Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen, has repeatedly been recognised as one of the cities with the best quality of life. Bright, cosmopolitan and environmentally friendly (the water in the inner harbour is so clean it can be swum in) the city is a safe and popular destination for families. And with child-friendly museums, architecture that seems straight out of a fairy-tale and several amusement parks within easy reach, it’s not hard to see why.
At the national science museum getting up close and personal with the exhibits is the name of the game. Designed specifically with children in mind, the displays are festooned with levers, buttons and triggers, all designed to stimulate young minds into asking how and why things work.
Visitors use all of their five senses in this interactive museum that has more than 300 exhibits. Adventurous souls can easily lose an entire afternoon playing, learning and experimenting.
A short 15 minute trip north of the city and you can find yourself in the tranquil and leafy Dyrehaven Park, the world’s oldest amusement park.
This ancient hawthorn forest is great for walking, cycling and riding and is open throughout the year. Visitors can even take a horse-drawn carriage ride from just outside the station.
The park also has a number of roller coasters and other rides suitable for all ages, the oldest of which dates back to 1932.
Bizarrely, Copenhagen is also home to the world’s second oldest amusement park, the Tivoli Gardens.
This magical park, in the heart of the city, first opened its gates in 1843 and has been evolving ever since, without ever losing its gentle and beguiling charm. It’s said that Walt Disney was so captivated by Tivoli that he attempted to buy the gardens. When he was refused, he went on to design his own Disneyland in California.
More than just rides, Tivoli has a daily pantomime, regular classical music performances and free Friday night rock concerts with big local and international names performing on the open air stage.
Hans Christian Anderson Museum
Dedicated to the author of well loved fairytales such as The Snow Queen, The Little Mermaid and The Ugly Duckling, this museum may be slightly on the gimmicky side for die-hard Hans Christian Anderson fans, but children will love the colourful tableaux-style recreations of his timeless tales.
For a more classic fairytale fix, it would normally be essential to visit the famous little mermaid statue that perches on a rock in the Copenhagen harbour in Langelinie. However, the statue is currently on loan to Expo 2010 in Shanghai, where it will remain until October 2010.
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