The Roman Colosseum for Kids

The Roman Colosseum for Kids

The Roman Colosseum for Kids

Hello there! Oh, how I love Italy! And what’s not to love?! Beautiful weather, fantastic food, and some of the most amazing monuments in the world! The best part is sharing this beautiful country, and history, with our kids! I mean, what’s not to love about dragging your kids around, all day long, in the hot, Roman sunshine? Come on, they love it … right?

Okay, let’s be honest – getting the kids to share in our excitement can pose some challenges!
Roman Colosseum for kids

How we travel

I decided, years ago, to change the way we travel and make the kids our tour guides! In each location, they are to find a list of items and we learn the stories of why we are looking at each item – kind of like a scavenger hunt for every destination we visit!

This is what we did during our trip to the Roman Colosseum, and not once did we hear “are we done yet” (and we were even there in July!) Whew, it was hot!

Here is the list of ten items we gave our kids to find in the Roman Colosseum (and the stories behind them.) Enjoy reading our list, tell your kids the stories, and then let them find each and every item on the list!


The Roman Colosseum for Kids

They will be busy, they will learn cool facts, and they will certainly feel excited to find the list of items. Now go on and have some fun!

The Roman Colosseum for kids

Tickets to the Roman Colosseum

First, a travel tip before you go to the Roman Colosseum with kids – buy your tickets online (ahead of time!) Traveling with kids is difficult enough, but traveling with kids while standing in line for hours is excruciating! We have been numerous times, and there is always a long line!

If you buy online directly from the Colosseum (online site here), you pay the best price and you can skip the line for no additional fee! Online price: 14 euros. This only includes entrance and not any tours or access to the underground tunnels. 

Or you can buy a package with a tour and choose your options for skip the line entry, and types of tours, with Viator! .  I love the Colosseum tour for families and kids, and it’s great for adults too. I also am a big fan of the Hop on Hop off bus tour in Rome because it is an easy way to get around the city and see all the sights!  —> compare prices here !
The Roman Colosseum for Kids

Roman Colosseum history

Why was the Roman Colosseum built? When the Flavian family took over Rome, they wanted to give something back to the people because Nero, the old ruler, was not a very nice guy. They built this great amphitheater for all Romans to enjoy. The amphitheater was free for all citizens of Rome (as long as they wore their best clothes to the games.) The emperor even supplied food for all who came.

The theater could hold 55,000 people and it took eight full years to build! It was covered in white marble and was one of the most beautiful structures in Rome!

The Roman Colosseum for kids

Facts about the Colosseum for Kids

1. Entrances: You should know that the amphitheater has 80 entrances and exits. 76 of those entrances were used for the people of Rome. Each was numbered above the arches. There are only two arches that you can still see the Roman numerals – gate 23 (XXIII), which is three arches down from Life’s Gate, and the other gate you can find is gate 54 (LIV), which is close to Death’s Gate. Try to find them when you look for the Life and Death Gate (listed below.) Most people don’t even know they are there! Entrances 1-4 were used by the emperor, senators, and special guests, like the Vestal Virgins, who were the protectors of Rome. 

2. Seating: Have the kids look to your left or right – you can see the amphitheater going up. There are four levels of seating inside the theater. The first floor was for dignitaries, rich people, and government officials. The second level was for the nobles and knights. The third level was for normal men of Rome. The fourth tier was for the normal women of Rome. Hmm, what do you think about that? My kids thought the idea of me sitting all the way at the top was hilarious!  

The Roman Colosseum for kids

3. Life’s Gate: This is a huge archway that was the exact arch where the gladiators, exotic animals, and all the chariots would enter into the Colosseum! They would parade around Rome and end at the Colosseum. The arch is big so it can accommodate large chariots and larger animals like ostriches, elephants, and rhinoceros. Believe it or not, some chariots were even pulled by ostriches.  

The Roman Colosseum for kids

Life’s Gate is the big gate near where you entered into the Roman Colosseum. If you are looking into the middle of the Colosseum, and you are standing directly in front of the new walkway that crosses the middle to the other side, Life’s Gate is right behind you!

Why is it called “Life Gate?” Well, because everyone entered the Colosseum alive and only those gladiators who lived through the battle were allowed to leave through this archway!

