Kids have fun at Kolomenskoe
Where’s the best place to head for in Moscow if you’re looking to keep children entertained?
One great idea is to head for the beautiful old royal estate of Kolomenskoe – one of the best places in the city to bring kids all year round.
Photo: © A.Savin, Wikimedia Commons
Kolomenskoe is home to a number of glorious churches, most notably the stone Church of the Ascension of the Lord, which was constructed in 1529-1532 by order of Tsar Vasily III to commemorate the birth of his son and heir, Ivan the Terrible. Then there’s the Museum of Wooden Buildings, which includes Peter the Great's little house, which was brought from Arkhangelsk.
The park hosts a number of festivals throughout the year, mainly connected with traditional Russian folk celebrations that include heaps of activities for children. For example, after the Orthodox Christmas, there's the Svyatki festival, a full week of merry-making that includes winter sports, masquerades and puppet theatres. The week before Lent, known as Maslenitsa, offers more of the same, combined with the building of snow castles and lots of pancake eating.
There are also celebrations in June for the day of the dead (it’s more fun than it sounds!), for harvest festival. Here, you’ll find plenty of excellent fresh produce on sale, with a range of historical reconstructions and re-enactments on different significant dates.
It’s not just at specific times of the year that kids can enjoy a trip to Kolomenskoe, though. The park has lots of souvenir booths and a permanent wooden funfair, with a variety of traditional Russian games and entertainments, including a form of skittles and giant wooden swings. There's also horse-riding on offer, or you can catch a boat for a cruise down the Moskva River.
In summer, Kolomenskoe is one of the most popular places for Muscovites to come and soak up the sun. But don’t worry about overcrowding – there's more than enough space to find peace and quiet. In winter, there are far fewer visitors and the ancient buildings seem to have been left to the crows and the snow.
The park is open daily from April to August from 9.00 to 22.00, and September to March from 9.00 to 19.00. You’ll find it at 39, Prospekt Andropova, near Kolomenskaya Metro Station (the main entrance is about 10 minutes' walk away). Admission to the park is free, but you have to pay a minimal entrance fee for some of the sights.