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  #1  
Old 07-18-2009, 07:39 AM
peters1050 peters1050 is offline
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Default St Petersburg Russia - kid friendly activities

We are planning a cruise which includes a stop in St. Petersburg, Russia with our 17 and 10 year olds.

In the other ports I can easily find "kid friendly" activities for this age group - bike rides, parks, historical attractions they have learned about in school like the Berlin wall...

I am struggling with St. Petersburg. You can't get off and do St. Petersburg on your own due to visa issues you have to work with a tour. We are planning to book a private tour which will give us more flexibility, but all of the offerings sound like after 2 days my kids will be climing the walls - how many churches, palaces, and art museums will they be able to stand? Are there other sites to see that are more kid friendly? (we've been on previous cruises, my daughter is disappointed she can't "swim with the dolphins" on this one :-)
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  #2  
Old 07-21-2009, 09:44 PM
iulawr iulawr is offline
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Default St Petersburg Russia - kid friendly activities

Perhaps your children would like to run around the beautiful fountains in Peterhof.
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  #3  
Old 07-23-2009, 02:31 AM
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HostColleen HostColleen is offline
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Default Art/Egg Scavenger Hunt & Prizes!

peters,

It's tough because that's exactly what St Petersburg is pretty much about; palaces, museums etc. You can maybe try to make it interesting by scouting out some things in advance (i.e. what's in the Hermitage & Palaces) and challenging the kids to find them in the museums - bring along small prizes for rewards. For example, choose some of the Faberge Eggs (explain how each one had a special meaning and there was something hidden inside each egg) and let them find them at the Hermitage etc.

Look for things at the Summer Palace like certain paintings - there are so many to choose from, or flowers (the gardens are remarkable) and again, when they find them, a winner. I would *maybe* tell them about the last Tsars - great love story & 5 children.....4 girls and a boy, but avoid telling them what happened to them and avoid letting it be TOLD to them by the guide or anyone else. Not pleasant. The mystery of Anastasia is interesting though.......if you work your way into it creatively........the "missing princess"

The kids may find it interesting that there are so many canals there instead of roads.....gosh, I'm going blank and my friend was just there in May but I don't recall her 2 day tour including a canal ride. Time passed by fast enough with the Summer Palace, Hermitage etc. So making it as a prize worthy scavenger hunt may make it fun for them and then, when they find things, they will be LEARNING too! Great art history lessons and the famed jeweler Peter Carl Faberge who, ironically, did NOT do much of the handiwork on the pieces, I learned, at an exhibit of eggs in another city; one man did most of the work. I was very surprised to see that this one single Russian jeweler/craftmaster had done all of the work by hand on most of the eggs. Mikhail Perkhin - master goldsmith and chief creator of ALL eggs for about 20 years. I was bothered by the fact that he'd done all the work and had none of the credit! But he was mentioned throughout the exhibit at each egg's display. Tell the kids these were started as an Easter tradition, if you are Christian - in not, focus on all the other themed eggs, and continued every year for the Tsarina and her mother, and then later commissioned for many special occasions. The first egg was plain on the outside but inside had a golden yolk, and then finally a mini golden hen with a small ruby set upon her head. Thus began the tradition of the eggs.

As for the paintings, the works of art are from the best in the world - the collection is so vast and rich, full of the masters. Introduce your children to a few of them; choose maybe 2-3 artists and have them try to find paintings by those artists......ask them if they like them or not. If so, what do they like or dislike and why? It is NEVER too early to expose children's minds to the wonderful world of art, so many benefits will come to them from having this knowledge. Nothing blew me away more than being at the Christmas Show, hearing Tchaikovsky's INTRO to the Nutcracker, and hearing a 4 year old say "Mommy, the Nutcracker!" I couldn't believe that with hearing a few bars of the music, she knew what it was!! "Baby Einstein" I was told. But imagine what your children will experience in St Petersburg if you can make it a little fun! Try the prize bag (remember to pick up little things to give out for this part of your trip!!) and make it fun by letting them find artists, discuss etc. Just like with the eggs.

All of this will go so fast you won't believe the time has passed. Their legs will welcome the break riding between places and everything will go well. I think some fun and enjoyment can be had here for everyone.

There are McDonald's in Russia - not sure if in St Petersburg (wasn't looking) but sure in Moscow. Don't know if the tour guide might let you stop etc. They kind of work their itinerary but keep the thought of tip$ in mind too.......so maybe try and ask for and ice cream stop or sweet stop etc. That's always a winner too.