The Roman Colosseum for Kids

4. Roman Colosseum floor: When you are inside, you have some options. If you go forward, you can walk on the walkway that crosses the middle of the Colosseum. You will notice below there are many stone pillars and spaces. Use your imagination and pretend this whole area is covered with a wooden floor! This was, yup, you guessed it, the Colosseum floor where the games actually took place. On this floor was sand, and under the sand were 36 trap doors that led to the underground tunnels and animal cages. You can see the remains of the cages and tunnels below you. These trap doors were there so animals and/or props (fake trees or scenery) could suddenly appear to the crowd, magically popping up from the floor below. Imagine you were a gladiator… then a tiger suddenly appeared from below the ground. HOLY COW!

5. Underground tunnels: There are five underground tunnels, and you can actually see the tunnels from where you are standing. See if you can find five of them! Only four of the tunnels have been explored, but the fifth one was partially destroyed when Rome built some of its current infrastructure. You can also go on a tour through the tunnels!

The Roman Colosseum for Kids

These tunnels were used for many things.

One tunnel was used for the gladiators to enter into the arena and it comes above ground at Life’s Gate. This tunnel also led to the gladiator school that was outside the amphitheater. Lastly, they believe it also led to the saniarium, or hospital, for the wounded gladiators. The entrance to the tunnel is between gates XIX (19) and XX (20). This main tunnel would have also led to the animal cages, stables, and barns outside of the stadium.

The next tunnel leads to where the props and costumes were stored (in a room below the Colosseum.) The room is called “Summum Choragium”, but it’s easier to remember “the storage room!”

Image From www.cosplay.com

Image from www.cosplay.com

The third tunnel goes to the room where all the dead gladiators were stripped of their possessions like swords, armor, and helmets. These things were all saved and given to future gladiators. This tunnel also splits into a fourth tunnel that is used to drag the dead gladiators out of the arena to the room called the “Spoilarium.” We would know these rooms today as morgues! These two tunnels both start at Death’s Gate. The entrance to the tunnels can be found directly next to Death’s Gate between arches 57 and 58.

 

 

The final underground tunnel is known as Passaggio di Commodo. This was the secret passage for the emperor to enter and exit the amphitheater. This tunnel leads directly to Palantine Hill and the home of the emperor outside the arena. This tunnel is located right behind the emperor’s seats at the unmarked gate 1.

I have to say that the boys thought the word “commodo” was hilarious because it sounded like commode. Both of our boys rolled with laughter and sniffed around to see if they could smell someone cutting the cheese! They are really gross.

The Roman Colosseum for kids

Death’s Gate

6. Death’s Gate: This gate is directly behind the stadium floor that has been rebuilt. It is also directly across from Life’s Gate. You can see it in the picture. I think you can guess what this gate was for… yes, to drag out the dead bodies of both gladiators and animals that had been killed during the games. Once you get to this gate, don’t forget to look for the secret tunnel that leads to the underground.

The Roman Colosseum for kids

Emperor’s Box

7. Emperor’s Box: Looking out toward the Colosseum with your back to Death’s Gate, you will see a space with a wooden floor and a large cross. It is in the middle of the south side of the amphitheater. This is where the emperor sat during the games.

8. Gladiators: The gladiators would enter into the Colosseum through Life’s Gate. Then, they would stop in front of the Emperor’s Box, salute him, and say, “For those about to die, we salute you.” The gladiators would fight, often to their death! There were over 30 kinds of gladiators. Gladiators were named by how they fought. Some fought with swords, some fought wild animals, and some fought with heavy armor! If the gladiator survived, and fought a good fight, he could ask the crowd (by a show of thumbs) if he could live and exit out of Life’s Gate. If the crowd showed their thumbs, the gladiator had to fight to the death and his body would be pulled out through Death’s Gate!

The Roman Colosseum for kids

9. Cross of the Christians: Now that you have found your way around, and have pointed out where the emperors sat, you will also see a large cross in the Emperor’s Box. This is there to remember all the Christians that were killed in ancient Roman times. Many people think this is for all the deaths of the Christians that were killed in the Colosseum; however, the Colosseum was for sport and entertainment. Most of the Christians were killed at Circus Maximus.

