If you plan a few days in Istanbul with the kids, you need to make a bucket list of things to do that are worth seeing. But what about activities that are suitable and exciting for your children?

In this article, I am going to take you through my list of the best things to do in Istanbul with kids including the famous role playing activity KidZania.

As you know, Istanbul formally known as Constantinople has a long history with Spartans, Greeks and more recently Ottomans. Kids and adults alike can explore the city’s stunning landmarks like the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and the Blue Mosque.

With its warm hospitality and unique East-meets-West charm, Istanbul promises an unforgettable family holiday. Shall we check out the list? Let’s go!

1. Istanbul Aquarium

Source: GetYourGuide

Families should visit Istanbul Aquarium for an unforgettable underwater adventure that captivates both children and adults. As one of the largest aquariums in the world, it offers an immersive experience with 64 tanks showcasing diverse marine life from different regions, from the Black Sea to the Pacific Ocean.

The aquarium’s long path takes you through 17 themed zones, providing educational insights and interactive displays that make learning about marine ecosystems fun and engaging.

Highlights include the breathtaking Amazon Rainforest section, where families can explore exotic species and lush greenery. The aquarium also features a 5D cinema, enhancing the experience with sensory effects that make the underwater journey even more realistic.


2. Topkapi Palace

Source: Pixabay

Situated on the serene grounds overlooking the Bosphorus, this majestic palace offers a fascinating journey through time, with its lavishly decorated rooms and gardens. Children and adults alike will be captivated by the stories of the sultans, their families, and the intrigue of palace life.

Highlights include the Harem, where families can glimpse the private quarters of the sultan’s household, and the Imperial Treasury, showcasing dazzling jewels, including the famous Topkapi Dagger and the Spoonmaker’s Diamond.

The palace also features a vast collection of manuscripts, costumes, and religious relics, providing educational and cultural enrichment.

A visit to Topkapi Palace combines history, culture, and adventure, making it an enriching and memorable family outing in Istanbul.


3. A Boat Trip on Bosphorus

Source: GetYourGuide

A boat trip on the Bosphorus is good way to discover Istanbul’s stunning skyline, historical landmarks, and natural beauty from the water. Families can enjoy views of iconic sites such as the Dolmabahçe Palace, the Rumeli Fortress, and the Maiden’s Tower, all while experiencing the gentle breeze and picturesque scenery.

This boat trip is both relaxing and informative, often accompanied by guided tours that provide interesting insights into the history and significance of the landmarks.

Kids will especially love the excitement of being on the water, spotting various landmarks, and perhaps even catching sight of dolphins.

Additionally, many cruises offer amenities like onboard refreshments and comfortable seating, making the experience enjoyable for all ages. Whether you choose a short ferry ride or a longer sunset cruise, a Bosphorus boat trip is a memorable and enriching experience for the whole family.


4. Valiand

a theme park in Istanbul for families
Source: GetYourGuide

Families visiting Vialand can expect an exhilarating and entertaining day filled with attractions suitable for all ages. Located in Istanbul, this vast theme park combines the excitement of thrilling rides with engaging entertainment options, ensuring fun for both kids and adults.

For the adventure-seekers, Vialand offers roller coasters like the breathtaking Nefeskesen, which provides adrenaline-pumping drops and loops. Younger children will enjoy the gentler rides in the Kiddie Zone, including carousels, mini trains, and bumper cars. The park also features a charming fairy tale castle, a splash-filled water park, and various interactive shows that captivate young imaginations.

In addition to rides, families can explore a shopping avenue and a range of dining options, making it easy to spend an entire day at the park.


5. Grand Bazaar

Source: Pixabay

A visit to the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is a must for families seeking a vibrant and culturally rich experience. One of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, the Grand Bazaar offers a labyrinth of over 4,000 shops, where families can explore a wide array of goods, from traditional Turkish carpets and ceramics to jewellery, spices, and souvenirs.

Children will be fascinated by the colourful displays and the lively atmosphere, with vendors calling out their wares and the scent of spices filling the air. The bazaar’s intricate architecture, with its domed ceilings and beautifully decorated passageways, adds to the enchanting experience.

Families can enjoy bargaining with friendly shopkeepers, learning about Turkish craftsmanship, and discovering unique items to take home as mementos. Numerous cafes and food stalls offer a chance to rest and sample local delicacies, such as Turkish delight and freshly squeezed pomegranate juice.


6. Emirgan Park

Families visiting Emirgan Park in Istanbul can look forward to a delightful day in one of the city’s most picturesque and expansive green spaces. Situated along the Bosphorus, this historic park offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle, with beautifully landscaped gardens, walking paths, and stunning views of the water.

Children will enjoy the wide open spaces for running and playing, as well as the playgrounds equipped with swings, slides, and climbing structures. The park is particularly famous for its annual Tulip Festival in April, when millions of tulips bloom in a dazzling array of colours, creating a magical, fairy-tale-like atmosphere.

Families can explore the park’s three historic pavilions—Yellow, Pink, and White Pavilions—which now serve as charming cafes and restaurants. These are perfect spots for enjoying a leisurely meal or a traditional Turkish tea while taking in the scenic surroundings.

7. Istanbul Museum of Modern Art

Source: Istanbul Modern

Located in the vibrant Karaköy district, the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art  showcases an impressive collection of contemporary Turkish and international art, including paintings, sculptures, photography, and multimedia installations.

