La Maestranza Park
There are times during a holiday when kids want to do kids' stuff. If your kids are getting a restless from sightseeing, pop into Old Havana's only children's playground at Parque La Maestranza. The park also offers a great opportunity to see Cuban kids at play and for your children to get to know friendly locals of their own age.
Downtown Havana can occasionally seem rather built-up, but it isn't necessary to head as far out as the Parque Lenin or the Parque Almendares to find a place for a short rest and some entertainment for the children.
Located right in Habana Vieja, the Parque La Maestranza stretches for 2-blocks. It is extremely popular with locals and offers a variety of activities, some free and others with a minimal entrance change.
Attractions and activities
Although decidedly low-tech compared to kids' entertainment options in western countries, the kids themselves don't seem to care. There are several areas in the park offering different options for children of various ages.
In an enclosed area, there are the traditional swings, climbing frames and slides and a miniature railway. In another zone, there are also huge inflatable slides and bouncy castles (requires a separate ticket). For a small fee, you'll get access to pony rides on another side of the park.
Sometimes, you'll also find clowns or mime artists at the park, ready to entertain their young audience. Visitors will also spot plenty of adults, grateful for the opportunity to take a seat on a bench and let their kids use up their energy in a safe environment. Don't forget your sun cream, though - there is not so much shade on a busy day.
Inside the park you will find stalls selling snacks, drinks and sweets. With the entrance ticket, these can be bought at a discounted price, but sales are limited in order to ensure supplies are sufficient to go around! Look out for Cuban brand cola drinks and africanas, a particularly Cuban chocolate biscuit. Outside the entrance, in addition to street vendors selling imported toys made in China, are some stands with great souvenirs for kids, such as authentic toys produced by local Cuban artisans. Balloons and popcorn are on sale outside the park.
Parque La Maestranza is on Cuarteles Street between Tacón Street and Avenida del Puerto in Habana Vieja (Old Havana). It's right across the harbour, facing the Morro and Cabaña Fort. It's easy to find - just follow the sound of children's laughter. Everybody knows it! The park is open daily from 9am - 5pm, except Mondays and Tuesday. Admission for kids and adults is extraordinarily cheap at $3.00 MN per person (an equivalent to $0.15 CUC or £0.10 approximately). We consulted with the staff at the park and the entry fee is priced the same for the local public and tourists.
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