Lake Geneva provides an oasis of activities for children and families in the fairer months. For a spectacular outing for all the family, a boat ride along the lake is a wonderful way to see the city including the infamous Jet d'eau, the promenades, parks, markets and beautiful countryside. A popular choice of boat is the old fashioned paddle steamer ships or the yellow Mouettes, which are water taxis that take you on shorter journeys. There is also the ‘petit train’, a small tourist train that gentle chugs along the shores of the lake, giving families a good option for exploring when little legs won’t allow long distances by foot.
The beaches dotted along Lake Geneva provide wonderful water based activities such as swimming, sailing and other water-sports, and are perfect for lazy, sunny afternoons building sandcastles. Some beaches have a restaurant and a playground too, and there is even a Baby Plage which is specifically for the very young.
Away from the water, Geneva has glorious green spaces that provide endless entertainment for children. The most popular parks in the city are the Bois de la Batie which has a big playground, a paddling pool and a free mini-zoo. Parc des Bastions, located in the city centre, is accented by giant outdoor chess sets and the Botanical Gardens is filled with birds, animals and picturesque gardens.
Outside of the city, most quaint Swiss villages have their own well-maintained playground and there are several forest walks clearly signposted for sunny day strolls. Slightly further afield and yet more adventurous is Forestland, which has zip wire tree adventures, bouncy castles, giant trampolines and little rides for the young. Further up into the mountains yet still within easy reach of the school or city, is Signal de Bougy which has a playground, amphitheatre, a few animals, scenic walks and a seasonal restaurant, all complemented by breath-taking views over the lake and The Alps beyond.
For activities on wetter or colder days, the museums in Geneva are a great place to take the family. Two of the most popular are The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Mamco), which offers tours that are specifically for families and The Natural History Museum which is a free, family friendly museum with a children’s section. These are both open on Sunday’s too, which is rare to find in Switzerland. As the country is known for its chocolate, there are plenty of tours around various chocolate factories. A popular choice is the Cailler Factory where you can see how chocolate is made and taste some as you go - which is always a hit with children. Closer to the school is the family-run Favarger chocolate makers who have been making chocolate in the area for almost 200 years. Bookings usually need to be made in advance.
Come rain or shine, other great days out include visits to the areas waterparks such as Aqua Parc, Happyland and Vitam Parc which are fun for most ages. For example, Vitam Parc, which is based just over the border in France on the outskirts of Geneva, has everything from indoor and outdoor slides to a spa, a fitness centre, a climbing wall and squash courts.