In Tallinn city center there are some not to be missed, child friendly attractions. These aren’t just for the kids though, rather they are for the big kid in each of us:
THE ESTONIAN HEALTH CARE MUSEUM
This museum has done a lot in the past few years to make itself appealing to all ages. Full of hands-on exhibits and touch screen activities that teach about the human body. And, a lot of effort has been put into curating the displays with clear information on each item.
Each room has a theme of its own: a section dedicated to vision, to the senses, cell & DNA etc.
An excellent place for (older) children to learn about health in a fun and interactive way.
Where: Lai street 30
Just 1-minute stroll from the Health Care Museum is the ESTONIAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY.
A small museum, but has some great things making it perfect for kids. I personally love the exhibition introducing Estonian mires. You can try out a bog crossing simulator, where you have to make right moves to avoid sinking in.
They also have a lovely exhibits of birds and fish of Estonia, and a shoes-off discovery room with some interactive displays. Younger kids will enjoy the stuffed animals in the hall of forests.
The temporary exhibition “Terribly Adorable Bats” focuses on mysterious lives of bats. Get to know why do they hang upside down, why have they chosen „the night shift“, why you should never disturb hibernating bats and a lot more. You can transform yourself into a bat: hang and search for insects, experience how the bats hear the world, sneak into a crevice in a cave and experience what it feels like to hibernate. This special exhibition is open through December 2021.
Where: Lai street 29A
From stuffed animals to real creatures… A day spent outdoors is any day better than spending it with electronic gadgets. TALLINN ZOO is home to more than 10,000 animals belonging to 500 species or subspecies from Australia to Alaska.
There is plenty to see, from viewing the fascinating polar bears in their new spacious „world“; watching Carl, Fien and Draay- the three African Elephants, the Amur leopards, the black rhinos… Tallinn Zoo has an impressive variety of cranes and other birds, and one of the best collections of mountain goats and sheep in the world. Each animal enclosure has facts on display giving you the opportunity to learn more.
In the Children’s Zoo, get close to pygmy goats, alpacas, bunnies, guinea pigs, a chipmunk…
The zoo is spread across 89 ha of natural forest and landscapes, so there is a lot of walking involved. You might want to grab a bite at one of the cafeterias.
Where: away from the city center, Ehitajate tee 150 / Paldiski mnt. 145
How to get there? Take bus no. 22, 41 or 42 from Freedom square (Vabaduse väljak) and leave the bus at the „Zoo“ stop.
ST OLAF´S CHURCH TOWER
For those of you with kids under the ages of 6, skip this attraction. The older ones, if they need to burn off some steam- walking up the 258 steps up to the viewing platform is a great way to do this.
St.Olaf’s Church was once the tallest building in the world- around the year 1500, the building reached a height of 159 meters. It was probably originally built so tall to be used as a maritime signpost, which made the city of Tallinn visible from far out at sea.
But like people, it has gotten shorter in old age… The tower has frequently been hit by lightning. After several rebuilds, the spire is now 124 meters (406 ft) high.
An interesting fact: from 1944 to 1991, the KGB used it as a radio tower and surveillance point.
Walk around the steeple for a 360 degree view of Tallinn and ask your child why everything look small when you are way up above the ground…
The tower is open from April till November.
Where: Lai street 50
Feeling out of energy after the climb and need an extra boost?
5 minutes walking from St Olaf is the ENERGY DISCOVERY CENTER – a science museum with a focus on, yes, you guessed it, energy.
Kids will love the ‘hands on’ science experiments. The „Sound and Light“ exhibition helps to find the answers to questions like when and why do we see a rainbow in the sky? What kind of light do insects see? How can we use UV rays?…
Couple of times a day there is an awesome indoor lightning demonstration and static electricity demonstration which is fun to watch.
Where: Põhja Blvd 29
The SEAPLANE HARBOUR – a maritime museum that can easily fill half a day- fly on a plane simulator, climb down into the Submarine Lembit from 1936 and visit all the small rooms inside, learn about a variety of sea related things- mines; buoys; ice yachts. You can also put on a uniform and have a photo taken. Meanwhile, have a tasty snack at the cafe Maru with views over the triple hangar- the building itself is a piece of fascinating architecture.
The outdoor area has massive boats like the icebreaker Suur Tõll that you can examine. Climb down into the ship´s bowels, walk through the whole engine room, visit the crews quarters…
Where: Vesilennuki street 6
How to get there: Take bus no. 73 from next to Tammsaare Park (stop: Viru) and leave the bus at the „Lennusadam“ stop, in front of the Seaplane Harbour.
PROTO Invention Factory is located in the foundry of the former top-secret Noblessner submarine factory. It´s a unique combination of novel VR technology and prototypes of technology that take you back to a time when the world had complete faith in the steam engine, and Jules Verne’s fantastic inventions.
You can drive the world’s first car and steam locomotive, walk on the bottom of the ocean, fly in the world’s first hot air balloon….
The top floor is all about the VR set experience and there are multiple games. Pull on your VR goggles and step into fantasy game worlds, as a single-player or a multi-player.
Downstairs, there’s a lot of other activities that are more physical-based.
It’s possible to collect points at various attractions, and compare the scores later with your kids or other family members.
Where: Peetri street 10, three-minute walk from the Seaplane Harbour
How to get there: Take bus no. 73 from next to Tammsaare Park (stop: Viru) and leave the bus at the „Noblessneri“ stop.
Hope your kids have a great time!