There are plenty of things to do in Amman to experience authentic life in Jordan. Whether you have a quick visit, or plan to base your family in Amman for some time, there are lots of things to do.Of course you need to visit the highlights, the Citadel, Roman Theatre and enjoy a restaurant in the city.
But if you are basing yourself in Amman, you will have time to explore local parks and everything that there is to do in Amman with kids. Below I have listed my children’s favorite places, as well as how to get there and what to expect. Note that hours and prices do tend to change. Check their website or call for the most up to date information.
If you do not have time to read this now, pin this Amman with Kids image for later!
Is Amman Kid Friendly?
Overall, there are kids in every city, so to a point, every city is kid-friendly. However, I do not find Amman to be overly kid-friendly, but that is mostly due to the infrastructure. Lots of sidewalks are impassible on local streets, meaning kids walk on the road. The city is ups and downs all over, as Amman is built on a series of over 20 “jebels” or hills. For young kids, this is not always easy. Traffic in downtown is crazy, the sidewalks can be crammed and it is almost impossible to use a stroller in Amman.
With all that being said, the people of Amman are friendly and helpful and generous. Kids get attention (and candy) from strangers. Police officers are friendly and helpful, even if their English is limited. While there are not a lot fo green spaces without having to take a taxi to a large park or mall for the kids to play, it is just something to get used to. Especially when it is much different than home.
Things to do in Amman with Kids
The Amman Citadel is one of Amman’s most recognizable landmarks and stands in downtown Amman atop Jebel Al-Qala. You can walk up the hill or there are steps across the street from the Roman Theatre that will take you to the top, drive your rental car and park in the Amman Citadel parking lot, or take a taxi. If you do take a taxi, ask them to take you to Jebel Al-Qala as that is what the site is known to locals as. They do not call it the Citadel.
The cost to visit is JD2 (USD3) per person and is included in the Jordan Pass.
Expect to spend an hour at the site, longer if you like to take your time or are planning on taking a lot of photos.
You can get more information on the Amman Citadel by clicking the link.
The Garden of Prince Hashem – Bird Aviary
The Garden of Prince Hashem is more than a garden. I refer to it as “The Bird Aviary” and it is one of the great parks in Amman in Shimesani District (off the 4th circle). It is popular with locals, especially on the weekends and has a great playground in the centre of the park. Around the outside of the playground there are various birds from exotic foul to chickens and pigeons.
Things to note about the Garden of Prince Hashem:
- The park is closed on Tuesdays and entrance fee is very modest (less than 1JD)
- Inside the park there is a small stall selling snacks and treats for kids as well as tea.
- Washrooms are pretty typical hole in the ground type public washrooms
Go Karts near Sport City
There are a few private go karting places in Amman. They cater to adults and older kids. This one is a public park, again with a very nominal fee and then the kids play per lap. Inside the park there are also two play grounds. The one thing to note about this park, is that the go karts cannot be used when the track is wet or if there are any puddles. You would think that you are in the desert and there is no rain, but Amman does get rainy weather and we unfortunately, were not able to use the track once as it had two puddles left from the weather the day before.
Things to know about Go Karts near Sport City in Amman:
- These Go Karts are for about ages 4-8 and drive like a motorcycle. It took my 4 year old a lap r so to figure out the throttle but after that he was zipping along! They do not go too fast and they also can follow road rules with stop signs and crosswalks on the track. My kids were the only ones there so they raced around and around.
- They cannot operate if the track is wet
- There is nowhere to buy snacks here
- Washrooms are your typical hole in the floor type squat toilets
This one is not as easy to find as when you google Go Karts, you do not get this park. But it is located near Sport City as you can see in the screenshot below. When you google “Sport City Amman” you will see the small green space where my pin is. If you are taking a taxi you can show him this and you should end up at the right place!
Haya Cultural Center Playground
I included this one as it is in Abdali, one of the up and coming neighbourhoods in Amman. There are also various other activities for kids here, but we only came to spend some time on the playground.
