What to see and do with kids in Kiev, Ukraine
We have found out where you can relax and have a good time with your family in Kiev. The following is a review of the museums, parks, gardens, entertainment venues, theaters, and water parks you might consider visiting in Kiev with your children.
To check out how Ukrainians used to live from the 16th century and on, make a stop by the Pirogovo Museum where you can visit the Carpathians, Polesye, the Dniper Region, and Poltavschyna all in one day. In this museum you can drop in at the forge and the hut; check out a wind mill, a watermill, and a church with bells; then gave a bite of their national dishes in the tavern and go horse riding. You would be well-advised to prepare for your trip ahead of time: the distances between various expeditions is quite large, especially for children. In Pirogovo they also celebrate traditional festivities for example Maslenitsa and St. John the Baptist Day, for which they do fairs and music festivals.
In another Kiev ethnographic museum called Mamaeva Sloboda, you can learn how to ring a bell, find Cossack treasures, have dinner in a pub, and check out a performance at the Bursatsky Theater. There they tell you what the words “kamenits”, “burdyug”, and “palanka” mean as well as who “Jura Cossacks” and “ktitors” are. Also in December the residence of Saint Nicolas opens up to visitors – the patron of children.
At the museum of one street at the Andreevksy Descent, they tell you about the history of a just one street, the people that lived there, and the buildings there: about the Andreevskaya Church, the castle of Richard the Lion Heart, and the monuments in honor of Bulgakov’s cat Begemot and Prona Prokopova, the heroine of the Soviet film “After Two Rabbits”. At this museum you can look beyond the glass of an old window, a cafeteria, and a lady’s boudoir of the past century.
Located in Podol in the center of Kiev is a pharmacy museum with 12 rooms, some of which include a monastic cell, a wise woman’s cabin, an alchemist’s lab, an antiques hall, a pharmaceutics room, and a medicine cellar. Stored in some old cans and boxes are health-giving drugs and cosmetics and as souvenirs they sell ointments, balms and soap according to 19th century recipes.
In the World War II Museum they tell you about how it began and how it ended, how they stood up for Kiev and other cities of Ukraine, and how the entire Soviet Union was defended as well. Assembled there are the personal belongings of soldiers, weapons, photographs, and dioramas and in the movie theater they show documentaries. For additional payment in the venue in front of the museum, you can check out planes, tanks, and other Soviet military technology as well as climb up onto the observation deck of the Motherland Monument.
Located not far from Kiev’s Zhulyany Airport is the Ukraine Aviation Museum with 70 different exhibits: fighter jets, helicopters, missile carriers, and passenger planes that have already “flown out their usability”. You can walk along the exhibits by yourself or with a tour guide. You can also sit inside a lot of the planes.
Your child can learn real professions, get its first paycheck in its life, and spend it on games in two different entertainment centers. On the fifty stages of Kidlandia, kids between the ages of 4 and 16 turn into firemen and doctors, bank clerks, dairy farmers, theater employees, TV stars, and get to know over 100 different specializations (for children under 4 a separate play zone is open).
They offer around a hundred different occupations for children in Kidsville Profession Center as well: there they get to work at a chocolate factory, a farm, on a construction site, in a beauty salon, in community service, on the police force, and even in a city hall.
Interactive center of intriguing science Experimentarium opened up outside the Zhitny Market in September 2012. On the three stories of the museum, you can sit in the salon of a fire truck, draw a bit using a pendulum, toss a coin into a “black hole”, and blow up a huge soap bubble. There is also a chemical laboratory in Experimentarium, an optical illusions hall, and a fun house.
The Nature Museum, or the National Ukrainian Natural Science Museum, consists of 5 departments with dioramas and dummies. Presented in the Geology Museum are ancient rocks and fossils, a diorama of volcanoes and a prehistoric forest, and they also have a model of an underground cave there. Furthermore, you get to see the skeletons of extinct animals, Odessa catacombs, and a cabin out of mammoth bones in the Paleontology Museum.
Effigies of animals, birds, and insects are assembled for your viewing pleasure in the Zoological Museum as well as a collection of various plants in the Botanical Museum. The ground floor leads down from the Archeological Museum with a reconstruction of the Scythian burial dumping and a model of Kiev. In the movie theater on the 3rd floor they show movies on the development of life on Earth and also about space, normally in 3D.
There are over 10,000 exhibits assembled in the toy museum on the Klonovsky Descent. Collected there are Soviet and traditional dolls, toy cars, an active railroad, construction kits, and board games – a true history of toys from the 19th century doll to today’s Barbies and Legos.
