Kids Travel Journal

Kids Travel Journal

A kids travel journal is the ultimate fun and memorable activity on a family vacation! You know all that time in the car or on the airplane? Use it wisely and have your kids reflect on what they’ve seen, eaten, and experienced!

Do your kids love to look back at old photos? What about old school papers and accomplishments?

Both of my kids do, especially my daughter. She is my child who likes to write stories, make lists, and have written and physical souvenirs of past adventures. If you’ve followed this blog at all you may have seen or downloaded the original kids travel journal I created for her.

While we still LOVE it, and it’s been great for past travels and adventures, the child is ready for something new.

That’s why I put together this new journal. Next week we’re heading off on a Spring Break road trip, and it requires something new and fresh for her to put her mind to!

In a hurry?

Scroll to get the travel journal bonus! Or PIN it for later here!

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A kids travel journal is the perfect road trip or air travel activity! Give the kids something to do as they travel, make memories, and reflect on new experiences. #kidstravel #traveljournal

 

The journey, not the arrival matters.

T.S. Eliot

Poet

What’s new in this kids travel journal?

First of all, I looked at quite a few ideas from my kids and others who’d used our original journal before. How could we make it better, more user-friendly, and still super-fun and engaging for kids?

One of the first things I did was change the size of the journal. Instead of a full page, I changed it to a half-sheet printout.

Why do you ask? Well, the half-sheet size is easier to travel with. It will fit in all sizes of bags, purses, backpacks, as a bookmark in a book, you name it.

It makes it easier to pull out and write/draw on any place you go whether it be in a car, a museum, or when you sit down to rest during a hike.

Record and reflect on family vacations with this printable kids travel journal. Fun and easy to take on the go, it's perfect for road trips, air travel, or any kids' outing! #kidstraveljournal #travelprintable

Another thing that’s changed is the amount of color vs. white space.

This journal has some pictures and color, but not as much as the last one. It was done on purpose so it’s easier to print out either in black and white, full color, or grayscale, depending on your preference. This also lets the child doodle in the edges and put in their own colors.

In addition, I’ve added some more prompts to spark kids imaginations.

For example, there’s a page for the day with the weather, how I feel, and other things listed. But then there are also pages on what I ate today, where I’m sleeping, who I saw, etc.

Depending on the kid, you may want to use all the pages or just a few and make more copies based on the length of the trip.

Filling out the kids travel journal. #kidstravel #printables

List of travel journal activity pages

  • Cover Page: My Travel Journal
  • Name and contact page with space to draw a self-portrait
  • Where in the world are you going? A world map to record where you travel.
  • Where in the USA are you going? A map of the USA to record where you travel.
  • The daily page includes:
    • Today’s Date:
    • I felt
    • The weather was:
    • I learned:
    • I met:
    • Three things I did today:
    • Today I traveled by:
  • What I ate
  • Written prompts: Three words to describe today, I miss…, I tried something new today!, I felt…
  • Out my window is a place to draw what they’ve seen out their window today!
  • Tonight we are staying… (where, and place to draw it)
  • Written prompts 2: The best thing about today was…, my least favorite thing was…, three words to describe this city/town are…, three questions I have are…
  • Today I learned a new word! This page includes a word bubble with an area to draw and a field to describe what it means.
  • Today I saw this! Includes a space to draw/color and descriptive words.
  • Here is a portrait of a person I saw today.
  • Today I saw this animal.
  • Trip Reflection page

Pages of the kids travel journal with a pen. #kidstraveljournal #kidsactivities

It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.

J.R.R. Tolkien

Author, The Lord of the Rings


New Kids Travel Journal Bonus

Sign up for Explorer Momma’s newsletter and get the NEW Kids Travel Journal as a bonus! If you’re already on our list, awesome! You can still download the journal!

Preview of the new kids travel journal #kidstravel #kidstraveljournal

How to download the kids travel journal

First, enter your first name and email in the field below. Second, open up your email, and in a few minutes or less you should receive an email. Click on the button in the email to confirm your subscription to the Explorer Momma newsletter and your bonus kids travel journal should then download to your computer.

