Top little-known tourist destinations in St. Petersburg for family holidays

21 April 2021

Many people associate St. Petersburg with the Hermitage, palaces and canals, but there are many other interesting places in the northern capital. As part of a press tour organized by the St. Petersburg Committee for Tourism Development, the Chelninskiye Izvestia journalist visited 14 little-known places of this tourist Russian Mecca.

Chelninskie Izvestia, Yulia Zainullina

1. Museum complex "The Universe of Water"

The Universe of Water Museum is located in the building of the old Water Tower of St. Petersburg. The exposition is based on multimedia technologies and effects and on three-dimensional objects. One of the main themes of the complex's exposition is “Water in nature”, another section of the exposition is devoted to such a topic as “Water in the City”. It tells about bridges, embankments, canals and floods in the northern capital. Together with historical facts, short films, effects using modern technologies and even chemical experience will be shown to the tourists. Not only children, but also their parents will learn a lot of new things.

2. "Grand Maket Russia"

This museum is considered unique, because in a few hours in the "Grand Maket Russia" you can travel across the whole country. Russia in miniature will surprise not only children, but also adults. On an area of 800 square meters, this museum united the aggregated images of the Russian regions. These are not just static figures of people, buildings, cars, bridges. The model is equipped with various special effects, every 13 minutes above it day gradually turns into night, and the movement of cars is as close to reality as possible, they stop at traffic lights and stops, go to overtake, blink lights. There are summer and winter, mountains and rivers, cities and villages, bridges and train stations, industrial enterprises, military bases and much more. At the same time, all materials used, for example, for snow, water, greenery, look like real ones. And its inhabitants - thousands of small figures fill the model with life. New scenes continue to appear in the museum, for example, the "Pandemic" section was recently added. This is the largest layout in our country and the second largest in the world after Hamburg.

3. Kronstadt and the "Island of Forts" park

The most remote and unusual of the seven suburbs of St. Petersburg, Kronstadt, is located on Kotlin Island in the Gulf of Finland. It served as a naval shield for the northern capital. You can get to it from the center of St. Petersburg in about an hour, so if you have time, take a look at this city. You can't get close to the sea forts on the Gulf of Finland, but it’s possible to enjoy them from the outside, they have a rich and interesting history. And this year a museum and historical park were opened there, where recreation areas for children and adults, sports grounds, walking areas and much more are located.

4. The Naval cathedral of Saint Nicholas in Kronstadt

The largest naval cathedral of the Russian Empire’s times is located in Kronstadt, which is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today it is the main naval temple in Russia. The cathedral is beautiful outside and inside, its capacity is more than 3000 people. Every half an hour there are guided tours to the dome, to the 17th floor of the cathedral and to the bell tower, which offers a beautiful view of Kronstadt.

5. "House of Lighthouses"

Recently a new site was opened in Kronstadt - the Museum of the Lighthouse Service. While it is in test mode, the official opening is scheduled for the end of January. In the museum you can not only learn everything about lighthouses, their structure and architecture, but also look at them up close. It will be especially interesting for boys. The museum displays models of local lighthouses, a model of the Gulf of Finland water area, a lighthouse keeper's room, an old lens and much more.

6. State Memorial Museum of Alexander Suvorov and the Tin Soldier Museum

There are two museums at the corner of Kirochnaya and Tavricheskaya streets. The Suvorov Museum displays weapons and awards, documentary evidence, legendary attributes of the commander's Swiss campaigns. Suvorov became the first person in Russia to have a memorial museum built in his honor.

And the Tin Soldier Museum became its branch in 2018. It is the first thematic exhibition in Russia, which is completely devoted to miniature toys and the process of their creation. It is divided into five exhibition areas, each of which is unique. This is a journey into the past through the history of the soldiers. A surprise awaits the girls in this museum too - a performance based on Andersen's fairy tale about the steadfast tin soldier, where the characters in the exhibition come to life. There is a hall dedicated to the work of artists – model makers who create soldiers. The special pride of the museum is the complete parade of the imperial army in miniature; this is a kind of "live broadcast" from the past. The culmination of the exposition is a diorama of the Russian army crossing the Alps under the leadership of Suvorov.

