Madrid-Barajas International Airport

The cost of airfare for five has kept our family vacations grounded for a couple years now. While our budget restrictions have led to finding many great pit stops while on the road (crammed into a Prius, no less!), I do dream of the (relative) ease of air travel. Especially when an airport really knows how to do it right, such as Madrid-Barajas International.

If you find yourself flying to Madrid, you’ll be treated with not one, but two lifesaving playspaces, one for kids over age six (complete with a tube/jungle gym climbing structure) and one set up as a nursery and respite for toddlers and babies.

Madrid Airport's answer to restless children!

Madrid Airport’s answer to restless children!

Says Madrid resident, mother of a preschooler, and recent flier Laura Carvajal, The nursery is the most amazing thing of this kind I have ever seen. Firstly, it’s huge, and looks very new and neatly designed. Two staffed child-care professionals are present at all times, one mostly at the door taking your info when you come in (name, flight number, etc), the other handing out crayons and ordering (parents) kids to put stray balls back into the ball pit 😉

Play area for ages 6 and up.

Play area for ages 6 and up.

There’s another separate darkened room which was very cozy, with about 6 cribs and one sofa where you can feed the little ones and set them down for a nap. The overall facility is laid out in “levels”; first you see the slides and open space for kids to roam around on tricycles. The second area is mainly just the ball pit and the third has 4 or 5 tables where kids can draw, read or play with toys (lots on the shelves there).

The reviewer's daughter, focused on an art task.

The reviewer’s daughter, focused on an art task.

Date last visited by reviewer: August 2009

Location within the Airport: Terminal 1, next to gate C46

Hours and Admission Prices: Free! Open from 8am to 8pm

Bathrooms: Kid-sized and clean! Changing tables, wipes, and diapers are available. And–ready for this?–there are even bathtubs for the children’s use, in case it’s been a really, really long day.

Additional Perk: There’s a designated area for leaving your baggage.

Edited on December 11, 2009: An additional play area exists in Terminal 4, past the passport check in the duty free zone right after the Zara store. It’s smaller than the children’s area T1 but is the same idea: two professional caregivers, sleeping area with cots, kid sized bathrooms, and two separate play areas: a ball pit and general play area with tricycles, drawing area, reading area, slide structure and random couches for tired parents!