It’s that simple! Print out the entire thing or pick and choose the pages your child would most enjoy!

What do you think of the journal?

So far the journal has met approval with my own kids. We’ll be giving it the full road trip test next week, and I can’t wait to see how it goes!

After this one, as my daughter gets older we may turn to a basic blank journal with a few travel quotes here and there.

However, for now, when they’re in elementary school, this style of a journal is still appealing. It also makes kids think a bit about their travels. Who they’ve seen, what they’ve done, cultural differences, etc.

Do please let me know if you use it with the kids in your life! I hope it’s useful, and let me know if you have any suggestions to make it even better!

PIN it here for later:

An easy to use kids travel journal is perfect for any family vacation! Whether the kids are on a road trip, airplane, or train it makes a memorable travel diary. #traveljournal #kidstraveljournal

 

More kids travel activities:

  1. The Ultimate Road Trip Activities for Kids
  2. Kids Airplane Activities: Airplane BINGO
  3. 8 Ways to Survive a Long Layover with Kids
  4. The Complete Kids Carry-On Packing List

Kids Travel Journal

The Perfect Road Trip or Air Travel Activity! Click here to check our the Original Travel Journal Printable

Paris Travel Tips: Let’s Plan a Trip to Paris

Paris Travel Tips: Let’s Plan a Trip to Paris

Ah-ah-ah-AH-achoo! It’s flu season, and it seems like half of my daughter’s school is sick. Literally. We haven’t had the flu but our own personal set of viruses that keep the child out of school and in bed or on the couch. Unfortunately, most of these will keep a kid out of action for at least a week, and believe me they go crazy with boredom. Oh, yes. There’s only so much crafting, TV watching, reading, and homework ignoring one can do! Of course, there are also those days the patient is so sick and out of it they can’t really do anything, but what I’m talking about is that time when they’re almost well but still aren’t allowed back at school because of a fever or other factors. Then it’s time to plan a trip to Paris!

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So what do you do when you run out of things to do for the sick child on the couch? I’m tempted to say let them be bored and figure it out, which is not a terrible suggestion. However, when you’re sick I think a little humoring and encouragement is due! Therefore, what better thing is there to do than plan a trip to Paris??

“Plan a trip to Paris?” you may say, “I’m not going to Paris! Why would I plan a trip there?”

Why?! Well, why not? Paris is ALWAYS a good idea, and basic organizing, trip planning, and budgeting are great skills for kids to learn. You may not actually go on your trip, although I highly suggest it, simply planning and learning about an awesome place like Paris is really a lot of fun.

Let's plan a trip to Paris, Eiffel Tower pin


What exactly do you need to plan?

Airplane Tickets

As far as airplane tickets go, you can book through any number of sources. There are the traditional www.orbitz.com type websites. You can go through a travel agent. Or you can go to the individual airline’s website such as British Airways.

Arc de Triomphe, Let's Plan a Trip to Paris

Where to stay?

There are so many options for places to stay in Paris! Part of the fun of this exercise is to search online for the best Paris hotels or B&Bs.

Hotel Websites

Of course, you could always plan to stay at the Ritz Paris. If money is not an issue there are all sorts of fun websites to explore accommodations in Paris.

Airbnb

Look for good locations on Airbnb. I’ve used Airbnb internationally and nationally and had great experiences with the hosts. If you use my link, and it’s your first time to sign up you’ll even get a $40 travel credit, and who couldn’t use that?! Click here to sign up and get your credit.

If you do choose to book through Airbnb I always suggest selecting a place with many good reviews, not something newly listed. Also, as far as location goes, try to be close to a metro station or within good walking distance to the monuments and places you’d like to see.

Jardin du Luxembourg

Take some time to search

Another option is to simply Google “best hotels for families in Paris” or specifically the style of accommodation you’re looking for. Go to your favorite travel website or look at several such as www.orbitz.com or www.hotels.com or whatever you’ve had success with yourself in the past. As an exercise, it’s fun to look at several and get a variety of options.

Are you going on a road trip soon?

