Visiting Berlin with Kids
Looking to visit Berlin, but not sure what to do with the kids? Have no fear! As with any good German city (and Berlin consistently ranks as one of the top!) there are loads of things to keep your children entertained.
Our stop to Berlin was a bit more touristy for us than our normal stops and we were only here for 3 days of sightseeing. This came on the heals of 2 other short trips so the time in Berlin was not as jam-packed full of activities, but it was nice to be able to slow down and just enjoy the sites. That’s not to say there isn’t a lot to do. Just the opposite really. Sadly, we did not get to all of these activities. Oh well, just another reason to return some day.
We also stayed in a beautiful hotel (with an awesome breakfast buffet) so we would be closer to the action. While we normally stay in an Airbnb because we love the extra space, we prefer hotels for short jaunts. Our latest resource post discusses why.
Now that we’ve been to Berlin, here are the top things we recommend on a family vacation. Some of these are more for the adults and older kids (it’s hard to discuss the politics behind World Wars and the Berlin Wall with a 5 year old) and some are more for the younger children.
Outdoor Activities for Families in Berlin:
Parks! (for kids of all ages)
What would a family vacation be without a visit to a park? Chaotic wrangling and lots of meltdowns I assume, but we’re all smarter than that, right?
Berlin has so many parks located throughout the city, but even better are the themed playgrounds. Yes! There’s a pirate playground, dragon playground, and jungle playground located throughout the city. We chose to visit the dragon playground and to our delight found a giant green wooden dragon “guarding” the playground. It was huge and the actual supports for the big slide.
Bubbles (for younger children)
The Bubble Brothers seem to be all over Berlin. We spent hours (no joke) playing with them at the main sights around Berlin. They’ve got a pretty good setup and we even bought a set of bubble sticks to take with us. We found them first outside the Berliner Dom and then at the Brandenburg Gate and finally near Bebelplatz. I am sure they are located other places in the city so let us know if you’ve run into them. Eleanor LOVED getting to make bubbles, pop the bubbles, and just watch the bubbles. Be sure to either buy something or leave a tip.
Zoo (for the whole family)
Berlin is known to have a great zoo and in fact it is the oldest in Germany, opening in 1844. Located in Tierpark, the zoo coves over 35 hectares. And with over 20,200 animals the zoo is said to offer one of the most comprehensive collection of species in the world.
Tierpark (for the whole family)
While we did not spend much time playing in the park, we enjoyed a nice ride in a bicycle taxi through it (did we mention we were there in the middle of the summer heatwave?) and ended our ride at the Victory Tower. The adults enjoyed looking at the tower and reading about the history - this is where both Presidents Kennedy and Obama have given moving speeches - while Eleanor enjoyed the overspray from the water sprinklers.
For those of you with more time and better weather, be sure to explore the more than 600 acres in the park. Perhaps you can rent a paddle boat on the lake, spend time finding hidden bridges, and explore the overgrown paths. This was also the location for a huge outdoor community viewing area for the World Cup. Definitely stop by if you happen to be area during the next World Cup.
Berlin Wall (for the adults)
This one is clearly in the adults and older kids camp, but the younger ones will probably find the art interesting. And how can you come to Berlin and not see the Wall? There are a couple of different places to see it and we visited three during our trip.
The first stop was near Checkpoint Charlie. This was very interesting because there were historical photos showing you what the area looked like when the checkpoint was operational and it includes a small section of the wall on display. There is also a Wall Museum here, but we did not have time to it check out.
The second stop for the wall was the Berlin Wall Memorial. This memorial is part open air museum and part former section of the wall. There is a watch tower and audio and visual displays for the adults. For the kids, there is a grassy area where they can run around.
Our final encounter with the Berlin Wall was the East Side Gallery. This section of the wall has been preserved for art and it is very interesting to see. The paintings were created in 1990 by artists from all over the world on the east side of the wall.
Checkpoint Charlie (for the adults)
Another one more for the adults was Checkpoint Charlie. This is the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War and the only crossing point in Berlin for Allied Forces. Of course, the checkpoint has been immortalized in movies as well, such as The Bridge of Spies.
