Indoor playgrounds (Detsky Koutek) with full-time minders are hard to come by in the middle of Prague, so when this one opened up in late December 2008, I was rather pleased.
Conveniently situated in the centre of town at Namesti Republiky, it is directly opposite the modern and up-market Palladium Shopping Centre, which incidentally, does not have an indoor playground of its own. Kotva Department store is a bit of a dinosaur (built in the early 1970s) among the many other much more modern shopping Malls in Prague.
The Indoor Playground is located on the 3rd floor and is much bigger than it first appears by just looking at it from the reception counter. There is a large window, so it gets plenty of natural light streaming in from the outside, with a nice view of the Namesti Republiky square as well.
There are no carpets, so the floors are very clean. One thing that also struck me was the great diversity of toys and equipment for children to play with including LEGO tables, other tables with wooden train sets, dolls, buggies, and a large climbing frame with slides, mats and ball pools.
This extensive availability of toys might have something to do with the fact it is owned and run by ‘BAMBULE’ toy-store, which is located directly opposite. There is no way one can arrive at or leave this indoor playground without seeing and passing this toy-store where the temptation for kid-folk to want to go in and buy something is naturally very strong.
Should you decide to stay put and not wander too far away from your young ones while they are playing, then you can take a break at the lovely café tucked in neatly between the Detsky Koutek and BAMBULE toy store. I always see quite a few mums chilling out at this place.
During your first visit, your children will need to be registered (name, dob, your mobile number), you then receive a key to a locker where you can deposit their shoes and other belongings. If the play area is busy, each child is also required to put on a numbered shirt for quick recognition. As is the case with most Indoor Playground, children can be left unattended from the age of 3 and up.
0 - 60 min 35 CZK
61 - 90 min 50 CZK
91 - 120 min 65 CZK
121 - 150 min 80 CZK
151 – 180 min 95 CZK
Every additional hour – 70 CZK
If you have never been to Kotva Department Store, then it’s definitely worth a visit. The top floor has a great haberdashery section and also a tailor (krejcovstvi). One floor below you can find lots of well-priced Bohemian crystal and glass, some of which make great gifts for people overseas. There is also an engraver who can carve a personalized message onto your glass right next to the crystal section.
I like Kotva’s selection of shoes for both kids and adults plus if you are looking for a formal dress, you might just find one here. It is true that this store is not the best at visual merchandising (although they are slowly starting to modernize),but searching through the labyrinth of ad hoc clothes shelves and stands before you find something suitable, is half the fun.
On the first floor there is a watch maker (changes watch batteries on the spot),a key maker, printer, pharmacy, SAZKA ticket sales point, a gift-wrapping service and a well-stocked perfume shop which sells lots of international fragrances as well as beauty products (including ‘la prairie’ skin care, which is not always easy to find around Prague). Between 4-5pm each day, this department even has a so-called ‘Happy Hour’ during which you get 20% off all their make-up as well as perfumes - bargain!
Directly opposite the printer is an inexpensive milk bar which makes fantastic freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices. If you’re pressed for time and need to do some grocery shopping, then the 2-floor Albert Supermarket will stock you up and allow you to wheel all of your groceries straight into your car (best accessed if you park on the level -2).
Finally, a great place to take your kids for lunch right next to Kotva is Ambiente Pizza Nuaova Restaurant.
OPEN: Mon-Fri: 9am to 8pm; Sat: 10am to 7pm; Sun: 10am to 6pm
ADDRESS: Namesti Republiky 8, Prague 1; Tel.: 224 801 111, 224 801 438
DIRECTIONS: By Tram: take no: 8, 14 or 26 to tram stop Namesti Republiky. By Metro: Take the yellow Line B to Namesti Republiky. By Car: Kotva has 360 parking spaces available underneath the department store (cost is 50 CZK per hour from 7am to 8pm and 30 CZK per hour from 8pm to 7am).