Road trip activities, in the car with feet on the dash

Read all about the Ultimate Road Trip Activities For Kids. Let’s keep them happy and occupied!

What monuments or places would you like to see?

Do some searches. What are you interested in? The history of Paris? Art? Food? Sports? Do you want to see some of the amazing churches in Paris such as Notre-Dame or the dazzling stained glass in Saint Chapelle? Maybe you were a fan of Highlander back in the day (or another show set in Paris 😉 ) and want to see all the places around the city where it was filmed. If nothing else you can plan to have a sword fight with baguettes under a certain bridge with the Eiffel Tower in view.

Sainte Chapelle stained glass windows

There are so many amazing places to see in Paris, famous cafes and restaurants, and ways to grow and learn. Plan to take your time with meals in France and do as the French do. Enjoy each other’s company and delight in the food. Relax and breathe in the culture. It’ll be good for you.

What will your trip cost?


Fill out your free printable Let’s Plan a Trip to Paris! worksheet. Add everything up and see how much your trip will cost. If you wish, add in a budget for food as that’s not included in the basic plan.

It’s not that much now, is it? Make a plan and jump on that airplane. I’ve never regretted traveling to a new place and the amazing new experiences to be had. Take a risk and act on it today! Or simply enjoy a sick day diversion to lift your spirits.

Sign up for Explorer Momma’s newsletter and download the free Let’s Plan a Trip to Paris! worksheet as a bonus!

Let's Plan a Trip to Paris printable preview

 

So, will you plan a trip to Paris?

Are you inspired yet to plan a trip to Paris? Maybe even act on that plan and do some bookings? I love Paris, and there’s nothing like a sick day to make me long to be able to travel. So, step 1, if you’re sick, get better! Step 2, download your Let’s Plan a Trip to Paris printable. Step 3, explore the internet using your printable as a guide, and plan a trip to Paris! Step 4, go to Paris!

Have you and your family visited Paris? What are your favorite monuments or places to see? I was lucky enough to first make the trip in high school with our high school French club. I loved it so much I’ve studied the French language and have been back many times. However, it’s been too long! I really need to start planning…

Let's plan a trip to Paris, the Eiffel Tower and Deux Magots

Georgian Language Phrases For Travelers

Georgian Language Phrases For Travelers

This post will give you useful Georgian language phrases for travelers. Download the Georgian phrases PDF, your own Georgian travel dictionary! In one place find basic Georgian phrases and useful Georgian phrases to get a richer picture of the people as you travel.

When you travel to other countries do you try to learn the basics in the native language? Even if it’s just a few words as an introduction, I’ve found it paves the way for a richer, fuller visit. In addition, it helps to ingratiate you with the local people and gives you a whole other view of the place and culture.

I’ve had many people ask me how in the world I learned Georgian, even after living there for several years. How? I studied. I interacted with people all over the country (and that done with me being an introvert). Was it always comfortable? No, of course not, and language learning is never perfect, but little by little you begin to understand and feel a part. Georgian language phrases

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Useful Georgian language phrases for travelers, free printable, Trinity Cathedral Tbilisi. Travel with confidence and learn some culture! If Tbilisi, Georgia is your destination, you need these basic language phrases. #georgianlanguage #georgiantravelphrases

Luckily for you, if you’re traveling to Tbilisi or any other part of Georgia soon, I’ve put together a handy printable list of useful Georgian language phrases for travelers.

Speaking foreign languages while traveling

I vividly remember the reaction of a woman I met in Baku, Azerbaijan when I attempted to speak to her in Azeri. This was a while ago now, but she was taking money for tickets or a tour at the Maiden Tower, an old Zoroastrian tower in Baku that’s now a local history museum. At first glance, she bore the no-nonsense, expressionless face I associate with former Soviet countries. They all feel Americans smile too much at strangers, as do many other countries. To me, she looked put out at having to be bothered with doing her job and giving out tickets.

Slowly, I stepped up and asked for the tickets in what I thought was correct Azeri. She did a little double-take and really looked at my face, and I was able to respond to whatever she asked me in return. Her face lit up, smiled, and she yelled over to her friend that these girls were actually trying to speak Azeri and NOT Russian. At least I think she said something to that effect. We ended up getting more attention, and a bit of a special tour.