The Roman Colosseum for kids

Photo by www.the-colosseum.net

10. Awning over the Roman Colosseum: Did you know that there once was an awning over the entire Colosseum? It was made of the same material that was used for the sails on large ships and could be stretched over the whole amphitheater. It could be put on or removed to help protect from rain or too much sun. The awning, or velarium, was attached by ropes and connected to the Colosseum by large brackets. It took 1,000 men to open the awning and tie it down each time they used it! Many of these brackets you can still find today. Here is what it looks like… how many can you find?

This is a great video on how they built and used the velarium –>

Fun fact: The velarium could also be used to create wind or draft in the Colosseum to help keep it cool during the summer months – kind of like a giant fan! Pretty cool, huh? Pun intended.

The Roman Colosseum for kidsBuying a souvenir: Lastly, I know you really want a souvenir from the Colosseum, right? Sadly, those plastic swords are hard to take on the airplane, and your kids won’t ever use it when you get home. So, here is a better idea —  while in Rome, get some change from a euro and ask for a five-cent coin. The five-cent euro coin has a picture of the Roman Colosseum on it that you can easily put in your pocket and take home with you to always remember Rome!

 

 

 

Another great sight to see is the Trevi Fountain. Check out our article on the Trevi Fountain for kids.

If you would like to print this guide to take with you, click here —> The Roman Colosseum for Kids 

What else can I help you with in Rome?

How to get to Rome

How do we find the best price on flights? We use JetRadar which scans all the airlines to find you the best deals to your destination.

Where to Stay in Rome

Our favorite place to stay in Rome is All In Apartments. They are family-friendly apartments within walking distance to all the major sights in Rome. You can compare prices here

Renting a Car in Rome

Do you need a rental car? We use FOX Rent A Car in Europe, and around the world, as we have found they have the best prices on cars!  Compare Prices Here. 


Discount Car Rentals Around the World

Learning Italian in Rome

Do you want to learn a little bit of Italian before going to Italy? We have lived in seven countries, and we have learned the language with Pimsleur language programsIf you want some quick Italian lessons  check out prices here!

Pimsleur Italian

I hope you enjoy your day at the Roman Colosseum with kids and learn something along the way, too! My kids loved it there, and I hope your kids will also! Quite honestly, Benas and I learned some things as well! I think we enjoyed the scavenger hunt just as much as the boys did!

sunday-traveler-small-white

– Stacey

 

Please be advised – Baskets Life Travel is an affiliate partner of travel sites and multiple storefronts to bring you the best prices on items, tours, locations, hotels, car rentals, and flight options. If you click on a link, we could receive payment, goods, or compensation. We only promote travel and items that we have personally used and know you will love, too. All opinions are our own.

61 Comments

  • […] While the hubby and I are happy to wander around streets of unfamiliar cities, our boys are hardly as entertained; so, we are always looking for interesting information that will keep the kids engaged and help them remember what they have seen!  If you are headed To Rome don’t forget to check our page about the Roman Colosseum. […]
  • Reply October 4, 2014

    Veronika

    Wow what a great idea! What a great way to include the kids and keep them busy..!
  • […] the Colosseum. It’s a walk through/history lesson all in one! The post I am talking about is“10 Things you must see in the Roman Colosseum” … Check it out, you will not be disappointed! I must warn you though, if you haven’t […]
    • Reply March 8, 2014

      basketslife

      You Rock !! :) Here is the Link for anyone who wants to check out our Best of the Best for the Week http://dawnkealing.com/2014/03/07/best-of-the-best-bloggers-top-5-travel-tips/
  • Reply March 6, 2014

    Lisa Goodmurphy

    Great post - I wish I had read it before we went to Rome! We made the mistake of not buying our tickets online and it was all down hill from there. We survived the Colosseum and that is about all I can say!
    • Reply March 8, 2014

      basketslife

      Oh Gosh that is the absolute worst to stand in line ~ next time take my blog and print it No fun to only survive I hope you threw a coin in the Trevi so you will for sure be able to return! thank you for reading!
  • Reply March 6, 2014

