Family Vacation in Berlin: Places to Go and Things to Do with Children, Germany
To see the largest dinosaur skeleton and pass through the Ishtar Gate, descend to a nuclear bombshelter and fly above the city on an air-balloon, take a ride on a dragon in the Legoland and sail on a boat through a cave, walk around the forest with lemurs and chill out on a tropical beach, take a tour of a motion picture studio on a steam locomotive and examine the design of various machines, visit a giant aquarium – these and other ideas for a family vacation in Berlin are presented in our review.
Children’s Museums and Other Places of Interest in Berlin
Kids from 3 to 12 years old are welcome on the playgrounds of the Labyrinth Museum (Labyrinth Kindermuseum). Here, children are offered to become cooks on a kitchen full of toylike food products and dishes, or participate in house building using all the necessary tools. In playrooms kids become familiar with the laws of physics, rules of mathematics, spelling and reading with the help of interactive exhibits. Besides, temporary exhibitions and concerts for the whole family are held at the museum.
The interactive museum Do it with Us! (Kindermuseum MACHmit!) is open in the building of an old church. A huge wooden labyrinth, which rises to the very roof, has been constructed here for kids. There is an old soap shop where children can become vendors, a printing shop where they can use the printing press to print words. Here kids will be offered to play with toys from the last century, listen to organ music and lean about its design, practically try the Pythagoras theorem and more than one hundred other scientific theories and natural phenomena. And for little kids - there are playhouses with slides.
The Technical Museum (Deutsches Technikmuseum) is located in a former railway station. Here, right in the open, old railway cars and locomotives are parked. A collection of spying devices for photo and video shooting is exhibited in the optics hall. Junkers, Messerschmitt and other military aircraft can be viewed in the aviation and space exposition. A collection of sailing ships and models of vessels is presented in the exposition of water transport. Besides, here visitors can learn how to tie sailor's knots. Films about space are also shown here in the Karl Zeiss Grand Planetarium (Zeiss Grossplanetarium). It is allowed to touch and dismantle many exhibits. Besides, workshops with the use of old technologies are held at the museum. In the Spectrum Scientific Center (which belongs to the museum), kids are offered to play and at the same time to study the laws of nature, physics and chemistry: touch fog, pass electrical charge through their own body, generate a lightning or an earthquake and ponder at some optical illusions. From a glazed observation site under an airplane, there is a view of the city. In the open courtyard, visitors can examine mills and windmachines.
On the Museum Island (Museuminsel) there are several of Berlin’s remarkable attractions. Objects of antique art, arms and decorations of ancient Greeks and Romans are collected in the Old Museum (Altes Museum). In the New Museum (Neues Museum) visitors can see papyrus rolls, sculptural bust of Nefertiti and works of ancient Egyptian painters. The Pergamon altar, the reconstructed Ishtar Gate from Babylon, and a collection of Middle Eastern art are exhibited at the Pergamon Museum (Pergamonmuseum). Paintings and sculptures from the 19th century are collected in the exposition of the Old National Gallery (Alte Nationalgalerie), and in the Bode Art Museum (Bode-Museum) visitors can see a collection of sculptures, Byzantine mosaics, Roman sarcophagi and about 4000 coins and medals in the Coin Cabinet.
Arms of ancient Germans, medieval books and manuscripts, as well as propaganda posters of the 20th century are represented in the exposition of the German Historical Museum (Deutsches Historisches Museum). As to the interactive Museum of Berlin History (Berliner Museum) visitors are offered to dip in the everyday life of townspeople who resided in various ages, visit the Horror Room (Gruselkabinett) and descend to a real bombshelter of the Cold War time.
The largest in the world restored skeleton of the dinosaur-giraffatitan can be seen in the Natural Science Museum (Naturkundemuseum). Here, in addition to fossils and bones of ancient pangolin, stuffed animals and birds are exhibited. Dioramas display the nature of Alps and Central Europe. In the Keller room, visitors can examine in a nitty-gritty detail the gigantic models of a fly, mosquito, flea and various beetles (the models are the size of a small dog). Other theamed halls of the museum are devoted to the evolution, solar system planets and Earth structure. Besides, here visitors can see a movie about the making of the models for the exhibition, and try to make a similar one with their own hands.
Those who are interested in the process of filming, sound recording and cropping should visit the Cinema and Television Museum (Deutsche Kinemathek), where it is also possible to learn about the history of German and Hollywood cinematography. At the excursions arranged for kids over 8 years of age, visitors will learn about the silent, black-and-white and color cinematography, first sound movies, famous German directors and actors. In the animation workshop, kids will make a cartoon themselves.
