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10 Things to Do in Venice for children

If you want to go with children to Venice you may have doubts about how to make them have the best possible stay. With these tips and recommendations you will make your family trip a success.

Joaquín Montaño

Joaquín Montaño

11 min read

10 Things to Do in Venice for children

Venice, Italy | ©Angelo Casto

There is no doubt that Venice is an incredible and magical city. The amount of attractions to see and activities it offers makes it a must-see for anyone. However, anyone who has traveled with children knows that you have to approach things differently and even sacrifice some of the sights for them to have a better time.

Although children tend to get tired earlier and find long visits tedious, a visit to Venice can be fun for them if you plan your tour well and focus on the activities that will be most rewarding for them. Obviously, this does not mean that you should stop taking gondola rides or visiting museums, but it does mean that you will have to change the way you do these activities.

1. Hire a guided and personalized tour to make the visit more comfortable for the family.

St. Mark's Square by night| ©Sean X Liu
St. Mark's Square by night| ©Sean X Liu

When you arrive for the first time in a city it is common to feel a bit disoriented. If you are going with children you will not be able to afford to lose much time until you get the hang of the situation. The best solution is to hire a guided and personalized tour for the first few hours.

This type of tour has many advantages when traveling with children. Not only will you be shown some of the most important monuments of Venice, but the guides are usually used to the presence of the little ones in the family and know which places they might find curious.

In the case of Venice, this tour cannot miss St. Mark's Square. There, with space, children can be quite distracted while the guide informs them of what they are seeing.

Play lion hunt

It is quite likely that during this visit the children will be told about the lion, the symbol of Venice. One of the city's most popular lions is located in the small square next to St. Mark's, and guides often show it off during tours.

To entertain the little ones, it might be a good idea to organize a sort of "lion hunt", that is, have them look for the lions they find in the different corners of Venice. To make it more entertaining, ask them to distinguish between winged and non-winged lions.

Book a private tour of Venice

2. Take them to know the secrets of the Doge's Palace Prison

Doge's Palace, Venice| ©meeekn
Doge's Palace, Venice| ©meeekn

Traveling with children should not prevent them from visiting interesting monuments such as the Doge's Palace in Venice. The trick to keep them from getting tired is to change the point of view and focus the explanations on things that might interest them. In this case, my advice is to leave aside the architecture and focus on the secret itineraries hidden in the palace.

It is best to make this visit with a guide who can lead you to the most interesting places. Although it depends on each child, they will usually have a great time touring the cell area, the narrow staircases, the torture chamber and the entrance through the Bridge of Sighs.

If you are able to decorate all these attractions with interesting stories (like the one I leave you here) or even a little scary (without going overboard) I assure you that the children will enjoy the visit.

Practical information about the Ducal Palace

The visit to the "secret" areas of the palace are not allowed for children under 6 years old. Yes, however, they can enter the Doge's Palace, the Bridge of Sighs and see some isolated cells.

:::link|text=Book your skip the line tickets to the Doge's Palace|element=pa-974:::

3. A must-do activity in Venice (for children and adults): discover the city from the water

Gondolas in Venice| ©Pedro Szekely
Gondolas in Venice| ©Pedro Szekely

When anyone goes to Venice they already have in mind to go on a small cruise or take a gondola ride. This, which attracts the attention of adults, is one of the things that children will love the most. The city offers several possibilities to travel through its waterways:

  • Free stops: it works like the tourist buses in other cities. It is a red boat that will allow you to get on and off as many times as you want.
  • Gondola ride: without a doubt, the most representative of the city. Put the kids in a gondola and let them enjoy the ride. Some tours include this experience combined with a visit to one of the most important monuments.
  • Excursion to Murano and Burano by boat: this recommended excursion can be done either on a motorboat or as a small cruise. On the islands, in addition, children will be able to see how glass is worked in Murano and the striking colorful houses of Burano.

Recommendations for gondola rides with children

If you are traveling with a baby, I advise you not to take the stroller. It is best to use a baby carrier, as strollers must be left at the gondola reference station. On the other hand, the rides on the Grand Canal do allow strollers.

