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Expat Family Friendly Things To Do In Moscow

Expats moving to Moscow with their families in tow find themselves dealing with number of rather frustrating problems along with many wonderful opportunities. The harsh, long winters can be quite daunting, and transport infrastructure is seriously strained (although it does have its own attractions, such as the gorgeous murals, chandeliers, and architecture in the Moscow Metro). Expat families with children find these facets of the city particularly difficult. On the other hand, they also have plenty to savor – Moscow is one of the few places in the modern world where circuses continue to thrive, it also has plenty of parks, including a few huge, spectacular, family-friendly ones, and a range of other activities for families, including theatre, sport, and entertainment. Here are a few things you can look forward to doing with your family in Moscow, including some that aren’t dependent on the weather.• Museum of Cosmonautics: The fascination for space travel is one thing that hasn’t faded in all the decades since it first began. It’s also something that often excites parents and children equally. Moscow’s Museum of Cosmonautics is a multi-storey treasure trove containing a mind-boggling range of exhibits – everything from Soviet era propaganda posters to a life-size model of the more recent Mir space station, from footage of lunar landings to actual space suits, and from crew manuals to samples of the food that would be eaten on lunar missions. One advantage is that the museum is right next to the metro station, so getting there is quick and easy.
• Yuri Kuklachev's Cat Theatre and The Durov Animal Theatre: Moscow has not one but two animal theatres – and one is almost entirely dedicated to cats (they have a few dogs in there as well). Both are family-run operations, and both are reliably said to be run humanely – they use positive training techniques that rely on rewards rather than punishment. Many of the cats in the Cat Theatre are rescues, who would otherwise be living a harsh life on the streets. Children are particularly enthralled by the performances at both theatres, but the adults who are present definitely have a good time too.
• Gorky Park: There are plenty of small parks and gardens across Moscow which you should definitely visit; however, don’t miss out on at least a few visits to Gorky Park. It’s centrally located and easy to access, and it’s got roller-blading, cycling, and boating in the summer, ice-skating in the winter, Wi-Fi, exhibition halls, cafes, outdoor movie screenings and yoga classes, sports fields and courts, a space observatory section, and plenty more. Since its makeover in 2011, the park is particularly vibrant and welcoming, and is great for a family outing. In addition, it’s also worth visiting Hermitage Garden, Bittsevsky Park, Kolomenskoe Park, and Sparrow Hills.
• Play centers: Moscow has several entertainment/play centers and clubs, and they’re a great indoor option during the months when it’s too cold to be out in the streets and parks. Bowling, roller skating, video games, giant slides, cinemas, even indoor roller coasters and carousels – Moscow has fantastic play options for kids. Fantasy Park, Kva-Kva Park, Happylon, and Jungle Club are a few of the places that you can visit. Most of them aren’t expensive, but it can all add up, since each activity has its own fee.
• The Circus: In most of the world, circuses aren’t as popular as they used to be. Many are old, run-down clichés, and although there are some decidedly innovative ones out there, a mention of the circus isn’t likely to get your kids screaming with excitement. Visiting the circus in Moscow could change all that. The city is sometimes called the world’s circus capital, and actually has two circus buildings that are quite well maintained and regularly used. Troupes of circus performers under various names (‘Moscow State Circus’ being a particularly popular one) regularly come through the city, and most are worth your time and the very reasonable fee they charge. You’ll see a lot of the familiar old performances – clowns, trapeze acts, dancers, animal performers, and magicians – but the scale, the finesse, and the frequent inventiveness of the performers will keep you and your family spellbound for the two or three hours that you spend there.

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