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Lithuania is a Perfect Country for Family Travels

2017-07-26

How many pins have you and your children already stuck into the world’s map in terms of the countries you have visited? How many of them have been stuck into the area of Lithuania on the map? Did you know that there are plenty of places for weekend getaways with children in our country? 

1. Šakiai – from Lessons in the Manor House to the Goatlings’ School

Have you ever thought that Šakiai region could be suitable for a trip with children? You should have. For instance, there is an ecological homestead called the Goatlings’ School where goats and sheep are raised and where all curious children are welcome. The hosts of the homestead are naturalists, they offer goat cheese tasting events and different educational activities depending on the season (in spring secret hidden decorations (flowers under a piece a glass) are inserted into a small pit in the ground; in summer ­ different herbs are collected and souvenirs to be brought home are made, in autumn – hand-made soap is produced with goat milk, in winter – toys are made), also cognitive walks around the surrounding areas of  Kiduliai are offered.

Gelgaudiškis Manor offers an educational tour for children and teenagers during which they are taught etiquette of the nobility or even take part in a dance lesson; meanwhile, the youngest ones are offered to take a tour to a witch. Children learn about the history of the manor in a format of a fairy-tale, afterwards, they take part in a quiz and are awarded sweet prizes. Later, children and the mistress of the manor take a walk around the manor park during which they discover a cottage of the witch. Here the witch makes some delicious tea and awaits  guests…

Šakiai also offers the manufacture of traditional toys and educational activity using polymer clay which is available at the Zanavykai Museum, as well as a canoe trip down the river Šešupė. Such a trip is unique because when in the river, the travellers find themselves with Russia on the left bank (the Kaliningrad region (oblast), and Lithuania ­ – on the right bank of the Šešupė. For this reason, it is an exclusive opportunity to take a look at both banks and compare the two countries at a time without any visas! Those who are not interested in the wild nature or the EU border, can try water swings in the rural tourism homestead Šešupės Slėnis, find the Robinson island, and a beach with volleyball courts and arbours.

2. Active Travelling Around Samogitia (Žemaitija)

There is a 24 km cycleway around Plateliai Lake. Bicycles are offered for rent in Plateliai. You can also enjoy the surroundings and landscape by travelling on foot: tourists can take the Šeirė natural path or the path of Paplatelė. The youngest tourists are offered the paths of Giliukas (acorn) and Kaštoniukas (conker) in the Plateliai Manor Park. During the trip, the impish Kaštoniukas whose fingers always itch to break a branch of a tree, to pluck a flower or kick an anthill will always accompany you! However, the well-behaved Giliukas is also nearby and timely schools his friend and teaches him manners and good behaviour while in the nature.

Plokščiai village offers travellers to play a bubble football, or you can rent a canoe, a kayak, a raft or a sup paddle board on the bank of Minija in the rural tourism homestead Žemsodis.

If you want to know Žemaitija better, you can visit the exposition Žemaitijos Žemės Slėpiniai (The Mysteries of Žemaitija Land) found at the Plateliai visitors’ centre where you can also learn a few words in Žemaitija dialect or find the Cold War Museum which is the only one in Europe. Teenagers will definitely like the smart tour around the homestead of Plungė Manor; it is a virtual educational cognitive programme adapted for mobile devices.

Taurai village in Tauragė district houses the biggest amusement and adventure park in Samogitia, namely, the Tauras Park. After you surmount the tracks of various levels of difficulty, you can stay overnight in a tree house.

Jurbarkas Tourism and Business Information Centre offers various activities for children during which they can learn how to plait wicker items or bake bread in Seredžius region, or they can pay a visit to the mistress of the manor at Jurbarkas district museum or to know about birds houses – nests – during a trip in a forest offered by the visitors’ centre of  Panemuniai Regional Park.

3. The Upper Lands (Aukštaitija): the Odour of Mushrooms and the Roar of Dinosaurs

Proliferation of dinosaurs has been noticed in Lithuania. The Rauboniai Park which is found 60 km from Panevėžys, in the district of Pasvalys, has attracted visitors by its mini zoo featuring porcupines or kangaroos which can be fed by the visitors, also by its ethnographic museum, and now it also offers to see natural-size prehistoric reptiles that roar and move.

Rokiškis tempts tourists with the most extreme Lithuania’s Sartai Observation Tower. The top of the impressive 36-meter tower can be reached by spiral staircase that will surely test your fear of heights. In the vicinity, there is Sartai Lake with a few islands and bays. These views are worth a million.