In the Museum of Computer Games (Computerspielemuseum) there are halls styled as children's rooms, in which teenagers played at home using Sega, Dendi, Nintendo and Sony PlayStation ten-twenty years ago. Visitors are allowed to play on television and automated game devices: for instance, there is a hall of arcade games, a gigantic joystick, a racing simulator, and a sensor ping-pong.
Those who are interested in the Cold War history might want to visit the GDR Museum (DDR-Museum) to learn about the everyday life in East Germany. Exposition is interactive: visitors are allowed to open closets and look inside drawers, take a tour of Berlin in a Trabant car simulator, turn on the radio and TV set broadcasting programs of those times. In the Berlin Wall Museum (Mauermuseum), which is located near the Charlie Checkpoint, it is possible to see the means, by which people tried to overpass the wall – from automobiles to mini-submarines and air-balloons. And to assess the height of the wall, once should go to the East Side Gallery, where graffiti is drawn right on the preserved 3,5-meter high concrete slabs.
It is possible to see Berlin from the second level of the tour bus or from the deck of a ship during a tour along the Spree river. These tours start in the downtown. To save some money, it is possible to buy a discounted Berlin Pass – visits to the main attractions and city places of interest are included in its price.
Berlin Observation Decks
It is possible to have a bird’s’ eye view of the city from one of Berlin’s observation sites. The highest of them is the glazed panoramic deck of the Berlin Television Tower (Berlin Fernsehturm) which has the elevation of 203 meters above the ground. It is possible to enter the glazed dome of Reichstag free of charge, but a reservation is required. The Panorama Punkt Observation Site is located on the 25th floor of the high-rise Kollhof-Tower on the Potsdamer Platz, and on the 24th floor, there is the Berlin Views historical exhibition. A view on the Tiergarten Park is open from the Victory Column (Siegessäule). For a view of the downtown area, the best place is the circular gallery of the Cathedral Church (Berliner Dom) or the site of the French Cathedral (Französischer Dom). If weather cooperates, an air-balloon called the Berliner Weltballon is launched to the height of 150 meters above Berlin.
Entertainment for Children and Families in Berlin
In the Berlin Legoland Discovery Centre visitors should be ready to visit theme game zones. At the Lego Factory kids help workers in manufacturing plastic blocks; at the racing track - rallies are arranged, where race cars assembled by participants themselves compete; besides here one can see miniatures of main Berlin points of interest, take a ride on a dragon along a fairy-tale labyrinth, become Merlin’s apprentice and watch a cartoon in a 4D movie theater. A Duplo Village with large play bricks is open for younger kids from 2 to 5 years of age. Here they can play under parents’ supervision.
There are two zoological gardens in Berlin. The Berlin Zoo (Zoologischer Garten) is located in downtown. It has a large pavilion inhabited by hippos, elephants and gorillas. There are thousands of other residents of open-air cages, aquarium and terrarium. At the “farm” visitors can feed goatlings, ducks, pony and alpaca. In the center of the zoo kids can have fun on a playground where they will find trampolines, sidesteps, sandboxes and mini-excavators.
The second zoo Tierpark is located in the eastern part of the city. It has a much larger area, although there are fewer animals here. But in this zoo, it is possible to walk in the woods with lemurs, watch elephants, rhinos, tigers and flamingo in spacious open-air cages. In both zoos, carriages for long walks with kids are offered for rent.
If you are visiting Berlin with kids, it is worth visiting at least one of the contact farms – Kindernbauernhof. Here kids become familiar with rural life, feed and pet goats, sheep, rabbits, donkeys, hens, ducks and geese. Besides, here various family events are organized, such as fairs, games and concerts. Kinderbauernhof Mauerplatz and Kinderbauernhof im Görlitzer Park are located closer to the center. Entrance to these farms is free, but voluntary donations are encouraged.
In the AquaDom Sea Life Berlin seaquarium visitors will experience a ride in a transparent elevator inside a 25-meter aquarium; from the cabin it is possible to view about one hundred fish species and see how they are fed and how the aquarium is cleaned. Smaller aquariums are inhabited by shark-rays, octopuses, sea horses and jellyfish. It is possible to touch sea stars here. Besides, at the end of the exposition there is a mirror-planked Neptune Labyrinth.
In the Madame Tussauds Berlin Gallery visitors are offered to take a picture with celebrities. During a peculiar time travel visitors will meet The Beatles and Marilyn Monroe, Sigmund Freud, Marlene Dietrich, Bismarck, Churchill, Angela Merkel, Barack Obama and other famous people. In a separate room it is possible to watch how wax figures are created.