You can easily google Haya Cultural Centre to get here
The Children’s Museum Jordan
Now the Children’s Museum Amman is in a lot of guide books. But it does need to be mentioned as it is a great place for kids and one of the popular family activities in Amman. There are science activities, a pretend city with a grocery store, a bank and a jail, as well as a replica airplane and an outdoor space to play. It is JD3 per person
Things to Note about the Children’s Museum:
- Closed Tuesdays
- It is located inside Kung Hussein Park. If you have kids that are into cars, you can also check out the Royal Automobile Museum
conveniently located inside King Hussein Park, it is easy to get here
After seeing it from above at the Citadel, the Roman amphitheater deserves a visit. You can walk down a series of steps (past some beautiful graffiti) from the Citadel and cross the street to find the entrance of the theatre. The toughest part about the route from the Citadel to the Roman Theatre is actually getting across the street. Once holding thousands, you will likely have the place mostly to yourself where you can climb to the top, or preach from the bottom and hear the centuries-old acoustics fill the room as you can be heard in every seat in the house.
The theatre was cut into the side of a rock cliff, likely to protect many of the 6000 spectators it could hold, from the sun. Built in the 2nd century AD, it is an impressive remnant and one of the most places to visit in Amman.
About 30 minutes is enough time to have a quick look around. Do not miss the Audium, a smaller theatre, once used for city meetings, to the right of the stage.
Eat at Hashem
Hashem Restaurant is the most well known restaurant in Jordan and has been doing business for over 80 years. Despite its appearance, it will seat King Abdullah II, celebrities in town, locals and tourists alike. It is a must for any foodie! You will find Hashem Restaurant in every guide book about Jordan as one of the best places to eat. It is also included in one of my suggestions for the best breakfasts in Amman.
Dining on plastic chairs, this 24 hour vegetarian restaurant serves up excellent falafel and hummus and I guarantee you will leave with a full stomach! It does have indoor seating, but literally wedged between two buildings, most of the patrons spill into the patio and enjoy their meal outdoors.
If you arrive right at dinner time, expect it to be busy with locals and a few tourists wanting to try Hashem’s well known dishes. Try and pick a non-peak hour to visit if possible. At peak times you can see lineups down the street on account of its excellent food, cheap prices and strategic location downtown.
A meal at Hashem for two people will cost about 4 JD – 10 JD.
READ MORE: Best Restaurants in Amman
Visit the Amman Souq
One of the things to do in Amman that all of the tourists want to see is the Amman Souq. The Souq in Amman is as chaotic as the streets. Shoppers weave around stalls as sellers hawk their goods to passerby. When I took my boys here, they were wide-eyed with the commotion of buyers and sellers, with the “Welcome to Jordan”, flashy smiles, and the auctioneer style chants, as sellers compete to gain attention (and well, to make as much noise as possible). It was a busy place, as Jordanians bought fresh fruits, veggies and other wares to take home. While Amman has built modern malls in recent years, and does boast a large grocery store to two (one was even a Safeway), a lot of food is still bought from traditional markets or roadside stands. Make sure you save some time to shop for Jordanian souvenirs!
Gravity Trampoline Park
With over 100 trampolines, Gravity Amman is one of the top indoor play areas in Amman. It has the best trampolines that I have found while here! Their prices are 15 JD for a one hour jump, but it is for sure one of the fun activities in Amman. They have a dodgeball court, a ropes course, a ball pit and tons of interconnected trampolines! We went there because it was too cold outside, but it is also great when it is too hot outside. Located in Mecca Mall it means you can get a snack or do some shopping while the kids play which is nice as well!
Things to note about Gravity Amman:
- it is for ages 3 and up
- it gets busy on the weekends (Fridays and Saturdays) but is quite quiet while children are in school
- socks are provided
Gravity Amman is located inside Mecca Mall in Amman ( Abdullah ad Dawud) and is on the top floor of the mall near the rainbow coloured stairs.
