The following is a guest post written exclusively for Spain Savvy by travel journalist and photographer Fiona Flores Watson.
Spring in Andalucia often means rainy days – which are not ideal if you’re travelling with kids.
But fear not, we’re here to help: these are great ideas for places to see and things to do indoors when the heavens open. From fabulous fish to interactive science exhibits, you’ll find something to keep everyone happy.
ACUARIO DE SEVILLA – SEVILLE AQUARIUM
All kids love seeing animals, and ones which are brightly coloured and oddly-shaped are always winners with the younger generation. The Seville Aquarium, located by the river near the Puente de Los Remedios, has 400 marine species in 7,000 creatures, from tiny tree frogs to nurse sharks. TV screens give information about each creature’s size, habitat, diet and whether they’re in danger of extinction (all information is in both Spanish and English).
Look out for the clown fish (as seen in Finding Dory) and the «nursery» where young sea creatures are kept. On Saturday at midday there are workshops where you can look at coral skeleton, shark skin and baby pipefish (seahorses with long bodies) through a microscope, while if you’re there on a Monday or Friday at 1pm, you’ll see divers in the shark tank, one of Europe’s largest, offering the fearsome beasts some tasty morsels.
Best of all are the jellyfish, extraordinary sea creatures which are 95% water – they float through the water, trailing their tentacles: you can see tiny transparent ones and orange ones which look like nuclear mushroom clouds.
The website has downloadable materials for kids (some with information Spanish, some just for colouring), and you can see plenty of interesting information about the environment – plastic sea pollution and melting polar ice-caps.
PABELLON DE NAVEGACION – NAVIGATION PAVILION, SEVILLE
Staying with a marine theme, this museum – also located on the riverbank, this time next to Torre Seville (the 145-metre tower just outside the centre) – charts the navigational adventures of Spain’s New World sea captains, who sailed across the ocean at risk from pirates, shipwrecks, mutiny and more to discover.
A futuristic sea of LED lights, which fade on and off to simulate waves, greetS you as you arrive. You can see model ships, including the Victoria, flagship of Magellan’s fleet which eventually completed the world’s first circumnavigation, and historical items from the Spanish conquest of the Americas, such as slave’s manacles and an Amazonian headdress.
The pavilion, which was built for Expo 92 (the Universal Exposition held in Seville in 1992), often houses temporary exhibitions in addition to the permanent collection. Look out for special events during the Magellan fifth centenary celebrations.
PARQUE DE LOS CIENCIAS – SCIENCE PARK, GRANADA
As wondrous as the Alhambra is, kids may find that tiled rooms with arched windows lose their attraction after a while. Promise them a trip to this excellent interactive science park, and they’ll be good as gold.
From controlling robots to exploring a mobius strip, there are countless hands-on activities, as well as another aquarium and a geodome, with 250 species including lemurs, otters and toucans – the latter two are very tame, and you can get up close and meet them.
In the section Viaje al Cuerpo Humano (Voyage to the Human Body), you can learn about biomedicine, anatomy, transplants, genetics, and the latest research and scientific discoveries. Biosfera explains about life on our planet – a big ecosystem where diversity and interdependence are key themes.
There is also a planetarium, while temporary exhibitions have included excellent multimedia presentations on robots and music.
Be aware that you need to walk around outdoors to get from one part of the park to another, so brollies are advisable if the weather is wet.
MUSEO AUTOMOVILISTICO Y DE LA MODA – AUTOMOBILE AND FASHION MUSEUM, MALAGA
This museum in Malaga’s former tobacco factory – the museum capital of Andalucia has countless institutions celebrating everything from art and furniture to wine – has targeted gender stereotypes, with considerable success. We’d recommend this for older children – teenagers ideally.
Car buffs will salivate over the 80-plus classical models – Bugattis, Ferraris, Bentleys and Jaguars, a customised Rolls-Royce – all from the private collection of Portuguese collector Joao Magalhaes, while fashion mavens will love the 200 or so outfits and hats.
Special events such as fashion catwalk shows are often held at the museum – check the upcoming calendar for details.