I love traveling with my children but I’ll be the first to admit that it is not really a vacation. It was a short trip, only 3 days so we took an early flight to make the most of the first day. We arrived in Copenhagen on Sunday at 10:00 a.m. armed with a list of things to see and do and 72 hours in which to make it happen. We hit the ground running…literally when two thirds of the way to the hotel in a taxi, we were stopped by the Copenhagen marathon. We went as far as we could in the taxi, then guided by google maps we walked the remaining 20 minutes to our hotel. Never was I so happy that we packed light and were carrying everything in our backpacks. We were nearly to our hotel, right across the street when my son announced that he had to use the bathroom as he had an accident on the spot. He very rarely has an accident but when he does, it’s when we’re on vacation true to Murphy’s law. Too early to check in, I cleaned him up and changed his clothes in the hotel bathroom and checked our bags with the front desk. You have to stay ready for anything when traveling with children.
After a quick stop for lunch, we set off to Experimentarium, an interactive children’s science museum. My daughter thoroughly researched Experimentarium in advance and as children’s museums go it did not disappoint. The kids loved it and thanks to the holiday schedule we had an extra hour to play and explore. If you’re visiting Copenhagen with children I would definitely put it on your agenda. We did a lot of walking and stopped a lot along the way, which in my opinion is the best way to take in the city. We passed a street festival, snapped a few pictures in front of cool buildings, and strolled along the canal admiring the architecture of the city. On the way back to the hotel, we stumbled upon a nice Thai restaurant for dinner and tired from a long day we headed back to the hotel to check in and relax for the night.
The next morning, we started out early to the Copenhagen Zoo. While it had a variety of animals, many not seen in the average city zoo, it was small and we got the impression that some of the larger animals were quite unhappy. This prompted a discussion with my children about the happiness of animals in zoos and the ethics of keeping animals in captivity for our entertainment. They had some strong opinions and I was proud to hear them developing their own views on the topic. The weather was mostly rainy and cold but we stuck it out to cover the entire zoo.
On our way back to our hotel, we passed the Museum of Copenhagen where they had an interactive children’s exhibit about city planning and design. At first my kids were reluctant when they heard the word “museum” but once they saw what it was about they didn’t want to leave and stayed until the museum closed. The exhibit encourages children to repurpose existing structures where feasible and build in an environmentally conscious way as they design the city of the future.
That evening we decided to visit Tivoli gardens, a beautiful amusement park in the heart of the city and one of the world’s oldest amusement parks. We had a blast on the rides and it was perfect for young children and the young at heart. After the rides, ice cream and popcorn we stayed to watch the fountain light show and closed the park at 11 p.m. Tivoli gardens is a must-do if you appreciate the charm of old city amusement parks. The park’s vibe made the kids nostalgic for Coney Island back home.
We saved the Blue Planet Aquarium for our final day since it was on the way to the airport. It is the largest aquarium in Northern Europe so I thought it would be massive and take several hours to cover however, we saw everything in about an hour. Rather than leave and head back into the city to cover other sites, we decided to spend the full day at the aquarium watching the fish feedings and enjoying the water front. I love the modern architecture of the aquarium’s building; something about it was very reminiscent of the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.
My impression of Copenhagen is that the city is relatively small so three days was adequate time to hit all of the high points. It is colder and rainier than most of Europe; I would definitely recommend visiting in late spring and summer to enjoy walks around the city. English is widely spoken and communication was not a challenge. I found the price of food, taxis and shopping to be relatively expensive so that should be factored into your budget. I chose to stay near Tivoli gardens as it seemed to be in the heart of the city and within walking distance of many places that we visited. We walked everywhere, the only exception being the taxi ride from the airport and the bus to the aquarium near the airport. Overall, it was a good trip and a city that I recommend visiting if you are in the region and looking for a city break that can be accomplished in a few days.