July 24, 2016

The Vatican Museum and Kids?

The Vatican for kids? YES!!!!

When I was planning our trip to Rome for my 5 and 7 year old, I contemplated how easy (or lack there of) it would be for us to go to the Vatican and actually enjoy ourselves. I did lots of research, asking around, and planning. This is what we came up with and it went great! 

First, I went to the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel official website:  Here
We purchased our tickets online in advance. We chose the beat the queue tickets and I decided to splurge on the optional kids audio guide. I’m so glad I did! 
The tickets were as follows: 
Full price ticket: Euro 16,00. Reduced ticket: Euro 8,00. Every ticket reserved online has a reservation fee of Euro 4,00. 
Audio guide (optional): Euro 7,00. 
Audio guide for children between 6 and 12 years old (optional): Euro 5,00. 

We chose these tickets because we wanted to go through the museum on our own time and not be weighed down by being with a tour group. I chose not to buy the tickets from a 3rd party site because of my suspicion on authenticity and legitimacy, plus I didn’t see the children’s package offered on other sites. 
The extra planning that we did, booking online, paying for the beat the queue tickets and for the children’s package (map and audio guide) worked out great and we were so glad we did all that planning. 

When we arrived at the Vatican museum we were able to walk straight in, past about a 3 hour waiting line of tourists. It was such a great feeling to walk past everyone and know that my kids wouldn’t be complaining about waiting for such a long time and we never felt like we were wasting our entire day in a line.I had printed up the vouchers prior to our arrival, showed the print outs to the guards and went straight in.
Vatican Security Entrance
The entrance is similar to an airport security point. 

You can only take in a certain size bag (a little larger than a purse, but smaller than a backpack) and women mustn’t wear sleeveless shirts or shorts or short skirts. 
This was what the website stated, but a saw a couple women with sleeveless shirts on. You have to go through a metal detector and a guard goes through your bag. No biggie. 

Once through, we had to go to a admission window and show our passes again and get our adult audio guides, children’s audio guides and children’s map of the museum.The children’s map is almost like a treasure hunt and made it a lot of fun to look at all the statues, artwork, etc. The audio guide we got was in English.  I listened in on some of it to see how it was different from the adult audio guide. It was much more kid friendly and was funny and cute and held our little ones attention great. The numbers on the audio set correlate with the map so it made it easy to follow, even for my 5 year old. 

We spent all day there and my kids hung in the entire time. 
The only time we heard any whining from them was when everyone seemed to bottle neck into a hallway to get to the Sistine chapel. It got a little crowded for my little ones, but we held hands and continued on.There are no cameras or photos allowed in the Sistine chapel. No talking either. The guards yell for you to be quiet constantly. We also saw numerous people try to sneak a picture on their phones and they got removed from the viewing room. 
What a beautiful site it was! Our children never were bored and there was so much to see!  We picked and chose what was most important and of course did not see everything, but we saw most of it and what we wanted to.  The best part for my son was the mummies:)
We were able to reward our kids good attitudes with gelato after we exited the museum. 
I would do it again and 3 years later we are still talking about what a perfect trip it was. 
Just because you have little ones, don’t miss out on a once in a life time experience. There are ways to go the extra mile so that ALL of the family can enjoy themselves.

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