Petra with Kids. Discover what makes visiting Jordan with kids so incredible!

The Complete Guide of What to see in Petra with kids

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There is no place in the middle eastern country of Jordan that is more iconic than the ancient city of Petra. Petra made the list as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. Also, it has become somewhat of a media icon, appearing in movies such as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Sprawling over 60 sq. km among the Petra Mountains, it was hard to wrap our minds around what to see in Petra with kids. So we spent three days exploring the area and are bringing our best tips to you!

Getting to Petra involves a 3-hour drive from Jordan’s capital of Amman. While the drive may seem long, there is a lot to see along the way! On arrival in Wadi Musa, it’s quick to see that it is a city that caters to visitors. There are incredible restaurants and shops for visitors.

A mother and son explore the columns lining the pathway to al siq in Petra Jordan as they explore what to see in Jordan with kids

Pro-Tip: The drive to Petra from Amman can be accomplished by three methods: 1) by renting your own car, 2) by joining a tour, or 3) by taking a bus.

The Long Walk to and Through Al Siq

After we showed our tickets at the entrance to Petra, we began a 1.2 km walk along a crushed stone path toward Al Siq. Right away we were approached by no less than half a dozen local Bedouins asking if we wanted to take rides on horses or carriages.

Bedouin horseman riding towards al Siq in Petra Jordan

Pro-Tip: If you decide to ride into Petra rather than walk, make sure you negotiate the price openly with the guides beforehand. The horses will only take you to the opening of al Siq, but the carriages can go all the way through to the Treasury.

Tombs, Temples, and Columns of Bab As-Siq

The amazing sites along the walk to Al Siq can often be overlooked in the excitement to get to the majestic buildings within Petra. As our eyes began to adjust to the bright sun, we quickly noticed the various shapes among the mountains surrounding the paths. Lining the mountain walls were towering Obelisk tombs, caves, and columns.

A mother and son explore the columns lining the pathway to al siq in Petra Jordan as they explore what to see in Jordan with kids

The tombs are the most spectacular site on the way to Al Siq. There are several that you can explore along the way, the largest being three stories of towering sandstone. The reliefs along the front offer witness to the Arab, Egyptian and the Roman occupation of the region.

Entering Al Siq

As we approached Al Siq we passed over a bridge. To the right was a small store built into the cliffside. This is the only place to get drinks and snacks till the Treasury, 1.2 km away. As we entered the Siq, we were instantly dwarfed by the towering 200 m cliffs.

Christina and C are dwarfed by the towering walls of al siq , one of the first examples of what to see in Petra with kids
A mother and son pose by the sign for the siq as they explore what to see in Petra with kids

Many visitors to Petra rush through the Siq to get to the main city. But that is a shame. Al Siq offers some stunning sites. And if it were anywhere else, it would be a destination of its own. The walls are lined with niches that once held sacred statues for Nabataeans making the pilgrimage to Petra.

Many of these niches are still visible today, although most have been badly eroded. Also visible are the remains of once detailed sculptures illustrating Petra as one of the key trading hubs in the region. One of the best preserved shows a man leading a group of camels through the Siq.

What to see in Petra Jordan with kids includes this the remains of a detailed sculpture of a camel guide and his herd in the siq

The best thing about exploring al Siq in Petra with kids though is the Elephish. C could have spent ours wandering around this amazing rock, that from one side looks like an elephant. And from the other side, looks like a fish! Nature is awesome!

A young boy stands under a rock shaped like an elephant in the siq on the way to Petra Jordan

The Treasury

As our feet began to tire from the long walk through the Siq, it happened. The view. THE VIEW! As we saw the towering Treasury building, illuminated by the sun through the dark walls of the Siq, our exhaustion disappeared.

The Treasury building in Petra Jordan seen as you exit from between the cliffs of the siq

The Treasury is where countless visitors swarm, sipping a coffee and snapping photos with the camels. There are a few shops and small restaurants here to grab some refreshments. Unfortunately, this is as far as many visitors go. The view here is incredible, but this is really where the lost city of Petra begins!

