Going to Tramtarie - a children's indoor playground in the centre of town

Tramtarie, photo: www.tetatramtarie.cz

Prague is a city with no shortage of bars, discos, and even cocktail lounges but until now it may have been something of a problem to "step out" if you had children. No more. A new venue has opened in the city centre where you can meet with friends and take your little ones all at the same time - a place called Teta Tramtarie - found almost unexpectedly in busy Jungmannova Street. Tramtarie - which means something like wonderland in English, is at once a café, a playground, a children's bookstore - and even a children's theatre, frequented by parents with kids, but still modish enough to be visited by artsy adolescent or twenty-something crowds.

Who would have thought you could fit so many different services onto just two floors?

"The idea was Michal Rybka's, the owner of the well-known Rybka publishing house in Prague. He himself has three kids. Now, I don't know if that inspired him or not but the fact is there wasn't a place like this in Prague before."

Eva Svobodova is Tramtarie's artistic director; she explains the key to the venue's success lies in its layout and design. Different entrances lead into different sections, though all are interconnected. On one side you can enter a laid-back café with trendy furniture and abstract work. On the other - if you have kids - you can walk into an equally appealing deli with modern tables and designer chairs where parents can sip coffee as they watch their children play on the extensive jungle gym. The crown of the venue must then be the children's bookstore upstairs, as well as the venue's small theatre, featuring new performances every day.

As for the kinds of shows that children enjoy the most?

Some kids though can take it just a touch too far. Even then, you have to admit, the results are kind of cute.

Tramtarie, photo: www.tetatramtarie.cz
"It's happened a few times that some of the more lively children have gotten just a little bit out of hand, where the parents have sometimes lost control. We had one granny who was unable to pacify her granddaughter who ran onto the stage from the first second, beginning to act with the actors. She wasn't supposed to do that, even if this particular show encouraged responses from the audience. Usually though kids shy away and say 'Noooo'. But not her. She was up there and she even confiscated a prop, or gave one of the actors an imaginary injection. Basically, we couldn't get the little girl off the stage. First I went in, then her Mum, then her Gran, and all of us back and forth at least four times, while the little girl bravely fought and screamed."

Well, that was one little girl, though I think she laughed quite a lot before they finally got her home. And laughter is primarily what you can expect to hear when you visit Tramtarie. Lots of it. As a parent you'll find a place you can enjoy a few hours perhaps even the whole day - as there is even a pizzeria where you can all grab lunch. One important note: when you do go remember: although the staff love children and take their jobs seriously, it is not a day-care centre - which means, parents should still keep a good eye on their kids. In any case, it's guaranteed you'll find yourself falling for the puppet show in no time, performances like

For information about upcoming shows and book launches visit www.tetatramtarie.cz