Book a gondola ride

4. Museums yes, but with different visits

Correr Museum| ©Kotomi
Correr Museum| ©Kotomi

There is a cliché that children get bored in museums. However, this depends a lot on the way the visit is made and the type of museum. My advice is not to eliminate this activity completely, but to study very well where to go and if the museum has activities that can interest the little ones. In the case of Venice, these are the most suitable:

  • :::link|text=Natural History Museum||element=pa-1742::: One of the most interesting museums for children in Venice is the Natural Science Museum. Inside they will be able to see fossils and dinosaur skeletons, including one over 7 meters high that always surprises the little ones. Another section they usually like is the one dedicated to cetaceans, as well as the large aquarium it houses.
  • Children's Day at the :::link|text=Peggy Guggenheim|element=pa-1735::: The Peggy Guggenheim Museum organizes every Sunday the so-called Children's Day. Children under the age of 10 can enter for free to attend workshops (in several languages) on contemporary art.
  • Correr Museum: the highlight for children is the drawing workshop based on myths and legends. They will also enjoy the explanation of a journey that will take them to discover the Venice of the sixteenth century.
  • Naval History Museum: the antique ships inside are a magnet for most children.
  • :::link|text=Leonardo Da Vinci Machine museum||element=pa-1739::: (Campo San Rocco): in this museum you can see several of the machines designed by Leonardo Da Vinci. It is a very attractive exhibition, especially for older kids.

:::link|text=Book tickets for the Leonardo da Vinci Museum|element=pa-1739:::

5. A different activity: making your own Venetian mask

Venetian masks| ©Katty Piazza
Venetian masks| ©Katty Piazza

While strolling around Venice, children will be able to see everywhere the typical Venetian masks typical of the carnival in winter. The beauty and colorfulness of the masks will surely make them want to buy them, something that can always be done. Of course, they might enjoy it more if you take them to learn how to make them and they can make their own.

Creating one of these masks will not only be fun for them, but it is also an activity that will encourage their creativity. In Venice you can find several stores that offer this activity, in which adults can also participate.

When booking the class I recommend that you always look for an authentic Venetian master craftsman, as they are the ones who will best explain the traditional techniques for making the mask.

Normally, you will be able to choose between two types of classes: decoration, where the children will take the mask right away, and production, for which they will have to wait a few hours before they can proudly pick up their creation.

Best places to buy a mask if you prefer

If you don't have time or the children don't like the possibility of making their own mask, a good option is to buy one. Actually, you will have no problem finding beautiful examples in numerous stores and street stalls all over the city, but there are some neighborhoods that are more recommendable to get one with a certain quality.

In my opinion, the best is the San Polo neighborhood. You only have to look at the number of windows from which hang masks and carnival costumes to realize the number of artisans who live there. To reach this area you can take a pleasant walk across the Rialto Bridge.

Book a mask-making workshop

6. Go to shows for children and families

Palazzetto Bru Zane| ©Jean-Pierre Dalbéra
Palazzetto Bru Zane| ©Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

Venice also offers some interesting shows for the little ones. It is always a good idea to research the agenda before you go, but the following venues usually have activities that will delight children.

  • Palazzetto Bru Zane: offers special concerts for children ages six and up. Before the concerts themselves there is a workshop in which a musician puts his effort into getting the little ones involved in an interactive way. In addition, other activities are organized in the same building, such as a treasure hunt.
  • Teatro Goldoni: in addition to the museum inside, this theater organizes various children's entertainment activities, including puppet shows.
  • Teatro ai Frari: like the previous one, this theater offers puppet shows and other cultural activities for children of all ages.

7. Surprise them with the cats at the Acqua Alta bookstore

Acqua Alta Bookshop| ©Dimitris Kamaras
Acqua Alta Bookshop| ©Dimitris Kamaras

A different and much-appreciated visit for children is the well-known Acqua Alta bookstore. Here they will enjoy not only the peculiar way of stacking the books (forming figures of stairs or a gondola) or the special exit to swim out in case of flooding, but also the cats that, they say, keep the old books so that nothing happens to them.

