Despite the fact that Istanbul is not overly kid-friendly in terms of parks and/or playgrounds, most children love the exotic hecticness and strangeness of the city.
The city center of Istanbul is usually very crowded, with erratic traffic that cause you to exercise great caution when crossing the roads. Hiring a taxi is recommended if you want to visit those sights that are considered the best for involving children. The four top recommended children-friendly places in Istanbul are:
1. The Istanbul Zoo
Despite the fact that the city zoo doesn’t feature a wide array of animals (some of the more high-profile animals are absent), it is still one of the first stops that you should make with your children. The zoo itself is quite a spectacle as it was constructed in true Turkish architecture with both box topiaries and many decorated fountains. Birds are the primary feature with some beautifully colored cockatoos and parrots, as well as well-known birds of prey and other waterfowl.
2. The Toy Museum
Another must-see stop on your agenda should be the Toy Museum, a beautiful older wooden house which appears to have come straight out of a renowned fairy tale. The museum was founded in 2005 by the Turkish poet Sunay Akin who furnished the attraction with toys from his own personal collection. However, interestingly enough, Akin bought an old toyshop in its entirety and then re-erected it at the current location. Be sure to go on a weekend so that your children can enjoy the puppet theater and the 3pm magic show.
3. The Ice Skating Rink at the Galleria
The ice skating rink located at the Galleria shopping mall in Atakoy is a popular spot for the more active youngsters and considering that the rink stays open until 10pm, this is oftentimes the perfect way to finish off a great sightseeing day out as well as getting rid of surplus energy that may remain. The Feshane World Children Entertainment Park features other activities for children despite the fact that it is an unusual mix of venues. Here you will find a conference facility within the international fair center located nearby a large children’s playground and a food market.
If you want, you can also visit what is considered to be a miniature version of Turkey called “Miniaturk.” It is a model of the entire country and a unique experience as well. In a single afternoon, you can see all the sights of Turkey when visiting this particular entertainment venue. Models of storied attractions such as Haghia Sofia, as well as a perfect rendition of the airport are just part of the sights, while the miniature train is a favorite of children everywhere.
Photo of kids visiting Miniaturk by saragoldsmith