Although Milan is a big city for (would-be) important people (businessmen, designers) it does offer some 'divertimento' for the smaller of humans. We collected a few of these in this guide.
Unfortunately Milan has no zoo, the closest one being the Oasi di St Alessio near Pavia. There is the historical Acquarium in Sempione Park to compensate. There are several other parks and the watersports park Idroscalo. Funny enough, the garden of the Villa Reale at the Giardini Pubblici has a garden especially for kids where adults only can enter when accompanied by a child.
See below our choices of the venues suitable for kids and their parents. A range of swimming pools is also given.
A Liberty style aquarium
The communal aquarium of Milan, situated in a beautiful art nouveau building in Sempione park, is one of the oldest aquariums in the world.
A spectacular transparent tunnel-bridge allows visitors to pass underneath the tank and admire the many different fish species from every corner.
The aquarium has multimedia library.
Admission free! Completely accessible to the disabled.
Viale G. Gadio 2
Metro 2, Lanza stop
Close encounters of the beastly kind
This is a rather typical park, adjacent to a medieval castle, in the small comune of Sant'Alessio, 25 km south of Milan.
The animal park was started in 1973 by private initiative and has been struggling to survive since, just as some of the animal species that it managed to help and save from extinction: the Przewalski's horse, the pilgrim falcon, the stork.
You'll find that the park definitely is in need of more maintenance and maybe think that entrance is overpriced, but the display gets better as you go along. The park is surprisingly large and when you think you are reaching the end, you enter a maze of winding paths with surprises at each corner.
I have never been so close to a sloth (except for a few of my acquaintances) before, and the same holds for the storks, and other small birds. After a series of rather murky aquariums, you' ll suddenly find yourself in front a a spectacular sturgeon and some massive carp.
Each Sat&Sun there are predatory bird shows at 3:30 (Sun also at 11:30).
You can easily spend an afternoon here. There's a bar at the entrance, with pasta lunches at 6 euro and sandwiches at 4-5 euro. Dogs are not allowed in but may stay in a box at the entrance.
The entrance is at Via Roma, use the intercom. It gets very hot in summer and you'd better bring your repellent as this is mosquito country, in the middle of the (risotto) rice fields. The park has its own website (in Italian)
Via Cadorna 2, 27016 Sant'Alessio con Vialone
Where airplanes used to land
This park, far east out of city center, consists of a large water basin, created as an airport for waterplanes in the 1930's.
In summer there are numerous shows and events organised in the park and its a renowned water sport competitions venue: canoeing, sailing, rowing, water skiing, wake board, wake skate and kite surf are practiced here.
There are plenty of pools, tennis courts, football pitches, a horse riding centre, cross-country and mountain bike paths, free climbing facilities, volleyball and basketball courts, a skating area and an inline-skating track.
The eastern part of the basin is home to the natural oasis Laghetto delle Vergini, a protected area filled with plants and rich in fish species. A butterfly path winds around it.
And then there is also the Villaggio del Bambino, a park designed and developed to meet both the cognitive and play needs of children.
Other facilities in the park:
A plan of the park and its facilities can be downloaded from the Idroscalo website.
Completely accessible to the disabled.
Cooling off in summer
Milan can be hot in summer and as there is no major river or lake nearby (though Lake Como is a possible daytrip), except for the Idroscalo Park, you are to go to a swimming pool to take refreshing tuffo in acqua.
