Today my daughter turns 12, and as many of you already know, the greatest emotion for the parents is to see the face full of happiness and amazement reflected in the look and smile of their children. Throughout these 12 years I have traveled the City of Buenos Aires and its surroundings looking for those places that are capable of generating these emotions. In this list, I present the ones that have always worked for me; geographically ordered so that you can visit and enjoy with your children more than one option in each of your outings.
Balvanera: In the Balvanera neighborhood is the shopping center called “Abasto Shopping”, one of the largest and most complete malls in the city. In addition to clothing stores, movies and a huge food court; it has a small indoor amusement park called “Neverland” with kermesse games, an exclusive area for young children and another sector where you will find stronger attractions aimed at older children and teenagers. Next to the food court is the entrance to the “Children’s Museum”, which is not a museum but a small miniature city where your children can play at being cashiers, doctors, architects, cooks among many other professions; it is an unmissable place to visit for all children.
Caballito: In the geographic center of the city is located one of the most beautiful parks, “Parque Centenario”. It is a green oasis, where you can enjoy its beautiful garden and its large lake where you will find fish that you can feed. The park has a playground, a craft fair and a skatepark. Built on the grounds of the park stands the great “Bernardino Rivadavia Museum of Natural Sciences.” Among the numerous exhibits that the museum has, the main room stands out where young and old will be amazed by the fossilized skeletal remains and traces of dinosaurs found in Patagonian territory, and already extinct mammals from the Pampas region. A few blocks from the park, you can take a ride aboard historic trams recovered by the “Friends of the Tram Association.”
Puerto Madero: In the old port of the city, today converted into the most modern and expensive neighborhood in Buenos Aires, in addition to a varied gastronomic offer and cinemas, you can have fun with your children outdoors. It has the newest parks in the city in which several playgrounds and a rose garden are located. In the docks of the old port there are two historic ships permanently anchored and open to the public. Ideal to enjoy with the family, you can tour the “Corvette Uruguay” (built in 1874 is the oldest afloat boat in our country) and the “Presidente Sarmiento Frigate” (dates from 1897 and it is one of the most picturesque vessels in the Navy). Near these boats, you will find the entrance to the “Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve”, ideal for cycling and enjoying the native flora and fauna species (you can visit it on your own or join the educational guided tours that are usually organized to learn from the hand of the experts).
Recoleta: In one of the most elegant and aristocratic neighborhoods of the city, you will find very beautiful parks where you can spend the day outdoors. In the “Recoleta Mall”, in addition to commercial premises and cinemas, you will find an important gastronomic sector that takes place both within and in the surroundings of it. A few meters from the shopping center, is located the “Recoleta Cultural Center” which has different activities, highlighting the “Participatory Museum of Sciences Prohibited Do Not Touch”. It is a museum dedicated to the dissemination of science in a fun way where children will learn by playing. Also in Recoleta, you can find the “El Ateneo Grand Splendid” bookstore which is located on Santa Fe Avenue, one of the main commercial areas of the city. Don´t miss one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world, installed in what was formerly a 1919 theater; it has a cafeteria and a section dedicated to children where they can settle down to read whatever they want.
Palermo: It is the quintessential neighborhood to enjoy with the family, it has numerous options for children and teenagers. The heart of the Palermo neighborhood is the giant “Parque 3 de Febrero”, that’s how it is called a 370-hectare space dominated by parks, lakes and gardens. I recommend you visit the Rosedal (rose garden) with your family, and enjoy exercising outdoors in a specially designed area around this place. In case you do not have adequate equipment, here you can rent bicycles, pedal cars, rollers and skates to enjoy this circuit; and you can also rent both paddle and pedal boats to navigate the lake. In front of the Rose Garden, the Planetarium rises with magnificent projections in its dome about the wonders of the sky and space. A few meters away you will find the Japanese Garden where children have fun feeding the fish in the lake, touring its beautiful gardens and with the Japanese art of origami among many other workshops. In what was until a few years ago the city’s zoo, today the Ecopark is located, which fulfills the function of educating on the care of biodiversity and promoting rescue and rehabilitation actions for wildlife. On Godoy Cruz Street, the “Cultural Center of Science”, also known as C3, invites children to explore, ask questions and learn about science by manipulating objects and playing.
