Museums

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Labirintum features 100 interactive displays demonstrating the principal laws of physics, chemistry and biology in an easy-to-understand, visual way. Everything can and should be touched, spun and turned on, off and around, and these actions create whirlpools, lightning storms and eclipses of the sun. Children can lift 1,000-kilo kettlebells, build durable bridges from foam plastic, turn themselves into a magnet or freeze soap bubbles. Assistants in special uniforms will be happy to talk about any object or phenomenon. If your child wants to learn more about the properties of iron or air, you can sign up for a special show programme through the website or by phone.

Ticket office 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.

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Here, you will find 150 kinds of fish, mammals and invertebrates from different climate zones living in 40 aquariums. Some of them look quite unusual. The school of huge sturgeons is very impressive. Little ones love the brightly-coloured clown fish, surgeonfish and butterfly fish. Some children mistake the gigantic arapaima for a shark, and in fact, the Aquarium also has sharks. You can watch a diver feed them at 7pm every day except Mons. A large family of seals performs twice a day.

Ticket office 10 a.m. - 7:15 p.m.

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The Water Museum began when the city water services company, Vodokanal, restored an ancient water tower and filled it with everything to do with water, from a scale model of a sanitary sewer and a scale model of a hydropower plant to balance beams that were used for carrying buckets of water from village wells. It all makes for a rather curious exhibition. Later, a multimedia exhibit, “Underground St. Petersburg”, was added, where you can observe the entire route that the water travels from the water intake areas to people’s apartments and back, as well as the “Universe of Water” multimedia exhibit with its 3D movie theatre and interactive displays. Here, you can organise a water cycle, study the inhabitants of the Baltic Sea up close, and run several chemical experiments.

Ticket office 10 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
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Right in the city centre, near the arch of the General Staff Building, you will find the Museum of Illusions, which consists of five different attractions. In the Optical Illusions Museum, the walls and floors are painted in such a way that visitors find themselves in different settings, be it the jaws of a shark or the Simpsons’ house. In the Garden of Tropical Butterflies, everyone wants to take a selfie with the morpho butterfly. In the Zoo, children can play with racoons, kangaroos and marmosets. The House of Giants looks like a family of giants just walked out, leaving behind a huge book, an open jar of sweetened condensed milk and a basket with wool and knitting needles. When you enter the Glass Labyrinth, keep in mind that it is very easy to get lost and very hard to keep your wits about you!

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The Railway Museum occupies a building that was built especially for this purpose in 1902. It contains every historical document and artefact about the development of the railways in Russia, beginning with the first railway that connected St. Petersburg and Tsarskoye Selo (where emperors and empresses had their countryside palaces) and ending with the Trans-Siberian Railroad. On display are rail tracks, station master uniforms, models of bridges and dozens of working models of locomotives and whole trains that are set in motion during tours of the museum. The tour guides’ stories are very interesting - even younger children will listen attentively. A favourite exhibit for children is a section of a luxury train compartment, with velvet-upholstered sofas, a redwood table and a shower cabin.

Ticket office 10:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
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Russia’s largest zoological museum was established in 1832 using exhibits from the collection of the nearby Kunstkamera Museum. The displays have not been renovated for 30 years, so the museum has become a monument to Soviet museum techniques. Children will be curious to see the arrangements made by Soviet taxidermists, depicting the lives of Emperor penguins, Amur tigers and lowland tapirs. The museum’s unique exhibits include the mounted figures of Peter the Great’s favourite dog and horse, both of whom were named Lizette, and the baby mammoth Dima who was beautifully preserved by permafrost.

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Several dozen special children’s tours are available at Peterhof Museum. During one tour, a Chinese woman tells stories about china at the Museum of Collections. Another tour takes children to the Benois Family Museum, where a schoolmistress talks about how the children of the nobility were brought up during the nineteenth century and plays a game of charades with them.

Access to the museum is possible until 5 p.m.. Ticket office 10:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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Most countryside palace museums have special tours and quests for children. At Gatchina, children are given special carry-cases containing creative tasks and accessories to help complete them. There is also a special children’s lounge area, where they can spend time building castles and watching films about knights. A special programme is available for visually impaired children called “Sensation of the Palace”. Children visit four staterooms and while the tour guide tells them about the palace’s former owners and their lives here, the children can touch and feel copies of museum exhibits and leaf through the albums with information in Braille.

Ticket office 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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On the first floor of Fountain House, you will find a room depicting the American study of poet Joseph Brodsky. On the third floor is the restored apartment belonging to Nikolai Punin and poet Anna Akhmatova. The second floor is given over to playful exhibitions and theatrical performances for children. In one of the programmes, children first look for Peter Pan’s shadow, help open up flowers with fairies inside and make paper ships. They are then shown the story of the meeting between Wendy and the boys from Neverland. Another programme has children helping Pushkin to find rhymes for his poems, dressing him according to the fashions of different centuries and organising a meeting of the old fisherman and magic gold fish. Afterwards, they can watch a hilarious performance about Tsar Gvidon.

Ticket office closes 1 hour before museum closing time.
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The former studio of sculptor Mikhail Anikushin, who designed the Pushkin statue in Arts Square, has been turned into a museum. The huge studio space used to create monumental sculptures is amazing in itself, but it comes with an added bonus: it offers several children’s programmes where art restorers give the kids the chance to restore a copy of a sphinx. Actors invite the children into a huge wooden horse and give a shadow theatre performance about the Trojan War. Artists create a 3D world based on Bruegel’s paintings. Local historians organise knowledge quests about the city’s monuments and the winner gets the chance to climb to the very top of the Rostral Columns.

Ticket office closes at 5 p.m.

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You would think that it would be difficult to surprise today’s kids, attached to their iPads and PSPs, with bulky, primitive arcade machines from the 1980s. But just like their parents and grandparents before them, children still run around the museum with a fistful of genuine Soviet coins looking into the periscope of the Battleship machine, trying the rifle in Safari and pressing the buttons of the Basketball machine. Grab a real soda from the Soviet-era vending machines, take some pictures in a vintage photo booth and stroll through an exhibition of bubble gum picture inserts.