The blog for inspired travel with children

Friday, May 25, 2012

Copenhagen, Denmark

What follows is a verrrry incomplete list of Places You Must Take Your Child While in Copenhagen (or Kobenhavn) – after all, we were there for less than a week!  Not nearly enough time to do everything we wanted.  So instead of an exhaustive list, I’ll tell you what we did do that was wonderful – which was just about everything!  What fabulous spots did you find while in Copenhagen?   

Tivoli Let’s just get this one out of the way, because, come on: TIVOLI!  It’s always the first thing on everyone’s list.  Yes, it was fun.  However our son was too short to go on most of the rides (he was 5 1/2), so we spent much of our time there at Petzi’s World, which is an admittedly delightful playground within Tivoli.  We also spent an insanely long time in line waiting to order food. I think next time we may skip Tivoli and head to Bakken, another historic pleasure park located outside of the city, in a more bucolic setting. 

National Museum of Denmark The National Museum is a winner for everybody – beautiful displays of art, artifacts, interior architecture, mummies, etc. There is also a wonderful kid’s play area that includes a Viking boat, enchanting settings for dress-up and make-believe, and lots of opportunities for climbing and hiding.

Rosenborg Palace Garden We could have spent all day here – the formal gardens are so beautiful, and so relaxing to simply wander around.  Our son could have spent all day just in the gorgeous playground here.  Its design is incorporated into the formal arrangement of the gardens as a whole, and is enclosed by hedges.  Four distinct play areas extend from a central sandpit, which has a "moat" and is presided over by two incredible carved wooden dragons.  The play areas are simple and even elegant – one was a small forest of wooden posts, some of them with little carved elements here and there.  Another area was similar, but with wooden stumps instead of posts. There is a small café across the path if you get hungry.

Rosenborg Castle and Royal Treasure The castle is beautiful, and do explore it.  But the Royal Treasure – good lord!  The collection of jewels is large and exquisite and so sparkly it made me crazy. 

The University of Copenhagen Botanical Garden We wandered into these gardens by chance late one afternoon, and were glad we did.  It’s a beautiful and fascinating place to wander and make discoveries.  So many winding paths and little botanical worlds within the garden.
The Round Tower Do you need to exhaust your young one?  The Round Tower features a winding interior ramp that goes up and up and up…  at the top there is a small outside viewing area, with views all around.  We were grateful for the tiny and unexpected bathroom about halfway up.

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art This wonderful museum is a few train stops north of the city and we almost didn’t go for that silly reason – I’m so glad we did!  The collections and exhibits were terrific, and the site itself, studded with large sculptures, is just a delight to stroll around.  There is a large grassy hill (great for rolling down) that looks out over the sea, with a wooded hillside criss-crossed with narrow footpaths.  The footpaths are part of an art installation.  

At the rear of the building is a large children’s wing, with connected rooms for different art activities.  The small lego room features a table and wall covered in grey lego flat pieces – all of the legos were yellow.  This simplified color palette really makes you focus on form – I thought it was great.  At the bottom of the wing is a large sculpture studio, with generous tables and slabs of clay ready to be worked.  From here we headed right out into the back of the property, where a path winds around a small lake (look for the miniature houses hidden in the woods) and a long hillside slide proved irresistible to my son. 

Royal Naval Museum This museum is home to hundreds of meticulously crafted scale model sailing ships.  I didn’t think of this as my cup of tea before we went, but I found them stunning.  The ships were used as models for shipbuilders, who might not be able to read or understand technical drawings.  My son was more interested in the very detailed dioramas dramatizing historic sea battles.  There’s also a terrific children’s play area in the basement with a pirate ship and “docks”.

While I wish we had had the chance to dine at Noma, we mostly kept it cheap and no-frills when it came to meals.  This involved eating more hot dogs than I really care to admit.  We couldn’t believe how many hot dog vendors we came across, but apparently it is a Thing.  Luckily, we also found a great little pizza place near our hotel, right next to a skate park – we dined al fresco and O got to practice his version of parkour as soon as he was finished.

Pizzaria La Fiorita: corner of Nansengade and Ahlefeldtsgade Streets

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