Nichola West discovers that the Russian capital is one of most family-friendly cities in Europe and reveals five things your kids will love to do there...
Having fun in Gorky Park (Globalmouse)
My kids absolutely loved Gorky Park, right in the centre of Moscow. We visited in summer, when there were fantastic little ice cream carts dotted all around. Grab one of the huge beanbags and hang out for a while in the shade. There are also fountains to watch, traditional playground rides to enjoy and colourful installations to run through. Don’t miss the homemade lemonade stand.
Kolomenskoye Park is a lot of fun too. It is set in a gorgeous old Royal estate and great for a visit all year round, with numerous festivals bringing traditional Russian folk celebrations to life and plenty of activities for children.
Just down the road from the Ipatievsky Monastery, you’ll find the Museum of Wooden Buildings featuring 30 wooden buildings from the 19th century, set in a parkland that kids will love to explore. There’s a wooden funfair featuring traditional Russia games, horse riding and a boat that will take you down the Moskva River.
St Basil’s Cathedral. Colourful. (Dreamstime)
Kids love Red Square. It is always buzzing with life and there is plenty of space for them to run around and let off some steam. St Basil’s cathedral will be a big hit too. It looks like something straight out of a fairytale, or, indeed, like something your kids might draw themselves.
Just outside of Red Square, you’ll find a spot that marks the official centre of Moscow. Tradition has it that throwing a coin over your shoulder here will bring you good luck. Our children loved doing this, probably because the locals stopped and clapped their hands when they threw their coins. It’s a really fun thing to do if you’re wandering near to Red Square.
Model of Cosmonaut in Kosmo Museum in Moscow (Dreamstime)
Russia has a long and proud history of space exploration, so it should come as no surprise that it is celebrated in two of the city’s best museums.
The Kosmo Museum (Museum of Cosmonauts) is perfect for space-loving kids and features a life-size model of a Russian space station. There are also informative displays on how astronauts survive in space, the materials space craft are made from and lots of interesting facts about Laika, the first dog in space.
Moscow Planetarium was a hit with my children too. Although the use of English on displays is limited, there is an information sheet available when you buy your tickets and you can pick up headphones to listen to the Planetarium show in a variety of languages too. The Lunarium on the ground floor is really interactive and a must for inquisitive kids.
Khachapuri. Georgian cuisine (Dreamstime)
Georgian food in Moscow is perfect for kids. It is simple and tasty, with just the right mix of the familiar (cheesy pizza) and something slightly exotic (grilled courgette rings).
Our favourite place to eat was the small Georgian restaurant chain, Khachapuri. They have establishments in the centre and in the suburbs, all with a rustic vibe andextremely family friendly. The chain is named after a traditional Georgian bread, which is like pizza and loaded with cheese. My kids couldn’t get enough of it.
The Khachapuri restaurant on Ukrainsky Boulevard even has a playground outside, so your children can play play while you wait for the food.
Street actor in Moscow’s Hermitage Garden (Dreamstime)
Russian theatre is regarded as amongst the best in the world. You’ll find everything from ballet to puppet shows on offer in Moscow at any given time.
The Moscow Fairytale Theatre for Children has to be one of the loveliest puppet shows in town, with a variety of enchanting performances that bring Russian folk tales to life.
The Volshebnaya Lampa (Magic Lamp) theatre offers a great family show based on both Russian and non-Russian books.
Keep an eye out for impromptu street theatre as well. There always seems to be something happening in the Moscow Hermitage Garden.
Nichola West is editor of UK family travel blog, Globalmouse Travels.
Main image: Inside Moscow Planetarium (Dreamstime)
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