The cultural centre of Bajorai village houses the Home of Dolls (Lėlių Namai). Here, over 1,000 dolls are exhibited. Lėlių Namai shows performances by the doll theatre ČIZ, here different festivals, educational programmes, manufacture of dolls, creative workshops are organised.

At Rokiškis Museum, one can visit the exposition of porcelain toys and clothes of noblemen’s (counts) children, also shoot the hunter’s Rokas bow and arrow or even learn to play the English game croquet.

The vivacious and full of unexpected impressions education programme in Ms. B. Dapkienė’s farm, namely, an afternoon at alpaca’s named Chocolate (Šokoladas) and his friends, will familiarise children with different exotic birds and animals raised on the farm. Having collected chicken eggs, you will make a delicious omelette, and during a painting lesson you will be able record your impressions and the beauty of the nature.

As a fairing from Rokiškis you can bring home the sweet little mushrooms which you can bake yourself. Why not? In Juodupė, not far from the bakery, the House of Sweet Mushrooms and Baumkuchens has been established, in which baumkuchens and sweet mushrooms are baked according to the traditional technique. There is special equipment for that, and the visitors are welcome to make these delicacies themselves and test their pastry-cooking skills.

4. Children’s Paradise in Druskininkai

Druskininkai Aquapark brings joy to the smallest ones and their parents and offers a new space designated specially for these clients. Here they can try monkey bridges, and get into monkey caves, they can swim in a mountain spring, wade in the real sea sand and enjoy jungle animals. There is also a steam sauna in the children’s space.

Have you already tried the cableway, the amusement park DruFunPark with decorations of mountains, a helicopter used for rescue operations, the 5 m tower Spidertower the top of which can be reached by nets, the sledge hills, the merry-go-round, the trampoline, different tracks and labyrinths at Snow Arena, the adventure park One, the illusion rooms with a novelty – an upside down house? There is also a forest museum Girios Aidas, and a zoo in  Grūtas Park.

Near Druskininkai, there is the settlement of Ratnyčia which houses a Salt Studio (Druskos studija). It offers creative workshops with the queen of salt Aušra Česnulevičiene. You will be able to touch unique pieces of art made of salt and will feel the true joy of creativity here.

A number of educational events is offered by Sūrūs Vėjai (Salty Winds). Families will be offered newspaper plaiting, baking of biscuits Švilpukai, pottery, weaving activities and different other activities available in this organisation.

5. A Cow That Has Climbed Out of a Sinkhole in Biržai

The cave of the cow is the most visited object in Biržai, but have you seen that there is already a cow standing on the edge of a sinkhole out of which it has climbed? You definitely have to visit this place! Actually, the sanctuary of the Karaite landscape is a place with some more well-known sinkholes, for instance, the sinkhole of Geologists, the Fox Cave, Eve’s sinkhole or Easter sinkhole. The landscape sanctuary has a cognitive geological footpath of the sinkhole of Badger’s Cave which allows tourists to see as many as 13 sinkholes.

The ecological path of the barefooted, which has recently opened in Drąseikiai, has become increasingly popular. Everyone ­– a child and an adult – will be able to try the paths covered with cones, conkers, small stones, twigs, etc. barefooted. The path is about 1 km long. A stud is installed not far from the park.

Families also like the new observation tower of Kirkilai. It opens up magnificent views; there are some benches with seats where people can have a seat or a picnic outdoors, in the nature.

The Biržai castle houses a museum with plenty of educational activities as well as interactive games for children.

6. Family Vacation at the Seaside

Palanga is already making the sounds of the opening of the new Summer Park – the biggest space of recreation and entertainment at the Lithuanian seaside. Have you actually been to Palanga insectarium – the only one specialised zoo of arthropods in Lithuania?

When in the port city, you should see the renewed Lithuanian Sea Museum. It’s a must. It now offers you to experience what it means to survive a shipwreck, to learn how to put on a life-jacket and send an SOS signal, as well as to know about Lithuania’s links with the Titanic, to admire sturgeons or pink pelicans in the open pool, also to go to the new cafe on the roof. What else could you do in Klaipėda with your family?

The list of activities is long. For instance, you can choose an individual tour of sculptures and monuments designed for families “The Small Miracles of Klaipėda” which is about the “little inhabitants of Klaipėda”, namely, the cat with a face of a gentleman, the mysterious mouse, the dragon, the chimney-sweep... Or a sweet tour to the confectionary factory Roshen.

Klaipėda University Botanic Garden offers its visitors to learn how to make their own herbarium or to learn herbs; the museum of smithery offers the acquaintance with the jewelry of the Balts; the museum of clocks and watches offers visitors to learn how to make their own clock-model.

