While Istanbul is the sprawling resting place of the lavish remains of great empires, the city has a great deal of some unique wonders that would undoubtedly make for the perfect vacation for your kids. Take a look through the list for the best places and programs to attend with your kids in Istanbul!
Hodjapasha Turkish Dance Night
Built into a 15th Century bath house, Hodjapasha is a cultural center that offers multiple programs showcasing the traditional Turkish culture, from whirling dervishes to belly-dancers. The whirlwind fiesta of exotic dances and vibrant costumes make these one-hour shows a memorable treat for kids.
Built on the banks of the Golden Horn, Miniaturk is a favourite for many tourists, and when you visit this fairy-tale land, you couldn’t agree more. It’s a huge open-air park that is home to the miniature models of some of the most remarkable Ottoman, Istanbul and Anatolian structures. There’s even a labyrinth and a castle, along with a fun-filled playground for the kids.
Rahmi M Koc Museum
Also on the banks of the Golden Horn, on the north shore, lies the old factory (which is a sight to see in itself) which now is home to the Rahmi M Koc Museum. Your kids are sure to love exploring the insides of vintage cars, take a seat in the cockpits of classic airplanes and even take a tour in a submarine. Kids can also go on a train ride, take part in interesting scientific experiments – all of this in an interactive museum. What’s not to love?
Who, as a kid, didn’t love assuming adult roles? In KidZania, kids can indulge in role-playing in the child-sized city, complete with its paved streets, buildings, transportation and its very own currency!
Istanbul Modern is a sprawling contemporary art-space containing exhibition centers, a photography gallery, various educational and social workshops and even a library and a cinema. Your kids are bound to have a great deal of fun learning about art in one of the interactive art workshops that they offer!
The Galata Towers stands out in the Istanbul skyline for its 60 metre tall structure. Take some time out of your sightseeing to head to the top to enjoy a breathtaking 360 degrees view of the lovely city. You might even recognize some of the famous structures among the vast metropolis.
This old neighbourhood is one you definitely should not miss out on. Among the historic old buildings housing small restaurants and bazaars, lies attractions like the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and Basilica Cistern. With the sunset, the neighbourhood lights up like fireflies in a bush, which is quite a sight to see.
The Blue Mosque is one of the most iconic sights that you’re sure to find in any article or clip made about Turkey (trust me, it gets even better when you see it with your own eyes). Other than prayer times, the mosque is open for sightseeing. There’s a mesmerizing beauty all about the place – the beautiful gardens, the blue-tiled architecture, the huge minarets. You can get to learn about Islam from complimentary books provided inside. However, do note that it is expected of you to be dressed modestly should you come visit, in respect for the sacred sanctity of the mosque.
Now this is one of the most unique experiences you could have with your kids in Istanbul. It’s a vast underground water cistern that the Romans had built to move water around the cities. There are hundreds of marble columns immersed in water, illuminated by eerie lighting. That, along with the cool air and the sound of dripping water in the otherwise silent cistern, it would surely be an enchanting visit.
Head to the Topkapi Palace to step into the world of Sultans, and get a glimpse of their lives in the old days. Your kids would enjoy the rich collections of the royal jewellery, exhibitions of articles of clothing and armour. You can also catch sight of the Bosphorous from the gardens around the palace. Try being done visiting Topkapi Palace early in the day if you don’t want to be caught in the crowds.
You read it right. An actual indoor establishment where kids can not only watch adorable sea mammals put up spectacular shows, but can swim with them too! Kids above 6 can participate in this activity in summer while children above 10 are eligible for the winter program. Apart from that, there are programs where they can interact with dolphins and get to know interesting things about them.
Everything from the city’s historic and archeological sites to the astonishing Turkish cuisine, culture and beautiful weather urges tourists to visit this wonderful location. If you do find yourself in Istanbul, do try to visit to these spots. The best part? This is only a handful of all the marvelous places Istanbul has in store for you and your family! A vacation in Istanbul is one your kids are sure to remember forever.