It would be hard to imagine a child-friendlier capital than Stockholm. Start with how easy it is to get around, even with small children: The subway has stroller ramps and elevators, buses have straight-on entry without steps, adults with children in strollers ride free, children under 7 ride free anytime and those under 12 don’t pay on weekends. Restaurants almost always have highchairs and most have children’s menus. The Swedish people bring their children everywhere and welcome you to do the same.
Then there are all the attractions that appeal to kids. The central island of Djurgarden is the place to start, with enough diversions to keep any family busy for days. You can get here by buses 44 or 47 or by boat from Slussen (year-round) and from Nybroplan (in the summer).
More than 150 houses and buildings dating before 1900 have been saved from all parts of Sweden to create this historical village. Craftspeople demonstrate glassblowing, metal working, wood carving, basketry, weaving and other skills of the past, and kids will like the colorful costumes, folk dancing and music. At the children’s zoo they can meet reindeer, wolves, brown bears, moose, otters and seals. Skansen is open year-round.
Before going to Stockholm, you might want to find Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking books for young children. The sights and activities here are fun even without knowing Pippi, but a familiarity with the stories makes it even better. It’s like meeting an old friend in a strange city. Children ride a train over the rooftops to meet the characters from Pippi’s world and can play in her house and dress in the costumes. You can read along with the narration in English (ask for it when you arrive) and there are all sorts of interactive games and events like puppet shows. Junibacken is open year-round.
While the kids squeal and thrill at the rides and entertainment in this squeaky-clean amusement park, you’ll love watching the beautiful vintage carousels, Ferris wheels and kiddie rides, which have been here and kept in perfect repair since the park opened more than a century ago. Be here on summer evenings for concerts that draw performers from all over the world. Open May–September.
Vasa Museet (Vasa Ship Museum)
While older kids may not fall in love with the world of Pippi Longstocking, they are more likely to appreciate the restored Royal Warship Vasa, which sank into Stockholm harbor on her first trip, in 1628. The magnificent ship is restored in full glory, inside a soaring museum that allows you to see it from all angles and peer into its gun ports, then tricks you into believing you’re inside its stunning salons and cabins (the passages actually take you to recreations of these alongside the ship). The amazing thing is this ship lay in the mud until 1961, when salvage and restoration began. Begin with the film explaining the history and the salvage process. Kids will especially enjoy viewing the world from a real “crow’s nest” suspended high above the exhibits.
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