Tuscany has a multitude of places to take the kids to and have fun. The wide choice includes different museums with themes suitable for younger ones, edutainment parks and theme parks.
There are also amusement parks galore laying on every possible kind of sports activity, from water sports to those with rides and funfairs, basketball, mini-golf etc..
The places we have chosen were expressly designed for children and their entertainment and can be taken as extremely suitable for families who intend to spend a lovely day in the open air with their children.
In the small medieval village of Collodi lies the Pinocchio Park, devoted to the characters in the children’s book “The Adventures of Pinocchio” by the Florentine author Carlo Lorenzini.
The park is completely open air, laid out like a theme park for children where, in the midst of plants and flowers, you will bump into the story’s main characters: Pinocchio, the Fairy with the turquoise hair (or Blue Fairy as she was called in the film version by Walt Disney), the Cat and the Fox and many other characters, letting visitors relive the best moments of the story.
The Collodi Butterfly House is a splendid greenhouse built in stone and glass, bright and luminous and perfectly air-conditioned for temperature and humidity, with a luxuriant tropical garden of plants, flowers and fruit, a perfect reconstruction of their original habitat.
The butterflies, originally from tropical climates, came from specialized breeding farms as chrysalises, develop here in an appropriate incubator. Now however, they are so well adapted to their environment that they breed spontaneously. Here they are free to fly, to court and mate, feed and breed in perfect balance with the environment that hosts them, free from enemy insects and spiders thanks to small birds that feed on them and do not touch the caterpillars or butterflies.
Collodi – 20 km (25 min)
The Zoological Garden of Pistoia was founded in 1970 and is one of the main zoological facilities in Italy, spreading over 7 acres.
With about 400 animals between mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibious creatures and invertebrates. it is an ideal place for all the family, offering as well a play area and a biodiversity laboratory for adults and children. Inside the park there are picnic areas, restaurant and bar self-service cafeteria.
Each animal is explained on panels with its main characteristics as well as a map showing its origins and a few fascinating titbits of information.
Pistoia – 30 km (25 min)
This was the first theme park in Tuscany with natural size reconstructions of dinosaurs in fibreglass: it is situated in Peccioli, small medieval village in the province of Pisa and was opened in 1977.
The brainchild of an elderly circus artist who decided to retire to the small village of Peccioli and, on the land he purchased, he unearthed uncountable archaeological remains and fossils of Prehistoric animals. Therefore he decided to build a park that was both educational (with scientifically correct and fun information and an entertaining place to visit for adults and children.
The Park is just outside the village, spread over 30.000 square metres, with models of about twenty prehistoric animals, including a “real” volcano erupting coloured balls and a full scale reproduction (about 12 metres) of a Brachiosaurus from the Upper Jurassic period, the largest dinosaur model in Europe.
Peccioli – 30 km (35 min)
The Nature Train is a pleasure ride (with steam engine and vintage railway carriages) which runs between Asciano and Monte Antico, a track in use by normal trains until 1994. The Nature Train is like a time machine and that is the impression that it leaves with everyone who is lucky enough to take a ride on it.
A journey with the Nature Train can last all day: leaving from and arriving at Siena station where connections are available with local Trenitalia trains. Each ride takes you along the railway track that forms a ring: Siena – Monte Antico – Asciano – Siena.
On every trip the train halts at different stations, where passengers can alight to visit the village and surrounds. There are often special lunches and fairs where you can taste and buy the local products.
Siena – 130 km (1 h 30 min)
Acqua Village was set up in 2004 with the merger of the 2 waterparks, Aquapark of Cecina and Aquapark of Follonica. Renovation, rebuilding and enlarging new attractions have turned them into true aquatic amusement parks with a tropical theme.
Both waterparks have a selection of pools and slides suitable for all ages, from the tiniest to the boldest who love the scares of the big waterslides: fun guaranteed for the whole family.
Cecina – 70 km (1 h)
Follonica – 120 km (1 h 25 min)
The Cavallino Matto (Crazy Little Horse) is the largest amusement park in Tuscany. Opened in 1967 as stables and dedicated to horse-riding, the amusement park was added years later. The name comes from one of the horses of the stables who behaved very unusually.
Covering an area of 70.000 square metres it offers dozens of attractions for all tastes and ages. Every day a varied programme offers shows and animation with the staff of the park and there is also a restaurant, bars, a self-service cafeteria, a pizzeria and picnic areas.
Marina di Castagneto – 85 km (1 h 5 min)
Livorno Aquarium was built in 1937 but destroyed during the Second World War. Subsequently rebuilt then completely renovated and reopened in 2010.
On display tanks with different species of marine specimens and there’s even a suggested itinerary to follow offering the general public a mixture of aquariological exhibits and scientific and historical displays. The establishment holds third place in Italy in its category and works well as an educational centre for the family and for the schools of the area.
Worth noting the reproduction a Roman shipwreck, green turtles in the Indo-Pacific tank, the tanks called “the pearls of the Mediterranean” and the seahorse tank.
Livorno – 48 km (45 min)