Winter in Kyiv can be entertaining or draining, which depends much on the weather outside and the way the days are spent. While not always blessed with snow, winter surely brings magic – discoveries, sometimes unexpected, and, of course, travel. See what you can explore on a weekend around the capital!
12 Months Zoo
This place welcomes families and lone travellers – and so do more than 100 species of animals living here. You can get acquainted with fauna from various regions of the word: familiar to the Ukrainian forests bears, wolves, exotic tigers and lions, giraffes, and other wild dwellers: pumas, hyenas and wolverines. If it's not your first time meeting with these wonderful creatures, consider visiting the lake on the zoo's territory, where you can enjoy fishing, as well as observing the views. Apart from the animals, you certainly won't miss the real deal of the place – a Disney castle. A building with the delicate towers on Disney's logo was based on the real Neuschwanstein castle. Now, you won't need to go to Germany to witness its beauty – buses from metro stations Sviatoshyno or Heroiv Dnipra will take you there.
Address: Demydiv village, 79, Verbova street
Ostrich Valley Ecopark
The largest in Ukraine ostrich farm is located some 30 km away from Kyiv in a tiny village called Yasnohorodka. Naturally, this place holds excursions for all ages, including kids. Probably one the cutest things you can see here is ostrich babies aged from one day to couple of months, walking around, staring at you with their shiny eyes. Adult ostriches are just as awesome, too – and there are more than 200 of them! Moreover, you can even witness one of the parks entertainments – ostrich races. For those who seek unique experience, we recommend riding an ostrich, which is an option here as well. Restaurant on the territory of the park has its own wine cellar and degustation hall, so you won't be left unsatisfied.
Address: Yasnohorodka village, 32, Pidlisna street
Read: International Train Destinations From Ukraine
Buky Landscape Park
What once has been a junkyard is now one of the most popular places to visit near Kyiv. It has been bought way back in 1996 and ever since flourishes and lures in countless tourists. The park is divided into two parts, both of which are free to visit. In the first one you can witness a temple complex, consisting of a church and a belltower, and a fountain, which adds a perfect touch to the architecture of the place. Both church and belltower have been built by a renown Ukrainian architect Yurii Babych and are by far his most impressive works. Enormous statues of the saints, angels and pigeons in the deco, and elements of modern design surely live an impression. The second part of the park consists of the small zoo, where you can meet various animals, typical for Ukrainian lands, Alley of Fairytales, which gives a truly magical view on the site, and a Sacred Stone, brought all the way from Israel where Jesus turned water into wine. Besides, the landscape park has a restaurant on its territory, where you can relax and enjoy the day after the long walk.
Address: Buky village
A huge Bolivar ranch is a perfect place not only for those who seek salvation from the hectic and noisy city life, but also for those who visit with children. Here they can enjoy playing tennis on the court, training on the shooting range, playing paintball with peers or parents, or try walking on heights in a rope park. Enormous lake lures in many for quiet fishing, and those who don't particularly like it can rest in one of the many pavilions on the territory of the place. Naturally, any ranch isn't a ranch without horses. Therefore, visitors of Bolivar can enjoy a ride on horses among the fresh forest trees. Bolivar's restaurant suggests you try dishes of Ukrainian, Russian and European cuisines to your taste. Address: Zdorovka village, 114, Shchorsa street
Read: Where to Go for Entertainment in Cold Season
Ukrainian Village Ethnographic Park
Last but not least, a spot away from the bustle perfect to get more familiar with Ukrainian culture – Ukrainian Village ethnographic park. Here you can explore traditional Ukrainian everyday life of the old times, the way of living as it used to be – old village houses "khatas" with their typical coziness, pottery, blacksmith shop and bakery. Moreover, there's a small zoo where you can watch and even play with farm animals who aren't shying away from the public eye. For those seeking more cultural experience we recommend visiting a local museum with its folk crafts exhibition, and, of course, the church. Besides, numerous cozy pavilions are scattered across the huge lake, where you can enjoy a chat, grilled meat or both depending on your mood. Zest of the place – you can even rent one of the houses on the park's territory to stay the night and fully submerge into the magical atmosphere.
Address: Buzova village, 60, Polyana Lisova street
Photo sources: shutterstock.com, uk.wikipedia.org, etno-selo.com.ua. All images belong to their rightful authors.