Berlin With Kids
For all its trendy reputation, Berlin is also quite a kid-friendly city. With abundant open space, family-friendly cafés, and fun educational attractions, the German capital is an ideal place for a family holiday.
Burning Off Energy
Berlin has plenty of room to run around. There are several excellent urban oases of greenery, aside from the vast, central Tiergarten. Those in the know, though, head to the relatively new Tempelhofer Park, which was converted from the old Tempelhof Airport into a fabulous outdoor area where families bike, picnic, and fly kites.
Berlin is home to the oldest zoo in Germany: the 1844-built Berlin Zoological Garden in the Tiergarten. It receives 3 million visitors a year, making it the most visited zoo in Europe. More than 1,570 species including pandas, orangutans, and other cuddly creatures call this central piece of greenery home. Next door is an adorably old-fashioned aquarium.
If the kids are into underwater creatures, you'll want to head to Sea Life Berlin, the urban aquarium near Alexanderplatz, where moray eels and sharks are on view. The highlight, however, is in the Aquadom, next door in the Radisson Blu Hotel, where the elevator travels through a 52-foot tropical fish tank (included in admission to Sea Life).
At the DDR Museum, history comes alive with hands-on exhibits, like exploring a typical East German apartment or climbing into a Trabi automobile for a simulated ride. Kids and adults both get a kick out of the experience, and the museum is conveniently located in Mitte, right across from the Berliner Dom.
Another great museum that keeps the kids entertainted is the Deutsches Technikmuseum. What used to be a train depot in Kreuzberg has become an expansive museum that displays the impressive evolution of modern transportation, from steamer trains to aircraft. Right next door, the newly developed Park am Gleisdreieck is also a wonderful place to romp: it's shaped out of an industrial landscape of train tracks, signals, and switches, some of which have been kept intact in a nod to its former life.
The Labyrinth Kindermuseum is a hands-on fun factory for children between 3 and 12, especially during the Saturday crafts classes. It's been known to engross the parents as much as the kids, and even to entice some grown-ups without children in tow.