areas and lakes which all make for a very peaceful setting. A number of monuments are sited in the park, which may be of interest if strolling around. Kids will enjoy the children’s playground, and in good weather, there are often pony rides available near the main entrance to the park. (Kids will also be delighted by the many ice cream sellers too!)
Inside Maksimir Park is the well-run Zagreb Zoo which is home to a very wide range of animals – including lions, lemurs, red pandas, capybara, tapir, wolves, wallabies, and extensive selections of birds, fish, reptiles and insects. There’s also a small petting zoo on site in which kids can come a bit more face to face with the usual goats, sheep and the like.
The Zoo’s restaurant – Kod morskog lava (“By The Sea Lion”…it is indeed by the sea lions) which also has a reasonably priced kids menu. There are also numerous vendors dotted around selling snacks and drinks, and there’s also a small gift shop with souvenirs and toys.
The Zoo also has numerous small play areas and structures, which younger visitors may be more interested in than the animals!
Best of all, the Zoo is astonishingly cheap – entrance is only €4 for adults (or €3 on Mondays), €3 for kids aged 7 to 14, and only €2 for kids aged 2 to 7. That’s amazing value compared to Zoos in some other (capital) cities.
Zagreb for Kids – Museums
The Museum of Illusions
Located just off Ilica, it’s easy to pop into if your kids have perhaps had their fill of monuments and/or shopping. This two floor establishment has all sorts of illusions and tricks to the eye; there are over 70 exhibits. There’s lot of fun photo opportunities (such as with the Chair Illusion, Head on a Platter, or Infinity Room) as well as fun experiences (the Anti-Gravity and Ames Rooms). This one is probably best suited for slightly older/teenage kids (and big kids too!) as younger ones may not quite have the attention span for this museum.
More info at: Museum of Illusions
Zagreb 80s Museum
Whilst we’re sure no kids today are interested in a museum about the 1980s (and less still about a museum illustrating what life was like in Yugoslavia in the 1980s) this one’s still a fun one for kids.
This interactive museum allows you to touch the exhibits to immerse yourself into what life was like back then. Set in an apartment dressed up to recreate the 80s, there are plenty of ‘gadgets’ and other to tinker with. You can even dress up in 80s clothes from the wardrobe! And best of all, take a seat and snap some selfies in the (half) Yugo car sitting in the main entrance.
Backo Mini Express
There’s a certain type of kid (a kid that loves trains!) that will absolutely LOVE this Mini Train Museum. Considered to be the largest miniature train model in southeastern Europe, the trains in this museum cover an area of 70 square metres and include around 150 locomotives, 1,000 wagons and 1,050 metres of track over 8 levels. There is also 300 meters of road, and around 2,500 real life details to observe.
- More info at Backo Mini Express
There are a number of small playgrounds dotted all around the city. There is also a very pleasant playground in Maksimir Park.
Indoor play areas
If your young kids are getting a little antsy and the weather isn’t good, there’s also some indoor playgrounds. Check out Up2Play in a new location at the Hotel Academia in the Upper Town. Open daily, their indoor playground is home to a number of different interactive elements.
Amazinga is a newly opened space that is home to all sorts of indoor attractions that are largely suitable for slightly older kids…and adults too! (Although there is a soft play for the younger ones here too.) Located at Zagrebacki Velesajam (Zagreb Fair) in Novi Zagreb, there’s a trampoline park, laser tag, a climbing zone, a mini ninja course, karting, soft play and more!
If it’s treat time, Zagreb has some excellent toy shops. Best of all may be in the Müller department store on the main square, Trg ban Jelacic. There are two floors of toys here – with items for the very young up to older kids – so there literally will be something for everyone!
Zagreb for Kids – Getting Around
Kids aged six and under travel for free on Zagreb’s trams and buses. And kids love trains (trams), right – so this is an attraction in itself! Most of Zagreb’s trams are modern and have low doors, thus easy to get into and out of with children or if you have a buggy. Just watch out for the old-fashioned trams operating on some lines that have steps after the door.
Zagreb’s funicular railway – which takes you from the lower town (just off Ilica) to the Upper Town, right by Lotrscak Tower – is the city’s oldest form of transport, having commenced use in 1890. Zagreb’s funicular is also apparently the shortest in the world, running on a track of only 66m in length. This is fun for any age as you ascend (or descend) slowly; there are some great views of Zagreb’s rooftops from this train, as well as when you disembark at the top.
Tickets can be bought at either end. It costs €0.66 for adults, and children ride free.
Kids will absolutely love the mini tourist ‘train’ the departs the main square, Trg Ban Jelacic, on weekends. This free train departs every 40 minutes and circles a central route in the city; it’s certainly a good way of seeing some of the city for those with little (tired) legs.
More info here.
You may want to warn younger children (or those who are perhaps of a slightly nervous disposition) that a cannon is fired from Lotrscak Tower every day at midday. It can be heard very well indeed if you’re anywhere in the region of the main square!
You can also climb up inside the four floors of the tower for even higher views of Zagreb! Tickets cost €3.05 for adults and €1.99 for children aged 7 years+.
More info at: Lotrscak Tower
Zagreb for Kids – Eating Out
Little kids (and big kids too) love ice cream…right?! And if you’re on holiday, you may as well treat everyone to ice creams! You’ll see many ice cream shops and patisseries dotted around the city, but we say Vincek is the best.
The ReUnion Restaurant at the centrally-located Canopy by Hilton Zagreb City Centre has a great offering for families with kids on Sunday afternoons. From 1pm to 4pm, come down to enjoy a specially-priced buffet lunch: €23 for adults, €8.50 for kids aged up to 12 and kids under 5 eat free! There’s a wide range of starters, mains, sides and desserts and as a buffet, you can try it all! Best of all, there’s a supervised playroom for your little ones to burn off energy after their food. (And it’s very likely that the staff supervising the kids will speak English!)
See more recommended restaurants in Zagreb on our Eating in Zagreb page.
Zagreb for Kids – Advent in Zagreb
Adults and kids alike will absolutely love Advent in Zagreb – one of the top attractions of the city. Held for just over a month from early December to early January each year, you can enjoy the wonderful Christmas decorations and markets – particularly on the main square, in Zrinjevac park, the Upper Town, Europskom trgu/European square, Gric tunnel…and many more places besides! Even Zagreb Zoo (mentioned above) gets in on the act. There is also a large ice rink on King Tomislav square.
Take a look at our Family Holidays in Croatia page for more ideas on what to do when visiting the country with kids.