Here is a list of my son’s favorite things to do in Rome. He compiled this list, I’m merely doing the typing.
1. At the top of the list of things for kids to do in Rome is Explora, the Rome Children’s Museum (located at Via Flaminia 82). As the name indicates, this is a hands-on exploratory experience for kids, and is divided into four sections–Me, Society, Environment, and Communication–to help children discover their world. Kids can stage a mock TV broadcast, shop in a miniature supermarket or wander around a transparent environment-friendly house. The typical ‘do not touch’ signs are nowhere in sight! The museum is closed on Mondays. Visits last 1 hour and 45 minutes and have to be booked in advance by calling +39 06 3613776. Entrance fee for children aged 0-3 is free, children aged 4-92 pay a €8 ticket. On Thursday afternoon children and adults pay €6 each.
Nearest underground station: Flaminio (Metro A). Buses n. 490, 495, 628, 92, 88, 6. Plenty of parking in rear.
2. For the cat lovers in your family, the famous Largo Argentina Cat Sanctuary is well worth a visit. Here, you’ll find friendly volunteers who run this no-kill shelter for abandoned cats on donations alone, in the marvelous setting of the Largo di Torre Argentina ruins. Tell your children the story of how Roman emperors strolled here, and take them downstairs to visit the cat shop and see some of the shelter’s residents. Volunteers give English-language guided tours for free.
3. A trip back in ancient Roman times might be just the ticket for the 8-12 age group, and 3D Rewind Rome provides exactly this: a virtual 3D movie tour through the tunnel of Emperor Commodus to the Colosseum’s floor, where you are front and center to a roaring crowd. The movie then transports you around a detailed model of ancient Rome, with kitsch characters and recognizable major sites of the ancient city. Rich in detail and history. Good “Colosseo companion” as its visualizes the amphitheater’s magnificence. Via Capo d’Africa 5 | Tel. +39 06 677076627 | Open Monday to Sunday 9.00 a.m. – 7.00 p.m. | Nearest Metro stop: Colosseo | Buses: 87, 85, 850, 81, 117, 630, 75, 175, 60, 271, 571, 810, 186.
4. If you have time for an out-of-town excursion, the Monster Park at Bomarzo is about an hour’s drive north of Rome and is always a favorite with kids. This Renaissance garden has larger-than-life stone sculptures of various animals and ‘monsters’ that your children can climb on and, in the case of ‘the leaning house,’ inside!
5. Can’t go home without a stop at the toy store? Don’t miss Città del Sole (Via della Scrofa 65), an Italian chain that features a range of educational toys disguised as just plain fun. Also, between Piazza di Pietra and the Pantheon, you’ll probably notice throngs of people carrying shopping bags with a wooden Pinocchio on them—that’s because they’ve discovered Bartolucci (Via dei Pastini 98). Overflowing with exquisite hand-crafted pine wood toys and clocks with pendulums swinging every which way, the pure sensory overload of this shop makes it hard to keep your wallet in check—you’ll probably end up walking out with a bag of goodies just like everyone else. On Saturdays the workshop is open ’til midnight.