Where can you entertain children in İstanbul when the schools are closed and the weekend comes? We have compiled enjoyable activities for you, both for those who love to have fun in the outdoors and for science-savvy little ones. For those looking for new places to go with children in İstanbul, you can spend time with your family all over the city, and we have selected no less than 25 prominent addresses for you. Are you ready to spend quality time in museums, theme parks, aquariums and much more, where your kids will enjoy learning and discovering new things while having fun?
1. Toy Museum (Goztepe)
If you have ever wondered what toys were played with in olden times, then the İstanbul Toy Museum, founded in 2005 by Belgin Akın and Sunay Akın, is just for you. The museum is located in a converted mansion in Goztepe, on the Anatolian side of İstanbul. In every corner of the museum you’ll sigh, “Oh, I had this toy”, and your children can also discover many unique toys from around the world for the first time. There are many workshops from origami to theatre, from music to painting, usually held on weekends. The museum, which is closed on Mondays, can be visited between 10.00-18.00 on weekdays and 10.00-18.30 on weekends. Note that group outings and events require reservations.
You can check the museum’s website for up-to-date and detailed information.
2. Madame Tussauds Museum (Taksim)
The London-based Madame Tussauds Museum, which features wax statues of many actors, singers or famous leaders, has been open to visitors from all age groups in İstanbul since 2016. You and your children can see and take photos with many celebrities here, from Barış Manço to Zeki Müren, from Bruce Wills to Marilyn Monroe and even Spiderman. In the museum where you can dribble against Messi, you can also get into the ring with Muhammad Ali. Would you prefer to take the stage and sing with Madonna as a family and take a selfie with Murat Boz? Located on Istiklal Street in Taksim, the museum can be visited between 11:00 and 20:00. Tickets are available on the website or at the box office.
3. Legoland (Bayrampasa)
If you have a Lego-loving kid, then this is definitely the place to visit. Adults must have a child under the age of 14 with them in order to enter LEGOLAND Discovery Centre İstanbul, whose activities are planned in consideration of the expectations of children aged 3-10. You can choose from 15 different playgrounds where children can both socialise with their peers and have the opportunity to build and learn together. Don’t forget to visit the “pick a brick” section where pieces are sold by weight, (unless you want to pick up an entire set for your little Lego expert). You can find more details and tickets for Legoland, which is open from 10:00 to 19:00, on its website.
4. Sea Life Aquarium (Bayrampasa)
The largest aquarium in İstanbul and Türkiye is Sea Life Aquarium, which permits children to discover underwater life and many sea creatures. In the aquarium, which has 9 different thematic areas such as the Stingray Bay Ocean Tank and the Shark Kingdom, also includes weekend workshops where children can develop their creativity. Make sure you include enough time to visit the largest shark family in Europe, and then you can take in a scheduled Giant Ray feeding demonstration in the Ocean Tunnel, and still have time to experience the diver’s show. Sea Life Aquarium can be visited every day between 10.00-19.00.
5. Rahmi Koç Museum (Haskoy)
The Rahmi Koç museum is dedicated to the history of Transport, Industry and Communications. When you visit this edifice on the shores of the Golden Horn, which was opened with the support of the businessman himself in 1994, you can board the nostalgic Fenerbahçe ferry (now a museum ship) with your children and rediscover classic cars. You can participate in interactive activities on weekends with your child. The museum, which is closed on Mondays, is open from Tuesday between 10.00-17.30 (weekdays) and 10.00-19.00 on weekends.
6. Miniatürk (Sutluce)
You can explore Türkiye as a family with a single trip to Miniatürk, which was conceived of with the slogan “A Small Model of a Big Country”. Located in Sutluce, a neighbourhood on the eastern bank of the Golden Horn in the Beyoglu district, the open-air museum offers a perspective of history from ancient times to the present with more than 120 miniature reproductions of architectural works. After your trip here, you can take a short tour in Pierre Loti and have a restful Turkish coffee break as you gaze over the view.
