Family fun

 Evgeniy Morozov/

The Regional Drama Theatre, which moved into its current premises in 1960, offers an extensive repertoire for children. This building, which was built back after the Great Patriotic War, used to be a German Drama Theatre pre-1917. Some plays are based on Russian folk tales, Morozko, for example, and some – on school book classics. “Our theatre raises its little spectators from very early years,” according to the company’s Art Director Mikhail Andreyev. “We bring them joy with the magic of light, music and dance, with our costumes and our masterful acting.”  

 Evgeniy Morozov/

The puppet theatre started out as an amateur company under the aegis of the Kaliningrad Drama Theatre in 1963, and secured an official status a year later. The company moved into its own premises in 1976. The new building, formerly a Lutheran Church built in memory of Queen Louise, happens to be one of the finest in Kaliningrad. The church was designed by Friedrich Heitmann and built in 1901. Before it was handed over to the company, the building had been restored and remodelled to accommodate a 255-seat audience room.

The Puppet Theatre has entertained its audiences for a half of a century with plays by Russian, German and English authors. The current repertoire lists over 40 plays for preschool and elementary school-age children. The company tours in Russia, Belarus, Lithuania and Germany, as well as playing on its home stage. The Puppet Theatre is more than a theatre company. It is a veritable cultural centre for children, hosting children’s festivals, concerts and holiday parties.  

Evgeniy Morozov/

Tretiy Etazh (or Third Floor) is a Kaliningrad theatre existing since 1995. Being a company of young actors, Tretiy Etazh is constantly in search of new forms. It’s a living, vibrant and daring creative collective. The core of the repertoire is made up of classical and modern international drama, poetry and prose. The big space is for adult and teen audiences (12 and older). Tretiy Etazh does an unconventional rendition of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The soundtrack of the play consists of songs by the rock band DDT. The effect is an unusual, unexpected combination of content and form. 

The 50-seat space is reserved for children aged 5 and older. Due to the small size of this space, the actors and the audience are close to each other literally, as well as figuratively. The performances on the stage are sincere, outgoing and emotionally charged. The children’s repertoire includes dramas as well as comedies. One is Cosette, based on the novel Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. The central idea of the play, which makes both children and some of their parents cry, is that good always wins out in the end. Conversely, the stage adaptation of Gianni Rodari’s Telephone Tales makes the people in the audience laugh their heads off. 

Evgeniy Morozov/

The House of Arts hosts performances by local and guest theatre companies, musicians and dance troupes, and stages family-oriented events. At New Year’s, this is the location of Kaliningrad’s No. 1 Christmas tree. Arwin and the White Tiger, a highly successful family show, plays at the House of Arts every Christmas Season. The children’s repertoire of the House of Arts includes the musical fairy tales Shop of Miracles, Thumbelina, Cinderella, The Firebird and The Magic Mirror, as well as a dramatized concert programme based on songs from Russia’s favourite films for children.  

The Kaliningrad Musical Theatre has evolved from an acting school started in 1992. In 1997, the theatre opened admissions for the Russian Performing Arts Academy (GITIS).

The Kaliningrad Musical Theatre is partners with Helicon Opera, the Moscow musical theatre directed by Dmitry Bertman. The two companies do collaborative projects in which artists from both Moscow and Kaliningrad take part. The International Academy of Culture and Art conferred the title of “National Treasure of Russia” on the Kaliningrad Musical Theatre in 2010.

Alongside its adult repertoire, the Musical Theatre plays awesome Christmas shows for children, and has staged numerous musical fairy tales: Aladdin’s Magic La.m.p, The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish, The Nutcracker, Aibolit, The Band from Bremen, Cinderella, and others. 

Руслан Шамуков/ТАСС

The Kaliningrad Zoo occupies the same space that was formerly the Koenigsberg Zoo, founded in 1896. Several pre-WWII buildings have survived, most notably – the quarters where bears, lions and eagles are kept. The fountain in the middle of the zoo is the largest and one of the finest in town.

The Koenigsberg Zoo was a popular recreation spot the locals from day one. People came to gaze at the animals, walk around, listen to live music and generally have a good time. The Zoo was that kind of place in Koenigsberg, and still is in Kaliningrad. The Zoo hosts Musical Evenings by the Fountain in summer, featuring live classical music performances. The Zoo also welcomes children and their parents to its Theme Weekends almost every week. Some exa.m.ples of a theme weekend are: Ice-Crea.m. Day, Zebra Day, Earth Day… There is a summertime environmental project for schoolchildren, titled Robinsons’ Club. 

The Zoo is rightfully proud of its animal “assets,” numbering some 2,500 animals and 300 species: kangaroos, monkeys, tigers, leopards, cormorants and eagles… One day is hardly enough to become acquainted with them all. It may be a good idea to order a general or specialist tour, if you wish to learn more about exotic animals.  

There is a Pony Park at the Zoo, where toddlers can learn the basics of horse riding.  

Evgeniy Morozov/

Faraway Kingdom is a game centre for children inside the Royal Residence complex. The walls at Faraway Kingdom are painted with fanciful motifs like jungle, the submarine world, and Princess’s Palace.   

Faraway Kingdom offers a plethora of amusement for any taste. The facilities include a game area with video game machines and video simulators, a labyrinth town, creative studio, mini zoo, cinema, and last but not least, a party room with a kids’ menu, which is reserved for kids’ events and birthday parties, facilitated by an animation programme.