A camel relaxes in front of the Treasury building in Petra Jordan

Pro-Tip: If you want to hire a guide to show you around the area, this is where you do it. Camel guides, which can lead you to the lower areas of Petra are available here, but donkeys and horse guides wait around the corner and aren’t allowed directly in front of the Treasury

Lower Petra

Lower Petra consists of a few different areas that can easily be explored on your own. But a guide will help you get a better understanding of what you are seeing.

The House with a View of the Theater

On the right-hand side, after a row of tall and magnificent tombs is the largest house in Petra. This three story cave house features huge rooms that the boys loved to explore. The home holds a coveted spot in the city, directly across from the Theater.

A mom and her son stand inside a room in the largest house in Petra Jordan

The Theater was built out of solid rock about 2000 years ago to hold 3500. It was expanded by the Romans in AD 106 to hold as many as 8500 people. It reminded of a much smaller version of the one that we had seen in Jerash.

A Bedouin guiding horses strolls in front of the theater as seen from the house across the wadi

The Royal Tombs

Along the cliffs, to the right, the wadi widens immensely. On the right is a long line of the most spectacular tombs. You can access them by following along the cliff, or from a staircase from the lower floor of the wadi.

The Royal Tombs made the list of what to see in Petra with kids

Pro-Tip: When you are exploring the lower tombs, be prepared for the smell. They are often used by goat herders for shelter during the rain.

The Colonnaded Street

As we rounded the corner from the theater we came to the Colonnaded street. The start of this stretch is marked by a 450-year-old pistachio tree. The tree makes a great spot to stop and grab some shade and eat some lunch. There are a few small shops nearby.

A mother and two sons ride horses along the Colonnaded Street with a Bedouin guide

The Great Temple

Along the colonnaded street sits the remains of the Nymphaeum and the Great Temple. We entered the Great Temple through the wide staircase at its base. Christina and C headed deeper into the ruins to explore. I, on the other hand, got to do one of the coolest things when visiting Petra with kids. Changing a diaper on a 2000-year-old ruin at of 7 wonders of the world!

A mother and son walk along the walls of the Great Temple in Petra Jordan

Temenos Gateway

At the end of the Colonnaded street that marks the outer rim of the main area of Petra sits the Temenos Gateway. These massive pillars once held huge wooden doors and separated the commercial district from the sacred temple.

A Bedouin guides a mother and two young boys on horseback through the Tremenos Gateway in on the way to the Monastery

Byzantine Church or Petra Church

On a rise above the Colonnaded street is the Byzantine Church. The remains of this building, covered by an awning, features a stunning mosaic floor. It was built in 530 AD but was destroyed by a fire and subsequent earthquakes.

The tiled floors of the Byzantine Church in Petra Jordan sit under an awning along with other excavated artwork

Pro-Tip: A small cafe near the Petra church has outhouses that you can use.

The High Place of Sacrifice Route

Heading back towards the Theater, we met up with a local Bedouin guide to take us up to the High Place of Sacrifice. The High Place of Sacrifice can be reached via a long series of switchbacks.

Because we were at Petra with kids, we opted to have Christina and the boys take horses for the trip while I would carry our gear on foot. Our guide, Mohammed with the gold tooth took us up the back way to give us some even more unique views.

The Tomb of the Roman Soldier

A Mother and two young sonss are led up to the tomb of the Royal Soldier on horseback

The Tomb of the Roman Soldier was our first stop on our way up the side of the mountain. This temple received its name from the elegant statue of a Roman soldier on the facade. The inside of the building is impressive on its own, with all of us inside with the horses with room to spare.

A Bedouin guides a woman and two boys on horseback through the tomb of the roman soldier in Petra Jordan

The Lion Triclinium

We made our way to the cliffs opposite the Tomb of the Roman Soldier and began to climb up the steep steps towards the upper levels of the cliff. Christina and the boys needed to dismount their steeds and we made our way up the toward the Lion Triclinium.