Metekhi Church entrance

Why learn basic Georgian phrases?

Indeed, it’s all about being polite and respectful when you go to someone else’s country, to speak their language. Even if you don’t get very far, or they speak English and cater to tourists, they will generally appreciate your attempt. Don’t be afraid of not getting everything perfect either! I do pretty well in Latin languages and Georgian; however, my German, Russian, Azeri, etc. are pretty horrendous. But don’t fear! Most of the time they don’t expect you to have perfect grammar and pronunciation. The point is to communicate and learn from your hosts.

Georgians are some of the most hospitable and welcoming people I’ve ever met. They take great pride in their hospitality and love to have guests. They, like the Azeri woman I mentioned, are super-excited when foreigners speak Georgian to them and not Russian or another language.

     

I first fell in love with the Georgian language through traditional Georgian music before I could speak a single word. Music so often communicates the history and passions of a place so I like to listen to what I can before and during my visit. Also, I encourage my kids to do the same thing and so makes travel a huge living lesson for us.

You can never understand one language until you understand at least two.

Geoffrey Willans

English Author and Journalist

Need some ideas about things to do in Tbilisi, Georgia?

Narikala Fortress, Tbilisi

In my recent blog post, you can read all about awesome activities to do with kids in Tbilisi, Georgia. It’s an amazing city and so much fun to explore!

Georgian language phrases

The Georgian language is a beautiful language rich in history. What’s it related to? This is generally one of the first questions I get asked when speaking to someone about how I know it. Georgian is in its own family and branch, and therefore it’s not Slavic, Latin, Germanic or others. In addition, it has its own alphabet with 33 letters always pronounced the same way when read, similar to Spanish. Right now I’m not going to go into the alphabet but for our purposes use Latin letters to make it easier for travelers to get some words out!

When you speak in Georgian, do not stress syllables as in English, but read through them with the same level of stress throughout, if that makes sense.

A few phrases in Georgian:

gamarjoba (gah-mar-joh-bah) This means hello!

me lareni var (may lahren-ee var) My name is Lauren.

Tip here: You’ll want to insert your name instead of mine. In Georgian, you add an ee (long e) sound to the end of your name if it ends in a consonant sound, in this case. I’ll not trouble you with a bunch of grammar right now.

sasiamovnoa (sah-see-ah-mohv-noh-ah) It’s nice to meet you. (I love saying this word so had to add it in.)

didi madloba (dee-dee mahd-loh-bah) Thank you very much.

kargat (kar-gaht) Good-bye! (informal)

nakhvamdis (nahkh-vahm-dees) Good-bye!

Do you want some more? Get the free Georgian language PDF printable, and practice to your heart’s content. Most Georgians are thrilled to help you with pronunciation and language so if you know someone who’s Georgian enlist their help.

 

Sign up for Explorer Momma’s newsletter and download your free Georgian language phrases for travelers printable below!

Georgian language phrases PDF

Georgian language phrases preview

Free Printable

A different language is a different vision of life.

Federico Fellini

Italian Film Director and Screenwriter

Travel and Georgian basic phrases

Do you tremble with excitement when you learn a new word or piece of language? Well, maybe we won’t go that far, but it’s exciting! Just imagine how much you can learn about a culture with a few simple words, some good food and company, and a lot of observation.

I said it before, but let me stress again, don’t worry about getting it perfect! We are communicating, and a couple of words are better than none to get a point across. Language is such an amazing part of a culture and helps form the identity of the people.

Good luck on your travels. I hope you enjoy learning a bit of Georgian today and have the opportunity to travel there someday!

Narikala Fortress and the Mother of Georgia overlooking Tbilisi

How do you say good-bye in Georgian?

nakh-vahm-dees!