    Michael Orobona

    Who said blogs need to be short! I like this kind of meaty, informative post. I'll have to quiz my son, for whom the Colosseum is one of the world's wonders.
    • Reply March 8, 2014

      basketslife

      Thank you for reading ~ I know they are long but there is so much info :)
  • Reply March 4, 2014

    dawnkealing

    Wow!! I just learned so much!! The whole time I was reading it out loud to my husband informing him as well, he has been there but I have not. I hope to go there one day soon!! Thank you for all the info, definitely bookmarking this for when I eventually do! :)
    • Reply March 5, 2014

      basketslife

      Thank you so much for reading! I am glad you enjoyed it~ when you go take the post with you! There will be many more about Rome and other countries ~ thank you again!
  • Really enjoyed your article! All the "fun facts" are also great and interesting! Now I want to see the Colosseum under water!
    • Reply March 5, 2014

      basketslife

      Thank you for reading! Yes that would be very cool! :)
  • Reply March 3, 2014

    Zof

    Ahh, Italia. Ahhh, Rome. It's been more than a decade since I visited. I have to go back. You made me so nostalgic.
  • Reply March 1, 2014

    Saskia Tepe

    I never fancied Rome - but your article makes me want to go! And that's without kids... But you make it so fascinating I might wait and go there with my grandchildren one day!
    • Reply March 2, 2014

      basketslife

      Thank you for reading ~ we love Rome but I think it is much easier when you have some cool facts behind it ~ Have a super weekend and thank you again for stopping by!
  • Reply February 28, 2014

    Kate-Frankie Brennan

    I have such a big love affair with Rome. Its one of my all-time favourite European cities and I adore the turbulent and incredible history. I'm so glad to see a post go in-depth on a place like the Colosseum and brilliant tips to make kids your travel guide and tell stories about the parts they go to. Great photos and really informative. You're making me want to go back so badly!
    • Reply March 2, 2014

      basketslife

      Thank you for reading! Aww thank you I am glad you enjoyed the post ~ I am writing a full series on Rome and cool facts all over the city! Hope you will come back and keep reading! Happy Sunday! :)
  • Reply February 28, 2014

    Marysia Maciocha

    Great article Girl! And I love American approach to life....real Colosseum is way to small for us...ha ha ha Please!
  • Reply February 28, 2014

    Anwar

    What a fabulous post! You know I went there first several years ago, just gawked at it and then went home. It was great learning the history and also the scavenger hunt idea is fantastic!
    • Reply March 2, 2014

      basketslife

      Thank you for reading! Yes you know as adults we can gawk and enjoy but the kids are not to good at gawking they lose interest ~ so we always have a hunt for items and locations ~ keep them (and the hubby) interested! :)
  • Reply February 26, 2014

    tammyonthemove

    I love Rome so much! I think it is one of my favourite cities in the world. When I went to the museum I went really late in the evening and not many tourists were there. I felt like a gladiator would come around any moment. It was magical.
    • Reply March 8, 2014

      basketslife

      Yes it really is a magical place we have been many time and we always enjoy it thank you for reading!
  • Reply February 26, 2014

    Kamila Napora

    I've been few times to Rome (last time in November) yet I never made it inside the Colosseum! I really have to go there next time I'm in the city! Great post!
    • Reply February 26, 2014

      basketslife

      Thank you so much for stopping by and reading! Yes You Must go inside and see it! Have a super day!
  • Reply February 25, 2014

    karisabroad

    Great post!! I've been to the Colosseum twice-once in the winter and once in the summer. I love it! Great idea to 'make the kids the tour guide' :)
    • Reply February 26, 2014

      basketslife

      Thank you for stopping by! Yes it makes it much easier on me when the kids are happy and enjoying it! :)
  • Reply February 25, 2014

    mytanfeet

    I think I just learned about 10 things of Rome and colosseum I had no idea. Yeison just finished watching Spartacus so he has been on a Rome gladiator spree...would love to visit and see this in person one day! Thanks for the history lesson :)
    • Reply February 26, 2014

      basketslife

      Hi ~ thank you so much for stopping by and reading! Oh I am so glad that you liked the post! oh So you must go to Rome ~ you know there is also a Fun Gladiator school there where the kids can dress and get trained as Gladiators ~ for those Gadiator WannaBees! Thank you for stopping by have a super day!
  • Reply February 25, 2014

