Among art, history and culture, there is also room in Naples for the little ones. Finding activities for children to discover the immense beauty of the city becomes crucial for their growth, so that they learn to love it right from the start.
So let's try to map out a real route, a tour virtually led by us, accompanying our beloved children through the streets of the city, even reaching out to the province, to discover novelty and fun.
The Municipal Villa
As a starting point, we choose a strategic place, which can be defined as such because it is a stone's throw from the sea, is surrounded by greenery and is immediately close to other attractions. We are talking about the Villa Comunale, a huge historic garden for the city of Naples with a centuries-old tradition, located between Piazza Vittoria and Piazza della Repubblica. Always a landmark for every self-respecting Neapolitan, taking children for a walk among the villa's trees is almost an institution. Not to be missed are the merry-go-rounds and swings where the little ones can then enjoy themselves and spend hours peacefully. Not forgetting then the presence nearby of bars and chalets for adults as well.
The public Aquarium of Naples
Staying within the Villa Comunale
, we dwell on the activities of the Fondazione Dohrn
, a pole of culture, science and knowledge. The foundation manages the three facilities open to the public, the Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn
, the Aquarium
and Darwin-Dohrn Museum
in the Villa Comunale and the Turtle Point
in Portici (other stops on our tour).
These three structures are different but linked by a common thread and all to be discovered. Our tour begins with the structure historically best known to Neapolitans, the Public Aquarium
, which, with its 20 tanks, is a source of attraction and wonder for young and old alike. Along the way, visitors will have the sensation of immersing themselves in the waters of the Gulf of Naples and the Mediterranean Sea, to tropical ecosystems, discovering the connection between such different environments.
Visiting this aquarium means getting to know a unique structure, a historical as well as scientific heritage, a jewel for the city. It is in fact the first aquarium in Italy, still in operation today, but modernised by the most innovative plant technologies to guarantee animal welfare.
Very special features include the tank dedicated to moray eels, a reconstruction of an ancient Roman moray house designed for the breeding of these fish, considered valuable meat at the time, and the tank known as "La Tana del Polpo" (Octopus' Den), one of the most intelligent, fascinating and charismatic animal species on our planet.
Younger children will discover that even in the Gulf of Naples there are organisms adapted to deep-sea environments, drum fish, gadellas and pencil urchins, inhabitants of the Dohrn Canyon, a crevasse up to 1,200 metres deep, just a few kilometres from the city.
The Darwin-Dohrn Museum (DaDom)
Not far from the Aquarium, staying inside the Villa Comunale, one can discover the recently inaugurated Darwin-Dohrn Museum (DaDoM)
, located in a special position between the sea of Via Caracciolo and the green park.
The Museum, suitable for young and old, is a 'walk through time' and offers a journey to discover the mechanisms behind the functioning of marine ecosystems, evolution and biodiversity, from the origins of life to the present day.
In order to demonstrate the veracity of the theories of Charles Darwin, the father of evolutionism, Anton Dohrn decided to found the Zoological Station and the DaDoM, through its works, expresses this relationship by accompanying visitors on an exciting journey through the historical exhibits of the Institute's original collections and modern creations.
of the Institute and the modern creations of works by numerous artists, until reaching the large multi-purpose hall, the heart of the facility, where, in addition to the extraordinary glass cage full of exhibits and unique in the world, the original skeleton of the sperm whale Leopoldo, stranded on Ischia in 2018, can be observed.
At the end of the visit, in the Museum's gardens, the little ones can have fun observing real bathyscaphe used in research expeditions up close and can take a souvenir photo in the jaws of the megalodon.
The Pietrarsa National Railway Museum
We continue our tour by moving to the province, between Portici
and San Giorgio a Cremano
, where we can look at Pietrarsa Railway Museum
. A place of history and charm, here it is possible to make a sort of journey through time among trains
that went into operation from 1839
onward, up to the present day in short. The area is one of the really impressive ones, with 36,000 square meters, so it is really hard to get bored. In fact, there are so many activities organized, thanks to the cinema hall
, conference hall
and virtual reality
systems that ensure interactive and innovative visits. Moreover, another plus point of the museum is its close proximity to the sea, since it overlooks the Gulf of Naples
, and the view of Vesuvius
. In short, to so much beauty is added that lends further magic to the proposed scenario.
The Turtle Point in Portici (Sea Turtle Research Centre)
The last stop on our itinerary is the Turtle Point
, the third public facility managed by the Dohrn Foundation.
Guests of the recovery and rehabilitation centre are sea turtles, found at sea or on the beach in a difficult condition due to the damage caused by man with his activities. The mission of the researchers and vets working here is to study and care for these specimens in order to return them to their natural environment once they have recovered.
The children will listen to the stories of each of the tortoises in the shelter and will have the opportunity to understand the importance of our correct behaviour in the environment, reminding us that we are its guests and not its owners.
As a complement to the visit, it will be possible to visit the thematic aquariums and observe the illustrative panels dedicated to the European Marine Strategy, an action plan for achieving the "Good Environmental Status" of the seas, accompanied by life-size representations of some Mediterranean cetaceans.