10 Things to Do in Istanbul with Kids (2019)

Often mistaken as Turkey’s capital because of its captivating charm and bustling metropolis, Istanbul is one of the Turkish cities which attracts a huge number of tourists and expatriates. If you are planning to visit or live in this city with your kids, you should not have a room for worries about the activities you can do. Istanbul is also a playground for the young ones. From aquariums and museums to themed play places and edutainment centers, Istanbul has something to make every weekend or holiday a special one. When you take the kids to Istanbul, you’ll give them a precious moment they can look back to when they’re grown up. Stay with us as we give you the list of things to do in Istanbul with kids.

Table of Content

1. Imagine Flying an Airplane or Riding a Submarine at the Rahmi M Koç Museum

Cost: $1.3 to $3

Imagine Flying an Airplane or Riding a Submarine at the Rahmi M Koç Museum

Every kid dreams of piloting or driving a vehicle. Remember when you are your kid’s age, and how happy you were when you get to sit on the driver’s seat? Or how ecstatic you felt on that first plane ride? Or how you made sounds as if operating a large ship? The young ones of today have the same riding fantasies. Thankfully, you can take them to the Rahmi M Koç Museum in Istanbul. This museum is the first ever museum in Turkey which is dedicated to educate the visitors about the history of transport, industry, and communication. You can visit the Rahmi M Koç Museum on the shores of the Golden Horn (Hasköy) housed within a 19th-century factory building. Inside the museum, kids can imagine being a driver of a race car or a vintage car, a pilot, or a ship captain. They can sit inside a real plane’s cockpit and understand better the way planes operate. They can also ride a real submarine and sit in vintage cars. Likewise, the kids can participate in a science experiment hosted by the museum. After several hours of going around the place, you can take them to have a taste of authentic Turkish cuisine at one of the two fine dining restaurants in the area. The Rahmi M Koç Museum is open from Tuesdays to Fridays, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission to the museum is $1.3 for students and $3 for adults. If you want to enter the submarine, you have to pay $0.9 (student) or $1.5 (adult). This activity is a sure way to make your kids anticipate what more Istanbul has for them.

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2. Appreciate More of Nature with a Trip to the Princes’ Islands

Cost: $1 to $2

Appreciate More of Nature with a Trip to the Princes’ Islands

Kids, nowadays, don’t have a world besides what they have with their digital friends in an online environment. Most probably, they have less time to appreciate the beauty of nature as they remain confined in their virtual worlds. If you are in Istanbul and want to show your kids how lovely the natural world is, take them to the Princes’ Islands. No doubt, they will start connecting more with the real world, admiring the flowers, and craving for a breath of fresh air from the trees. After all, a vacation is meant to make you relax and breathe, right? In order to reach the Princes’ Islands, you need to catch a ferry or a seabus from Kabatas. A ferry ride to the islands costs a little less than $1, and takes about 100 minutes. A seabus ride, on the other hand, costs $1.8, and takes 55 minutes. When you reach the Princes’ Islands, you will be treated to a chain of nine small islands, which cater to provide the guests with ultimate relaxation away from the hustle and bustle of city life. In the islands, the kids can do everything they want – from riding bicycles to touring the place in horse carriages. The Princes’ Islands boasts of their vehicle-free roads, so kids can enjoy running and biking around without the fear of getting hit by a speeding car. The islands also boasts of pine forests which the whole family can explore. You can do camping or a picnic in a place surrounded by trees. You can relax and forget worries for a while as you listen to the peaceful chirping of the birds and the soft breeze.

3. Build Your Very Own Palace at Legoland Discovery Center

Cost: $6.8 to $8.7

Build Your Very Own Palace at Legoland Discovery Center

One game the kids probably can’t resist playing is creating structures from Lego blocks. At Istanbul’s Legoland Discovery Center, the kids can have hours of fun building palaces and houses from Lego. There are other activities they could do as well. The kids can watch a film at Lego 4D cinema. They can ride the Kingdom Quest Laser Ride. They can also join the factory tour where Professor Brick-a-Brack will take them to the Lego Factory. Kids can also join a Lego workshop. There are a multitude of activities your kids can experience at the Legoland Discovery Center. You can visit this play place from Saturdays to Thursdays (10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.) and Fridays (1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.). Admission ticket costs $6.8 for each child and $8.7 for an adult.

