VDNKh (which stands for Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy) is a vast park originally built in the 1930s to celebrate the achievements of the Soviet Republics. Inside are numerous exhibition halls (termed pavilions) that house both permanent and temporary exhibits. It’s a nice place to wander about with some stunning fountains, lots of soviet-era architecture and statues, as well as an amusement park with rollercoasters, go-karts and other theme-park rides. VDNKh is also a great place to come in winter. Not only because there are plenty of indoor exhibitions to keep you entertained but because it also makes space for the world’s biggest ice-rink.
The scale of it is huge – think Olympic Park – so you’ll definitely need to wear your comfy shoes! To help you get about you can hire bikes (including ones for children) from just inside the main gates. Each pavilion is clearly numbered, so if you’ve come to see something specific, make sure you know which pavilion it is in. Take a good look at the maps by the gates because once you get inside the maps are quite few and far between.
Originally the pavilions housed exhibits either about aspects of the economy, such as Atomic Energy, or about a particular Soviet Republic (and some of the pavilions still do, the Kyrgyzstan pavilion – number 4 – is also one of the few places in the city where you can sample Kyrgyz cuisine) – but there are temporary exhibitions too such as the Dino City exhibition which is in Pavilion 20. If, like us, you have a little dinosaur-addict in the family then it is well worth a visit. Moving models of dinosaurs with accompanying sound effects and a 3D cinema about dinosaurs too. None of the information is in English but our 3-year-old-paleontologist was more than happy to be our tour guide!
One last thing – don’t forget to check out the Cosmonautics museum which is just over the road.
VDNKh is located off Prospect Mira and you can find a map here.