Unforgettable Things to do in Tbilisi, Georgia With Kids

Unforgettable Things to do in Tbilisi, Georgia With Kids

First, let me tell you, Tbilisi is one of my favorite cities in the world. There are so many things to do in Tbilisi, so much culture at the Silk Road crossroads, it’s hard to narrow it down. I have many memories as a Peace Corps volunteer coming into the capital from my home site. Now, this was over 10 years ago I can barely believe, but around every corner, there are memories and smiles, and ahas!

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Narikala Fortress view of Tbilisi, Georgia. Things to do in Tbilisi, Georgia with kids. Family adventure, history, and culture in this impressive destination. #tbilisi #georgiatravel

What to do in Tbilisi

Are you the type of traveler who searches out the familiar or the new and different? I admit I like a little of both. Therefore, if I see an English bookstore in Tbilisi, I say! Let’s go! It’s so much fun to see the culture differences and how things are presented.

If you’ve been in the country for a while and need a little of home, I love Prospero’s Books and Caliban’s Coffee House on Rustaveli Street. I’ve spent a LOT of time there, and even had an apartment just around the corner up the hill for a while. It’s welcoming and you’ll find locals and ex-pats alike.

Tbilisi’s had many changes in the past ten years, and so many have made it an awesome destination for tourists. Of course, one of the main things I love about Georgia is the AMAZING hospitality of the people. So many people are incredibly friendly and ready to go out of their way to help you out. Obviously, be careful, but if you even attempt some basic Georgian phrases you will be a prized welcome guest in someone’s store, B&B, or home. You pretty much can’t miss those eager to share the history, culture, and joy of their country.

Georgian language basics

Therefore, before we get on with our unforgettable things to do in Tbilisi as a family and with kids, let’s practice together:

Say:

gamarjoba (gah-mar-joe-bah) This means hello!

me lareni var (may lahren-ee var) My name is Lauren.

Tip here: You’ll want to insert your name instead of mine. 😉 In Georgian, you add an ee (long e) sound to the end of your name if it ends in a consonant sound, in this case. I’ll not trouble you with a bunch of grammar right now.

sasiamovnoa (sah-see-ah-mohv-noh-ah) It’s nice to meet you. (I love saying this word so had to add it in.)

didi madloba (dee-dee mahd-loh-bah) Thank you very much.

kargat (kar-gaht) Good-bye! (informal)

nakhvamdis (nahkh-vahm-dees) Good-bye!

Now say each 5 times fast. Kidding. However, practice makes perfect!

Do you want more Georgian phrases?

Click here to see my blog post and free printable on Georgian Language Phrases for Travelers. A mini Georgian dictionary or phrasebook, if you will.

Useful Georgian language phrases for travelers, free printable over Trinity Cathedral Tbilisi

Amazing things to do in Tbilisi with kids

This past summer we brought both our kids to Georgia, and while traveling with kids is always more stressful than on your own, it was an amazing journey. Do you look at travel as education? I certainly do. There’s a ginormous (yes, ginormous) difference between pointing to a small green blob on the map and labeling it Georgia on an exam and visiting the country, interacting with the rich culture.

Where to stay in Georgia with kids: Airbnb

First, be aware there are certainly a wide variety of hotels in Tbilisi such as the Marriott, Radisson Blu, Holiday Inn, Rooms Hotel Tbilisi, Betsy’s Hotel, and others. You’ll want to decide what kind of experience you’re looking for. Do you want a traditional hotel, a B&B with an amazing Georgian breakfast, or maybe like we did, your own apartment through Airbnb.

I can’t say enough good things about our experience with Airbnb in Georgia. We booked one in Tbilisi and in the west in Batumi when we were there, and had excellent accommodations and hosts. Often, the Airbnb host will pick you up at the airport for no extra charge, give you a mini-tour of the city on the way, and even take you back to the airport for your return flight no matter the crazy time.

Tbilisi Airbnb kitchen with light from glass door balcony

Another plus with Airbnb is, personally, I like to have my own kitchen when we travel, especially with the kids. That way they can get up and going slowly, eat breakfast, and enjoy ourselves without rushing off.

Also, as a mom with a kid with a food allergy, it is really nice to prepare some of our own meals and not have to ask about preparation and ingredients.

