Moscow is a wonderful tourist destination with a lot of history and culture. But if you feel like you are having an overdose of history and need some rest from all the city’s hustle and bustle, Sokolniki Park in Moscow is a good idea. Of all the fun things to do in Moscow Sokolniki is the most vibrant way to spend a day. The park has a status of a specially protected natural area.
History of Sokolniki Park
This Moscow park may be not in your priority list if you have just 3 days in Moscow or less, but the park has it charm and story. Sokolniki Park got its name from a Russian word for falcon – sokol. The territory of the present Sokolniki park used to be a sovereign’s favorite place for hunting and a location the falconers – special trainers of these birds. Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich founded the park in 17th century as he loved to go falconing there. The park is almost 22 times bigger than a tiny Muzeon Park in downtown Moscow, and has a lot to offer you.
Silence Zones and Bird Watching in Sokolniki
Nowadays Sokolniki is a space where everyone can find leisure and entertainment activites by interests. First of all, it is an amazing place for walking: there are some silence zones, which allow you to relax and enjoy the nature. For example, Lilac garden features all kinds of plants that bloom from spring to autumn: beautifully flowering pear trees, decorative apple and apricot Manchurian, roses, barberry and, of course, lilacs.
A cute “dry stream” with wooden bridges is laid on the territory of the garden, as well as sculptures that glorify love and motherhood. The residents of the Sokolniki district took an active part in enriching the collection of trees in the garden.
The park’s wildlife includes hares, squirrels and weasels, as well as 76 types of birds, so if you are interested in birds-watching you can’t find a better place in Moscow! Moreover, there are 13 reservoirs and a boat station where you can rent a boat to take in the views from the lake.
Attractions in Sokolniki Park
If you crave for a bit of adrenaline, twenty attractions of Italian production are here for you. The Air Race with a dead loop is an analog of one of the most visited attractions in Central Park of New York. Opening hours: from 10:30 till 20:00 seven days a week, but the schedule may vary depending on the weather conditions.
Pools in Sokolniki park and more fun
The swimming pool “Bassesin” is one of the most popular places among locals (after Gorky Park that celebrates it’s 90-year anniversary in 2018, by the way!). There are two pools (Italian and German), one of them heated. You can can have a full day of fun here with ping-pong tables, sports equipment rental, beach swings,and a cafe with a summer patio.
“The Bassein” project is a hit of the summer beach season in Moscow, and the only truly summer venue in the center of city for lovers of water and beach parties.
Sokolniki Antique Flea Market
If you want to combine outdoor activities, nature nooks and antique souvenir shopping you can only do it in Sokolniki, as it’s the only park that hosts a regular flea market every Saturday. You can find here ancient household and interior items, vintage clothes and antique toys, jewelry and cute gifts, books and magazines, porcelain and glass.
The Antique Flea Market in Sokolniki is a unique project, because everyone can sell things here and you can the most authentic and rare items at ridiculously cheap prices. Antique flea market works from 10:00 to 18:00, the entrance for visitors is free.
Museum in Sokolniki Park
Currently, the Museum of the Sokolniki Park works in the format of exhibitions. From June 15 to October 15, 2017 there was “Parade of Flowers” exhibition, dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the Big and Small Rosaries. The exhibition is open daily from 10.00 to 19.00 and the entrance is just 50 rubles. The tours are organized daily at 15:00, 16:00, 17:00 and 18:00. A ticket with a guide is 100 rubles.
Rental of sports equipment
You will not be bored if you are looking for active outdoor activities! The park provides services for the rental of sports equipment. Scooters and roller skates are a great way to explore the park and you can rent them from 10.00 to 22.00. Please note, you will need to leave an identification card or 5000 rubles as a deposit.
You can be original and learn how to ride a single-wheeled bicycle in Sokolniki’s unicycle school. This would make a great story for your Instagram. Riding a single-wheeled bicycle is an fun and safe entertainment for adults and children from 7 years old.
In addition, the unicycle is an excellent type of public transport – light, compact and fast. The school is open all the year round and you have the opportunity to test different types of unicycles, as well as try your balancing skills on a balance board.
Tours around Sokolniki Park
Spellbinding landscape and fun things to do in Moscow park is not all that Sokolniki has in stock for you. Take a tour around Sokolniki that tells you a story about the park, its nature and little-known facts.
- Tour-performance “Tea Drinking in Sokolniki” will take you to the beginning of the 20th century. In those days Sokolniki was famous not only as a well-organized park, but also as a lively summer mansion, which attracted a lot of common men and entrepreneurs in summer. The heroes of the show are famous Russian playwrights: Chekhov and Ostrovsky. The characters will tell you the story of these places where many generations of Muscovites came to relax and recharge. Sounds fun, right? But this it not all!
- Take part in the kindling of the samovar and taste traditional Russian tea with Russian sweets made at the Museum Factory in Kolomna according to old recipes. Make sure you include it in your Moscow travel list. The program is organized for a group of up to 25 people. The cost of a group ticket is 13,500 rubles. The cost of a group ticket with a translation in English is 16 500 rubles.
- During the “History of the Old Park” tour you find out where the unique Tikhon Zadonsky temple and the colossal model of the solar system are, how Lenin was robbed here, and how much time you need to ski to reach from Moscow to St. Petersburg. You will hear these and many other stories on your walk along the alleys of the old park. Excursions for individual visitors are organized every last Sunday of the month at 12:00. Individual ticket price: 250 rub. Family ticket price: 200 rubles. The cost for a group of no more than 25 people: in Russian – 3 500 rubles, in English, Chinese – 6 000 rubles.
- Theatrical tour “Cultural Trip to Sokolniki” is a hike in the park with stories and games. You will explore the sights of the park which are 50 years old. Your guide will be a pioneer girl who spends every summer in the pioneer camp in Sokolniki. You will learn how the May festivities in Sokolniki set by Peter turned into the May Day demonstrations, and why the famous Leninskie fir trees were held here.
- But most importantly, on this culturally-rich tour you will play long-forgotten Soviet games and feel what it was like to be a soviet schoolboy in the mid-20th century. The duration of the tour is 1 hour 30 minutes, the cost of a group ticket is 8000 rubles, the cost of a group ticket with a translation is 11 000 rubles.
This is only a few of summer activities in one of the most beautiful parks in Moscow – Sokolniki The location of the park is very convenient – just 400 meters from the Sokolniki metro station (red line, north east). All up-to-date information and announcements of events can be found on the official website.
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