Disclosure: this is in no way a sponsored post. No place has paid me to be included in this list; I simply genuinely like kid-friendly businesses, and want to share them with you. This article was update in September 2019, but please always contact a business before going.
Lately I’ve been surprised of how many mum friends don’t really know places for kids in and around Marbella. So I decided to write down my favorite places, the ones where I usually go with Oliver and Emily (with some bonus activities you might like for your little ones). Many of you, local Marbella mums, will already know these places. If you don’t yet… you’re welcome! ;-)
Let’s say, this is my personal kid-friendly (ehm, parent-friendly!) travel guide to Marbella and surroundings.
In October 2018, my friends Marisa (dance teacher) and Helene (swimming instructor) joined forces and opened an activity center that I am sure will become one of the favourite places for moms with children in the Costa del Sol.
It has a lovely indoor play area with lots of toys, a swimming pool covered by a giant bubble (hence the name), indoor activity rooms and a beautiful garden with lovely wooden structures for kids to play.
They offer activity mornings for mums and babies, summer camps (over most holidays), dance classes, cooking classes (my favourite is “cook your own lunch” where then kids stay to eat and play) and swimming classes for babies, toddlers and kids all-year-round in their covered swimming pool… but you can also go and just relax for an hour while your kids play! They also offer snack for kids and coffee for mummy (of course!)
This is also by far the best place where to organise your kid’s birthday party in Marbella! You can visit their Facebook page to find our timetables and events (or call Marisa directly: +34666299037).
We don’t come to Rock & Kids often because it’s a bit out of our usual routes, but the few times I’ve been there I’ve always been pleasantly surprised and I know from many mothers in the community that they love it.
The toy room is adorable, the food is healthy and delicious, and there is also a small outdoor area to play (and even parking nearby, which I’m always grateful for when I have the kids with me, which is always ;-). When I get invited to a birthday here, it’s always a pleasure to go (and that says a lot!). You can find and follow them on their Facebook page.
I discovered this restaurant when I went to have a traditional Sunday Roast (if you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend it) with friends, and I loved it! There’s a big play area and a football area, and they’re all enclosed and close to the table where parents eat. I personally wouldn’t go on a summer sunny day because there’s no shade whatsoever (maybe eventually they’ll do something about it!), but I definitely be recommend it for our sunny winter and fall.
Mundo Mania is so good! Everything is new and clean, the food is delicious and presented with so much beauty and care (not what you’d expect in a kids’ play park). AND now it’s got an amazing outside area with trampolines and a water playground… They thought of everything! You do want to go either in the morning or early afternoon before 4.30pm to avoid the crowd (and definitely avoid on public holidays!).
Go on Wednesdays morning to enjoy a special deal: 5€ for entrance, coffee for mummy and singing class with Chantelle from Baby Cakes Marbella for baby/toddler.
This play park is a nice alternative when you feel like somewhere quiet, small and cozy (we often do!). It’s got a nice play area for toddlers just big enough for it not to be boring, bikes and cars, a climbing wall, and a big playroom full of toys… and of course tables and chairs for parents to sit and relax while the little ones run wild. Every time I’ve been here with Oliver and Emily I had a nice, relaxing time, which is all a new mum of two can ask for!
We’ve been going to Kidz Kingdom since forever, even before Mundo Mania opened its doors. There’s a baby area where now Abigail from Hartbeeps has her baby’s club on Tuesday at 11.30am, and a big kid area(3+).
As it’s been opened for 10 years now, you’ll see that it’s a bit rundown, but I still like it because everything is in sight and I can sit down and enjoy a coffee/lunch (healthy and nicest option on the menu is the hummus with raw veggies and pita bread, great portion for sharing!).
Even though there’s not much shade, I simply LOVE this playground. There’s a cafe for parents, nice infrastructure for kids, and it’s a great place to bring your own motorbike or scooter and let your little ones drive around. Oliver loves ddiving his bike back and forth, he could do it all day long! Not to mention the gorgeous sea view and the refreshing breeze! Only downside, the swings are away from the rest of the playground and not in parents’ sight.
