Tartu is mostly known as the university town where the young students and academics gather. But it is also a fun city to spend time with your family and, who knows, it might leave a lasting expression on your kids who maybe want to attend Tartu University in the future. After all, it is among 2 of the world’s best universities. Tartu offers many opportunities to get to know Estonian history in a fun way.
The best thing about Tartu is that the Old Town is very compact and probably better for the small feet than large. It is packed with small cafes to get pancakes or ice cream. Walk the narrow streets with your little ones and get them to see the old architecture and the history of this small town. Children love toys, and the Toy Museum in the Old Town is full of them. And it is not just for kids – it lets adults travel back to their childhood days. The Toy Museum is a great way to get acquainted with the everyday life of Estonians – what have they played with throughout the ages and how the toys have evolved.
For kids who have an interest in science, there is the Science Centre AHHAA. It is the biggest science centre in the Baltic states. It is a real hands-on experience and kids can try different experiments, and see a variety of shows and exhibitions. The main hall lets you try your hand in riding a bicycle on a rope, and on the second floor, you can see a historical medicine collection that dates back to 1803. In the Hall of Nature, you can see ants, tropical fish, chicks hatching, and different species of birds.
The Upside-Down House is a half-hour walk away from the Old Town but absolutely worth the effort. It is a rather new attraction but is already very popular among Estonians. The thing with the Upside-Down House is that everything appears out of order and the regular way! Sofas, kitchen cabinets, even the toilet - everything is displaced and turned upside down. It is a great place to take pictures to show your friends.
The huge new Estonian National Museum is 6000-square-meter big and probably won't be the first choice of your kids. But, it is definitely worth visiting when you are in Tartu. If your kids are not very tired, they can learn Estonian history in a fun way through interactive screens and tricks.
A day spent with kids in Tartu is interesting for everyone involved. Tartu has a tiny Old Town, so don't worry, the little feet won’t get too tired. Instead of boring museums, there are a lot of fun and interactive museums that are a great way to discover Estonian history for a whole family.
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