Photo Courtesy of Grand Hotel Esplanade BerlinBerlinBerlinThe LimitThe LimitCars Exposition! The DoorSpies?

Families will love:

  • Must-see city for historical significance
  • Pink skies in Potsdamer Platz nightly
  • Europe's best zoo

Somewhere in the last two decades, Berlin, the once divided capital of Germany, has sky-rocketed from a remote destination behind the Iron Curtain, shrouded by the illusion of espionage and political maneuvers, to one of the hottest, trendiest cities in Europe. Numerous surveys of North American travelers say Berlin is tops on their European wish list, just behind London and ... more
Somewhere in the last two decades, Berlin, the once divided capital of Germany, has sky-rocketed from a remote destination behind the Iron Curtain, shrouded by the illusion of espionage and political maneuvers, to one of the hottest, trendiest cities in Europe. Numerous surveys of North American travelers say Berlin is tops on their European wish list, just behind London and Paris. Those who have been there in recent years rave about the city's endless collection of museums, art galleries, great restaurants, fabulous night life and abundant charismatic energy for people of all ages.

Berlin is an excellent choice for parents hoping to instill in their children a broader understanding for the world at large. And with the opening games of FIFA Women's World Cup played in Berlin in June 2011, the city's cultural and family amenities received an extra sparkle in the global spotlight. The Olympic Stadium, built for the historic games of 1936, is the sight of FIFA soccer events, but a destination for visitors to the city even when something is not happening at the stadium.

At the same time, Berlin poses some challenges for families with young children. How can anyone visit the city of 3.5 million without visiting Checkpoint Charlie and similar sites along the infamous Berlin Wall? But more importantly, how do parents explain the significance of the wall and its consequences in terms that children understand? Lessons from a trip to Berlin are tough ones that include the attempted extermination of an entire race, the near destruction of a civilization via global warfare and the darkness of a society without basic human rights.

Well, it's easy. Take a bike tour along the route of the wall, sharing just what you think your children can understand. Load the family up in an old East German trabi, comical vehicles by American standards, and drive over to the GDR Museum to see what limited choices were available in communist East Germany. Or just enjoy the city as it is today, a place where musicians fill the street corners, where the smells of sizzling currywurst fill the air, and where the night sky turns pink in Potsdamer Platz every night of the year.

Written by Diana Lambdin Meyer less

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