Accepted as the heart of Turkey, Istanbul is always among the top contenders on tourism lists with its cultural, historical and entertaining facilities. But, when you are with your kids in Istanbul, you probably want to know where the best place for a family is in this vast city. For families who are planning to visit Istanbul with their children and keep them busy and entertained during their stay, Istanbul has a long list of things it offers such as green parks, a toy museum, miniaparks and zoos which should get children smiling in no time.
Even though there is a general acceptance that Istanbul is not really a suitable place to visit with children due to its crowded streets and erratic traffic, but the heart of Turkey always welcomes visitors with children and guarantees to keep children as entertained as adults.
With its historical remains, open spaces and vivid blue Marmara Sea, Istanbul is not only a place where time stands still but also a place where children can find numerous fun activities and make friends. Although "Children Day," which was celebrated across the country on April, 23 has passed, be sure that little tourists coming from all around the world will be absolutely welcomed as Turkish society is well for its hospitality.
Here you will find fun activities, parks and other entertaining facilities that you can enjoy during your stay in Istanbul.
Miniaturk: To see the miniature version of Turkey, Istanbul's miniaturk along the coast of Golden Horn is a must for visitors. The entirety of Turkey can be seen in this miniature park that is built over a 56-hectare area. The park includes the mini version of historical Ottoman architecture, buildings, palaces and mosques in the country. If you have a desire to see all of Turkey but have no time for it, Miniaturk can be an enjoyable option for you. There are nearly 105 models of architectural structures in the park. While 45 of them are historical structures from Istanbul, 45 of them belong to other cities around Turkey. Also, nearly 15 structures made by Turks are on the borders of other countries.
All miniature versions are 1/25 of their original sizes. The park is open from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. during the weekdays and 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on the weekends in summer. The miniature park is a unique experience to learn about Turkey in detail.
Göztepe Park: Located on the Asian side of Istanbul, Göztepe Park is an amazing sanctuary in the middle of the city with its winding paths and benches.
What makes this park unique is that it is the largest green area in the city, covering 10,000 square meters. The park is generally known for its nearly two million colorful tulips that bloom about one month of the year during spring season and for its separate rose garden section. In 2013, the park was re-designed and re-built by Istanbul Municipality and now it includes children's playgrounds, an aquarium, rose gardens, seven tennis courts and a theme park area for kids. Those who are looking for natural ambiance should take their children to enjoy Göztepe Park. During your visit, you will also see many wedding couples posing for cameras around the tulip garden in the park.
Prince's Islands: Described as a big garden in the Marmara Sea, Büyükada, meaning "Grand Island" in Turkish, is a perfect spot for both you and your children to bask in the sun and feel the serenity of the sea. Located in the Marmara Sea, the Prince's Islands are actually a chain of nine small islands which were used as places of exile during the Byzantine era. Today, the entire island is covered with entertaining facilities to keep visitors occupied. On the island there are no cars, no traffic, no horns honking, only horse carriages, bicycles and people getting around on foot, so, for families traveling with their children, horse carriages are probably the best option for traveling on the island. If you and your family prefer the picnic scene, you can buy your needs from one of the many bakeries and delicatessens along the shopping strip of the island and you can make your way to the top of the hill amongst the pine groves for a most enjoyable picnic activity.
For those who are interested in historical sightseeing, the island promises to satisfy your expectations with its historic churches, monasteries and mansions.
Istanbul Aquarium: Considering its volume, variety of fish species, and activities on travel routes, Istanbul Aquarium is a place that you can spend all day at and discover an underwater world. Situated in Florya district on the European side, the aquarium is a double-storey building covering nearly 22,000 square meters. There are 64 tanks containing 6,800 cubic meters of water, which display 15,000 land and sea creatures of from over 1,500 species. The entire aquarium is classified in 16 themes from Black Sea to Rain Forest. This place is one of the perfect spots to visit with your children. Be sure that they will be dazzled when they discover the world hidden underwater.
Toy Museum: Founded by Turkish poet Sunay Akın in 2005, the museum houses the most exquisite examples of toy history, spanning from the 1700s to today.
The museum includes toys that Akın bought from auctions and antique shops in 40 countries over 20 years, that is why, we can say that each visitor can find their own toy story in the museum easily. The museum offers you an incredible flashback to your childhood even if you are in your 40s or 60s with its wide range of toys. In 2012, the European Union's Toy and Children's Museums were gathered by the Istanbul Toy Museum in Turkey for the first time. The meeting marked the Toy Museum as a pioneer and awarded Istanbul the title "Capital of Toy Museums."
The Toy Museum is actually a beautiful white wooden house, something which will remind you of fairytales, and is a must-see spot in Istanbul, especially if you are visiting with your children.
Istanbul Zoo: The Istanbul Zoo, which is also known as the Darıca Zoo, is nearly two hours away from Istanbul's European side. Even though the zoo doesn't feature a wide range of animals it still boasts nearly 200 different kinds of animals and 250 different kinds of plants in the zoo. It is still a great place to visit with your children. Just like other zoos in Turkey, there are different species of birds, including colored cockatoos and parrots.