Oslo was named one of the 46 places to go in 2013  in the New York Times. Oslo’s numerous museums, parks and recreational activities, as well as its castles and rich Viking history, make it a great choice for a family-friendly trip. Here are six fun things to do with kids while visiting the Nordic capital.

1. Akerhus Castle and fortress has gone through many reincarnations, starting as a medieval castle in the 13th century, before becoming a fortress in the 16th century and then being rebuilt in the 17th century as a renaissance castle. The castle’s chapel and royal mausoleum are open to the public and the Norwegian Armed Forces Museum and Resistance Museum are also housed there.  However we decided to stay outside enjoying the panoramic views of the sea front, exploring the castle grounds and climbing on and around the
canons used to protect the fortress in days past.

 

2. Visit Vigeland Sculpture Park, the world’s largest sculpture park made by a singe artist. The beautifully manicured park has 192 sculptures by the artist Gustav Vigeland, including the ever popular The
Angry Boy
statue.

3. Get on the Hop On – Hop Off mini cruise and do the full 1.5 hour rotation on the traditional sailing ship past some of Oslo’s most interesting sites, like the City Hall, the Opera House and the Akershus Castle before getting off at Bigdøy Museum Island.

4. Museum Island is home to a cluster of museums, including the NORSK Folkemuseum, Maritime
Museum, Kon-Tiki and the Viking Ship Museum.

The Kon-Tiki Museum documents the expeditions of world famous scientist Thor Heyerdahl. The original Kon-Tiki raft that Heyerdahl used to cross the Pacific Ocean in 1947 is on display, as well as the reed boat Ra II and a variety of artifacts from Heyerdahl’s travels.

The Viking Ship Museum houses the three best-preserved Viking ships known.  The ships, discovered in large royal burial mounds in the Oslo fjord, contained burial chambers and an extensive collection of burial gifts for the vessels wealthy “passenger” to use in the after life.  Some of the gifts are displayed in the museum and include elaborately carved sleds, wagons, carved animal heads and kitchen utensils.

 

 

5. Go to the Nobel Peace Center where exhibitions and interactive technology introduce visitors to Alfred Nobel, the peace laureates and their works.  The Children’s Peace Center presents information on war, peace and conflict resolution in ways that are fun and engaging, including the use of  iPads to present information in the main hall and the light and sound display of the Nobel Field exhibition, which presents all of the past laureates.

Photo credit: Google

6. Holmenkollen Ski Jump looks like a massive piece of modern art in the city’s skyline and is Norway’s most visited tourist attraction. In addition to the ski jump, Holmenkollen includes the world’s oldest ski museum and the ski jump tower, which offers incomparable views of the Nordmarka woods and Oslo. There
is also the ski jump simulator, which lets you experience racing downhill against the world’s best skiers.

 

While Oslo might be one of the hot destinations for 2013, it is also one of the most expensive. One way to save money is by purchasing an Oslo Pass, which allows the uses free entrance to many of the city’s museums and attractions, as well as free access to buses, trams and the ferries to Bygdøy.

Thanks to Visit Oslo for providing me with a Family City Card, which granted us access to many of the activities listed above.

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