Shoot a bow, ride a dog sledge, or braid a little pony’s mane — a weekend with children in Chelyabinsk Region is sure to be interesting, adventurous and educational! We will tell you about the best places for a family vacation like no other.
The Gardarika Historical Reconstruction Park gives visitors the chance to travel a thousand years of Russian history in just one day. Take a walk through an ancient Russian settlement of the Eastern Slavs, help construct a fortress during the time of Pugachev's Rebellion or visit the front line of the Great Patriotic War.
Located 35 km from Chelyabinsk, the Gardarika Park is an excellent choice for a family vacation that will be interesting for both children and adults. The park is divided into three themed areas: an Old Russian village from the 9th–12th centuries, a Ural fortress from the 18th century and the front line of the Great Patriotic War. The park has thoroughly recreated the everyday life and traditions of the time period for each area and designed almost 20 different tour programmes for visitors.
This is the only historical park in the Urals that reconstructs key periods in Russian history.
The park welcomes visitors all year round. In winter, the Gardarika Park hosts entertainment programmes for Christmas and New Year. In spring, they organise a massive celebration of Maslenitsa, including treats, staged fights and the burning of an effigy that symbolises winter.
Price: from RUB 400 per participant of the tour programme. Free for children under 5 years old when accompanied by an adult. Discounts for benefit-entitled citizens. Pre-registration is required for the tours. The average tour lasts 1.5–2 hours.
Location: 35 km from Chelyabinsk, near the village of Birgilda.
Directions: The fastest way to the park is by car. 33 km along the Ufimsky tract (M5) towards the town of Miass, then turn right towards the village of Birgilda, after 900 meters turn left at the wooden Gardarika sign and go another 900 metres to reach the park entrance. Travel time is about 35 minutes. The Gardarika Historical Reconstruction Park can also be reached by commuter train from the main railway station of Chelyabinsk to Birgilda station. Travel time is about 50 minutes. It is a 3 km walk to the park entrance. By bus: buy a ticket for an inter-city bus from Chelyabinsk towards Zlatoust or Miass before the turn-off to Birgilda. Travel time is about an hour. It is about 2 km on foot from the bus stop to the park.
Official website: https://gardarika74.ru
Did you know that the first people appeared in the Southern Urals about 200 thousand years ago?
The Archaeos Paleopark, which is located on a real island on Lake Sungul, allows visitors to travel deep into the history of the Urals and learn about the life of the Stone Age people.
The paleopark practices experimental archaeology, which is focused on the study of ancient technology and the recreation of the everyday life of people who lived thousands of years ago.
Archaeos is the first park in the Southern Urals to tell the story of the most ancient periods in the history of the region and reconstruct the everyday life and technology of the past. The tour programmes are designed for schoolchildren, families with children, and even adults. For example, the park has developed adult programmes that immerse groups in the lives of the Stone Age people. Participants are invited to make knives from the time period and take part in master classes on Stone Age cooking.
The Archaeos tours teach visitors how to make their own stone arrowheads, shoot bows and throw spears, try their hand at weaving and rock painting, mould dishes from clay, try to catch fish using an ancient trap and relax to the sounds of primitive musical instruments. They are led by geologists, historians and local history enthusiasts.
The park is great for a one-day excursion or visitors can stay for a few days and spend the night in a modern country house hotel.
Price: from RUB 1,000.
Location: 20 km from Snezhinsk and 120 km from Chelyabinsk along the shore of Lake Sungul.
Directions: along the M5 highway towards the city of Yekaterinburg by car. Near Lake Malye Allaki, turn left to Kasli, then turn right at the sign 'The Sungul Sanatorium'. Travel time is 2 hours from Chelyabinsk. Transfer available for organised groups upon request.
Official website: http://paleopark.archaeos.ru
Take a plunge into the world of Pavel Bazhov's fairy tales in the mountain park of Zlatoust and reminisce about the stories you've known since childhood.
The park greets visitors with sculptures of the characters from a number of Ural fairy tales, including The Fire-Fairy, Silver Hoof, Poloz the Great Snake, Murenka the cat and, of course, the Mistress of the Copper Mountain and Danila the Master. Materials from all across the Urals were used to create the sculptures for the park. Granite was brought from the villages of Mansurovo and Berdyaush, marble from the village of Atlyan, hard rock from the Radostny quarry, pieces of rock from the Urenga ridge, malachite and azurite from the Mikheevsky quarry, and serpentine was brought in from the Berezovsky quarry.
The jewel of the park is the bell tower and chapel of St. John Chrysostom, the namesake of the city. Tourists can climb the bell tower for a stunning view of the surrounding mountains, strike the Blagovest bell and make a wish that is sure to come true!
In the pavilions located in the park, visitors can learn about the history of Zlatoust, try on a bogatyr’s armour and learn how damask swords and famous Zlatoust engravings were forged. Be sure to bring money for souvenirs — you won't be leaving empty-handed!
Price: free entry Excursion price: from RUB 150.
