Heraklion itself is a living museum: as you stroll down its streets, you will discover fantastic street art created by foreign and local artists, sculptures, monuments, Venetian architecture, and much more. And all the museums in Heraklion are family-friendly if you are interested in visiting them, but know that some offer more to see to children than others.
So, if you want to provide your children with a fun and hands-on cultural experience, here are five of the museums best suited for their minds.
Natural History Museum of Crete
The Natural History Museum of Crete, as its name suggests, takes the visitors through a journey into the wondrous world of Crete’s fauna and flora. Its primary purpose is to inspire a “reconciliation with Nature,” given that Nature provides us with everything we need to survive: water, clean air, food, adventure, health, and much more. It has permanent exhibitions featuring plants, arthropods, vertebrates, fossils, rocks, and minerals from Crete and its regions. In addition, they organize children’s games and activities (arts and crafts) on-site, and they also have an earthquake simulator because the island is frequently subjected to such natural phenomena.
Address: Leof. Sofokli Venizelou (Heraklion City, on the promenade)
Contact: 281 028 2740
Age of Hercules
Age of Hercules offers a modern journey in mythology, using interactive applications including virtual reality (with VR masks) and augmented reality (AR) technology. The visitors will meet Greek heroes during this journey, including the mighty Hercules, the Olympian gods, and other mythical creatures. The visitor becomes the main protagonist of the journey, experiencing Hercules’s twelve feats as Hercules himself.
Address: Ephesus 63 (old bus station in Heraklion City)
Contact: 281 024 1253
RΑΜ Rulers Computer and Gaming Museum
RΑΜ Rulers Computer and Gaming Museum is fun for all ages. Still, children will appreciate it for its vintage arcade and computer games, which will give them an idea of how the ancestors of present time consoles and video games looked and functioned. The three levels of the museum exhibit:
- operating arcade games from 1972,
- gaming machines (Atari, Sega Master System, and Nintendo Gameboy),
- a rare collection of computers and peripherals,
- an extensive collection of rare ’80s board games,
- computer magazines of the ’80s,’ 90s, and 2000s.
Of course, being a hands-on museum, you can use all of them.
Address: Meramvellou 52 (Heraklion City)
Contact: 698 207 8868
To visit the CRETAquarium, you must leave Heraklion City and drive 15 kilometres east to Gournes. It’s not a long drive, mainly on the highway, and the experience will be worth it for the entire family. Here you will discover what’s lives under the Cretan Sea: sea turtles Caretta Caretta, sea anemones, octopuses, jellyfish, rainbow wrasses, stingrays, plankton, and much more. The aquarium preserves over 250 marine fauna and flora species in more than 60 tanks. There are explanations about what you see on panels next to each tank in Greek, English, French, German, and Russian. The museum offers hands-on educational workshops. It has a cafe for drinks and snacks:
- Sit on the terrace.
- Enjoy the refreshments.
- Take in the beguiling views of the Cretan Sea.
If you don’t want to leave empty-handed, they have a souvenir shop.
Address: Odós Eiríni, Gournes (Heraklion Regional Unit)
Contact: 281 033 7788
Planet Crete is a planetarium where children can learn more about the solar system and galaxies far away. The museum offers Virtual reality, unique events, and activities to help them enjoy the experience even more. In addition, there are console games for the more playful visitors to eliminate space aliens threatening our planet. Children can also enjoy educational movies like From Earth to the Universe, Hot and Energetic Universe, and Phantom of the Universe. Additional attractions include a space exhibition with an experimental laboratory, a space-themed playground, a cafe, and a souvenir shop. Planet Cafe is only open from April until October.
Address: Palea EO Irakliou Agiou Nikolaou 556, Gournes (Heraklion Regional Unit)
Contact: 281 033 2107