Jungle Bungle Indoor Play Area
Also in Mecca Mall is another of the popular indoor activities in Amman, Jungle Bungle. This play area is great for kids when you want to get out of the hot sun, or escape the cold weather. When we travel, I always make sure the kids have some time to just be kids.
Jungle Bungle also charges for an hour of play, it is less than 10 JD.
Jungle Bungle Playground Amman is located inside Mecca Mall in Amman ( Abdullah ad Dawud) and is on the top floor (4th floor).
Privately run, the zoo is another place to visit if you are in Jordan with children. There are several exotic animals as well as rides. For JD3 you get entrance into the zoo and each ride is half or one JD. Next to the zoo there is a huge park where you will find families out picnicking on the weekends when the weather is nice!
Things to Note about the Amman Zoo
- It is not a usual stop for tourists and no one who was there when we visited spoke English however the staff was very friendly. Whenever I run into this problem, for example, when buying tea at a roadside stand, I usually hold out 1-2JD worth of change or a few 1 JD bills and some change and ask “how much” that way.
Located off the Airport Road, the Amman zoo is quite easy to get to
Day Trip to the Dead Sea
A Dead Sea Day trip is one of the popular things to do from Amman. Just 45 minutes away by car, it can easily be done in a day. You can rent a car and drive, or go by taxi, or on a tour, or even on a daily bus. You can read how to get from Amman to the Dead Sea.
The lowest point on Earth, the Dead Sea, is located on Jordan’s Western border with Israel and offers visitors access to some of Jordan’s beaches. It lies 400m below Sea Level. Its position at the lowest point on Earth offers more than a salty dip attraction for curious tourists. The air has a higher oxygen concentration in this area and its mineral-rich properties bring people from all over the world who are suffering from various types of skin diseases and rheumatism.
The Dead Sea is vanishing at an alarming rate. If slathering yourself with mineral-rich mud is on your bucketlist, get to Jordan and tick this one off before it is gone!
If you want someone to take care of all of the logistics, consider one of these Dead Sea tours:
Madaba, Nebo and Dead Sea Private Tour: This tour gives you entrance to Dead Sea Beach, as well as a visit to Mount Nebo and Madaba in a private air-conditioned vehicle.
Amman and Dead Sea Tour: This tour offers a driving tour through Amman including a visit to the Amman Citadel and the markets. The tour then makes its way to the Dead Sea. It does not include entrance fees however so expect to pay entrance fees to the Amman Citadel and a private beach at the Dead Sea.
Madaba and Dead Sea Tour: This one includes a visit to Madaba and Saint George’s Church, as well as Mount Nebo, the baptism site and the Dead Sea. It does not include any entrance fees.
Day Trip to Jerash
About 1 hour’s drive north of Amman is Jerash, the best-preserved Roman ruins outside of Rome. The site is massive, for anyone who has to explore Ephesus or other Roman ruins, this site blows them all out of the water! From colonnaded streets to theatres to the massive Hadrian’s Gate, it can take a couple of hours to have a quick walk through the site. It was only in recent years that the beautiful oval was discovered. Soldiers were camping on the site, and after hitting hard ground, they began excavating, and what was discovered was the massive oval. Much of Jerash’s preservation is due to mud covering much of the site. There are still excavations going on, although most of the major structures have been found. What has not been uncovered is where the homes were of those who lived here.
Day trip to Al-Mawa Reserve
I suggest you add this onto your day trip to Jerash if you have kids. Al-Mawa Reserve is a big game rescue facility where the animals are given room to roam. They have been rescued from private zoos, or illegal trade and will live out their lives in comfort of the reserve. Through a partnership between the Princess Alia Foundation and Four Paws in 2011, Al Ma’wa for Nature and Wildlife was established in order to provide a regional solution for rescued wildlife. This gives kids an opportunity to see big game cats as well as bears, and a visit with kids helps contribute to the care of these animals.
