Saturday, October 19, 2013

10 Fun Things To Do With Children In Berlin

Our absolute favorite place in Berlin is Kollwitzplatz.  The best thing about Prenzlauerberg is that aside from being one of the loveliest neighborhoods and areas to be in Berlin, it also happens to be the city’s mecca for young families, and you will find one of the biggest and best playgrounds here.  Around Kollwitzplatz, there are plenty of family-friendly cafes and restaurants that offers tasty seafood pastas and pizzas, and on Saturday mornings, there’s a farmer’s market where you can sample and purchase a great selection of goods and organic produce, making it an absolutely delightful place for parents and children alike.

The English translation of this place is, "buy yourself happiness", and that's exactly how I felt the first time I discovered Kauf Dich Glücklich!  It's an absolutely charming café in the midst of one of my favorite neighborhoods in Berlin filled with one of a kind shops, quaint cafes, and a great variety of restaurants. 

The main items on the menu here are waffles prepared with various tasty toppings; however, it’s the 31 flavors of ice cream that draws in the crowd, especially during summertime.  Surprisingly … or not … children are rather patient when waiting for ice cream and no one ever complains about the line that extends to the street.

3.Playground(s) next to Kauf Dich Glücklich & Glücklich am Park

The added bonus of both Kauf Dich Glücklich and Glücklich am Park is that both are located in one of the most scenic, and in my opinion, the best neighborhood in Berlin.  

Also, next to both cafes, there are two playgrounds that has the most creative and fun play structures for children, everything from miniature trampoline to climbing structures that are shaped like forest animals.  For our little boy, it doesn’t get better than spending a fun day a playground and having ice cream afterwards.
4.Teutoburger Playground
This is a smaller playground near the Wasserturm in Prenzlauerberg that embodies the epitome of the bohemian lifestyle that is Berlin.  If the graffiti-covered giant wooden fish doesn’t delight your children, they are plenty of monkey bars, slides and seesaws to keep them entertained.  Also, there’s a sweet little café near by, Onkel Alberts Kindercafe  that sells second hand cloths and light meals, and they also have an indoor play area with a slide, a ball bath, bobby cars and Lego.  It’s a great place for an afternoon snack, and winding down after a long day of fun.

I've been to a lot of museums in Berlin, and although every one of them have been impressive, Deutsches Technikmuseum is one of the best I've seen for adult and children. 

The museum exhibits a broad spectrum of old and new technology, and permanent exhibition include evolution of trains, planes, automobiles, boats, aerospace ... and so much more that we spent half a day there and didn't get to see everything.

Also, it's well organized and easy to follow as most of the exhibits and explanations are in English and German.  We could have easily spent an entire day there.  It's definitely a great place for kids as well as those who are a kid at heart.
The museum also has a great restaurant that serves Alsacienne specialties ... flammkuchen and apple strudel with vanilla sauce is a must!

Although most parents (especially of small children) may be intimidated by the thought of going to a museum filled with Greek and Roman Antiquities, the Pergamon Museum is absolutely entertaining for children and adults alike.

As Berlin's most popular and frequently visited museum, the Pergamon takes you to a faraway place and time where Mythology reined, and when gods and mortals lived in harmony … or not.  For adults, it’s like walking through a history book filled with extensive collection of treasures.

Furthermore, the recreated gates, cities and scale models will fascinate your children.  They will be able to walk through the Ishtar Gate of Babylon covered with bright blue, yellow and white glazed bricks, decorated with mythical dragons and long horned bulls, and climb up the Pergamon Altar, imagining what this Hellenistic town looked like in the 2nd century BC.  Also, there’s sculptures, reconstructions of archaeological buildings and classical antiquities, everything from Hellenistic ages to artwork from Greek and Roman ages including pottery, mosaics, jewels and bronzes.

There's even a free audio guide (in several different languages), which made touring the museum easier and fun for our little boy.  The Pergamon truly was an experience that will be etched in our minds for a long time.
7.Unter Den Linden (currently under heavy construction)
We love to stroll in Berlin, and the best place for it is Unter den Linden from Museumsinsel to Brandenburg Tor (stopping at the Neue Wache, Gendarmenmarkt, and Pariser Platz).  Usually, there are several street performers  at Pariser Platz including someone that makes giant bubbles, which never fails to amuse and entertain children of all ages.

Just south of Pariser Platz is the Holocaust Memorial (Stiftung Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas), and although it may seem morbid, it’s a great place for children to play, especially hide and seek.  Also, I find it poetic that a monument commemorating such tragic events in our history provide such a joyous place for children, and for bigger children, an excellent opportunity to have a dialogue about the atrocities of war.

8.Legoland & ice cream at one of the many outdoor cafés  in Potsdomer Platz ... I believe this needs no explanation.
One of the things our little boy loves about visiting Berlin is the indoor swimming pools.  Germany happens to be the mecca for indoor swimming pools, and “Schwimmbad”, as they call it, is a delightful combination of a miniature water park and a spa, equipped with waves, slides, saunas and even beach chairs where parents can relax and lazily watch their children playing.  Especially after a hot day of sightseeing, there nothing more enjoyable than watching your child giggling with delight in the waves while relaxing on a lounge chair.

There are several indoor swimming pools all over Berlin, but our favorite is Bad am Spreewaldplatz (Wiener Straße 59H, Tel.: 030 – 69 53 520) in the heart of Kreuzberg.  The entry fee for the pool is charged by the hour, and 1 hour is usually €3 for children, while a family ticket give you two hours of swimming for just €10.

10.Imaginarium (toy store)
Just outside the underground level of Galerie Lafayette is Imaginarium (Friedrichstr. 71), a marvelous toy store that specializes in educational toys and games that pique a child's curiosity, creativity and sense of discovery.  It’s a smaller version of FAO Schwarz in NYC, and kids can explore and play with all the toys in display.  A word of warning, bring an extra suitcase, as you will not be able to leave empty-handed.


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