In Klaipėda, you can also learn how to play LaserTron (a game with lasers), a football-pull (snooker played by foot) or climbing in the special centre. More traditional entertainment activities are offered in Sky Park which has the biggest trampoline platforms in Europe and a sponge pool or you can try cycling on the top of trees, also flights among trees of different length, disc-golf, elephant flight and see the top decoration of the park – a car in a tree in the Kar Kar Park.

Klaipėda district offers a visit to a dinosaur park, an upside-down house in Radailiai, also an authentic North American Indians’ village Vinetu, and Klaipėda zoo. In Dreverna, the young travellers can try the educational activities where they can learn how to make a weathercock or how to model a fish.

7. Kaunas: Books on the Beach and Sleeping Elephants

Kaunas Tourist Information Centre offers children and youngsters leave their homes and dive in entertainment (adventure park UNO park, the climbing centre Sleeping Elephants) or take tours (In the Country of Folk Music Instruments in the Lithuanian Folk Music Historical Museum) or educational programmes, for example, the zooschool in the zoo or summer camps (children’s day camp of wakeboards Wake Up Kaunas in July or cinema camp in August). Creative workshops for families are organised even in the Art Museum dedicated to the great Lithuanian painter M. K. Čiurlionis.

When the weather is fine, city dwellers and guests are invited to a library under the sky which can be found on Lampėdžiai beach next to Sunny Beach Lounge Bar; it is open all summer long, on Saturdays from 12 to 5 p.m. The reading “room” offers not only books and magazines but also table games – everything you need for spending a perfect time on the beach.

8. The Fox of Šiauliai is the Biggest Sculpture of an Animal in Lithuania

Life in Šiauliai takes place on the shore of Talkša Lake. Not far from the Solar Clock Square, there is a monument of an Iron Fox. The Lithuanian Guinness Book says that it is the biggest sculpture of an animal in Lithuania, it weighs almost 7 tonnes and is about 20 metres long.

Next to it, there is Fox Spot – water sports and entertainment park offering amusements in water (wakeboard, water skiing or swim pool ring).

The central city square is at a distance of less than 1 km from the lake. There is a beach beyond the lake, the station of naturalists with horses or ponies, and the Museum of Cats.

Near the lake, a unique villa of Chaim Frenkel can be found. The restored villa with a park and a fountain is an exclusive area of Šiauliai. The museum of Aušra in Šiauliai invites families all summer long to spend their freetime in content-rich and interesting manner. On Wednesday evenings, painter’s workshops are organised outdoors during which the visitors can have a good rest, enjoy the wonderful surrounding environment of the villa’s park and take the lessons by professional painter who will teach them to paint, draw, learn different painting techniques. Visitors can daily try various summer games and entertainments in the villa’s park  any time (free of charge) and enjoy the Secession style swings.

9. Tomahawk Throwing Lessons in Dzūkija

Near the road Alytus-Druskininkai, an educational-entertainment village Meškasalis can be found. Here you can learn how to throw a tomahawk – a light axe that was used by the North American Indians – at a target. During the programme, games are offered as well as bows and arrows are shot.  People can visit an Indian museum where clothes, jewellery, weapons, musical instruments, etc. of the North, Central and South American Indians are depicted. You can also learn how to build an Indian house – tipi – in the village.

In the district of Alytus, not far from the mound of Radžiūnai, the biggest adventure park in Lithuania and the Baltics – Tarzanija – can be found. The park is established in the area of 13 hectares and offers 7 tracks of various difficulty levels to adults, teenagers and a special route for children aged from 3 to 7.  The adventure park is open all year round – the crazy hills (four different tracks) can be used both in winter and in summer. You can get down the track in special swim rings.

10. Ahead to the Nature

If you lack any ideas, you should not forget that Lithuania is a country of observation towers and cognitive paths. There are over 30 observation towers and more than 100 cognitive pathways in our country. You can have a look from the top of a tower in every region of Lithuania. Meanwhile, the cognitive paths winding through swamps, parks and around the lakes, feature information stands with descriptions, photographs, legends or even puzzles to the young travellers.

Moreover, most park authorities invite children to Natural Schools, i.e. to lessons designed for learning about the nature, and tours, for example, to observe owls and bats during the night. Kaunas Lagoon Regional Park Authority even organises activities of young rangers.

Ideas for family getaways have been collected by the Department of Tourism based on information provided by the tourist information centres. For more information, visit tourist information centres, park visitors’ centres and their websites. 



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