There are several outdoor possibilities, all cost about 4-6€, opening hours are for summer period:
Viale Tunisia 35
Metro: Porta Venezia or Repubblica
Tel: 02 659 9703
Open: 8:30am - 7pm; 10am - 5pm weekends
33 m pool - 20 m pool - trampolines
- changing rooms - showers
Via Segantini 6
Transport 47, 59, 74, 90, 91, M 2
Tel: 02 5810 0012
Open: 10am - 8pm, Tuesday closed
30x20 m pool - 33,33x30 m pool - solarium - bar
Piazzale Lotto 15
Transport 48, 49, 68, 78, 90, 91, 95,
M 1 Piazzale Lotto
Tel: 02 392 791
Open: 10am-7pm, Monday closed
Full water park with fun attractions - tennis courts - changing rooms - showers
Piscina Solari (indoor, with outside lawn area)
Via Montevideo 20
Tel; 02 469 5278
Open: 7am-10pm; 10am - 5pm weekends
25 m pool - solarium - changing rooms - showers
Via Valfurva, 9
Transport 2, 4, 40, 42
Open: 10am - 7pm; Monday closed
50 x 25 m pool - 25 x 25 m pool – beginners pool - solarium - bar
Via Ampere, 20
Transport 11, 23, 33, 62, 90, 91, 93, M 2
Open: 10am - 7pm; Wedn closed
100x40 m pool - bar - solarium
Via del Cardellino, 3
Open: 10am - 7pm; Closed on Tues or Fri
Transport 49, 50, 58, 64, 78, M 1 Inganni
25 m pool - 50 m outdoor pool - gym - solarium - changing rooms - showers
Via Corelli, 136
Open: 10am - 7pm; Closed on Mondays
25 m pool - 50 m pool - diving pool - pool for children - 4 gyms – 1 cardio room - 12 tennis courts – 1 athletic track - baseball field - rugby pitch - beach volleyball court - roller skating rink – football fields - changing rooms - showers
Via Sant’Abbondio, 12
Open: 10am - 7pm; Closed on Wedn
Transport 3, 15, 79, 88, M 2 Abbiategrasso
25 m internal pool - 50 m external pool - gym - solarium - changing rooms - showers
Lots and lots of water fun!
For a full day of all sorts of waterfun you should definitely visit the Aquatica (Water) Park of Milan. It is situated near the Tangenziale Ovest, way west and can be reached by M 1 and bus 76.
Open from June - Sept 10am - 7pm.
Every weekend a soccer game
The home ground of both Internazionale and AC Milan soccer clubs is officially named after the two-time World Cup winner (1934 and 1938), Giuseppe Meazza. But the stadium is more commonly known as "the" San Siro, after the district in which it is located (and the patron saint of Milan).
Although it is originally from 1925 the stadium underwent major modernization for the 1990 World Cup games. It has now three tiers and a capacity of 80.000.
Under the southern terrace, you will find the San Siro Museum. Guided tours (in English) of the stadium are possible in combination with a visit to the museum.
Completely accessible to the disabled.
Metro 1,, Lotto-Fiera stop
Not just racing
The Milan Hippodrome next to the San Siro Soccer Stadium is in fact an entertainment park which offers an all-day program of activities:
You can also admire the gigantic horse statue, made according to the design of Leonardo da Vinci.
Adjacent to the Hippodrome lies the Parco di Trenno with the British War Cemetery.
The race course is subdivided into two parts: the harness-racing area and the thoroughbred racing area. Betting is managed electronically, both for receipt and payment.
Completely accessible to the disabled.
Metro 1, Lotto-Fiera
Dinosaurs and other dead stuff
This is an enormous museum, that displays about everything and anything that has to do with Natural History in its 23 halls (5,500 square meters). It is located in the Giardini Pubblici.
One hall is completely dedicated to dinosaurs, with a series of displays illustrating their origin, evolution and biology.
The museum has spectacular diorama's simulating a range of natural habitats (Amazon, anaconda).
There is also a herbarium that comprises about 30,000 dried samples of plants along with small collections of algae, mushrooms, lichens, mosses, fruits and seeds. Particular is the collection of 400 different timber species.
Completely accessible to the disabled (but no reserved parking space).
Corso Venezia, 55
Metro 1 Palestro stop
Tram 9, Porta Venezia stop
It's impossible to give an overview here of the wealth of exhibits presented at the Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci. The excellent website (in English) will help you out here.