Parked at the Fire Technology Museum in Obolon are several old vehicles that you can climb into or man the driver’s seat of. They are all in working condition. There you get to see a collection of cash registers, a model of a fire boat, manual pumps, a huge barrel, and different instruments that used to help firemen fight fire in the past century. After the tour you will also be able to stop by an operating fire department.
The Water Museum is located in the old water-pumping tour in the center of Kiev. There is a grotto inside it with a waterfall and thundershower precipitation, a musical fountain, an open-air aquarium with fish, a model of an artesian well, and even a huge toilet. They also show you the wrong way to expend water in an average bathroom and explain how to avoid it. They give kids shovels to prolong the mouth of a river in a sandbox and they also blow up large soap bubbles in the water museum.
In the Kiev Metropolitan Museum on Pobeda Prospect are free tours for groups of five people or more. In the tour halls you can see operating models of the Dniper Station and a reverse dead end (the place where they leave the train for the night), models of train cars, photographs, and train tickets of different times. To get a tour, you must call them ahead of time at (044) 238-44-94 or (050) 444-74-27 (phone calls are accepted from Monday until Thursday from 9 am until 5 pm and from 9 pm until 4 pm on Fridays.
Open at the Kiev Passenger Train Station is the Railroad Transportation Museum. Parked at dead ends are locomotives and train cars that you can walk into and check out how people used to travel a hundred years ago. In the first class train cars there is even a kitchen and a bathroom and on the platform you can see the pipe that the used to gas up the trains. You can also climb into the front booth of the locomotive and feel like a real engineer.
The Kiev Academic Puppet Theater is the oldest in the country. Many of their “actors” have been performing in shows for over 80 years. It’s pretty hard to miss it as the theater is located in a magical castle in Kreschaty Park. Included in the repertoire of the puppet theater are shows in Ukrainian for children 3 years and up (The Frog Queen, Cinderella, Repka, and Kolobok) and as for adults they have After Two Rabbits and The Divine Comedy.
On the left shore of the Dniper River is the Kiev Municipal Puppet Theater. There you can look at shows for children 3 years and up based on the motifs of traditional Ukrainian and foreign fairy tales about The Three Bears, Lesichka-Sestrichka, The Three Little Pigs, and Begemotik.
At The Theater on Lipky Youth Theater, they rarely perform shows in Russian (this is usually indicated in their advertisements). There you can check out kids shows about Twelve Months, Tom Sawyer, and Pippi along with shows for school programs and “adult” comedies and dramas.
The Marinsky and Kreschaty Parks in downtown Kiev are easy to mix up – they are both part of a large park complex (where, by the way, the puppet theater, the water museum, and the Arch of International Friendship are located as well). Both parks are joined by the Bridge of Kisses, each one of them features an observation deck, and in the summer on Rakushka Stage in Marinsky Park they do concerts and shows.
You can also go for a ride on the Kids Railroad at Syretsky Park. The locomotive courses between the Vishenka and the Yablonka stations and in the end of the 15-minute circle it drives through a 20-meter viaduct bridge. It operates starting in May until August on the weekends and on holidays (you need to check the exact schedule ahead of time on the site railways.id.ru/towns/kiev/rasp.html) and the engineers that work on it are children between the ages of 10 and 15 years old from the Young Railroader School. Syretsky Park itself is small and after riding on the kids railroad you can stop by a fitness center.
Kiev even has a kids park on Peyzazhnaya Avenue with colorful mosaics. “Living” in there are centipede cats, elephant fountains, benches looking like cats and rabbits, Little Prince, and a “Domovyonok”. You can ride down slides and play around on Alice in Wonderland square with a white rabbit and a Cheshire Cat.
Situated on two islands is Hydropark. In the warm season of the year a boat station begins operation along with a rope park, attractions, ping pong tables, and volleyball and football fields. If you like you can take your child to the Kids Beach and in the winter an ice rink opens up in Hydropark. Finally, you can come at any time to visit exhibition Miniature Kiev or stop by one of the restaurants.
You can spend the whole day at Grishko Botanical Garden if you like. The garden is spread out into different nature zones: Karpaty and the Caucus, Altay, and Central Asia. You will be able to visit a pine forest, a dolphin aquarium, a magnolia garden, and a rose garden. They have a fruit orchard there and even a liana garden. Also recreated in a green house is a “Moist Tropical Forest”.
In the center of Kiev you can also go for a walk in Fomina Botanical Garden next to a university: you can stop by the park area for free and you can visit the science area with a tour. Located not far away from it is the small Shevchenko Park with a kids venue, fountains, and a pond with drawings of the Black Sea.