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4. Relax and Take a Dip at a Turkish Hammam

Cost: $1 to $2

Relax and Take a Dip at a Turkish Hammam

A visit to Istanbul is not complete if you haven’t tried going to the hammam, which is known as a Turkish bath. Going to the hammam for a relaxing dip is a great adventure for your children. They can experience the sauna or a massage. Or they can simply swim and splash on the pool. The men’s and women’s section are separate from each other, so make sure you have someone to accompany your kids in the area.

5. Ride the Istanbul Cable Car

Cost: $0.7 to $1

Ride the Istanbul Cable Car

This is rather a simple activity which will not drain the kids’ energies. Riding the Istanbul cable car will let you and the kids enjoy the most amazing aerial views of Istanbul. You will ride the cable car up and down the mountain as the car go around the entire city. You can do cable car rides in Istanbul from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. during the summer, and from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. during the winter months. Tickets cost less than $1.

6. Watch the Sharks Swim at the Istanbul Akvaryum

Cost: $8 to $13

Watch the Sharks Swim at the Istanbul Akvaryum

When you have run out of activities for the kids or if they want something less physically draining but equally entertaining as a roller coaster ride, take them to the Istanbul Aquarium (Akvaryum). Located in Florya, just near the airport in Istanbul, the Akvaryum is home to the largest shark collection in the entire Europe. Aside from the sharks, kids can also enjoy the jellyfish exhibit, an interactive touch pool experience, and a sea turtle hospital. The Istanbul Akvaryum boasts of numerous small aquariums inside, which follow different themes based on 16 water bodies around the world. If you are in the city center, you can ride the free shuttle buses to the Akvaryum. It is open daily, from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Admission to the aquarium costs $8 for each child and $13 for an adult.

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7. Enjoy a Boat Ride along the Bosphorus

Cost: $1 to $4

Enjoy a Boat Ride along the Bosphorus

A unique adventure you can do in Istanbul with the kids is a cruise along the Bosphorus. The Bosphorus is a historical shoreline in Turkey, which is the main factor why Istanbul is located in two continents, Asia and Europe. During the cruise, you and the kids can have a magical bonding moment as you watch the city of Istanbul from the shoreline. You have several options for this activity. First, you can take a quick and inexpensive ferry trip to the Asian side and then back. Another option is to take a full-length cruise, which is way more expensive, of course, all the way to the Black Sea. Try booking with Istanbul’s official ferry company, Şehir HaTLarı, for your Bosphorus cruise. We recommend taking this cruise at dusk in time to witness an enchanting sunset.

8. Experience a Ride on The Nostalgic Tram

Cost: $1

Experience a Ride on The Nostalgic Tram

Kids love train rides! They are always charmed by a tram’s colorful and slow motion, plus the enticing ring of the bell as it approaches a station. In Istanbul, let your kids experience riding on an old-fashioned tram, The Nostalgic Tram, which runs around the Istiklal Caddesi and the city center. Plus, this ride is inexpensive, and will cost you less than $1 for a single ride. The kids will surely love the old-school uniforms of the train ticket collectors and the ring of the ding-ding bell. The Nostalgic Tram will also lure the local kids to hang from the tram, which will be an exciting sight to see for your little ones. The Nostalgic Tram operates daily, from as early as 6:15 a.m. to midnight.

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9. Play All Day at Isfanbul

Cost: $15.9

Play All Day at Isfanbul

Formerly known as Vialand, Isfanbul is one of the most visited theme parks in Turkey. Listed as one of the to 10 theme parks in the world, Isfanbul covers an area of 600,000 square meters and features various rides, shops, and entertainment areas for kids.

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10. See the Whole of Turkey at Miniaturk

Cost: $7

See the Whole of Turkey at Miniaturk

From the name itself, Miniaturk is a miniature park covering 60,000 square meters. Within the area are 114 miniature models of famous buildings in Turkey, Greece, and other countries. This is a perfect adventure for the kids to stroll around and see the country contained in one park.

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Excited for your Istanbul adventure? Your kids will even be more excited! Have fun!

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