Hope this helps make beautiful St Petersburg something wonderful for the ENTIRE family

Last edited by HostColleen; 07-23-2009 at 02:42 AM.
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  #4  
Old 08-17-2009, 08:45 PM
Host Lisa Host Lisa is offline
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We just returned from our Baltic cruise a couple of days ago. My husband and I cruised with our two daughters (12 and 6) on the Emerald Princess which included the two day stop in St. Petersburg. We opted to book a private family tour with Anastasia tours. Travelling with a 6 year old, we knew that we were not going to be able to see everything so we opted for shorter tour days, 9-6 the first day and 9-4 on the second day. On the first day, we toured the city a bit and travelled out of the city to Catherine Palace - beautiful but very, very crowded. We then drove to Peterhof Palace to walk the gardens - the kids loved the gardens and we strolled at a very leisurely pace in order to absorb it all. Back in St. Petersburg we shopped for matryoshka dolls which were high on the priority list for my daughters.

On the second day we visited St. Nicholas's Cathedral (while a service was in progress), more shopping, the Hermitage, the Church of our Saviour on the Spilled Blood, St. Isaac's Cathedral and walked from there through a park to the Bronze Horseman statue. The Hermitage was extremely crowded! Our tour guide moved us very quickly through some of the highlights of the museum but our youngest was becoming quite bored and the number of people in the place was overwhelming - she was much happier when we moved to the last crowded impressionist area (she prefers the prettier, lighter paintings anyway). The Hermitage is beautiful and you can't go to St. Petersburg and miss it, however, it would be a much more satisfying experience in off-season.

Our tour guide was wonderful with our kids and had a wealth of knowledge about St. Petersburg. We were extremely pleased with how the two days went and the kids were happy as well. Despite a lot of time spent in museums and churches they both loved St. Petersburg! Our youngest assured our tour guide that she was coming back to visit and staying for many days!

I'm sure your kids will love St. Petersburg - it is a really beautiful city! My suggestion would be to work with one of the private tour companies and discuss what would be of interest to your kids and customize the tour as much as possible, bearing in mind that there is a lot to see in the city and two days is not a lot of time to do it!

Lisa
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  #5  
Old 12-31-2009, 10:52 AM
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brazilgirl brazilgirl is offline
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Hi!

Like Lisa above , I recently got back from a Baltic cruise with my 3 kids ( ages 5 , 9 and 12 at the time).

We also booked a private tour with Anastasia . We shared the tour with a couple and their daughter (who was 11) who we met on our roll call on Cruise Critic.

My children LOVED St.Petersburg. It was a huge hit with them. Like Lisa , we left a bit later ( 9 to 6)and got back a bit earlier than other groups.

We started off at Peterhof. The kids loved the trick fountains and they fed the cute red squirrels.We had lunch at Petehof , at a pretty restaurant on the grounds. We then took the hydrofoil (fun!) to St. Petersburg , where we then visited Yusopov´s Palace. I highly recommend this. It is smaller , less crowded and the children really enjoyed the story of Rasputin´s murder. There are wax figures representing the event , which makes it more vivid for the kids. We even were loucky enough to see 5 gentleman do a gregorian chant in the ballroom. Beautiful.

Next we went on a private canal ride ...relaxing and nice to get an overview of the city.Then we went back to the ship.

Next day , we hit the Hermitage. Absolutely incredible. I had prepared the kids beforehand , talking about the murders of the Tsar and his family and by looking at art books , making them familiar with many of the artists we would be seeing ( on the same trip , we visited Paris...the Louvre and Museu DÓrsay).The Hermitage is huge and when our guide , Elena , noticed the kids were getting tired , she´d change our pace. Our 5 yr old loved the medieval armored horses and knights. Be sure to see the Impressionist paintings upstairs.

After the Hermitage , we asked to go to lunch at a typical Russian restaurant. Elena picked a really cool place that served pies ( meat filled and sweet). Full of atmosphere and really delicious.

We then went shopping ..the kids loved the Russian souvenirs.

Next we made a quick stop at the Aurora Battleship ( a treat for the boys) and continues on to the Church of the Spilled Blood. So beautiful...Don´t miss it. We didn´t stay too long. Then back to the ship.

It was so much fun and the kids didn´t complain once! I highly recommend a guide and a private tour for flexibility.
Note:Russia is CHEAP. This tour , with everything included , was very reasonable. I also really recommend trying to find another family with kids to share. My children became great friends wih the girl we shared the tour with.

Have fun!
Kim
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