The Turkish are generally known to be friendly towards children. Expats moving to Istanbul with kids will find many fun activities and places to visit, including museums, science and technology centres and the Dolphinarium. There are also several popular parks, beach resorts and nearby islands that are ideal for family outings.
That being said, Istanbul is not very accommodating to those with small children. The streets are narrow, traffic is a constant problem, and most sidewalks don’t have ramps for strollers.
Entertainment for kids in Istanbul
The Dolphinarium is located on the shores of the Golden Horn of Istanbul. It's a wonderful outing for the family that offers shows with dolphins, seals and whales. There are six pools and a large show pool with capacity for 1,000 spectators. For those over 10 years old, there is also the chance to swim with the dolphins.
Feshane Children’s Entertainment Park
The Feshane Children’s Entertainment Park is located within the International Fair Centre in the Feshane area of Istanbul. It’s an open-air park that's been designed especially for children, with some rides, games and activities to keep them busy. There's also a nearby food market for parents to enjoy.
Ferry trip to the Princes' Islands
A popular day trip to do with kids in Istanbul is to take a ferry trip to one of the Princes' Islands, located on the Anatolian side of Istanbul. Cars are banned on the islands, so there are lots of open spaces for the children to run freely. Children and parents alike can also enjoy horse and carriage rides, take a walk or hire a bicycle to explore one of the islands.
Kid-friendly museums in Istanbul
The Istanbul Toy museum
The Istanbul Toy Museum, situated in a wooden mansion in the Götzepe neighbourhood on the Asian side of Istanbul, is a popular attraction for both parents and children. The museum was founded by well-known Turkish poet, Sunay Akin. It houses a collection of over 4,000 toys from around the world.
Miniatürk is an open-air museum with tiny replicas of historic Turkish structures and monuments. The museum is a fun and educational place for a family outing and is open all year round. The park also features a life-sized chessboard, labyrinth and a playground for children to enjoy. Miniatürk is situated on the northeastern shore of the Golden Horn.
Rahmi M Koç Museum
Also located on the Golden Horn of Istanbul, the Rahmi M Koç Museum is an industrial museum dedicated to the history of transport, industry and communications. Kids will have fun climbing into vintage cars and the cockpit of an aeroplane. They can also dabble in real-life scientific experiments.
The Istanbul Modern, situated in the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul, houses permanent and temporary exhibitions of contemporary art. The museum has an interactive section where children aged between six and 12 can have fun while learning about art.
Are you an expat living in Istanbul?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Istanbul. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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