The summer vacations are just around the corner and if you are visiting or living with your children in Berlin, you have plenty of opportunities to explore. Especially if you have small children - from 1 to 5 - you can check some of my favorite choices that I tried at least once with my - almost - 2-year old son. In all those places, birthday parties can be organised too.
Berlin has some of Europe's greatest ZOOs
Zoologische Garten is one of the oldest and best known such establishments in Germany. Besides the interesting collection of animals from all over the world, since the end of June, two distinguished residents joined the gang: the Panda pair Meng Ment and Jiao Qing. They are the first pandas in Germany and their presence was greeted by Chancellor Merkel herself. The Aquarium part, which can be visited for an additional price, is exquisite, with beautiful colourful fish enchanting the view and keeping the little ones mesmerized, at least for a couple of minutes.
At the other end of the city, there is the Tierpark, Europe's largest adventure park, created during the years of separation of two Germanies as a counterpart to the Zoo from the Western side of the city. With the enormous green areas, where animals are roaming freely, it is my favorite as I love to see diversity in an almost natural environment.
SeaLife and the Aquadom
Especially when the weather is cold or rainy, the SeaLife, situated a couple of minutes of walking from Alexanderplatz offers a lot of entertainment to the children. The various categories of fish are organised upon geographical areas, and during the journey, the little ones have the chance to travel under the water around the world in just a couple of hours.
Another attraction of this complex is the Aquadome, inside the Radisson Blue Hotel, a 25-meter cylinder-shaped elevator surrounded by 1,000,000 liter of water populated with as many as 1,500 fish. It is a really special experience that both adults and children like and with your ticket purchased at the SeaLife you can go more than once.
Situated in the middle of the FU student campus, at the end of a metro line where most of the people are reading heavy books, Domäne Dahlem is one of the places I am going almost weekly. It recreates a modern farm environment, with various animals that can be observed and sometimes touched too and big gardens of vegetables where children can learn about healthy life. In the weekends, there are big feasts in the style of countryside fairs organised, with colourful merry-go-rounds and trips around the park in big trucks.
Kinderbauernhof Pinke Panke
Actually, if you are looking to teach your children about farming life, Berlin offers more than one opportunities. In the Pankow district, the funny Pinke Panke children farm brings you the countryside in the middle of the busy city life. The little ones have the chance not only to see and touch various animals, but also to play football or different games or do a bit of climbing.
For very small children, my favorite such establishments is the Charlottenburg Ziegenhof on Danckelmannstraße 16, close to the Westend train station where you can observe for a long time the playful goats jumping around. Nearby, there is also a big playground where the kids can play while the goats are getting feed or just too tired to entertain the little guests.
For active children, Labyrinth Museum on Osloerstr. 12 is the perfect destination for a couple of hours of fun. Especially if your kid loves everything about cars and construction works, here there are a lot of opportunities, among which to discover the different stages of building a house - all safety measures included.
Among others, Berlin has also the record of hosting one of the most beautiful Botanical Gardens in the world. It is situated a couple of bus stations away from Domäne Dahlem and it displays a large array of beautiful flowers and small rocky hills where you can climb slowly. Bring a ball and a picnic basket with you and before or after visiting the amazing cacti collection, you can spend on the grass a beautiful outdoors day.
Gardens of the World and IGA 2017
Another special outdoors experience is offered by the Gardens of the World, in Marzahn, with its enormous gardens and playgrounds. This year, as IGA2017, the ultimate garden show is taking place in Berlin and uses most of its facilites, you have the chance to take a ride with the cable car and discover even more day trips challenges.
Düppel Medieval Village
You don't have to be a historian to enjoy your time to the Düppel Village Museum, a hidden gem in the Western side of Berlin that I extensively featured in an earlier article. Especially pre-schoolers can learn about other times and have an unique experience backing bread in the old style or having a look at the ways in which children from other times used to spend their time, including by playing themselves with toys and games assumely specific for the Middle Ages.
The small and the big Lego lovers should take a day free to explore this special destination part of the Sony Center complex in Potsdamer platz. There are Lego pieces suited for the small children as well as for the big ones, a cinema and some huge playgrounds too. Enough to spend one full day here and learn to build great things out of Lego pieces. I was not so happy with the food options - maybe too much fast-food for my taste, but if you have enough healthy supplies with you, one day can go away like a minute.
All being said, I wish all the moms and dads around a great holiday time in the always surprising city of Berlin!