The museum is housed in a former cloister (plus two new pavilions) and is the largest of its kind in Italy.
Especially worth mentioning is the entire department dedicated to the inventions of Leonardo (rightly so as the museum takes its name from the Renaissance uomo universale), see again the excellent website.
Another highlight is the possibility to visit (extra fee) the S-506 Enrico Toti submarine (Wedn-Fri 10.00-4.15; Sat&Holidays 10-5.45).
Other departments cover the themes of materials, communication, transport, energy and new frontiers.
A lot of attention is paid to draw the interest of the child visitor, e.g. by the interactive labs that allow a hand-on experience of each theme.
Outside are two areas where you can relax in leafy green surroundings.
You receive a 30% discount on your ticket with the MilanoCard.
Disabled access is available throughout the museum with the exception of the inside of the Toti Submarine, part of the Air Transport collection, and the Light i.lab.
Metro 2 S. Ambrogio
Bus 50, 58 San Vittore
Bus 94 Carducci
In the Giardini Pubblici you may visit the Planetarium Hoepli, built in 1930 as one of the first in Italy.
In the vast auditorium (600 seats, dome 20 m in diameter) you can watch projections of the night sky and learn how to recognize stars, planets and constellations, under the guidance of an expert, every Saturday and Sunday at 3 and 4:30 (in Italian).
Don't forget to note the original chairs in the auditorium and the relief with the 1930's skyline of Milan.
The building is located on the edge of the Giardini Publici, and is a stone’s throw away from the Natural History Museum. It was originally built for the Italian publisher Ulrico Hoepli, who donated it to the city of Milan after its inauguration in 1930. Peculiarity: Hoepli actually was an editor of astronomical scientific literature, not an astronomer himself. He published most of the scientific work produced by the Brera Astronomical Institute. In the '30s he developed a pocket planetarium.
Fully accessible to the disabled.
Metro 1, Palestro stop
There's more then just minigolf
The entertainment park "Adventure Golf" has one of the largerst minigolf courses in Europe, with a surface area of 22.000 m2. There are two courses each with 18 holes.
Next to the two minigolf courses there are:
Costs: 10€, Open from March till October
address: Via Corelli, 138
Bus 38, stop Centro Sportivo Saini
A fun-fair for everyone
This permanent luna park has celebrated its 50th birthday. It offers ore than 30 atractions. Among these, the novelty of summer 2013, is the "Macumba": a carousel composed of several mechanical arms that move faster and faster from the bottom to the top, giving the impression to those who are sitting being thrown into the air.
Among the historical attractions there are the "Flying Fury" (which allows the simulation of the flight at 40 meters high), the rollercoaster, the "Super freesby", the "Ghost Train", the "Space Star". And there is no shortage of classic rides like bumper cars, the Ferris wheel, the toboggan and the attractions for the little ones.
Inside the park there is a restaurant, pizzeria, brewery and ice cream parlor.
Open each saturday and sunday from 14.00 till 20.00 hours
Entrance to the park itself is free. You pay separately for each attraction. If you want to take advantage of all the rides in an unlimited way you may buy an entry bracelet for 16€. More info (in Italian) on their website.
Via Rivoltana, 64, 20090 Segregate
Ever thought of moving to Italy and enjoying the 'Good Life'? Read this book about two Dutchmen who have moved to Italy together with their dog, and the story of their new Bed & Breakfast.
The hilarious & horrendous adventures of two Dutch expats and their dog in Italy
About mafiose real estate agents, Mussolini-type builders, lousy plumbers, Italian neighbours, murderous veterinarians, horrors in hospitals, tasting wine, eating pizza, visiting the theatre, truffle hunting and much more!
Winner Reader Views Literary Fiction Award & 2017 Eric Hoffer Award Finalist
Buy at Amazon (paperback/ebook) and other retailers