Parents with kids over 10 years of age might want to visit the Berlin Catacombs (Berlin Dungeon), a “horror theater”, where visitors learn about the most horrific historic moments and listen to bloodcurdling urban legends, descend in a rusted elevator to an old library, escape in a boat from the “Black Death”, and search for the exit from the Catacombs. The show is interactive and offered in German and English. Adults and teenagers who will not be scared of a vampire emerging from the darkness, or horrified by a White Lady ghost - should come here.
Fans of active time passing should visit the BergWerk Berlin Center. A rope playground is constructed in the underground style with a subdued light and neon ornaments on the walls. A designated route for kids is arranged at a low height, it has a swinging plank bridge, a net and a wooden drum.
In Potsdam, 20 km from Berlin, there is the Filmpark Babelsberg. A tour steam locomotive moves around this motion picture studio. Besides, one can take a walk in the Small Muck Garden with a fountain and peep inside the witch’s gingerbread hut from the Hansel and Gretel fairy-tale, watch how make-up artists and set dressers work, visit stuntmen’s show full of ploys, explosions and jumps from heights. Parents with kids can take the boat ride along the Panama Canal, attend the interactive exhibition devoted to the Sandman from a cartoon and play on the Jungle ground equipped with swings, nets and suspended bridges.
The Tropical Islands Aquapark is located 60 km from Berlin. Beaches and swimming pools for the whole family are available among palms and huts; adults can spend time in saunas and steam rooms of the spa-complex when kids enjoy the playgrounds. Here one can find both extreme slides and chutes for small kids. It is also possible to spend a night in one of the bungalows or in a beach tent. Since 2016, the Tropical Islands has an outdoor all-season recreation area Amazonia with swimming pools, water attractions and sports grounds.
The El Dorado Templin, a recreation theme park in Wild West style, is located 80 km north of Berlin. Here one visitors can watch a stuntmen’s show and a saloon performance, visit an Indian village and peep into a teepee dwelling, practice archery and learn how to throw tomahawks, saddle up a rodeo bull and engage in gold exploration, ride a horse, a pony or a stagecoach. In Eldorado it is even possible to spend a night in a fort, a teepee or on a ranch.
Where to Go for a Walk with Children in Berlin? Berlin Parks and Playgrounds for Kids
In the summer, visitors of the Volkspark Friedrichshain roller-skate and ride bicycles, arrange performances on an outdoor stage, and picnics near a pond with a fountain; in winter they ride the slides. Near the Fairy Tales Fountain (Märchenbrunnen) kids can be offered to find sculptures of Cinderella, Puss in Boots, Hansel and Gretel, Sleeping Beauty, Seven Ravens and characters from other magic tales.
In the Schloss Charlottenburg one can walk through palace halls and enjoy a baroque-styled park. An audio guide will tell about the court life in the 18th century. A lawn for a picnic and a playground are offered in the landscape park. In winter, visitors have fun sliding down an ice chute.
A huge glass greenhouse is open all-year-round in the Botanic Garden (Botanische Garten Berlin). Under its dome there is a collection of exotic and rapacious plants, orchids, cacti and gigantic bamboo. Besides, here one can find a pond with carps, an aroma garden and an area with plants which are allowed to be touched. Not to mention that in the outdoor park, visitors may ride bicycles and have picnics.
The largest Chinese Garden in Germany is laid out in the Marzahn World Gardens (Marzahn Garten der Welt). Several theme areas are combined in the landscape park: here there are Baltic, Korean and Japanese gardens, Italian garden of the Renaissance period, aroma and tactile sensation garden. Besides, one can pass through an earth and green labyrinth.
A memorial to Soviet soldiers is open in the Treptower Park. Also, here there is a berth for tour boats and catamarans. The Britzer Garten is a park suitable for walks with kids, which is located near a cognominal castle. It has playgrounds, ponds and a theater.
It is possible to have a picnic in the Tempelhofer Park laid out in place of a closed airport. Now, here there is a field for kite-surfing and a 6-km path for bicycling, roller-skating and skate-boarding. In the very center of the city the Tilla Durieux Park is also suitable for a picnic. It has a sloped lawn with a gigantic swing.
At Viktoriapark, visitors can rise to an observation deck and see a waterfall, in the Humboldthain Public Park (Volkspark Humboldthain) – walk in a rosary, take kids to a playground, climb an observation site and see a preserved anti-aircraft tower of Luftwaffe.
In summer a sand beach on the Wannsee Lake is open. Not far from it there is the Peacock Island (Pfaueninsel) with a castle and exotic birds nursery; some of them like to walk around the whole island. Outside the city it is worth visiting “The Potsdam Versailles”, the Sans Souci palace complex with fountains, vineyard terraces and ponds with swans.
Children’s festivals and family exhibitions in various countries are presented on our What’s On section.
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