Petra with Children: A Complete Guide (2023 UPDATE)
Why Visit Petra with Children?
Children will be mesmerized by Petra's beauty. Carved out of rose pink rock, with narrow passageways, stunning facades, colonnaded streets, and magnificent views of the surrounding desert, it really is a one-of-a-kind place.
It’s a great way to get your kids off their phones and iPads - once they’ve started exploring the site, they’ll probably be so fascinated with it that you’ll have to drag them away. Exploring Petra is a great way to teach them about history and the Visitor’s Centre offers a free audio guide for children that’s engaging and also educational, letting them explore the site and learn about the people that lived there.
Kids at the Petra Archeological Park
Jordan is a very child-friendly country. Like everywhere in the Middle East, children rule the roost - everyone loves them, makes a fuss of them, and spoils them. So on a visit to Petra, they definitely won’t need to be seen and not heard.
Is it Safe to Take Children to Petra?
Jordan is a pretty safe country to visit, in any event, but Petra - in particular - is highly recommended because it’s not just set up for tourism but the government and local security staff there take safety very seriously.
There are few incidents of crime (e.g. petty theft) and almost no incidents of violence, making the area very safe for families. You can walk the streets easily, day or night, there are local police on hand both in Wadi Musa and the site of Petra itself.
If you decide to visit, you will see many groups of people, consisting both of adults and younger family members, roaming around.
The Tourism Police in Wadi Musa (Image by Dickelbers CC BY-SA 3.0)
Petra is a popular tourist attraction (which brings in a lot of revenue) and the Jordanian government wants to keep it that way - as a result, they go to great efforts to make sure the area is kept safe - after all, happy tourists will spread the word, or even return!
Exploring Petra with Children
Petra is enormous and there’s lots to see. But there are some places and things that really must be experienced, including:
The Siq and Treasury - walking through the Siq passageway is an incredible feeling and at a certain point it’s so narrow that you can’t see far ahead, so have no idea when the Treasury will come into view. When it does, your children will be overwhelmed. As will you. Then spend time in front of the Treasury itself…it’s simply awe-inspiring.
The Indiana Jones trail - older kids will find hiking this trail - in the footsteps of Indiana Jones - completely thrilling. Rather than walking through the Siq, take the trail that heads southwest across a desert plain…eventually you’ll arrive at an amazing lookout high above the Treasury. Think about taking a local guide so you don’t get lost!
The view is Amazing!
Horse and Carriage/Donkey Riding - some people like to use animals to travel the Siq and your kids might enjoy it - just make sure that you agree on the price beforehand to avoid any possible quarrels and that the animals look well-cared for.
Petra by Night - taking children to Petra at night can be a lot of fun - the entire area around the Treasury is lit with thousands of candles and you’ll also be treated to a traditional Arabic musical performance. Just remember that you need to buy a separate ticket for this activity.
The Petra Monastery - this medium to hard walk, involving 850 uneven stairs, is a bit steep and not suitable for youngsters but is a well-worn trail. Moreover, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of this site and there are far fewer crowds there than at the Treasury.
Little Petra - a fifteen-minute drive from Wadi Musa and boasting free entrance, this site is smaller and more compact but with the same facades and gorges. Children will love the caves and rock formations there and there are easy hikes for all the family.
What Kind of Places can I Stay with Children in Petra?
Petra has accommodations to suit all budgets and tastes. Something kids will really enjoy is sleeping at a Bedouin camp - they are well set up and, in many respects, it’s more like ‘glamping’ - comfy beds, private toilets, and even mink throws for when it gets cold at night.
Great hotels await you in and around the Petra Archeological Park
There are plenty of mid-range and upscale resorts around, with family rooms, play areas, and even kids' clubs. You and your children will love eating traditional Jordanian food around a campfire at night or in one of Petra's great restaurants. And if you decide that you need a quiet night out with your partner, you can book babysitters in some of the top resorts.
Tips for Traveling to Petra with Children
As we’ve said, your children are bound to love visiting this Lost City but there are still a few things you should bear in mind, and here are some tips to make the trip as enjoyable as possible.
- Try to avoid traveling there in the summer - it can be scorching hot. Consider March to May and September to November as optimal dates - temperatures are pleasant and skies clear, but there will be little rain.
- Keep an eye on your children - certain parts of Petra can get very crowded at certain times of the day, particularly the Siq passageway and the Treasury area.
- Make sure you're all dressed for exploration - you’ll need comfy shoes, breathable clothing, hats and sunscreen - the sun can be a beast if you aren’t careful.
- Carry water and snacks with you - it’s easy to get dehydrated if you aren’t careful and this can really ruin your trip, so pack plenty of water (everyone can carry a backpack with a couple of bottles, large or small). Also take some energy bars or dried fruits and nuts, to keep everyone’s strength up.
- Take the crowds into consideration - exploring Petra early in the morning and later in the afternoon with a rest in the middle of the day - not only will it be less crowded between 7am-10am and from 3pm to closing time, but you’ll all appreciate the lie-down! Your ticket is valid for the entire day so there’s no problem having a break, then returning once the crowds thin out.
- Book a guided tour of Petra - this means that everything is arranged for you in advance - visas, travel to Wadi Musa, accommodation and the entrance ticket Even better, you’ll have the services of a local guide, who can teach your children all about the special history of the area and make sure they have a holiday that they’ll never forget.