By Matt Chesterton
August 07, 2014
Credit: Bernardo Galmarini / Alamy

If you’re the kind of parent who gets uptight every time a relative stranger offers your kid some tooth-rotting substance without your permission, you’re going to have to pack some metaphorical chill pills or choose another destination. There are three million people in Buenos Aires, and all of them, it seems, are out to spoil your child. Phrases like, “I’m afraid little Felix only eats organic” won’t cause offense, but they may cause befuddlement.

One thing you won’t have to worry about is running out of things to do. From special ballet performances at the Teatro Colón to busking clowns on street corners, there’s always something to keep the youngsters entertained. For information about forthcoming shows, exhibitions, and free events, check the schedule of kids’ activities on the city government’s excellent website. The program is particularly crowded January through March, when school’s out for summer.


This world-class wildlife park looks after its two-legged visitors almost as well as it looks after its feathered, hoofed, scaled, and furry residents. From the enclosures to the aquarium to the restaurants and ice-cream parlors, everything is immaculate and spacious, putting many comparable projects in the first world to shame.

Parque de la Costa

Looking for thrills, spills, and an adrenaline rush? Then hire a car and drive around Buenos Aires. For something more down tempo, take the train to Tigre [link to Best day trips] and spend a couple of hours at Argentina’s best theme park. It has five rollercoasters, not one of which your non-intrepid correspondent has the courage to step on. (Reliable sources assure him they’re up to scratch.)

Jardín Japonés

This is one of the largest Japanese gardens outside Japan and without question the tidiest green space in Buenos Aires. Kids love crossing the bright red bridge that spans the artificial lake, in which giant koi carp lurk in the reedy shallows. It's worth checking the schedule since the main building (also home to an excellent restaurant) often hosts bonsai workshops, storytelling sessions, and other events.

Puerto Madero

Those who thrill to the noise and chaos of downtown Buenos Aires might find this regenerated docklands neighborhood a tad sterile. Everyone else will enjoy the broad, traffic-free esplanades, the many restaurants and cafés with outdoor terraces, and the range of visitor attractions that include Fragata Sarmiento, Faena Arts Center, and the Fortabat Art Collection.

Jardín Zoológico de Buenos Aires

If you don’t like zoos, or don’t approve of zoos, this one isn’t going to convert you. It needs some nip and tuck, and more spacious quarters for the larger animals. Set against that is the zoo’s 130 years of history, its quirky architecture (the lions live in a moated “castle”, the elephants in a Hindu “temple”), and the serious conservation work that goes on here.