All guests are given a 1 hour, where you will walk with a guide to see the rescued animals and learn about their stories and how they came to live at Al-Mawa
Information on Visiting:
Hours: Monday CLOSED, Tuesday 10-3, Wednesday 10-3, Thursday 10-3, Friday 10-4, Saturday 10-4, Sunday 10-3
Entrance Fees: Foreign Adults: 10 JD Jordanian Adults: 5 JD Children up to 12 years of age: 2 JD
You need to call before you visit: contact from 10 AM – 2 PM every day on +962795048646 in order to book a visit.
Safety In Amman
Overall, Jordan is safe and welcoming to tourists. Common sense goes a long way, whether home or abroad. Pickpocketing is rare and tourist scams are not common practice. Have a read of my post “Is Jordan Safe” so you are aware of local customs, culture and what you do want to watch out for.
Rent a Car
Rental Cars are very popular in Jordan, get a quote on renting a car before you arrive.
If you are working on a self-drive itinerary or plan to see the country independently, there is a guide on getting around in Jordan.
Amman is very busy. Home to millions, and millions of cars, I do not recommend doing much driving as parking and gridlock can be a nightmare. Taxi’s are cheap to get around the city, and use the car as you head out of town on your day trips and beyond.
5 Things to Bring with You to Jordan
Appropriate clothing is the most important thing to bring to Jordan with you. Depending on the season, your wardrobe is going to be quite different as wet and cold winters mean that you will need winter coats. When planning your trip to Jordan, check out what to wear in Jordan.
I have always been a guide book person and physically having that book in your hand as you plan your day, in addition to blogs like this one, can help immensely. Pick up a Lonely Planet Guide to Jordan (or the kindle version) before your trip to Jordan.
Whether you want to keep the sun off your head or want to show a little modesty, a scarf goes a long way in Jordan any time of the year. You can bring one with you or pick up one when you arrive, but don’t leave your hotel in the morning without it! It can serve as a hat to keep the sun off your head and neck in the summer and can add some warmth in winder and can offer modesty to cover shoulders for women.
A Grayl Water Bottle is something I recommend for every traveller, not just those going to the Middle East. Some people say the water is safe to drink from the tap, others say it is not; it is not something I am going to chance. And Jordan has a HUGE garbage problem. The streets, the forests and even the desert are littered with plastic bottles.
If you consider drinking at least 1-2 big water bottles a day while you are there, think of how much plastic that creates when every visitor and the population’s 9 million people do the same. With a Grayl, you can filter any tap water (or actually any water source) and have clean drinking water in seconds. Since most people travel with water bottles already, consider one like this with a filter so that you are not just pouring from big water bottles to small. It might sound expensive, but when you compare it to spending a few dollars per day on water while you travel (and do not forget how expensive the water is inside airports), you will pay for this very quickly.
An inexpensive Universal Travel Adapter is another must for Jordan. You will find an assortment of 220V plugs, from European 2 pin, another style of 2 pin and UK Plugs. While European 2 pin is most common, it is best to carry one of these adapters with you. With a handy USB input, you do not need to bring your plugs from home.
Kleenex or Wipes are another thing to put on your list. Jordan’s public washrooms (and even restaurant or hotel lobby washrooms can often be unstocked. Unless you are good with a bidet sprayer, bring yourself some kleenex or wipes just in case! You will find that most washrooms in tourist sites and rest stops have an attendant that will give you toilet paper and paper towel for a small tip. Usually, half a dinar is fine.
In Jordan, the plumbing is not set up to handle toilet paper. Every bathroom (even hotels) you should use the garbage can beside the toilet for your toilet paper and any sanitary products.
Travel Insurance for Jordan
There are a few other things to think about when it comes to travel. The first thing is travel insurance. Whether it is an emergency room visit for something as simple as strep throat, or an emergency appendix surgery, or an unfortunate moped incident things do go wrong when people travel everyday.
I highly suggest travel insurance and a good policy. I personally never travel without it, and I even checked into my policy about care for my children if I am ever in an accident or hospitalized. There are just too many things to think about.
You can find out more information and buy your travel insurance here.