    Phoebe M

    We were just there this fall and it was absolutely mobbed.. so much so that we didn't even go in! I've been a few times before but my boyfriend wasn't having it. Avoid weekends and peak hours! Great post!
    • Reply February 26, 2014

      basketslife

      Hi ~ yes we have never been when it was not crazy crowded that is why I always buy our tickets online skip the line and zing past the crowd ~Once we are inside we can usually separate ourselves since we have our own agenda! Good advice to try and avoid peak hours! Thank you for reading!
  • Reply February 25, 2014

    Pointsandtravel

    Very informative post! I learned so much and I have been to the Colosseum many times! Great post!
    • Reply February 26, 2014

      basketslife

      Hi Thank you so much for reading! Oh I am glad you enjoyed it ~ sometimes its fun to see it through the kids eyes! Cheers
  • Reply February 25, 2014

    Anna

    I really enjoyed my visit in 2010, although then you could go to the bottom at all. That's crazy that they used to reenact water battles with little ships!
    • Reply February 26, 2014

      basketslife

      Thank you for stopping by and I am glad you enjoyed the post! It was a little crazy that they would reenact water battles and flood the arena ~ hard to imagine ~ Thank you for reading!!
  • Reply February 25, 2014

    frankaboutcroatia

    I had an aunt living in Rome, and we used to go there every Christmas for five years. Been to Colosseum many times, and really enjoyed it. But, I need to admit that I've learnt more from your post than on my own. I'll have to work on my focus, and stop thinking that enjoying the view and coffee are the main activities at historical sites :-)
    • Reply February 25, 2014

      basketslife

      ahh thank you for reading~ But it is all about how you travel For grownups sometimes it is about the amzing view and good coffee or wine ~ but with the kids I have to keep them intereested and learning or they get bored because they do not appreciate the view like we do!! :0) Thank you for reading I really appreciate it!
  • Reply February 25, 2014

    basketslife

    Thank you Kerry ~ I really appreciate you reading! Have a super day!
  • Reply February 25, 2014

    Kerry Ascione

    Fantastic article! I'm printing it to show my family. We made this trip with our kids in 2011; even got to do the underground tour of the Colosseum!
  • Reply February 24, 2014

    Ace CB @ Life in Dutch

    This is great! I'm pinning this to remember for when we get to Rome =) I love the tips and info!
    • Reply February 25, 2014

      basketslife

      Thank you so much for reading! :) Glad you liked it stay tuned for our family travel tips in many other countries!
  • Reply February 24, 2014

    thriftytravelmama

    Thank you for these tips for kids! Pinning for when I get up the guts to take my three young 'uns to Rome :)
  • Reply February 24, 2014

    Phoebe @Lou Messugo

    Wow these are fab tips! I've taken my 2 boys to the Colosseum once but we didn't get nearly as much out of it as you did. I'll be bookmarking this post for future visits; Very happy to have found you through #SundayTraveler
    • Reply February 24, 2014

      basketslife

      Hi Thank you for reading! Yes it is hard to keep the kids engaged ~ so we always try to find a list of items and stories about those items to keep them interested! Thank you again #SundayTraveler
  • Reply February 24, 2014

    Travis H

    Great post - so much valuable and interesting information. I have been to the Colosseum twice now, and each time I have found something new to love and appreciate about it! Now I can't wait to go back again armed with all of these cool bits of info and some new places to seek out! Thanks for sharing - safe travels!
    • Reply February 24, 2014

      basketslife

      Hi Travis ~ thank you so much for stopping by and reading! I am glad you liked it ~ the info is not only for kids We always find interesting stuff too! Thank you and Safe Travels as well!
  • Reply February 24, 2014

    malaysianmeanders

    My kids would have a great time hanging out with your boys from how you describe them. This is a great post that's certainly child-friendly. I am trying to imagine the Colosseum floor flooded with water for a ship battle and with an awning shading me from overhead. I never realized it was so elaborate!
    • Reply February 24, 2014

      basketslife

      Hi Yes I bet they would all really enjoy hanging out ~ we should make a little travelers club! Thank you for reading and stopping by! It is quite amazing that they would flood the floor and then had the trap doors to spring surprises into the arena ~ yes very elaborate! :0 )
  • Reply February 24, 2014

