Museo del Ferrocarril de Madrid (metro Delicias)

Paseo Delicias, 61. Tel: 902 22 88 22

The museum is open Tues to Sun from 10am to 3pm. It is closed on Mondays. There are trains from several decades of the last century. You can go inside a couple of them; others you can look at through the windows. Amongst other exhibits in the rooms on the side of the station are some impressive model railways with running trains (my toddler was quite entertained by these). Outside the station, in the ‘backyard’, there is a miniature train circuit. Here there are train rides every Saturday from 1130am to 2pm (note this will be cancelled if it is raining). Cost is 1 euro per child, 1,50 per adult.

The museum still functions as a station for some trains, for instance the Tren de la Fresa (Strawberry Train) which goes to Aranjuez (see the Excursions around Madrid page).

Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (Natural History Museum) (metros Gregorio Marañon and Nuevos Ministerios)

C/José Gutiérrez Abascal, 2

Open Tues to Fri from 10 to 6pm, Saturdays from 10 to 8pm (except in July and August when it closes at 3pm), and on Sundays and holidays open from 10 to 2:30pm. Closed on Mondays. Entrance is 5 euros per adult. Children under 4 get in free.

“We are big fans of the national history museum and have been at least 5 or 6 times over the last year. It is relatively small – I reckon you can ‘do’ the whole thing in about 45 mins but to me that is why it is perfect for this age group as this is about as long as they will stand in any one activity. Highlights for our eldest two are always – the huge statue of an elephant and a lovely new fish tank in the reception area – once you’ve prised the kids away from those, there is a wealth of big mammals – lions, tigers, wolves etc in the first room. Then on from there, the mediterranean hall with the giant squid is another favourite. There is generally something ‘under construction’ when you go – the halls seem to be renovated fairly regularly, but if there are closed areas, you tend to get a discount.”
Kirsten, mother of three (aged 3, 2 and 11 months).

(Note from author: the dinosaur room is currently under construction, until Dec, as is the fish tank mentioned by Kirsten but as she says, it’s still worth going and then re-visiting a few months later.)

There is buggy access to most areas, except the cellar area where they keep a lot of the birds and small animals. Toilets are easily accessible. There is two hour parking right outside the front door.

Cosmo Caixa

C/Pintor Velázquez, s/n, Alcobendas (near Ikea and Toys R Us), MetroNorte, line 10, station Marqués de la Valdavia

Highly recommend this science museum, especially for 3-year-olds and up, though 2-year-olds would probably get something out of it too. It has two floors of exhibitions, including loads of buttons to press. The exhibitions on the ground floor are temporary – currently on recycling and optics which is not as good for little ones as the previous one on magic was, but there’s a small room with a cool ‘design your own bug and send it to the pond’ computer and laser activity. My 4-year-old enjoyed painting the bug (by screen-touch) and my toddler had fun chasing it in the pond. There are also activities for 3+ year olds at certain times throughout the day, including “Clic”, where children get to go on things in a science-themed indoor playground, “Toca toca!”, where they get to touch different animals, and “Explora”, exploring the 5 senses. There’s also a very pleasant restaurante on the first floor, and an outdoor terrace, and a toy shop. Open from 10am to 8pm Tuesdays to Sundays. Entrance is 3 euros for adults; small children get in free. And if you need to walk a toddler to sleep in a buggy, there’s a small park 3 minutes down the road.