Belgrano: The historic neighborhood of Belgrano has numerous options to enjoy with the family. In addition to its varied commercial and gastronomic offer on Cabildo Avenue, the park known as “Barrancas de Belgrano” (Belgrano´s hills) stands out next to the emblematic Chinatown of the city. In the “Showcase Belgrano” you will find cinemas, bowling alleys and a small amusement center called “Playland”. Opposite the Showcase is the recently opened “Altitude Trampoline Park”. And on the Costanera Rafael Obligado Avenue stands out the thematic religious park called “Tierra Santa ” (Holy Land), with attractions for the whole family, where the most outstanding buildings of the Holy City of Jerusalem are represented. It has Arab musical and dance shows, historical religious settings represented by actors and animatronics, amusement games for the little ones and gastronomic places of traditional Arab food. Next to the Holy Land, on hot summer days, I recommend you cool off in the “Parque Norte” pools; it is the largest swimming pool complex in the city.
Núñez: In the residential neighborhood of Núñez you can enjoy the “Parque de los Niños” (Children’s Park) , which is linked to the “Paseo de la Costa” (Coastline Walk) located in the neighboring city of Vicente López by a pedestrian bridge. These two interconnected parks have a privileged view of the Río de la Plata and is the ideal place to do outdoor sports and to fly kites on the wind that usually blows from the river. The air park called “Trepark” is also located in this neighborhood, it is a closed space where it is possible to enjoy different indoor tree trek and mountaineering circuits in a safe environment developed in six levels of difficulty for different ages (1.20 meters or 4 feet minimum height are required to enter).
Vicente López: Towards the north of the city of Buenos Aires, is the city of Vicente López, a beautiful and quiet residential area. In this town you can visit the largest shopping center in the country called “Unicenter”, with various entertainment options for children and teenagers. Opposite the mall is “Norcenter”, another shopping center with a food court, game room, bowling alleys, pool tables, movie theaters and the “Imax Theater” that has the largest movie screens in the country. In another sector of Vicente López is Tecnópolis (it is usually open from June to November), it is a theme park dedicated to science, art and technology with numerous entertainment options for children and teenagers such as playgrounds, workshops, exhibits, full-scale dinosaur animatronics and various shows; it also has an interesting skatepark where, in addition to the classic skateboards, you can use rollers and skates.
Tigre: 30 kilometers (19 miles) north from Buenos Aires, is the city of Tigre, which has an outstanding offer of entertainment for the whole family. Tigre is the gateway to the Paraná River Delta, at the dock located on the Tigre River you will find numerous offers on boat rides that cross the different rivers of the Delta; and also the sales offices that promote the services of recreational centers, restaurants and accommodation located on the islands. The traditional boat rides of the place, generally one hour long, are highly recommended to do with children. On the banks of the Tigre River stands the most important amusement park in the metropolitan region, the “Parque de la Costa” (Coastline Park). This park has shows and rides for all ages, highlighting the different roller coasters. On the same sector, during the warm months, Aquafan opens, an aquatic amusement park that has swimming pools and slides to enjoy the water to the fullest. A few kilometers to the north is “Euca Tigre”, the largest high-altitude park in South America, with free fall games, tree trek with a safe line and fun options for both adults and children.
Other options further away: In case you have a full day, and have your own mobility or can pay for a transfer of several kilometers, there are many very interesting proposals on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. Just as an example, keep in mind the following: Temaikén Biopark (in this park in the town of Escobar endangered species of fauna are rescued and protected, it is a very pleasant environment with very well-set enclosures for the different species), Rush (park of trampolines in the town of Pilar), the “República de los Niños” (amusement park and a scale city for children in the town of La Plata) and there are many ranches where you can attend a traditional country day with the gauchos, riding horses or carts among other country activities.
As you can see, Buenos Aires has a wide variety of options to enjoy with children and teenagers, both in the city and in its surroundings. This has been a small summary of places where you can spend an unforgettable moment with your children, and enjoy it as much as I do, so have fun!