A Bedouin guides a woman and two young boys on horseback up stairs in Petra Jordan

The Lion Triclinium was located at the top of the steep stairs in a narrow canyon. It featured the reliefs of two lions outside a tomb that was believed to have held funerary practices.

The faded remains of a lion on the walls of a gorge in Petra Jordan

The High Place of Sacrifice

We reached a wide landing where there was a small shop to get water. We left the horses and made the climb up a remaining set of stairs to the High Place of Sacrifice.

A family parks their horses on a plateau below the high place of sacrifice as they explore what to see in Petra with kids

When we reached the top we were met with incredible views of the Petra mountains. The peak features a flat stone landing on which is perched an altar with a large rectangular triclinium. This is where animals were sacrificed and celebrants would share communal dinners.

The altar at the high place of sacrifice

The Overlook

Past the sacrificial altar, we crossed a narrow path along the dizzying high cliffs. The path was marked with small red arrows on the rocks and ground. We climbed down over some rock ledges and were treated to a view over the wadi and the Royal Tombs. It was breathtaking.

The grounds were nearly empty when we visited, so we were joined by a local Bedouin shopkeeper who guided us to the top and shared stories with the boys.

A Bedouin shopkeeper shows a mother and son what to see in Petra with kids from the high place overlooking lower Petra

Pro-Tip: The High Place of Sacrifice along with other High Places in Petra have sheer cliffs and no safety barriers. Please keep a close eye on your little ones everywhere in Petra, Jordan.

Heading back down

Mohammed took us down the conventional route through many suburban style facades. The way down made for a relaxing and beautiful route.

A Bedouin guide helps a mother and two boys on horseback make their way down from the high place of sacrifice, the high place is on the list of what to see in Petra with kids

Pro-Tip: It is cheaper to buy multi-day tickets than multiple single-day tickets. If you know you will be spending more than one day in Petra, make sure to purchase the multi-day pass.

The Monastery

The following day we returned to see Mohammed. We presented our tickets at the entrance. Then, we joined him for a climb up the 800 steps toward the famous Monastery. Christina and the boys made the journey again by horse, while I desperately chased them on foot (the horses won).

A mother and toddler ride a horse up the stairs to the Monastery

After I finally caught up to everyone, we stopped to have a snack. We left the horses and made our way up a few more steps and around a bend. The corner took us to a wide clearing littered with tumbled columns. It took a moment to notice the MASSIVE structure on our right. But there it was, the largest structure in all of Petra. The amazing Monastery building.

The Monastery in Petra Jordan

The Monastery was built in the 3rd Century BC and is an astounding 50 m wide and 45 m high. There is a cave teashop across the plaza from the Monastery. We cooled from the heat with a delicious mint lemonade to take in the view.

Our next stop would have us climb to an amazing lookout. The short hike to the lookout took us past a few more beautiful tombs with defaced carvings.

A mixed race family smiles while taking a photo above the Monastery in Petra Jordan. The Monastery is a must if you are looking for what to see in Petra with kids

A little shopping

As we began to make our way down towards Mohammed we came across a Bedouin shopkeeper selling head scarves. We had spoken to her briefly before we made our way up to the Monastery.

This time we decided to take her up on her offer of mint tea and some shade in her shop. We had a great conversation with her about life in Petra. She got along famously with the boys, who ended up begging us to buy some headscarves. We couldn’t resist!

A Bedouin shopkeeper help D put on a headscarf in Petra Jordan

Home sweet home

When we reached Lower Petra, Mohammed pointed to the left to a series of caves on the shorter cliffs. He told us that until 20-years ago, that was his home. That was when the Jordanian government relocated the local Bedouins to a new town located just up the hill.

a family on horseback rides through tall cliffs on the way down from the Monastery
A Bedhouin guide and a woman on horseback ride past cave houses in Petra Jordan

What You Need to Know Before Deciding What to See in Petra with Kids

Petra is an epic place full of incredible scenery, unmatched history, and unforgettable culture. It’s also huge, hot, dusty and has ZERO safety precautions. It will be exhausting for parents, and doubly so for little ones who make the trip. Make sure you give yourself enough time to experience the site.

