When anyone mentions Valencia the first vision which comes to my mind is always the City of Arts and Sciences. We think this is a great way for the family to spend the day and if you are on a budget there are some free things to do as well!
What is the City of Arts and Sciences?
The City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia is just that, an amazing little city within Valencia. It is an entire complex devoted to scientific and cultural activities, which is made up of six major elements: the Hemisfèric (IMAX cinema), the Umbracle (landscaped park area and parking structure), the Museu de les Ciències Princep Felipe (an interactive science museum), the Oceanogràfic (the largest aquarium in Europe with over 500 marine species), Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía (Opera house). and the Agora (conference center).
Of course if you want a full run down of each element, with hours and prices, it is best to visit their website CAC Valencia.
What can you do for free?
Gardens and Parks
On the upper deck of the Umbracle you will find some nice gardens and a path, but also important is a little bit of shade. This is a great area to just relax and enjoy the views below of the complex.
Shadows and Clocks
This is great fun and just at the end of the Science Museum. You will find a variety of clocks and sun dials, which are fascinating. The kids will love trying to guess the time and play with shadows a bit.
I promise you will find the perfect photo opportunity from just about every vantage point. With the unique architecture of each of the buildings, combined with the beautiful blue and reflections from the pools, you can’t go wrong.
Did you know that the Hemisfèric building looks like an eye, when reflecting on the pool? Of course the water needs to be still to see the full effect and it was windy the day we visited.
Did you know the combination of the science museum and Hemisfèric look like a fish with bones and a tail from the vantage near the opera house?
Go clubbing or have a drink
Yes, you read that right. On the upper deck of the Umbracle there is an outdoor bar, Terraza Mya. During the summer months they are open nights, the perfect spot for a moonlight drink. Of course it won’t likely get started until about midnight, but there is also a club inside with the music a bit louder. You will likely pay a pretty price for drinks, but it is a must try when you are in the city.
Of course you will find many vendors along the walkways. On a hot summer day you will have choices of ice cream and cold drinks. We highly recommend giving the horchata a try, as we found it absolutely refreshing. Read more on Horchata or Orxata.
Of course there is loads of fun to be had on the inside too!
The science museum is full of interactive and informative exhibits. Some of them you walk through and tantalize your mind, while others are hands on-and interactive. Of course one of the family favorites was waiting for the giant pendulum to knock over a ball! Who knew?
There is an excellent exhibit on Nikola Tesla that has a lot of information in Spanish and in English, with several hands-on experiments.
We’ve visited an IMAX before, but this was extra fun with the spacey looking headsets. It was great because you could select your language to watch the film. We enjoyed the one about the Monarch butterfly migration.
We had a great time, but didn’t have enough time. We were only able to visit the Science museum and the IMAX. I guess that just leaves us more to do next time we visit Valencia.
Have you visited the City of Arts and Sciences? What was your favorite thing to do?
Disclosure: Our experience was provided by the City of Arts and Sciences and the Valencia Tourism board all opinions are our own.