Children are nice and cute when they’re not yours (some people say), but they can be real monsters (when not a mortal plague to be honest). As we don’t want to ostracize parents, and help you in raising smart kids, here is a top of things to do in Moscow and St-Petersburg. Go for these and you’ll enjoy good quality time with your children away from the cold and the overcrowded antic museums!
This one will entertain you and your kids at least for a day, away from the cold, and keep them smart. The Moskvarium aims at presenting Russian aquatic inhabitants but also species from all over the world. The Moskvarium is a living encyclopedia of the underwater world thought for children and grown-ups with shows of killer whales, dolphins belugas and walruses. Perfect to entertain your children and let them know more about Russia…and don’t tell them but you can swim with dolphins!
Ice-Skating at VDNKh (Moscow)
Russian among Russian activities, ice-skating is a traditional, children-friendly and fairly cheap outdoor activity. You’ll surely be ashamed when you’ll realise that even a 4yo kiddo is ice-skating better than you, but don’t let it stop you from expressing your very personal style. In winter there are many ice-skating rinks inside Moscow but the best (and biggest) one is definitely the ice-skating rink of VDNKh! You can also skate at the 354 (divine) but it’s a bit less children-friendly.
Izmailovo Kremlin (Moscow)
Izmailovo is something between Wonderland and a Russian Disneyland. Fake wooden Kremlin with many colors, the Izmailovo kremlin is a good way to spend half a day with your children. You’ll be protected from the wind while discovering the Russian craft (and also many mainstream souvenirs). Kids are always hungry, and always when it’s not time to eat, but this is not a problem at Izmailovo as you can order shashliks (meat skewers). But careful, as a casino, this place can quickly become expensive even though the entrance is free!
Bolshoi backstages (Moscow)
Tickets for the Bolshoi are expensive and kids can’t cope with opera, ballet or theater for more than 5 minutes (if so, how the hell did you manage that?). If you still want to enter this world-known cultural house but can’t handle the embarrassment that would cause your own blood, you have another option! Indeed, it’s possible to visit the Bolshoi backstages and historic scene with a guide. Lucky you! Cherry on the cake you may have the luck of watching some rehearsals.
Cruises (St Petersburg & Moscow)
Children have small legs, energy when they should be sleeping and interest for things they can’t have. Based on that, visiting the center of a Russian city can become Mission: Impossible 7. Hopefully there is another way. A way that would blow your kids’ mind and offer you some peace and time to discover Russia. This secret transmitted generations after generations is called cruises. In St-Petersburg as in Moscow , take a boat and discover these two capitals by the river.
Submarine museum (St Petersburg)
In a same way, children can’t cope with museums. Seriously why? We all try to improve their knowledge and prepare them for the future, but no, they simply don’t care. Anyway, be ready to appear as a super-parent. Bring them to the Submarine museum and they will be amazed, feeling like a real sailor under the USSR. On the plus side they, and you, will learn a lot on the Russian Navy, submarines and Soviet times!
Nikulin Circus (Moscow)
Another Russian tradition, often forgotten, is the circus. Animals, clowns (not the scary American ones), magicians and above all acrobats are all part of the Russian circus. Of course children are welcomed and everyone will be amazed. But to be sure, you have to pick the good one, which means the Nikulin Circus.
The Bunker 42 of Taganka (Moscow)
As for the Submarine marine museum in St-Petersburg, and even if it’s is a real labyrinth, the Bunker 42 of Taganka is a great museum. You’ll all dive into the Soviet era and learn how the USSR was preparing itself for a nuclear conflict. Old objects, movies, documentaries, weapons, spiders, all come from Stalin’s ruling of the Union, which will please everyone!
Babaievsky chocolate-factory (Moscow)
No matter if your child is an Augustus, Violet, Veruca, Mike or a Charlie, you can go and enjoy the Babaevsky chocolate-factory tour. Of course kids will be amazed by all its tasty chocolat, everyone will learn about the chocolate-making. But the best of all is that you can test it all the time which means that your kids will stay calm and that you won’t have to by them dinner (for other good deals)
Sokolniki sledding race and Ice-sculpting (Moscow)
Once a year, always on the Patry Defenders’ day, Moscow organizes a sledding race in Sokolniki park. But this isn’t just a race. Indeed what matters are the originality of the sledge and the final fall! Each year a new theme is settled for the greatest pleasure of all. Lucky you, it’s often held at the same time than the ice-sculpting competition. Don’t miss these two events, your kids will love them!