Bologna with kids: 5 cool things to do (and 1 dinosaur)

When I was a kid Bologna was my city of dreams.
​Dinosaurs in cinemas, dinosaurs in toy shops, real dinosaurs in a museum!

My Jurassic age has gone, but if you're planning a few days in Bologna with your children here are my suggestions to make them WOOOOW like I did.

Gelato Museum Carpigiani

When I was a kid I used to spend summer holidays on the mountain with my grandparents.
I was quite a picky boy.
So picky that I only wanted hot gelato.
My granddad used to mock me about that, but times passes and flavours changes fortunately.
Now I can't live without gelato.

Not only Bologna has the best gelato I know, but a full museum dedicated to it.

Set inside Carpigiani, world leader manufacturer of gelato machines, there's the heaven of gelato lovers.

At Carpigiani Gelato museum you first learn about the history of this unique food.
Then you put your hands on with workshops for kids and adults to practice the art of making gelato.

But if your kids are wannabe chefs, why don't complete their training with our pasta cooking class in Bologna?

Gelato Museum Carpigiani
Via Emilia, 45, 40011 Anzola dell'Emilia BO
Tel. 051 650 5306

Ideal for kids of 6 - 18


Donkey at Dulcamara farm and petting zoo.
Titullo, Pallino, Ramona, Platero.
No, they're not hidden characters of Midsummer night's dream.
Those are the names of pigs and donkeys that you can meet at Dulcamara.

Up on the hills, just 20 min from Bologna city centre you find an amazing farm for kids and adults.

Dulcamara is a petting zoo, a restaurant and a place to just relax in the nature, with a wonderful view on Bologna.

Kids can learn to recognize aromatic herbs and forgotten fruits. They can approach horses and saddle up, press with their feet during harvest, or just relax and play in a quiet park.

​You can also start from Dulcamara for trekking and visit caves, fields and rivers.
​Dulcamara is also an agriturismo with 5 rooms and a camping area.

Cooperativa Dulcamara
Via Tolara di Sopra, 78, 40064 Ozzano dell'Emilia BO
Tel. +39 051 796643

Ideal for kids of 2 - 14

Biblioteca Sala Borsa

My secret oasis of relax.
Just near the vibrant life of Piazza Maggiore, you find Bologna's most important public library.
It's my mandatory stop after a Bologna food tour, to get a coffee, some silence and a quick look to music magazines.

But it can be amazing for kids too.
A full section is dedicated to them, from 0 to 99 years old.

If you have a baby there's a room for you with rugs and cushions and a corner where mothers can breastfeed.

Books of fear, friendship, food, nature can be found amongst the shelves. And with 'Born to read' project, paediatricians and librarians help parents and children to develop the love for reading.

The library also has a terrace with a small vegetable garden.
Before the summer harvest, kids can read books among courgettes, aubergines and tomatoes.

Biblioteca Sala Borsa
Piazza del Nettuno, 3, 40124 Bologna BO
Tel. 051 219 4400
Free entrance

Ideal for kids of 0 - 18

Museo della Storia di Bologna

Historical museums sound boring just from the name.
And how hard is for a kid to walk through rooms full of bow and arrows, mummies and swords and follow the only rule of NOT TOUCH ANYTHING?

Fortunately, this museum is different.
An old map of Bologna welcome you at the entrance and it's probably one of the few things you can't touch.

From the origins of Felsina, the Etruscan name of Bologna, to the development of portici and towers, from the underground canals to the piano that Mozart played: Bologna is narrated in an unconventional and interactive way.

Consider a visit, not only if it rains or it's too hot for a bowl of tortellini.

Museo della Storia di Bologna - Palazzo Pepoli
Via Castiglione, 7, 40124 Bologna BO
Tel. 051 420 9411
Tickets: 10€ Adults, 5€ from 5 to 18 years old.

Ideal for kids of 4 - 18

Botanic Garden

University area has a beating heart at night and a breathing lung during the day.
Visit Bologna's Botanic Garden to relax and recover from the crowd and noise of the city centre.

Walk around the garden with secular trees, a pond and a rock garden.
Look for tropical food plants like tamarind, pepper, cocoa, ginger and visit the old herbarium.

Bring your kids by hands in the small greenhouse with carnivorous plants: you want to eat in Bologna, not to be eaten.

Orto Botanico di Bologna
Via Irnerio, 42 - 40126 Bologna
Tel. +39 051 2091325

Opening times:
April 1st - Sept. 30th 10 am - 6 pm
Oct.1st - March 31th 9 am - 3 pm
Closed on January 1st, May 1st, August 15th, December 24th and 25th.

​Free entrance

Ideal for kids 0 - 99

OZ ***update 2019 - closed***

When I write this post (July 2018) OZ is fighting against closure.
But it's impossible not to mention this unique place.

12,000 sq m with the largest urban freestyle area in Europe: parkour, rollerblades, yoga, climbing, skateboarding and more.
A pinball museum, vintage video games, music and art.
All for free.

But this Eden park of sport is about to fade: the area where it stands has been bought by a Bank.
Time is running out and it won't be easy to find an alternate location.

I do hope a wizard will keep this world alive.

Via Stalingrado 59, 40128 Bologna
Tel. 328 956 5823
Free entrance

Ideal for kids of 6 - 18

But where's the dinosaur?

You're right. I promised.

At Museo Geologico Cappellini there's a complete skeleton of a Diplodocus.
It's 26m long, 4m tall and your kid will remember it forever.

Museo Geologico Cappellini
Via Zamboni, 63, 40126 Bologna
Tel. 051 209 4555

Ideal for kids and adults who still love Jurassic Park.

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