In a place that’s sunny 350 days of the year, being stuck with a toddler and a six-year-old for one whole rainy week is not ideal. Not only that, working as an au pair in a sticky, sprawling Spanish city is tough, having just arrived to bond with the new little heathens for the first time. Thinking quickly, I hit the streets to start finding out ways to entertain young children in a place that caters mostly to an outdoor crowd.
Seville, Spain, is a veritable playground for the young—horse and buggies line the streets, parks are full of giggling children and music is pumped through the plazas. All of these things are perfect for a hot spring day, but when it rains in Seville, it pours. So, it’s always good to have a backup plan, especially when traveling with little ones.
Have little ones try new foods
If your children are adventurous, bring them straight to a tapas restaurant and get them sampling some new eats. Spaniards often graze during their meals, serving small dishes of different kinds of foods so everyone has a bite. Kids probably will like the ‘patatas bravas’—a glorified hash brown with ketchup and mayonnaise on the side. For dessert, have your kids get their hands on a ‘turron’ round candy—a sweet and hard nougat they can smash inside the box to break apart.
Find family-friendly museums
You have to sneak in a little learning now and again, but it won’t be hard at Seville’s array of interesting museums. The Plaza de Toros isn’t exactly a museum, but it holds an interesting past on bullfighting—which could spark insightful conversation in older kids. Museo Palacio is a preserved palace with classic Seville-style tiling, architecture and arches. Children who’ve mentioned interest in paleontology or archaeology will not want to miss the new Antiquarium, as it has perfectly preserved the discovered ruins underneath the city that were discovered during excavation for the monorail downtown, as well as a crazy mushroom-like structure spanning forever overhead.
Take a class together
Flamenco runs through the blood of local Sevillanos, so it can be hard to grasp the ‘duende’, or soul, of this dance in a few days. However, many studios offer classes in clapping and foot stomping, which can delight young children. Most kids under 10 years old will not be able to stay up late to watch real flamenco shows at night, but plenty of dance schools and festivals put on shows indoors during the day. Or, have a ball shopping near the cathedral for brightly colored flamenco dresses, fans and head pieces that come in kids sizes too.
Join a local pool for a day
Speaking Spanish can help out in this circumstance, as it gives you an in to finding the local gym or pool to use for the day. My kids had a membership, but There are plenty of choices for guests in the area too. Seville has a waterpark called Aquapolis, which could be fun when it’s only drizzling, because you’re wet from the rain already, right? This place is only open in the heat of the summer, though . Another option is to stay at the stately Alfonzo XIII Hotel and use their outdoor pool, or have Sunday brunch and also gain access that way to hotel amenities. Hotel Adriano has an indoor pool, which is rare for the city, as well as an on-site café.
There’s always ice cream!
If all else fails, you can’t go wrong with some creamy sweets for your little ones. Luckily, Seville is chock-full of these adorable ‘heladerias’ on every street corner. The best by far is Rayas, offering staple flavors and some eye-brow raising varieties too, such as Nutella, nougat and ones you can’t even pronounce, but should try anyway. They have several locations throughout the city. Fruit lovers looking for something slightly healthier should make a beeline for La Fiorentina that proceeds a legacy of insane taste and freshness. Sorbets are popular, as well as the more unusual olive oil option or strawberries and balsamic sauce. Kids will love spying the carved watermelons and flowers tucked between the cases of ice cream. Even if it’s rainy it’s often humid out, so a cold cone or cup will keep kids calm for a long time .
Get creative and use the wonders of Seville to satiate your energetic kids, as there’s a world of Spanish wonder waiting for you and your little ones, rain or shine!