7. Planetarium №1

Planetarium №1 is the largest in the world with the dome diameter 37 meters in its star hall. Planetarium is private enterprise and is located in the building of the largest ancient gas-holder in Russia. Viewers here are offered movies to choose, the duration of the session is one and a half hours. Movies are divided into several blocks: historical overview about space, Universe’s existence, astronauts and much more.

8. Pushkin town, the World War I museum

The lyceum years of the poet Alexander Pushkin, the academic years of Anna Akhmatova and Nikolay Gumilyov were held in Pushkin, which is located 30 kilometers from St. Petersburg. It is famous for the Catherine and Alexandrovsky parks, which are pearls of landscape art and architecture. In the shadow of the imperial palaces, there is another interesting place – the Martial Chamber, where the World War I museum is located. More than three thousand exhibits are preserved here – military equipment, soldiers' things, awards and much more.

9. The Bolshoi State St.Petersburg Circus

The Ciniselli Circus on Fontanka has been pleasing eye of residents and guests of the city for more than 140 years. It is the only one circus building in Russia in the last third of the 19th century survived to this day. Due to the pandemic for several months performances have been suspended, but excursions for children and adults are held. Together with a guide, it is an opportunity to know the backstage life, walk along empty corridors, visit the royal box, arena, and also learn the history of circus performances in pre-revolutionary Russia. Of particular interest are interactive classes, where guests are given the opportunity to try themselves in the role of an acrobat, juggler, and equilibrist.

10. “Petrovskaya Akvatoria”

On an area of 500 square meters, the main attractions of St. Petersburg and its suburbs are collected in the form of models. All of them are connected with the history of the city creation and the Russian fleet from the time of Peter I to Catherine the Great. The main feature of the museum is more than 20 tons of real water, symbolizing the water area of the Neva and the Gulf of Finland. On the layout, everything is like real: day and night change, ships of the Peter the Great epoch, floods and fires occur, figures of people are circling in a dance at the ball.

11. Imperial Porcelain Manufactory

This manufactory of porcelain products is the oldest in Russia, where not just tableware are created, but works of art. Today, its assortment includes more than 4000 items of products, different in shape and painting. It was here that the famous ornament for tableware was created by the artist Anna Yatskevich, named “cobalt net” which turns blue only after firing, and before it is black. The factory also conducts master classes on creating a cup with its own pattern. With the help of watercolors and glycerin, the guests of the museum create a drawing, then experts bake it, and guests can pick up a hand-painted cup from the famous factory.

12. The St. Petersburg State Academic Capella

The St. Petersburg State Academic Capella has a rich history, and the complex of these buildings is considered one of the best creations of Russian architecture. The organ of the capella is an invaluable instrument -monument. Evenings of ancient and modern chamber music, concerts for children, performances by the leading soloists of the choir and much more are held here. At the rehearsal of “Carmina Burana” one could hear the stage cantata conducted by the artistic director V. Chernushenko. He revived the famous Russian singing ensemble, becoming the head of the capella in 1974.

13.Russian Railways museum

After restoration, the museum was opened in honor of the 180th anniversary of the Russian railways. The museum combines history and modern interactive. The excursion passes through a collection of rare and legendary steam locomotives, diesel locomotives, electric locomotives, carriages and other railway equipment. Some locomotives and carriages of the 19th and 20th centuries have been preserved in a single copy. Also with the sound of wheels, you can dine here in the restaurant carriage of the author's cuisine.

14. Patriotic Association “Lenreserv”

This patriotic association, based on a private collection that has been formed for over 20 years, includes over 150 units of military and civilian equipment in operative condition. The main period is 1941-1945. There is a large exposition dedicated to radio broadcasting and communications. Of particular interest is the communal apartment restored to its natural size, where the original household items of those years have been preserved in operative condition, there is even a vacuum cleaner, a hairdryer. Since the exposition is dedicated to the years of the Patriotic War, the blockade street has been restored in the museum, there is an exploded children's room, unexploded shells and much more. There is a showcase dedicated to labor in the blockade. The area of the Lenreserv premises is 10.000 square meters. The exhibition is always free, but there is need to sign up in advance.

The material was prepared as a result of 5 informational press tours that took place from November 28 to December 7, 2020 in the Northern capital. It was attended by 50 journalists and bloggers from different regions of Russia.