These are my favorite must-do things with kids in Prague Old Town with kids, known as Staré Město in Czech. In the Old Town you’ll find the Old Town Square, little lanes leading to the Charles Bridge, and the Powder Gate through which the Old Town ends and the New Town begins.
Do you want to uncover one of the stories of the Old Town with your children? Download this Free printable Legend of Prague Astronomical Clock! I turned the story into a little puzzle to make it even more interesting for your children.
I marked all the places I’m writing about here into this map to make it easier for you to use.
1. Tell your kids the Legend of the Astronomical Clock in the Old Town Square
Surrounded by a crowd, you’ll be waiting for the clock to strike the hour. Once it does, the little windows on top of the clock open, the skeleton starts ringing a bell and twelve apostles walk by the windows. Once the windows close again, the golden cockerel crows, shakes his wings and the show is over. Welcome to the Old Town Square!
The show might be a bit disappointing for kids – it was after all constructed over 600 years ago, but that’s what’s so amazing about it! So to make sure your children don’t go away wishing for more, tell them the Legend of the Clock!
Use this Free printable of Legend of Prague Astronomical Clock! to first read the legend to your children, then after, they can cut out pictures and glue them into the story in the right order!
2. Buy your kids Czech pencils, the best in the world
KOH-I-NOOR HARDTMUTH makes high-quality pencils that are known worldwide! For Czechs, it’s one of the very few private companies with a long history that still exists today. It was founded in 1790 after its founder Josef Hardtmuth invented the modern graphite pencil. Amazingly, the production process hasn’t changed to this day.
Are Koh-i-noor products really that great? When my son Chris brought home a list of things for school, it said triangular crayons Koh-i-noor! Or Koh-i-noor pencil, hardness 2H. That’s how much the teachers like Koh-i-noor products – because they never break.
Now, where to find a KOH-I-NOOR HARDTMUTH store in the center?
There is one hidden in Ungelt Courtyard just few steps from the Old Town Square. I always walk through here with my children – it’s definitely a much nicer way to get to the Old Town Square than the overcrowded, touristy Celetná Street. And as a bonus – there is a Koh-i-noor store right in the Courtyard.
Ungelt Courtyard was used as a place to pay customs in the 12th century. I wondered about the meaning of the word Ungelt which sounds more German than Czech. And yes, it comes from the German expression for money (um Geld). Merchants from foreign countries had to bring their goods through here – think about it basically as a fortified merchant yard in the Middle Ages with all kinds of services such as a pharmacy, a hospital, hostels, restaurants and bars inside. It wasn’t open to the public until 1996.
3. Let kids find the upside down hanging horse in Prague’s beautiful Lucerna Passage
Wenceslas Square in Prague is named after the good St. Wenceslas, who is riding his horse at the top of the Square, right in front of the National Museum. This is good King Wenceslas (Svatý Václav) himself, the patron saint of the Czech Republic, and who was murdered a thousand years ago by his brother.
Now, the question is where is the other statue of St. Wenceslas and what does it stand for? Find Lucerna Palace in the middle of Wenceslas Square (by the tram stop). Walking through Lucerna’s Art Nouveau passage is quite an experience by itself, but you’re here for more than just the Art Nouveau decorations. You’re looking for a horse that is hanging from the roof upside down. And St. Wenceslas is still riding it. Can you find it?
This satiric piece was made by David Černý (yes, the same man who made the Babies) and hung here in 1999. Some might find it disturbing and controversial, but I believe the message of this artwork is much deeper than that. And it definitely makes children ask questions and lets their imagination take off. My son Marian asked me: “Mom, is that horse dead? Can you ride a dead horse? Who is the man riding the upside-down horse?” Well, what would your answer be?
4. Rent a paddle boat on the Vltava River and see Prague from the water
I always thought the boats and paddle boats on the Vltava River by the Charles Bridge were tourist traps. But one hot summer day I finally decided to check them out. And it was great! We went to Mánes (a beautiful gallery), through the Mánes building to the Slavonic Island and rented a four-person paddle boat for just 200 CZK (around €8). First, I was worried that the paddle boat would be too hard to paddle but not at all. My children and me paddled round Střelecký Island, home to the best views of the Charles Bridge and the Prague Castle. It was so peaceful and the boys were crazy about it – they chased the swans and ducks and other paddle boats. A few crashes here and there are acceptable.
This experience, after all the initial hesitation, eventually made it onto my top 4 list in the Old Town. If you’re in Prague with family on a sunny day, go for it and paddle your way around the best views of the Vltava River and Prague. This close-up map should help you find your way around.
Let me know how you enjoyed the Old Town! And even if you’re not planning a trip to Prague, still download the printable – the Legend About the Astronomical Clock is fascinating even if you don’t get to see the Clock in person any time soon.
Wondering about more tips about Prague Old Town with kids? Don’t forget to order my Prague Family Kit with three day tours that take you around all the beautiful sights in Prague and more. Order your kit now with free delivery to your hotel!
Thank you so much for Prague Family kit! We had a wonderful time visiting Prague from the U.S. (November, 2016). Our two children (age 5 and 7) were very excited that the package was waiting for them when we arrived at our apartment (and the treats were awesome after a long flight). We did a portion of all three walks and ate at many of the restaurants recommended and the kids loved it all! We couldn’t have been happier with our time in Prague and the family kit helped make it a wonderful visit for the whole family!
St Wenceslas got himself a sore bottom with all the riding on the horses hard back. So he decided to use the horses softer/bouncer underbelly as his seat instead.
Finally a good explanation, thank you Satz! 😉