Berlin, Germany For Toddlers And Kids
Oh, traveling with a toddler... although only sometimes fun, it is always worth it. And our recent trip to Berlin was one where (almost) all the stars aligned, allowing Baby ISO and I have to a blast. I don't know if its the organization of Germany cities, the inherent family-friendliness, or just luck, but traveling as a family in Germany (see Frankfurt here) has been more laughs than frustrations and that is what I'm all about! So, if you are traveling with a toddler (or school-aged child), here are my suggestions for a similarly fun trip!
Lego Land Berlin
Can I just say that Lego Land is the best place ever?! Baby ISO and I headed off for early admission into Lego Land Berlin, and it was the highlight of our trip--perhaps even what made the entire trip such fun for Baby ISO (and consequently, me). Lego Land Berlin is a mid-sized indoor playground chock full of Legos of all sizes for kids to build with. There were interactive exhibits with buttons to push, a full model of Berlin made of Legos, complete with moving subway trains and the Berlin Wall coming down, and more engineering focused challenges for older children. I thought the model of Berlin made of Legos was so cool and Baby ISO was entertained for about 20 minutes, which is long for a 2-year-old!
If you are vising Lego Land Berlin, there is ample space for parking your stroller downstairs, there are numerous lockers for rent, and the bathroom facilities are outfitted for diaper-wearing babies as well as those working on potty training. There is also a small snack bar (with a lot of junk food) and a Lego gift shop at the exit.
I'd say definitely skip the food at Lego Land Berlin, and plan your visit for first thing in the morning, as it was getting very crowded by the time we left at about 12 pm. I'd also suggest buying tickets online to reserve an entrance time. Children under 3 years old are free, and there is an discounted option for early entrance with a toddler, so we capitalized on this savings!
You can find more about Lego Land Berlin on their website. Lego Land Berlin is located on Potsdamer Straße 4, 10785 Berlin, Germany.
Little Big City Berlin
Our last full day in Berlin, Baby ISO and I went to Little Big City Berlin, which is a miniature land that trace's Berlin's history back to Berlin's beginnings. I booked tickets online for early Sunday morning, so it was practically empty--which is definitely a better time to go with an unpredictable toddler! Upon entrance, you head down an elevator (there is ample space for your stroller throughout the exhibit) and must wait until you are allowed to enter a small room, which gives a video introduction to the exhibit. This section is a bit tricky to herd a toddler, but would be more interesting to an older child.
Then, you are finally allowed to enter the exhibit, which is really intricate and full of special details and people that are fun to spot. The beginning of the exhibit has numerous buttons to push and pedals to step on, which gave me a chance to learn about the history as Baby ISO played. However, as the history of Berlin displayed in Little Big City Berlin is not only kept to happy parts of history, the later parts of the exhibit were pretty scary with destroyed buildings, loud noises, and dim lights. Though he is only two and a half, this was actually pretty scary for Baby ISO, so we sped through this part. Sensitive school aged children would also probably find this scary, so keep this in mind when planning a trip.
Little City Berlin is located conveniently on Panoramastraße 1A, 10178 Berlin, Germany, which is right in Alexanderplatz. There's also several cafes around and you can bring your covered coffee inside! When you purchase tickets online, they are only 10 EUR and kids under 3 are free. You can learn more about Little City Berlin on their website.
East Side Gallery
I sort of rolled my eyes when other blogs geared for kids suggested the East Side Gallery. But I wanted to see it, and as I was solo parenting during this trip (J was at a conference), Baby ISO and I went anyways. The bring colors in the murals were actually interesting to Baby ISO, but his attention span only lasted for a portion of the wall.
Vapiano is a chill, chain eatery that I used to enjoy with Baby ISO in Vilnius. When I saw that there were several Vapiano outlets in Berlin, I was pumped... no it is not the greatest food in the world, but it is super family-friendly and that is what I was after. And Vapiano definitely did not disappoint. Though the two Vapiano outlets that we visited didn't have a play area, they did have kid-sized utensils, high chairs, and coloring pages.
Novotel Berlin Mitte
For a very family-friendly stay, I'd highly recommend the Novotel Berlin Mitte*. The rooms were spacious, the gave children a toy upon arrival, had set up the requested toddler cot, and had strollers available to borrow. The on-site restaurant also had a very nice children's menu. You can read my full review here.
Other things to do with toddlers
If I had planned things out even better, I would have gone for a day at Aquarium Berlin. We didn't make it here, but I bet Baby ISO would have loved it, and when we return to Berlin one day, we will definitely visit.
Kindercafes are also raved about in Berlin, as they often have indoor playgrounds, ample toys, and food for parents. I really wanted to make it to a few kindercafes, but I couldn't find any. This blog post by Berlin for All the Family has so many suggestions for kindercafes, but do be sure to look up the cafes beforehand, as the post is several years old and several have since closed.
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What else do you suggest doing in Berlin with a toddler?