Creatures Great and Small: 7 Places For City Kids to Meet Animals
Cat Cafe ‘Kotiki i Lyudi’
Since their start in Japan in the late 1990s,
cat cafes have become a worldwide phenomenon.
Kotiki i Ludi, which has two Moscow
locations, adopts homeless cats with particularly
docile temperaments and charges
400-500 rubles ($7-8.50) for visitors to hang
out with them. The felines can depart to a
quieter back room at any point.
A traditional zoo in the city center
The Moscow Zoo opened in 1864, and since
then it has offered Muscovites a chance to
see the world’s wild animals with their own
eyes: giraffes, elephants, polar bears, a reptile
house and wildebeest from the savannah. It
also offers birthday parties, guided tours, and
an interactive lecture on Thursdays at 1 p.m.
The Children’s Park of Wonders
Kids to the petting zoo, parents to the mall
There are petting zoos tucked into many city
parks. But the Retail Park shopping complex
on Varshavskoye Shosse offers an enormous
wooden playground and “mini-zoo” resembling
a Russian folk village. Kids can feed
goats, pigs, lambs, poultry and white rabbits
that would have populated the courtyards
(and dinner tables) of villages long ago.
Grandpa Durov’s Circus Theater
You can train a cat to dance?
This theater was founded in 1912 by Vladimir
Durov, a circus performer and trainer
who developed his own zoo-psychological
techniques. At “Grandpa Durov’s Corner,” actors
sing, dance, and clown around the stage.
Each delightful play features trained animals:
exotic elephants and seals, domestic cats and
poodles, even lemurs, raccoons and donkeys.
Voroby Bird Park
Camp out at the zoo
If you’re up for a daytrip to the Kaluga region,
the Voroby Bird Park combines a stay in a
national park with a zoo. Only in its second
year of operation, it has 484 species of birds,
fish, reptiles. Guests can stay in the park
hotel, rent riverside cottages and even fish
in a small pond. Guests can hang out for a
weekend, or at least long enough to visit the
“night pavilion” full of nocturnal birds and
rodents one might otherwise never see.
An ocean in the capital city
At Moscow’s “Sea World,” visitors can see
more than 8,000 animals and fish from small
coral inhabitants to three-meter-long sharks.
There is a show with dolphins, seals and an
orca, and also a touch-pool zone, where kids
can feel starfish and other sea life.
Horse Rides in Izmailovsky
Park stables in a city park
A small recreational stable in Izmailovsky
Park offers horse and pony rides for families.
You can even take a donkey or camel
for a spin if you call ahead. A one-hour ride
on a horse costs 1,500 rubles ($26) on weekdays,
and 2,000 rubles on weekends. The
Izmailovsky stable also offers lesson packages
(4,800-8,400 rubles). Those nervous
about saddling-up can glide around the park
in a carriage or a sleigh during winter. The
youngest children can take a tour around
the stable and interact with horses without