Kaiser Wilhelm Church (for the adults)
There are two parts to the Kaiser Wilhelm church that you will want to see. The first is the original church that has been left unrestored after the devastation from World War II. The spire sits only halfway standing and you can walk into the remaining church building to experience the ruins.
The second part is the new church and memorial that sits next door. The outside looks pretty unassuming, but once you step in you are surrounded by a peaceful blue light and the loud city noises have ceased. If you are in Berlin around the Christmas holiday, this is the location for one of the biggest Kristkindle Markets in Berlin.
Berlin Museums for Families:
Berlin has SO MANY museums and many of them are perfect for kids. If you’re there when the weather is bad or need a break from the heat, here are some of the more well known museums you should check out.
German Museum for Technology (best for children over the age of 6)
The German Museum for Technology is all about science and technology and is there anything a German person loves more? Maybe beer? Either way, you can’t miss this museum as it is visible from the S-bahn and has a real airplane sitting on top of is roof.
Kids will be thrilled with the different exhibitions featuring everything from trains, planes, and automobiles (couldn’t resist) to ships, and more. There are engaging family-friendly activities in each exhibit to keep the kids entertained where they can even make their own paper and climb into a model mine shaft. For those that enjoy audio tours, the museum also offers an interesting one especially designed for kids that is thankfully available in English.
DDR Museum (best for children over the age of 6 and parents)
This is one I was sad to miss, but I felt like might be better for slightly older children. The DDR Museum is a kid-friendly museum that provides a look at how families on the east and west sides of Berlin lived when the city was divided. Children are invited to explore everyday life in the simulated homes of former through interactive play. They can open cupboards, look through drawers and watch other kids on East German television. This is sure to be an eye opening experience.
Labyrinth Kindermuseum (best for ages 3 - 11)
Have an energetic preschooler? The Labyrinth Kindermuseum is a great place to let them loose. A super hands-on museum it feels more like a playground and less like a museum with the aim to help children learn through play. There are different life skills to pretend like construction or shopkeeper, tunnels to explore, stairs to climb, kiddie cars to drive, and plenty of room to romp. Shoes are not allowed so make sure to pack socks (preferably without holes). :)
MACHmit! Museum for Children (best for ages 4 - 12)
We already listed so many great museums and the MACHmit! is yet another great option for children. Sticking with the hands-on learning approach, permanent exhibits include printing house, a soap shop, and a hall of mirrors. There are also temporary and special exhibitions introduced several times a year. But, the most popular attraction at the museum is the six-level climbing shelf in popularity.
Natural History Museum (great for all ages)
The amazing exhibits at the Museum für Naturkunde don’t let children get bored, even for an instant. The star of the museum is certainly the well-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton, but there are also fossils of plants and animals from the Jurassic period. Children can learn all about evolution, planets, the cosmos and the solar system, birds and animals, minerals and more, through eye-catching displays and installations. The ‘wet collection’ of animal specimens and the taxidermy sections are certainly worth exploring.
Other Berlin Attractions Families will love:
Legoland at Potsdamer Platz (best for ages 5 - 12)
A great rainy day activity is Legoland at Potsdamer Platz because it is located indoors. Of course, there is a mini version of Berlin made out of Legos along with rides and adventure trails. Legoland also offers plenty of space for children to get creative and to build their own masterpiece.
AquaDom and Sea Life (best for ages 3 - 12)
For children that love the water and sea creatures, AquaDom and Sea Life are good options for an afternoon. AquaDom is located in the Radisson Blu Hotel, so it features a tall cylindrical aquarium with an impressive elevator. And with over 1,500 tropical fish, it is considered the world’s largest free-standing aquarium. Sea Life, located next door, explores more life from under the sea, where visitors can also witness the feeding of these aquatic animals.
Discounts for many of these attractions is available when tickets are purchased online or with the Berlin Card.
Berlin, Germany is such a beautiful city with lots of activities for the whole family. It’s a great place for a family vacation and definitely worth a stop if you are planning a vacation to Europe.
Like these ideas? Be sure to pin it for reference.