The Top Things to Do with Kids in Berlin
From the Spy Museum to Lake Wannsee, this guide to Berlin will keep the whole family entertained
If you've been reading our journal for a while now, you've probably realised we’re experts in travel and accommodation around the world here at Plum Guide. Good on you. In fact, you’ve already gone ahead and booked one of our delightful family-friendly homes for your city break to Berlin, haven’t you? Nice work. Next on the never ending to-do list, you need to compile an itinerary. So, you find yourself asking, what are the best things to do in Berlin with kids? Well, we here at Plum Guide have got you covered (as usual). Read on for a range of ideas that cater to all ages, levels of fitness and the predictably unpredictable Berlin weather.
Take the family to Lake Wannsee
Situated 25 kilometres south-west of Berlin, Lake Wannsee really is something that your kids ‘wanna see’. And now that we’ve got the inevitable dad joke out of the way and beaten him to it, let’s get down to business.
This lake is the perfect spot for a family day out in the summer months. Berlin experiences particularly warm, sunny weather from May all the way through to August and what better way to spend it than at the beach? The lake is Europe’s largest outdoor swimming area on an inland body of water. The great thing about searching for things to do in Berlin with kids is the fact that, being German, Berliners are incredibly organised and think of just about everything. You can swim and sunbathe and there’s a water slide (good luck trying to drag them away from this one at the end of the day).
There are also changing rooms, showers, restaurants, playgrounds, chair rentals and even a promenade where you can refill on beer, pizza and ice cream. Really. Try telling your kids it’s time to go home after experiencing this. If you feel like swimming isn’t enough, you can rent out all types of vessels from small rowing boats to impressive yachts. There’s also the option to rent bicycles and ride around the lush, green serenity of Grunewald Forest. If they don’t sleep well after this one, there’s little hope.
Enjoy a day at the Spy Museum
When it comes to things to do with family in Berlin, visiting a few of the museums is a must. There’s one on every corner here and it's perfect for the rainy days. We recommend the German Spy Museum in particular.
Berlin has a long, deep and secretive history when it comes to spies, especially through the Cold War. Except, it’s not so secret anymore. The kids will love learning all about the outrageous ways in which East and West spied on each other. We picked this one out because it’s really interactive. There are lots of games and challenges that will keep them busy, including navigating through a room full of (harmless) laser tripwires. Dad will love the chance to play James Bond and, coincidentally, mum will no doubt be fancying herself as quite the spy too. It's hard not to surrounded by all those gadgets.
Meet the animals at Berlin Zoo & Tierpark
Fancy staying in your Plum Guide Berlin apartment all day? Nice try. How about a trip to the zoo instead? Berlin Zoo is Germany’s oldest zoological garden and home to the world’s largest variety of species. Here, they have almost 20,000 animals from 1,200 species, including pandas. There are a number of tours, guides and feeding shows, as well as an after-dark tour by torchlight where you can discover the nocturnal habits of the animals.
As if that wasn’t enough, there is also Tierpark. Due to the divided past of Berlin, you’ll often find that the city has two of everything (one for the West, one for the East). The two zoos are a classic example of this. You’re spoilt for choice. In Tierpark, there are several walk-through enclosures that are bound to excite the kids, all set against beautifully landscaped gardens. You’ll find huge enclosures for lions and tigers, as well as a free-flight birds of prey show. There’s even a water play area to cool off in the summer months. Both zoos also offer petting experiences (we'll leave that one to the kids) and a range of playgrounds, restaurants and all your other essential facilities.
Learn German history at the DDR Museum
Another museum worth mentioning is the DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik) Museum in Mitte. You may well find your kids rolling their eyes at the thought of this. But despite their grievances and preconceived ideas, we urge you to persevere. This one is worth it. The whole museum is effectively one large, interactive playground. It’s educational, but a lot of fun. ‘History with touch’, as the museum phrases it.
From driving old East-German cars to walking through a classic East-German apartment, the whole family can spend a few hours here learning about what life was really like in the old DDR. There are puzzles, videos and lots of hands-on exhibits to play with. You can quite literally take a seat in a 1970s East German living room and discuss the horrendous choice of wallpaper whilst your kids rummage through wardrobes, open draws and inevitably end up locked in the Stasi prison next door. Your choice to let them out or not.
Design your own chocolate at Ritter Sport Bunte Schokowelt
When we’re asked about the best things to do in Berlin with kids it would be a crime not to mention this. Ritter Sport is one of the most popular brands of chocolate in Germany and their flagship store here in Berlin allows you and the kids the chance to create your own chocolate bar. A dream or a nightmare? In this workshop, you all become chocolatiers, learning to combine pretty much whatever the heart desires. There are three floors in the store, all full of treats and snacks that you can purchase, as well as a cafe selling cakes. We’re pretty sure that no matter your age, you will all love this. Just don’t tell your dentist when you get home.
Admire the views from the Berlin TV Tower
Last but not least on our list of things to do with kids in Berlin, we can highly recommend a trip up the 368m Berlin TV Tower. This iconic landmark can be seen from all parts of the city, to the point where it’s inevitable your kids will ask when you’re going up there. Whisking through the Cold War-era lobby and up the lift, you’ll be greeted with exceptional 360-degree views across the whole city and beyond. There’s Berlin Zoo where the pandas are. And yes, there’s Lake Wannsee where mum dropped her ice cream the other day. Watching the trains snake their way through what looks like a miniature toy city from up here should keep the kids occupied for an hour or so. It’s the place for a memorable family selfie and the perfect way to round off a trip.
For all of these activities, we recommend booking ahead online. You’ll find more often than not you can get useful family discounts. Of course, with Lake Wannsee you don’t book anything, but we recommend getting there early or going mid-week to avoid the worst of the crowds.