What to Do in St Petersburg with Children

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg.
••• www.christophefaugere.com / Getty Images

St. Petersburg is full of amazing museums, palaces, and cathedrals. While it’s, of course, possible to take your kids to all of these places, eventually they will get bored and tired of history and art. Here are some fun activities to do with children in St. Petersburg when they get tired of grown-up sightseeing without missing out on your Russia travel experience.

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    The Aurora Battleship

    After a nice walk along the canals of St. Petersburg, you can see the Aurora Cruiser near the St. Petersburg Naval School. This battleship was built in 1900 and was very important in the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. Now it is docked in St Petersburg and you can tour the entire ship, including the captain’s cabin and various other rooms. It’s a small tour and an interesting way to introduce kids to a small piece of Russian history. Best of all, it's free to visit the ship.

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    This theater doesn’t just put on puppet shows; “puppet theater” is a Russian term for a theater which offers shows for children. While they do have some shows involving puppets, you can also see regular plays (for adults and children). Their productions of children’s fairy tales are some of the best in St. Petersburg and have been some of my favorites. There are usually a lot of colors, songs, and movement even for those who don’t understand Russian.

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    Even if neither you nor your child(ren) speak Russian, it doesn’t matter, because at this world-famous theater you can see amazing opera, ballet and classical music performances. They also put on fairy tales like “Cinderella” – you can check their schedule on the website. You can get tickets in advance or sometimes at the ticket sales window the day of the performance you want to see for a discounted price – but I would advise buying your tickets online if there’s a show you want to catch.

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    Since this zoo was built in 1865, it is an important part of the history of St. Petersburg, in addition to being a fun activity for your kids. The zoo saw and survived the Leningrad blockade during World War II, and retains the old city name to honor the zoo workers that helped to keep the animals alive during the war. Its architecture has also largely remained unchanged. This zoo is also one of the most northern zoos in the world where you can see 2000 unique animals. As another fun activity, your kids can ride ponies in a special section of the zoo. Overall this is a fun, historic and educational way to spend an afternoon in the city – luckily the zoo is actually inside the city itself, so it’s very accessible by Metro.

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    A perfect place for anybody who likes real and model trains, this museum showcases Russia’s entire locomotive history, which is expansive. Visitors can learn about the development of the industry, its technological and social history, and of course, see a lot of trains, which have been extremely influential to Russia’s history and development.

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    There are probably very few kids in this world who don’t like the circus – and the St. Petersburg circus is one of the best, filled with incredible acrobats, trapeze artists, animals, and magicians. An average show lasts about 2-2.5 hours, so it’s great to keep your children occupied – believe me, they will be completely mesmerized. The circus even houses a museum of circus history for you to peruse before or after the show. Children under 5 years of age get into the shows for free.