7. Kite Museum (Uskudar)
The Kite Museum, founded by Mehmet Naci Aköz in 2005, is the first and only kite museum in Türkiye. Here, you can explore the world of kites with a 45-minute interactive show. You can visit the museum for free which is closed on Sundays, and by appointment only on Saturdays between 09:30 and 17:30. You can easily go to the museum, which is in a central location in Uskudar, both by public transport and by car. You can find detailed information on the website of the Kite Museum.
8. Vialand (Eyupsultan)
Vialand, a domestic Disneyland of sorts, is Türkiye’s first international mega theme park, exhibition center and shopping center . With more than twenty entertainment areas for all age groups, Vialand offers a host of adventures from bowling to roller coasters, from SpongeBob to Vikings. Book early if you want to experience the roller coaster as a family!
9. Pirate Island (Tuzla)
This rollicking theme park, which includes a total of 28 different entertainment units in addition to the traditional amusement park entertainment, is located in Tuzla, on the Anatolian side. Make sure you leave enough time to try a loop on Red Fire, the world-famous roller coaster, where everyone in your family can have fun.
10. Butterfly Farm (Beykoz)
Türkiye’s first Butterfly Farm offers a magical world where you can discover many tropical butterflies with your loved ones. The farm in Beykoz is open between 10:00 and 18:00 every day except Mondays. On this trip, as you step into the magnificent world of winged insects, you will witness the entire life cycle of a butterfly. A full day spent here will strengthen every child’s bonds with nature. Perhaps you will even be treated to the delight of a butterfly landing on you!
11. Botanical Park (Bakirkoy)
Opened in 2013, the Botanical Park is a natural entertainment environment for your family with its playgrounds, water park and thematic gardens. The park, which was established to increase our interest in nature and plants, features many different themes suitable for all ages. The Botanical Park, which is located on the European Side, is easily accessible by public transportation, opens daily at 07:00 in the morning and closes at 23:00 in the evening.
12. Snowpark (Esenyurt)
Türkiye’s first indoor snow entertainment centre, Snowpark, offers snow-loving families uninterrupted skiing and sledding no matter what the season. You will experience the peak of powdery adventures in Snowpark, where you can also take ski or snowboard training with your children. You can buy entrance tickets to the centre, which is open between 12.00 and 20.00, on the Snowpark website.
13. Pelit Chocolate Museum (Esenyurt)
Pelit Chocolate Museum, which will make you feel the atmosphere of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, is located within the production facilities of Pelit Chocolate. As a family, you will find many sculptures and architectural works, as well as fairy tale lands and heroes here. You can visit the museum, where you will walk among the chocolate waterfalls and be enchanted by its aromas, every day between 10:00 and 17:00.
14. Balat Toy Museum (Balat)
The museum, which was opened with the initiative of Timur İnçoğlu, offers a wide (1000 square meters!) opportunity to explore its 50 years of collections. The museum, where you and your family will find yourselves magically transported into a fantastical world of toys, is open between 10:00 and 20:00. After the museum, you can crown your day with a small excursion to trendy Balat and relax over a hot coffee accompanied by magnificent views.
15. Illusion Museum (Taksim and Uskudar)
The Museum of Illusions, where you and your family can gain access to the newest information about illusion, perception, the human brain and science, is located in two different locations, both on the European side and on the Anatolian side. With franchises in more than twenty countries, the museum offers out of the ordinary education and entertainment for all ages. The museum in Istanbul, w, has branches in both Uskudar and Taksim, where you can take wonderful photos and have fun as a family.
16. Nezahat Gökyiğit Botanical Garden (Atasehir)
Established as a park in 1995 to commemorate environmentalist Ali Nihat Gökyiğit’s late wife, Nezahat Gökyiğit Botanical Park is a place where children are encouraged to get in touch with nature. In the botanical park, where many workshops are held for both adults and children, there are eight areas where different kinds of plants grow abundantly. You can donate trees and get detailed information about the park from the Nezahat Gökyiğit Botanic Park website.
