Nauthólsvík, the beach park of Reykjavík, on what seems like a warm day

The family guide to Reykjavík 

Where is the tallest waterslide in Reykjavík? Are the Viking helmets for viewing only? Is ice cream the national diet of Iceland? It is time to answer some pressing questions with the youngster's guide to Reykjavík. 

Circuleight at Harpa

The Harpa Concert Hall.
The immersive show runs from 11am-6pm every day.

The Harpa Concert Hall has partnered with the New York based Artechouse to create a multi-sensory immersive show well suited for all children over the age of four. The 30-minute show is titled

Circuleight

and features designs and real-time interactive visuals inspired by eight elements: lava, basalt, glacier, water, flora, algae, microorganism and volcanic gas.

The show is 20 minutes long and can be accessed every thirty minutes from 11-18 every day. Tickets are available online.  

Fjölskyldu- og húsdýragarðurinn 

Grasagarðurinn in Reykjavík
The Reykjavík Botanical Garden is nearby the popular zoo.

The Family Park and Zoo

, known as the Fjölskyldu- og húsdýragarðurinn, is a local favorite. Operated by the City of Reykjavík, the park has modest admission and activities for children of all ages. 

The zoo includes foxes, seals, pigs, reindeer and horses along with the exotic showroom: spiders, cockroaches, snakes and turtles. Another delight is watching the zookeepers give herring to the seals around 11am and 4pm each day. 

Further into the park is the amusement park of Reykjavík. Funfairs such as the carousel and the drop tower are open only over summer but the park itself is yet for all seasons, with a playground boosting of a giant pirate ship and a tree house resembling the home of some Astrid Lindgren character. 

People walking on Reykjavik pond in winter

Whale watching

On whale watching tours people see flukes, flippers, and fins but hardly ever the entire whale. For children, this tiny glimpse captures their imagination and provides scale to these ocean giants. Just consider this: the blue whale beats the length of any dinosaur ever lived and has a heart the size of a mini car. 

But check the forecast. Children over the age of six have hypersensitivity to motion sickness compared to adults. Studies suggest the sensitivity peaks around the age of nine. But if the weather conditions are good, like most summer days, there is no reason to worry.

For backup, the exhibition

Whales of Iceland

features 23 live-size models of North Atlantic species.

The open-air museum 

All museums welcome children – even the famous penis museum – but some try harder than others.

To get children to run around, visit the open-air museum

Árbæjarsafn

on the outskirts of Reykjavík. The museum is a field of old houses, and inside some of them are exhibitions on Reykjavík's past. The playroom is huge with vintage toys and costumes.

Close to the city center,

the National Museum

has a fun playroom with costumes and wooden swords to pose with. 

Children in a swimming pool in winter
Children in a swimming pool in winter

The (kid-friendly) public pools of Reykjavík

Reykjavík makes up for the lack of interesting playgrounds with its selection of outdoor public pools. The best of pools are, in fact, like neatly structured playgrounds with waterslides of various heights, shallow leisure pools, and balls to play with.

Meanwhile, parents can enjoy a soak in the ‘hot pods’.

In Reykjavík, the

Laugardalslaug

has the tallest waterslide. For families with children of varying age, the massive Laugardalslaug can be hard to navigate. Instead, the suburban

Árbæjarlaug

is very neatly designed as a family spot.

Lágafellslaug

in Mosfellsbær has arguably the best – and the most colorful – set of water slides. Sundlaug Seltjarnaness an excellent leisure pool for young children. 

The Nordic House 

rich-text-image
Local libraries are great for rainy days

An architectural landmark by the University of Iceland campus, designed by the acclaimed Finnish modernist architect Alvar Aalto, the

Nordic House

has an excellent indoor playroom for young children, located in the basement, with Legos from Denmark, Mumin characters from Finland, wooden Ikea toys from Sweden and books about elves and trolls from Iceland and Norway. 

Libraries are also popular among local parents.

Borgarbókasafnið Grófinni

has a great program for children and a playroom for the youngest. 

‘The Wonders of Iceland’ at Perlan 

Perlan in Reykjavík
The Wonders of Iceland exhibition is inside the iconic Perlan

The Wonders of Iceland

is an interactive and immersive exhibition on the elements of Iceland’s nature. Guests first enter a vast ice cave, some 100 meters in length. From then on it is volcanoes and earthquakes, with options for children to engage with. Augmented reality - the integration of digital information – is on display at the Látrabjarg bird cliff model.   A state-of-the art planetarium shows the Northern Lights. 

The exhibition is located inside Perlan, an iconic building originally made from old water tanks, with a great vista on top. And hot chocolate.

The Rush Trampoline Park

The Rush Trampoline Park
The Rush Trampoline Park is in town of Kópavogur

On a rainy day, the

Rush Trampoline Park

is something to consider – maybe! The park is set inside a 2200 sq meter warehouse with multi-size trampolines in vivid colors. Prepare yourself for a workout.

Getting around with kids 

City buses, known as Strætó, are free for children under the age of twelve. Strollers and bicycles are allowed on board.

Buses no longer accept cash or bank cards on board; riders have to pay with special

KLAPP tickets

.

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