Living in the Kiev Zoo on Pobeda Prospect are bears, bisons, rhinos, elephants, giraffes, tigers, and lions totaling at over 2700 animals and birds. In the indoor hall “Animal Island” you can travel through climatic zones and in the blocked off “Ukrainian Farmstead” you can pet domesticated sheep, goats, and a mule. Also open in the park for kids are play stations and attractions. If you’re tired, you can also have a seat in the café or on one of the benches in the park resembling an animal.
The Kiev Rope Hoist connects Podol to the Upper City. The trip takes just a few minutes and on the way you won’t get to check out a lot from the view, but you can however climb up on the observation deck of Vladimirskaya Mountain from the upper rope hoist station with a view of Podol. A monthly pass for the rope hoist costs just as much a bus or a light train ticket and it operates starting at 6 am until 23 pm every day.
The Motherland Monument features two observation decks. On the higher one, which is about 92 meters tall, they only allow children 12 years and older: it is located right behind a barrier and it is blocked off so that small children wouldn’t be able to see anything. The climb is quite difficult for them anyway. To the lower observation deck at a height of 36 meters you can ride an incline elevator and check out the city with or without binoculars.
The park complex features several view points of the left bay of the Dniper River. On the Czarskaya deck in Marinsky Park, your view will be closed off by trees, so it is better to cross over to Kreschaty Park: “hiding” behind a “Rainbow” there is the observation deck on the Ark of International Friendship.
It is best to check out the right shore from the observation deck in Alekseevskaya Slobodka (Aleksandrovsky Residential Complex). On the roof of the 25-story building, you can take out your binoculars and check out the city from a height of 100 meters. They even have a small café with free WiFi there.
Another good idea is going for a ride on the Ferris wheel in the zoo (the height of the attraction is 31 meters), in Pobeda Park (with a height of 30 meters) and in Goloseevsky Park (with a height of 26 meters).
Atmasfera 360 Science Entertainment Center is located in the Kiev Planetarium. You may attend shows in the planetarium itself on the weekends and in Atmosphere they show movies on a dome screen and hold exhibitions and performances as well. They also have a multimedia attraction park there where you can play space hockey, spin planets in an interactive game, fend off alien invaders, and put together a “space puzzle”.
Divosvit Family Center is open daily on Malinsky. Open for children between 1 and 9 years old is Shkoder Club with a maze, soft construction sets, and board games. You can bake cakes and dig trenches in Grand Sandbox and after playing they clean the sand of the children’s clothes. On the weekends in the Divarium they do science shows as well. They also have Dinopark there, the caves of which conceal moving dinosaurs, and an arcade room.
In Blockbuster Entertainment Center on Moscow Prospect, the first IMAX movie theater and 7D cube in the country has begun taking visitors. Children can go for a ride on stuffed animals around the first floor or ride the mini rodeo as well. There is also a Kids Center there with video games and a maze, an indoor skating rink, go carts, bowling, laser tag with a moving monster, and a rope park. You can also take your whole family out for lunch to a restaurant patio.
The largest roller skating park open in Kiev is located in Dream Town Mall on Obolonsky Prospect. You can roller blade on two different levels and the second level has a track for speed skating around a circle. Other fun activities you might like in Dream Town include taking some shots in a shooting range, video games, ice-skating, and go cart riding. Also open for children is a play station where a nanny looks after them.
If you like you can also go for a ride on the Ferris wheel at Pobeda Park. In the summer an amusement park opens up there with carousels, trampolines, go carts, and roller coasters. Also operating in Goloseevsky Park and Hydropark from April until October are open attractions and swings and you can rent a motor boat or a row boat in these parks as well.
Dream Island Jurassic Water Park in Dream Town Mall is open every day. It features 12 large slides, both family and extreme; two rivers, a rushing river and a “lazy” river that you can float down on an inner tube; and a spa zone with saunas. In the kids zone you can ride down two different water slides and they also have inflated trampolines, “kids fishing”, swings, and “wet football” for them there. In the summer time, they remove the roof of the water park too, which is good news for those keen on tanning under the sun.
Located in the city of Brovary, 12 km from Kiev, is Terminal Water Park. Open for children is a “space” water town and they can float around in the kids pool on inflatable boats. A little bit older kids can go ride with their parents on 11 different slides. For example, they can ride down the Snake, Tsunami, or the Multislide along with a wave pool, saunas, and a water bar.
For more information on events on Kiev for the whole family, you may refer to our events guide.
Photos: facebook.com/DreamTownKiev, vk.com/dreamtown, vk.com/pyrohiv_museum, vk.com/experimentanium_kiev, vk.com/club22206578, mamajeva-sloboda.ua, metro.kiev.ua, puppet-theater.kiev.ua, gidropark.org.ua, smotrovaya.kiev.ua, wikipedia.org