Location: Zlatoust (140 km from Chelyabinsk).
Directions: by any means of transport to Zlatoust, up to the Krasnaya Gorka bus stop.
Official website: https://vk.com/krasnaya.gorka74
Dive into the era of dashing pirates and brave knights, walk along stone-paved streets and squares, ride catamarans and water scooters in the summer or take a horse-drawn sleigh in the winter at Sonkina Laguna Entertainment Complex located in the town of Satka. There's a reason this place is called the Ural Disneyland: it'll feel like you've fallen into a world of fairy tales!
Fully-equipped beaches are located along the bank of the large Satkinsky Pond. On the Island of Duplo Orla ('Eagle Hollow'), children can participate in an exciting treasure hunt while adults relax in medieval-style taverns. There are also barbeque areas that can be rented.
Sonkina Laguna stays open through the winter too, offering snow tubing rides and ice skating.
Price: entrance fee — from RUB 500, accommodation — from RUB 1,900 per night, depending on the type of hotel room.
Location: 180 km from Chelyabinsk at 16 Bocharova Street, Satka.
Directions: by car along the Ufimsky tract (M5 highway) up to the turn to the right at the sign for Satka. Travel time is about 2.5 hours from Chelyabinsk. Inter-city buses also travel between the cities of Chelyabinsk and Satka. Travel time is about 3 hours.
Official website: https://s-laguna.ru
There are several thermal aqua complexes in Chelyabinsk Region for year-round swimming, even in the snow.
Visitors can take health-improving baths in the Baden-Baden or Terme Alexandria aquacomplexes in Etkul, or the VODA complex in Chelyabinsk. The entertainment aquacomplexes have both indoor and outdoor pools with hydromassage and water cannons. The mineral-rich water comes from deep wells. There are separate safe bathing areas for children. The water temperature in the pools reaches 35˚C in summer and –40˚C in winter.
Wellness centres have restaurants and hotels for overnight visitors.
Price: from RUB 400 per hour (adult) for visiting the thermal complex. The cost of hotel accommodation starts at RUB 3,500 per night (for a single) depending on the season.
Location: 50 km from Chelyabinsk in the village of Etkul.
Directions: by car, along Troitsky tract to the Etkul turn-off. Travel time is about an hour from Chelyabinsk. Bus No. 140 travels to Etkul from the Sinegorye and Oblastnaya Bolnitsa bus stations. Travel time is about an hour. Thermal springs are located along the bus route.
Official website: https://baden74.ru
Every child and adult dreams of spending time with friendly huskies. At the Aquilon Husky Centre, visitors can enjoy dog sledge rides in winter or ride in wheeled carts during the summer.
The centre hosts master classes and themed interactive programmes. The centre staff will tell you all about forest safety rules, teach you how to make a fire while camping, explain the difference between Finnish and Indian fires and show you how to navigate the terrain and what to do if caught in bad weather while in the middle of the forest. At the end of the excursion, participants can enjoy a delicious campfire lunch.
For children, the centre hosts theatrical performances featuring characters from Russian folk tales like Baba Yaga, Leshy and Elena the Beautiful. Younger guests can also become real Vikings, fight dragons, or test their agility on the traditional Viking ship, the Drakkar.
Price: RUB 200–400 for a dog sledge ride, theatrical performances from RUB 350.
Location: 15 km from Chelyabinsk in the village of Yuzhno-Chelyabinsky priisk, 1а Solnechnaya Street.
Directions: by car or bus in the Zlatoust direction (M5 highway) until the turn-off to the village of Yuzhno-Chelyabinsky priisk. Travel time is about 20 minutes from Chelyabinsk.
Official website: http://akvilon74.ru
Pinto Breeze is the only pony farm in the Urals. The farm breeds a number of different kinds of miniature horses, including Appaloosa ponies, American miniature horses, and Welsh ponies.
We should warn you now: children will never want to leave. After all, they don't just take you on a tour of the pony farm. Here, even pre-schoolers can clean horses without fear, comb and braid manes, and walk ponies by the bridle through a small obstacle course.
In addition to the smallest horses, which are only 65 cm in height, there are also huge shires, heavy cargo horses that were bred for knights. Shires can reach 190 cm in height!
Younger guests can ride ponies in carts, sledges or on horseback, while older children and adults can go horseback riding through the forest, accompanied by experienced instructors who will select each horse according to the rider's skills.
Price: from RUB 400 per farm tour; up to RUB 2,000 for a photo session with horses. Pre-registration is required.
Location: 27 km from Chelyabinsk in the village of Trubny in the Sosnovsky district.
Directions: by car, along the 75K-422 road to the junction with the 75K-205 by-pass road, following the signs for Ufa. Further along the by-pass road past the village of Kaigorodovo until the turn-off to the village of Trubny. Travel time is about 35 minutes from Chelyabinsk. The Pinto Breeze pony farm can also be reached by public transport using Bus No. 248 from the stop on Chicherina Street (Chelyabinsk). Check the schedule.
Official website: https://pintobreeze.ru