This bookstore is located in the Castello district, in the middle of an interesting labyrinth of alleys and canals. The main entrance is in a small square called Campiello del Tintor, on Calle Longa Santa Maria Formosa. From my point of view, it is a must-see if you are staying more than 2 days in Venice.

8. Spend a morning at the beach

Lido Beach, Venice| ©Francesco
Lido Beach, Venice| ©Francesco

If your trip takes place in spring or summer, when the weather is usually good, children can enjoy a few hours at the beach to rest from the more touristy visits. The best place for this are the beaches of the Lido, just 15 minutes by vaporetto from the city.

The island has several different beaches. Some of them are private, but others are public and free, such as Paradise Beach, San Nicolo or Murazzi and Alberoni. All of them are great options to go with the family.

Take advantage of your stay at the Lido to take them to the planetarium

If you went to the Lido in spring you can take the kids to the fabulous planetarium inside the public park of Lungomare D'Annunzio. The opening calendar runs from October to May and the activities are recommended for children aged 7 and up.

The show, which is free of charge, lasts about 50 minutes and offers children an extraordinary view of the sky, its stars and various phenomena such as rainbows.

9. Venice's parks: perfect places to play for a while

Giardini Reali| ©Simone Graziano Panetto
Giardini Reali| ©Simone Graziano Panetto

All children need moments of relaxation where they can play, run around and relax. If you don't take this into account, it is quite possible that the trip will end in a tantrum. Luckily, Venice has some gardens that are perfect for them and, in some cases, equipped with playgrounds for the little ones.

  • Giardini Reali: just 50 meters from St. Mark's Basilica, this small park can be perfect for a picnic or a seated ice cream. Although it has no swings, children can entertain themselves watching the fish in the pond.
  • Giardini della Biennale: the gardens of the Biennale (or Napoleonic Gardens) are the largest green space in the city. There children can enjoy the playground, with activities for the whole family. If you are lucky enough to be celebrating the Biennale, the park is filled with stalls and art exhibitions.
  • Savorgnan Park: close to the train station and the interesting Jewish ghetto, this park is ideal for the hottest days. Its shaded areas seem to have been purposely created to sit and have a bite to eat.

10. Let them lose themselves in the labyrinth at Villa Pisani

Labyrinth at Villa Pisani| ©Paolo Tonon
Labyrinth at Villa Pisani| ©Paolo Tonon

Venice is often described as a maze of canals, streets, alleys and ducts. However, a short distance from the city there is a real labyrinth that is sure to delight children. This is the one located in Villa Pisani, in Stra, on the "Riviera del Brenta".

The villa itself offers enough attractions to visit it if your stay in Venice lasts for about 4 days, but there is no doubt that the little ones will mainly focus on the aforementioned maze located in the huge garden.

The truth is that the labyrinth is not at all simple, so you should never let the children out of your sight. The route goes through several concentric rings and it is quite easy to get lost. Fortunately, in the center there is a ladder that you can climb to have a view of the whole and know which is the way out.

Practical info

  • How to get there: the most convenient for children is to take an Actv bus from Piazzale Roma
  • Period and opening hours: between April and September the Villa is open from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm. From October to March, the Villa closes at 4:00 pm.

When to travel to Venice with children

Venice with Kids| ©Fernsd
Venice with Kids| ©Fernsd

It is not easy to decide what is the best time to go to Venice with children, especially since the choice is very limited by the school calendar.

If there is a choice, my recommendation is spring. For one thing, there are usually fewer tourists and walking around the city is much more comfortable, not to mention that the lines to get into the monuments are much shorter.

On the other hand, the weather is mild, without the cold and rain of winter and without the intense heat of summer.

Getting around Venice with kids

Venice, Italy| ©Jorge Franganillo
Venice, Italy| ©Jorge Franganillo

There are several means of transportation to get around Venice, almost all of which are water-related. In general, most tourists tend to travel on foot or by vaporetto.

  • If your child is very small, it is best to bring a baby carrier to carry him or her. Although in large areas such as St. Mark's Square there are no problems with strollers, many parts of the city are riddled with stairs and bridges without ramps.
  • Vaporetto with children: children under 6 years of age do not pay to travel by vaporetto and can take the strollers for free.