Family art adventures in Spain

Cast aside any perceptions of 1970s style Costa del Sol and think cool and cosmopolitan Spanish city. Malaga is a vibrant place with a great museum and gallery scene. Centre Pompidou Malaga is the new 5 year ‘pop-up’ project from it’s sister gallery in Paris and we were excited to check it out. Not to mention the great new food market – Mercado Merced, port redevelopment and great looking beach. Malaga makes an ideal mini break destination.

Crawling in Museo PicassoWe started with a gallery I have visited several times, pre-children, which was the Museo Picasso Malaga. The tradition architecture and fantastic art collection makes every visit a treat. Visiting with a toddler in tow made for a more challenging experience but was still an enjoyable one overall. Without much thought we bought tickets for both the permanent and touring exhibition, by Jackson Pollock at 10 euros per adult. In hindsight, the attention span of a toddler who is determined to master walking any day and who will speed crawl with the best of them, does not allow for a leisurely meander through two exhibitions. However, the stunning quadrangle allowed for a little crawling.

Museo Picasso is a tricky space to negotiate with a buggy, as there are lots of small rooms and a large number of visitors. Our little one pleasingly liked any painting with animals featured in them, shouting her best ‘Miaow!’. Signage is minimal and I struggled to find baby changing facilities, which ended up being in the basement. There is a lift, thankfully. There appeared to be no family or children’s programme at the gallery, which was a little disappointing, as Picasso’s work would lend itself perfectly to family art workshops.

Playing the piano at MIMMA

Bea and her balloon

On the same day we visited Museo Interaectivo de la Musica (MIMMA). I had discovered this online before our trip and thought that the interactive element would be ideal for children. The admission cost was reasonable at 4 euros per adult. The museum is split into white, black and red rooms, indicating exhibition spaces and hands on interactive rooms. We spent most of out time in the red interactive rooms, in which our little one got to play a piano, guitar, steel pan and a Gong. Trying the Steel Pan at MIMMAMy big kid of a husband was hugely disappointed that the electric drums didn’t work, whereas Bea was simply mesmerized by the lights on the kits control panel. The rest of the museum is definitely tailored to older children and grown ups. If music is your thing, you’ll love it. Thirty minutes was as long as our little one could handle at MIMMA before getting restless, however, her mood was instantly elevated as she was handed a free balloon by the friendly gift shop attendant.

Incubado, in situ project at Centre PompidouHand held mirrors, Centre PompidouThe following day we took a walk to the port and Centre Pompidou Malaga. The striking architectural installation, Incubado, in situ project by Daniel Buren, can be seen from a distance. Learning from the Picasso museum, this time we only purchased permanent exhibition tickets, at the cost of 7 euros each. The space is quite dark and could be a little daunting for young children, but Bea found the video pieces engaging and was happy to get Young Person's Room at Centre Pompidouinvolved with the interactive exhibitions in the Self Portraits Room. The gallery has specific interactive pieces designed for families, which proved a hit with our little one at 16 months old. There is also a Young Person’s room, aimed at ages 5-12. This space is currently celebrating the life and work of Frida Kahlo. This was a great interactive, safe room where Bea could crawl around, touch screens and pick up telephones. (pretending she was calling our cat, Oscar,  rather than listening about Frida Kahlo!).

Spending 3 nights in Malaga, we did more than just scratch the surface, and I’m sure the City has further adventures to offer. With direct flights now going from Norwich we will definitely be back to check out places such as Museo Carmen Thyseen and would recommend Malaga as an exciting and unique family art destination.


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