    inpursuitofadventureblog

    Great article, these are definitely the main fun facts of the coliseum, I used to give tours there and these were all things that I would mention while giving the tour. I also always mentioned that gladiators were short and fat; they were built more along the line of Danny devito than Russell Crowe My favorite fact about the coliseum was that all the tunnels are called vomitoriums because the coliseum could be emptied out in less than 15 minutes and vomitorium meant to expel quickly. Glad you were able to make the coliseum fun for kids, I know how miserable summer can be in Rome!
    • Reply February 24, 2014

      basketslife

      Hi thank you so much for stopping by! Ha Ha I will have to tell me kids that about the Gladiators! Oh Yes you know I mentioned that the Colosseum could empty but I forgot to add the word Vomitoriums which my kids thought was Halarious! I will have to add that into the post! Thanks for reading and the feedback! Cheers!
  • Reply February 24, 2014

    Mary {The World Is A Book}

    This is great and I'm "borrowing" your ideas when we take the kids to the Colosseum. My husband and I visited without the kids a couple of years ago and didn't do a tour so I loved reading all these fun facts and learned quite a lot from your post. It is a challenge taking kids to historical sites and letting them be the tour guides is a fantastic idea. I do this with museums but need to do this with other places. Thanks for the ideas and inspiration.
    • Reply February 24, 2014

      basketslife

      Hi Mary ~ thank you so much for stopping by and reading! I am so glad that you liked you and I hope your kids really love it when you take them! It is always a challenge to keep them involved isnt it? We try to find a list or scavenger hunt everywhere we go ~ thank you for reading! Cheers
  • Reply February 23, 2014

    theegetawaygal

    This is a FANTASTIC post... I truly wish you were our tour guide when we were there. I will be bookmarking this page for when I return to beautiful Rome! And what an awesome idea to do with your kids. I use to do scavenger hunt concepts all the time with my kids but did not think to do that when traveling. Very creative and interactive! Last, I love how you've set up the links to blogs you follow on your sidebar. I'm a visual person so the pics get my attention more than links. If you wouldn't mind sharing a tip, I'd love to have you email me how you did that so I could use that concept on my links page. Thanks again for this super informative post; great writing. :)
    • Reply February 24, 2014

      basketslife

      Hi thank you for reading and stopping by! I am so glad that you liked it ~ I hope your kids will love it to! You know we have not had a lot of luck with tour guides and groups either they go to fast for the kids or too slow so I started this scavenger hunt idea insted to get the info and have fun with them! Stay tuned for more ~ sure you can email me stacey@staceysandlin.com Cheers
  • Reply February 23, 2014

    SJ @ Chasing the Donkey

    Man, I had no idea about all of this stuff. When we went it was POURING with rain, and HEAVING with people so we ditched our group and just admired the view. Kind of kicking myself now. GREAT POST and thanks for once again linking up with us for #SundayTraveler
    • Reply February 24, 2014

      basketslife

      Hi My friend thank you for stopping by! Oh well that sucks that it was raining ~ but now you can go back and take the Mini Mr. Donkey and show him all the great stuff! Love #SundayTraveler and thank you for having me!
  • Reply February 23, 2014

    Farrah (@Momofthreeunder)

    We were JUST there last month- how I wish I saw this post prior! We loved it- the Colosseum has really made an impact on the boys- B keeps talking about it. Rome Reconstructed was a great book to prep them for our trip too :)
    • Reply February 24, 2014

      basketslife

      Hi thank you for stopping by! Glad you enjoyed the post! Well stay tuned for other stories for the kids while traveling
  • Reply February 23, 2014

    Britta

    Wow Stacey...a new article and as an absolutely Rome-fan I must say one of your best articles ever (even though I love them all ;-)). This article contains all the important information you need and makes me feel being back there. What would I give to be there right now and follow your great ideas. A big applause and please never stop writing. You rock !
    • Reply February 24, 2014

      basketslife

      Thank you Brit You are always so sweet! Glad you enjoyed it ~ and yes it is not just for kids Us adults can use this info as well ~ thank you for stopping by and reading! Have a super week!

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