The museum’s architecture itself is a sight to behold, offering a modern and welcoming space that encourages exploration and creativity. Families can also enjoy stunning views of the Bosphorus from the museum’s terrace, providing a perfect spot for relaxation and taking in the city’s beauty.

The venue organises different workshops for children and families mainly on weekends.

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8. Istanbul Toy Museum

Source: Istanbul Toy Museum

Families visiting the Istanbul Toy Museum can anticipate a delightful and nostalgic journey through the history of toys from around the world. Located in a charming historical mansion in the Göztepe neighbourhood, this unique museum features an extensive collection of over 4,000 toys spanning from the 18th century to the present day.

Children will be enchanted by the wide variety of toys on display, including dolls, toy trains, miniature cars, and action figures, each carefully curated in themed exhibits that tell the story of different eras and cultures. The whimsical and colourful settings create an engaging and magical atmosphere that sparks the imagination.

In addition to the exhibits, the museum hosts creative workshops and storytelling sessions, further enriching the visit. The cozy café and museum shop provide perfect spots to relax and pick up unique souvenirs.

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9. KidZania

Source: KidZania Istanbul

Families visiting KidZania in Istanbul can look forward to an innovative and educational experience where children can immerse themselves in a miniature city designed just for them. Located in the Akasya Shopping Mall, KidZania offers a unique, interactive environment where kids can role-play various professions and activities in a safe and realistic setting.

Children can choose from over 100 different careers and activities, such as being a doctor, firefighter, pilot, chef, or journalist, allowing them to explore their interests and learn valuable life skills. Each activity is designed to teach kids about the responsibilities and skills associated with different jobs, fostering a sense of independence and confidence.

Parents can watch their children engage in these activities, knowing they are learning while having fun. The realistic settings, complete with uniforms and equipment, make the role-playing experience authentic and engaging.

This indoor facility is meticulously designed to be both safe and stimulating, with trained staff on hand to guide and assist children.

With its focus on experiential learning and creativity, KidZania provides an unforgettable day of fun and education for families, making it a must-visit destination in Istanbul.

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10. Miniaturk

Source: Miniaturk

Located on the shores of the Golden Horn, Miniatürk is an open-air miniature park featuring meticulously crafted models of Turkey’s most iconic landmarks and historical sites at a 1:25 scale.

Children will be amazed by the detailed replicas of famous structures like the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and the ancient city of Ephesus, all beautifully arranged in a lush, park-like setting. The park provides an engaging way for kids to learn about Turkey’s rich history and architectural heritage.

Interactive elements, such as buttons that activate audio guides in multiple languages, enhance the educational aspect, making it easy for families to understand the significance of each model. The park also features a mini train ride, a playground, and a labyrinth, ensuring entertainment for younger visitors.

With its blend of education, fun, and beautiful scenery, Miniatürk is an ideal destination for families looking to explore Turkey’s diverse heritage together in an enjoyable and memorable setting.

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11. Yildiz Park

Situated between the districts of Beşiktaş and Ortaköy, Yıldız Park offers a peaceful retreat from the urban hustle, with expansive gardens, wooded areas, and picturesque views of the Bosphorus.

Children will love exploring the park’s numerous walking trails, ponds, and playgrounds, providing ample space for running, playing, and discovering nature. The park is home to a variety of flora and fauna, making it an excellent spot for a family nature walk and bird watching.

Yıldız Park is also ideal for family picnics, with plenty of shaded areas and picnic tables. The well-maintained gardens, featuring seasonal flowers and landscaped lawns, provide a tranquil and visually appealing environment.

12. Madame Tussauds Istanbul

Source: GetYourGuide

Families visiting Madame Tussauds Istanbul can look forward to a fun and interactive experience, meeting lifelike wax figures of celebrities, historical figures, and cultural icons. Located in the bustling Beyoğlu district, this world-renowned wax museum offers an engaging outing for all ages.

Children and adults alike will be thrilled to pose with meticulously crafted figures of their favourite stars, from global music icons like Madonna and Justin Bieber to famous actors such as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. The museum also features prominent historical and cultural figures, including Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and Albert Einstein, providing an educational element that highlights important personalities and their contributions.


13. Hagia Sophia Mosque

Source: Pixabay

Originally built as a cathedral in 537 AD, later converted into a mosque, and then a museum, it is now an active mosque once again. The Hagia Sophia stands as a testament to the city’s rich and diverse cultural heritage.

You will be fascinated by the architectural grandeur of the Hagia Sophia, with its massive dome, stunning mosaics, and intricate calligraphy. The interior is adorned with beautiful Byzantine mosaics depicting Christian iconography, which coexist with Islamic elements, reflecting the building’s multifaceted history.

Outside, the lush gardens and the nearby Sultanahmet Square provide pleasant areas for rest.

In conclusion, the Hagia Sophia Mosque offers a deeply enriching experience, making it a must-visit destination for families exploring Istanbul.



That’s a wrap. I hope you have found in this article enough ideas to make you stay super kid friendly in Istanbul. As you can see, you can easily spend a week in this glorious city of Turkey without being bored. Happy holiday in Istanbul with the kids!


things to do in Istanbul with Kids


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