Has anyone used a guide at the Acropolis who is engaging with adults and children (ages 6-10)? We have a short time in Athens after being in the islands and want to make the most of our time there.
Since nobody seems to be replying, I'll give it a try. No, I have not used a guide (except for guide books) and cannot give you a direct recommendation. Just a couple of thoughts and ideas:
I think children that age will have a great time just exploring the site. If you want to make it more fun for them, you might turn it into a sort of game. Give them a small camera and have them take pictures: of the most beautiful statue they can find. Of the tallest column. Of each other in front of something interesting. Of one of the Acropolis cats.
Just use your guide book to come up with some simple ideas. Have them discover things. Have paper and a pencil ready and have them draw one of the buildings. Read stories from the Greek mythology to them before or during your Greece visit, and have your children find statues or buildings that refer to the persons or gods mentioned in those stories. Check the Acropolis museum for family programs.
Have you looked at the whole Rick Steves travel site for Athens??? He offers a FREE download of a step-by-step guide to Acropolis ... This gives you maximum flexibility to do the Acropolis on y our own schedule, instead of having to start at a certain time. if you will listen to it, you'll see it's very accessible for children, if you stop it and add your furthere explanations ... which you can do on y our own knowledge if you just do a bit of advance reading... Borrow R Steves guide from library or buy it on Amazon. RS also offers free guide to the Nat. Arch. Museum, just giving you the "top 10 must-see" items ... tho that museum may be too big for your brood.
For a great follow-on from climbing "the Rock", on the way down, have your kids scramble up Areopagas ( "mars Hill") a slippery Rock Mound where Ancient Greek Judges met for trials ... then go out the Southern Exit Gate of the site, directly to the Wonderful Acropolis Museum... just across a lovely pedestrian promenade (ice-cream carts, balloon men, etc). At this Museum You can have a great moderate-price lunch w. lots of kid-friendly food, in its 2nd floor glassed-in a/c terrace that looks up at the Parthenon. No charge to go direct to lunch terrace. If you do the museum, it's lo-price and your kids are free... AND, on the top (3rd) floor, it has a super 20-minute video, animated AND live-action, that gives whole history of Parthenon & Acropolis, very understandable even for First-graders. I highly recommend it.
My wife and I booked a private tour of the Acropolis and area with Maria Tsami in May of 2015, and she was fabulous. We didn't have any kids with us, but Maria referred to doing tours geared towards kids in our casual conversations through the tour (my wife and I are retired teachers), and I am sure she would be good with them. We booked her through an agency- AnyRoad I think it was- but she is also listed through Viator and a few other agencies- just google her name. (Edit: After I posted, I tried the website I had used in 2015 and it no longer works. She does have recent reviews on the Viator site though.)
There's nothing wrong with using a guide but the Acropolis is an easy do-it-yourself site. As several have stated there are numerous guide books and the internet to get information.
You didn't say when you'll be there . . . High or Low Season will have different crowds with High Season so crowded it may make it more of a nuisance rather than a joy.
However, if you do it yourself get there when it opens at 8 a.m. to avoid the tour groups and crowds. It will be far more enjoyable, peaceful and you won't have tourists losing their minds as they run around all over the places in awe and worse getting in the way of your photos!
Certainly you can read up on all the history and mythology of ancient Greece, and read to your kids out of a guidebook. Or you can hire an engaging and experienced professional guide who has studied those topics for years, and animated them to hundreds or thousands of visitors. If you want to give your kids- and yourself- a memorable and educational experience stick with a good guide for this one site of sites. I found the guide I recommended above by reading reviews on sites like Viator and Toursbylocals, and she was excellent, but I'm sure there are several others in her class. By the way, while an early morning start is a good idea, our tour started at 4:00 pm, as the crowds were streaming DOWN the hill.
I always find threads like this to be the most useful, when inquirers give an idea of what they're able/willing to spend, and in turn, responders who recommend guides or services, give an idea of what those services cost. Lots of us would looove to avail ourselves of an excellent private tour, but when we learn the cost, we must instead turn to doing "homework" and finding online resources.
Certainly you can read up on all the history and mythology of ancient
Greece, and read to your kids out of a guidebook.
Now who said you should read to your kids out of a guidebook? Not sure what you are trying to get at.
There is certainly nothing wrong with taking an experienced guide. There is equally nothing wrong with going on a trip prepared. Studying guide books can actually be quite fun. Note that I say "studying", not reading them to your children!
And considering that the Greek mythology was the stuff the ancient tragedies and comedies were made of, surely they can be a fascinating read for children in a modern and well-told version.