Now that Oliver is a bit older and can get up the infrastructure by himself, this is my favorite park in Marbella, and the ONLY one that has some shade throughout the whole day (Spaniards don’t seem to be concerned about their babies and toddlers burn in the sun, so they place every playground directly in the sun with no shade whatsoever). Parque de la Constitución is right near the beach, and it’s got many benches all around for parents to sit and enjoy the shade (and maybe an ice-cream from El Piave next door). Oh, it’s also nice to go there and walk around while your little one drives his bike around.
The Boulevard in San Pedro is great for toddlers, but it’s ALL in the sun, which (for me) makes it way too hot from May to October. This small, enclosed, playground in front of Da Bruno restaurant is a nice alternative, and it’s mainly in the shade. Only downside, inside the playground there’s no place to sit other than the ground, but nothing that a young, cool mum can’t take ;-)
This park is absolutely great to spend a morning/afternoon and even have a picnic. The main attraction for Oliver is definitely the lake with lots of ducks, so never ever forget to bring with you some old bread to feed the ducks (I’ve seen people give them crisps and cheerios…).
Ludoteca Paseo San Pedro (San Pedro playa)
For a relaxing afternoon at the beach, the Ludoteca on the San Pedro Paseo is the best place. They have lots of toys and books, it’s free, it has picnic tables, it’s on the beach but it has lots of shade… you can’t go wrong!
They don’t have a website, but it’s easy to find: it’s in the middle of the San Pedro promenade, about ten meters away from the statue of the elephant.
If you find yourself hungry in San Pedro, Barbulla is the perfect place for you! They have really good food (including a great children’s menu), a selection of toys and books, and you can sit outside in the beautiful and central Plaza de las Palmeras or in the back of the restaurant that is always very intimate and relaxing (in photo). It is simply perfect!
For more info, here’s their Facebook page.
This was definitely my number one favorite, but it sadly changed owners end of 2018, it was completely reformed, and it’s now been converted into a nursery. I believe they will as well open as a family cafe in the afternoon, but check with them before going (they reopened after I left Spain). You can find them on Facebook.
I hope they will keep offering baby and kid activities. My favourite playdates were Baby and Tots Rhyme Time and Messy Play by Chantelle from Baby Cakes Marbella, and Babybeeps and Happy Feet by Abigail from Hartbeeps.
I always complain there’s nothing in Marbella for kids… well, now there is!
Actually… there WAS! This lovely play area in the OWL in El Corte Inglés El Capricho was unfortunately “closed” (I believe they still have it for kids to go and play while parents eat, but silly regulations had them sadly remove most of the toys…).
OWL’s owner Oxana, though, opened an even bigger family cafe near Cancelada (not Marbella again, why is there nothing in Marbella?), but this was after I left Spain so please, contact them to find out more (this is their Facebook page).
Other places I like
You can find them all easily in Google.
Parque Xarblanca: behind the bus station in Marbella. Playground with benches in the shade for mommy, small lake with fish and turtles, and paths to walk.
Tennis Club El Casco (El Rosario): They added a play area for bigger kids, but Oliver and Emily enjoy it as well with some help from me. We also like to go here in the afternoon to watch a tennis class (they love it) and have an early dinner: their chicken meatballs and fries are homemade and delicious!
Parque La Paloma (Benalmadena): Worth a day trip! Beautiful playgrounds, lots of free animals (chickens, chicks, rabbits, turtles, fish, swans, goats…) and gorgeous paths to walk.
I’ve been to many other parks and playgrounds in Marbella and surroundings (I hate driving so a 15-minute drive is by far the maximum I’m wiling to put up with for a couple-hour playdate), but these so far are the ones I always (happily) go back to.
What are yours? I’d love to hear about them in the comments… let’s share the fun!