17. Museum Gazhane (Kadikoy)
The old Gazhane (gashouse) of Hasanpasa, one of the old industrial areas of İstanbul, has undergone a restoration after 130 years. Now transformed into a culture and arts centre, it is the home to many recreational activities held for both children and young people, as well as adults. There are different workshops for every age group in the centre, which is designed as a living space. We would like to remind you that there is an increased focus on special events for children, especially during weekends or holidays. You can stay up to date on the current dates for concerts, events and workshops on the Museum Gazhane website.
18. Maker Kid (Levent)
If you are closely interested in new generation technologies such as coding, robotics, 3D print design and you want to spend time with your family exploring technology, Maker Kid, assembles all of these activities together. Its doors are always open for you to try brand new experiences. In Maker Kid, where various workshops for both adults and children are proposed, interactive seminars are cover a wide range of interests; not only technology, but also from building houses for stray cats to making toothpaste with natural materials. We recommend that you obtain preliminary information and register to attend the workshops, as they are open with a limited quota for the 8-14 age group.
19. From Dream to Reality Fatin Gökmen Planetarium and Observatory
From Dream to Reality Fatin Gökmen Observatory creates new routes to be discovered for space-loving children. different films are shown in the planetarium and students are invited to study the motions of celestial bodies from the observatory. Under the direction of astronomer Büşra Gürbak, teaching programs are carried out from primary school to university. General interest astronomy presentations are made related to extracurricular areas. The observatory is free of charge for students. Please note that it can only be visited by groups of at least 10 and at most 36 people.
20. Forestanbul (Cekmekoy-Tasdelen)
If you want to gather at home before moving out to get fresh air and do sports, Forestanbul Adventure Park awaits you, offering plenty of opportunities for movement with activities such as a high rope course, climbing wall, giant swing and zipline. Located in the forest, the park offers an entertainment deep in the heart of nature. Forestanbul Adventure Park, which is closed on Mondays, awaits those who want to spend the day for an adrenaline-filled and exciting holiday.
21. Museum of Motivation (Atasehir)
Offering an interactive experience, the Museum of Motivation consists of seven separate sections such as a stimulating ball pit, virtual reality technologies, selfie areas, digital graffiti and illusion room. The museum, which assembles technology, design, imagination, science and art in the concept of motivation, invites you to experience as a family an adventure you have never witnessed before.
22. Hupalupa Family Entertainment Centre (Atasehir)
With its sixteen playgrounds, Hupalupa Family Entertainment Centre offers diversions that appeal to everyone. Hupalupa, where adrenaline and entertainment come together, offers many options from balance track to bowling, from video and sports games to carousels. If you are in the mood for traditional entertainment, make sure to visit Hupalupa Family and Entertainment Centre with your family. Open every day between 10:00 and 21:00.
23. KidZania: The Country of Children (Uskudar)
KidZania, where children can experience their dream job before they grow up, is the only country in the world which is run by kids. In KidZania, where you can find two different activities for children aged 0-4, children aged 4-14 can take their turn “working” in more than 100 professions and participate in 65 different activities. There are many elements that develop creativity in the country of children, where children can easily socialise with their peers. KidZania is one of the fun options for a wonderful day that will leave its mark in the happy childhood memories.
24. Glass Furnace Workshops (Beykoz)
If you are ready to be surprised by the fascinating honey-like consistency of glass, Glass Furnace workshops offer many experiences for both children and adults. The workshops, where artisans offer many activities and demonstrations such as glass blowing, glass fusion and bead making, last approximately two hours. If you want to learn about this unique experience and travel to the Glass Furnace, you can plan a pleasant family trip to Beykoz.
25. Sancaktepe Science and Experiment Centre
Established in 2014 to deliver scientific information to all segments of society of all ages, the Sancaktepe Science Centre consists of a planetarium, observatory and experimental units. The centre, which has regularly scheduled workshops and projects, is one of the most educational and didactic activity centres on the Anatolian Side of İstanbul that can be visited with children.
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