Santander is a pleasant and interesting city to visit with children. Its several parks and gardens containing playgrounds, beaches and avenues with excellent views are places where one can always go to get a breath of fresh air and prevent the little ones from getting bored of the visit. Moreover, the city offers a varied cultural programme, also aimed at the younger audience.
Santander Creativa Foundation
The Santander Creativa Foundation publicizes the whole programme of activities and shows held in the city. The website Agenda Aúna, www.santanderauna.com, contains all the information organized in sections: Cinema, Theatre, Music, Dance, Media, Workshops… suitable for adults and children.
La Magdalena Peninsula
The Royal Palace of La Magdalena is one of the best places to spend a fun day. It offers charms that will delight visitors of all ages, but families travelling with children will especially appreciate the variety of experiences proposed in this emblematic area of Santander. At the entrance, on the left, stands the ticket office of ‘El Magdaleno’, a tourist train that covers the entire peninsula explaining facts and curiosities.
We can also visit a marine park inhabited by sea lions, seals and penguins. A few metres from these animal enclosures we find ‘The Man and the Sea’ outdoor museum, with replicas of the boats used by sailor Vital Alsar to accomplish his feats. At La Campa, a green area located at the entrance to the enclosure, we can have a drink outside the bar and play in the playground. To visit the inside of the Palace of La Magdalena, appointments have to be arranged at the Tourist Office of Pereda Gardens by calling 942 203 000 or by email at email@example.com.
Mataleñas Parks is one of the most beautiful in the whole city. It has a large pond with waterfowl and a children’s playground, as well as large areas to stroll and admire a different scenery of Santander.
This recreational park is located next to Mataleñas Park and Cabo Mayor Lighthouse. It has circuits of different levels of difficulty designed to be used by a wide range of visitors, including children from three years old (www.forestalpark.com/santander).
Las Llamas Park
Las Llamas Park, which is equipped with playgrounds for all ages, lies a few metres away from El Sardinero Sports Grounds. Furthermore, it boasts wide areas for walking, roller-skating and cycling, with bikes that may be collected at the point of the municipal lending service located at the entrance to the park (www.tusbic.es).
In the dam of Gamazo, next to the Festival Hall, we find the Planetarium. It can be visited for free by calling ☎ 942 203 100.
Cantabrian Maritime Museum
In its more than 3,000 square metres, this museum offers plenty of surprises for the visitor. It shows marine life and the relationship between the man and the sea throughout history, via videos, pictures, aquariums and many objects (www.museosdecantabria.com/maritimo).
On the promenade, next to the Quay Palace, stands the ticket office of Los Reginas. A company dedicated to boat trips with itineraries that cross the Bay of Santander to Somo and Pedreña. It also offers panoramic tours that children usually love (☎ Telephone 942 216 753).
Outside the city there are also many amusement and entertainment opportunities especially for families (Excursions section – See page 185). A visit to Cabárceno Nature Park is worth spending an entire day. The number of animal enclosures, recreation areas and educational workshops turn this park into a must-see if we travel with children. Another good idea of educational entertainment is to visit the Museum of Altamira, in Santillana del Mar (www.museodealtamira.mcu.es). This centre bends over backwards especially for those families visiting it with young children. Movies and cartoons explaining how Altamira Times were may make the tour more enjoyable In addition, it has a Museum-Library exclusively aimed at families interested in learning more by playing and creating together.