Unless you are only exploring Lower Petra, we suggest spending more than 1-day in the ancient Nabataean city. Give yourself a couple of days to soak it all in. Plus, the desert heat is hard on the little ones. We did not have full days at Petra.

Instead, we escaped the mid-afternoon sun by having some ice-cream in Wadi Musa. And don’t forget, after ice-cream, mid-afternoons is always a great time for a nap! Get your rest, because

there is a lot more to see in Jordan with kids!

A young boy sleeps on horseback in the arms of his mother on the way down from the Petra Monastery in Jordan

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Kevin Wagar

Kevin Wagar is a creative designer and technology expert living in the Greater Toronto Area. His beautiful wife Christina impressed on him her love of travel and they have made exploring the world an integral part of their life.
With the birth of their two boys, Kevin and Christina have made it their mission to show others that travelling with children isn't as scary as it sounds and that kids can benefit from experiencing the world outside of their front door and beyond.
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18 Comments

  1. I didn’t know the walk through al Siq was that long. But the more impressive it is that you explored so much beyond the treasury! I really love all your photos and your kids are the most lucky persons to see this as such a young age!

  2. That’s a wonderful exploration you took there! Do you happen to know whether or not the 450-year-old pistachio tree in the colonnaded street still carries fruits?

  3. Hi Kevin!
    Thanks for the great info. I have two questions for you. 1: Since we will be coming from Israel, (we are leaving a rental car behind) …what do you do with all your luggage? We only will be in Jordan 2 nights (Wadi Rum and Petra).
    2. This is weird, but is the bedding clean? (Bedouine tents) …
    We are thrilled to visit…we don’t have a lot of days for Jordan but it’s better than nothing.
    Thanks
    Ronel

    1. Hi Ronel!
      I assume you are referring to Wadi Rum. The camp that we stayed at (Wadi Rum Night Luxury Camp), not only was the bedding clean, but it was one of the most comfortable beds I’ve ever slept in. Different camps may have different levels of accommodation, but I haven’t heard any bad reviews of note. We were only allowed a single bag each for our visit and left our bags in our guides truck (who also stayed the night in the camp).
      It’s a shame that you don’t have more time to spend there, but I’m sure you will have an incredible time. Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any other questions.

  4. Such an interesting thorough piece on Petra. I think it would be quite enjoyable to walk through Al Siq rather than taking a horse or carriage. The elephise rock would capture anyone’s attention. So many places to see in Petra. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Kevin, this is one of the most comprehensive posts I have seen on one of my dream places to visit, Petra. Loved the pictures and the kids seem to have had a lot of fun. Changing a diaper on a 2000-year-old ruin – hilarious 😉

  6. Wow, quite a place! I don’t think I’ve seen such an in depth and comprehensive post about Petra before. It’s a great read and makes me want to go all the more. Thank you

  7. Hi. I just read your trip to Petra. My family with 4 children (13, 11, 6, & 2) will be traveling to Israel/Jordan next week.We’ll be in Petra from Nov 18-20, with our last day in Wadi Rum. Im contemplatingbetween a metal frame baby carrier or a front/back baby Bjorn. I’m not sure about the metal frame as I feel that it might be too bulky to haul around as we make our way to and from places. Also, we would like to visit the monastery. Is it possible to see it all in one day? Thank you.

    1. Hello Marienell,
      It sounds like your family has an incredible trip ahead of them! My personal recommendation is to use a frame carrier. If you are looking at doing the climb to the Monastery, a full frame carrier will be much more comfortable for both the child and the parent. Temperatures in Petra in November can vary dramatically depending on the time of day, and while a baby Bjorn type carrier would allow the transfer of body heat, the weight of a two-year-old for all that walking could make it pretty tough on your back, and more constricting for the child. We used our Deuter Kid Comfort III quite a bit for our 1-year-old and bringing it was one of the best decisions that we made

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