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Kid-Friendly St. Petersburg Itinerary Suggestions?


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We'll be in St. Petersburg this summer for 2 days on a Princess cruise with 3 kids (ages 14, 12 and 10).  I'm looking into local private tour companies and need help developing an itinerary.

 

The kids are easily bored by museums, churches and long narrations about history.  I'd like a brief overview of major historical landmarks with photo stops (vs going in and spending hours there), and what I'm actually looking for is EXPERIENCES.  For example, lunch in the Russian restaurant with locals, visit to a Russian market, etc.

 

What type of kid-friendly experiences would you recommend for my itinerary? Thanks in advance for your help!

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Best guides has children's programs (the top of the page is for kids younger than yours; you might be interested in the stuff for older kids near the bottom) https://www.bestguides-spb.com/children-page.html  .  

 

The review in my signature line has a lot of stuff for kids, although mine was only 3.5 so it's a little different.  Of the museums, I'd highly recommend the vasa, the terribly named Seaplane Harbor in Tallinn (wander around the old town first, and then go to this really interesting hands on museum in which your kids can fly a simulated plane), if they like animals they might like the open air lemur exhibit at skansen.  In Helsinki, I didn't know about this ahead of time but there's a reindeer park outside of the city.  I can't personally vouch for that but others have recommended it on this forum, plus Helsinki itself isn't the absolute highlight of this trip.

 

In St. Petersburg, please get a private tour for just your family.  You can briefly stop at the museums and move on when the kids start to whine.  Just research ahead of time exactly what you want to see so you can achieve that  (I wanted to see Renaissance paintings in the Hermitage, and my husband wanted to see the impressionists.  My 3.5 year old made it an hour in the Hermitage while we all looked at the Renaissance paintings, and then my son and I went to the internet cafe on the first floor and he happily ate cake while my husband saw the impressionists) .  In addition to the train museum mentioned above, your kids might like running through the trick fountains at Peterhof (you might want a change of clothes since it might be cold).  Stolle is a great place to stop for really delicious sweet or savory pies, and it's quite quick so you can take a break, let the kids eat food they'll like and go back to touring.  Another option if you have a private tour is to leave them behind in the kids club for half a day if there are museums you'd really like to go to that they'd be miserable.

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Grand Maket is excellent for kids! 

 

I'm trying to think of things I still remember after visiting SPB as a child. Arguably, Peterhof is an "experience", especially its trick fountains. Watching bridges drawn at night was an "experience". Visiting the Piskarevskoe memorial cemetery is an experience, even if not a lighthearted one. Hearing a 12pm cannon volley at Peter-and-Paul is an experience, as is climbing the colonnade of St.Isaacs... Grand Maket was not around back then, otherwise it might have been the only thing I would remember 🙂

 

Here's a short blog post highlighting some of the things to do with kids (not cruise-specific, but you might find it helpful anyway). There should be links to individual attractions as well, including those in SPB: 

https://www.globalmousetravels.com/russia-children-trip-report/

Edited by napoxoguk
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I have not been to SPB since I was a kid either :)

We are doing a custom tour in SPB for our June cruise because anything prepackaged will bore my 10yo to death. And at that my DS LOVES history and almost all museums (except for art ones which he absolutely HATES).

From experience standpoint, lunch is good, ride on the metro is great (Russian metro system is very different from US in decorations especially). St Isaac's climb was a highlight of my trip to SPB as teenager, so would recommend that.

Generally, what are your kids interested in? My DS loves military history, so for us a stop at WWII museum describing Seige of Leningrad and Peter and Paul Fortress was a must. We are also doing evening boat tour with dinner included instead of regular tourist boat tour. 

There a ton of very interesting places to visit in SPB, that are not Hermitage and Palaces. Like Kunstkamera (I wish I had time for that one!) or cruiser Aurora (Privet, napoxoguk!) or Kronshtadt (another wish list for me). I would start with what your kids would enjoy to visit (in case of teenagers minimally whine about) normally and go from there.

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Have the various tour companies offered you suggested itinerary ideas? I know many offer “child friendly” activities. I would also suggest watching some online videos on Saint Petersburg sights, so the kids can offer up some suggestions on what looks interesting to them. This is so varied - depends on their personal tastes. Mine are 9 and 12, and we’re doing a private tour for 2 days, mainly because of my mom (mobility issues) and the fact that we can create our own itinerary and adjust accordingly to our own pace on both days. The videos really help though, so they can get an idea of what they’re going to see and they start getting excited. Definitely build in a nice sit down lunch (not necessarily fancy, but more for time to rest) at the appropriate lunch time when they tend to get hungry. I noticed on some of the intineraries - this can be late and nothing is worst then a whiny hungry child when you’re trying to enjoy sights. Good luck!

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We used Anastasia's Travel. They have a kid-friendly tour already designed. It's fantastic! And if you want to change it up a bit, they are willing to do so. We mixed and matched, doing quite a few things on the kid-tour, and then tweaking it to fit our other wants. The kids had a fantastic time, and so did we!

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The Bolshoi Circus is quite entertaining for children. The Railway Museum is great for boys and the Doll Museum is great for girls. There is also a puppet theatre but I have not been. For older kids, the Aurora Battleship is quite interesting.

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52 minutes ago, angie7911922 said:

We used Anastasia's Travel. They have a kid-friendly tour already designed. It's fantastic! And if you want to change it up a bit, they are willing to do so. We mixed and matched, doing quite a few things on the kid-tour, and then tweaking it to fit our other wants. The kids had a fantastic time, and so did we!


Could you please share your itinerary for that tour?  Thank you!

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We also used   Anastasia's Travel .

Our group of 8 had 2 kids and they loved the painting of the Matryoshka dolls. The hydrofoil ride could be interesting for them too. Peterhof gardens were where they had a blast, away from the busy streets, so they had the whole space to run around and spend their energy. I doubt they will take interest in the Hermitage museum, but we all agreed anyways to skip it and do other things instead. The tour was tailored to our needs and the idea to go to the Grand Market turned out awesome! The market of Russia was fun for the kids and the adults.

 

I agree with dogs4fun

the Bolshoi Circus, the Doll Museum and the Railway Museum could be great adventures for the kids, depending on their age.

 

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Not to be a detractor, but painting a matryoshka doll would be a punishment for a 10 and up boy (generalizing, but still).

From what I have seen of prepackaged "for kids" tours, they tend to cater to under 10 crowd, and OPs kids are 10 and up.

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