All that to say, an Airbnb apartment in Old Town within walking distance of many sites is a fabulous option when you’re with kids. You may not consider it one of our official “things to do in Tbilisi”, but where you stay is important. As an Airbnb tip, when you’re selecting your location, be sure it has many positive reviews and a history of people staying there.

Tbilisi Airbnb living room with kids on the couch

Tbilisi for kids

1. Mtatsminda Amusement Park

Tbilisi Mtatsminda Park entrance with Georgian fairy tale statues

Mtatsminda. The amusement park here is new in the last few years and an awesome activity for kids if they’re tired of visiting beautiful churches and touring Georgian museums. It’s a very popular spot for locals with children, not only tourists. If you look up the mountain to the Georgian Eiffel Tower (the Tbilisi TV Tower), you may see the Ferris wheel next to it. Yes, that’s where the park is located, right up at the top. This is one of our favorite things to do in Georgia with kids.

Tbilisi Mtatsminda Amusement Park leaning houses

Luckily, you can get there pretty easily by taking the funicular from Old Town up to the top for some fabulous views of the city. Or, if you have a child like mine who absolutely refuses to ride the funicular and has an attack of nerves and vertigo just looking at it, you can drive. Or rather, have a taxi or someone drive you up the winding road to the park entrance.

If you are lucky enough to take the funicular to the top you will experience some awesome views and find yourself at the top of the world. First, take a while to enjoy the view of the city and pick out all the places you’ve visited with the kids. They love this!

View overlooking Tbilisi from Mtatsminda

Next, turn around to find the beautiful white building, the fairly recently remodeled Funicular Restaurant. The three-story building was built from 1936-1938, and a long-time architectural landmark in the city. Moreover, I have it on good authority from the random person we met outside that it was a favorite restaurant of Stalin’s, the KGB, and featured in every single Soviet movie from the 60s-80s with a scene in Tbilisi. They’ve made it into a Tbilisi attraction for kids with games and rides all around.

Tbilisi Funicular Restaurant with blue sky

2. The Peace Bridge

Tbilisi, Georgia Peace Bridge

The Peace Bridge is a modern piece of architecture with a great pedestrian walkway. It’s impressive to the kids and located near the Rike Park and Funicular entrance. On your checklist of things to do in Tbilisi, walk across and take a family photo!

Tbilisi Peace Bridge

3. Rike Park (park area with play area, swings, giant chess board)

Rike Park is a fun place to walk around in the late afternoon with kids. When you think about what to do in Georgia with kids, this is a great place to visit. After you get your photo taken at the Peace Bridge, come on down to the park. There’s a nice playground area for kids with swings and a play structure and even a giant chessboard! Enjoy the early evening and play time before your evening Georgian meal.

Rike Park and view of the President's Palace

4. Old Town

Our Airbnb was located in a nice part of Old Town Tbilisi, and so much restoration has been done in the area recently! You’ll have a home base for your family trip to Georgia in Old Town to explore the traditional Georgian architecture, tourist shops, cafes, and parks.

The orange colored roofs of Old Town Tbilisi

If you’d like, you can easily get a tour guide to take you around on a walking tour or by bus or car. There are so many things to do in Tbilisi. Moreover, awesome places to visit in Georgia with kids. Ask your Airbnb host if they know of a local company or ask at a local hotel. If you don’t speak the language and don’t want to be miming most of your trip, this could be a good option. Although, more and more Georgians have been learning English and can help you out.

Want to see more of Old Tbilisi?

Tbilisi, Georgia doors and windows

5. Metekhi Church and gardens

First and foremost, Metekhi Church holds a special place in my heart because it’s the church where I was married. It’s located picturesquely above the Mtkvari River with the great statue of King Vakhtang Gorgasali on horseback just in front. The story is that King Vakhtang built a church and residence on the location originally, the buildings destroyed by the Mongols in the 1235 invasion. In the late 1200s, King Demitrius II built the church and over the years it was fortified and restored. It’s been a barracks, a jail, and in Soviet times when religion was banned, an attempt at a museum was made then a theater.

Metekhi Church, Tbilisi

Thankfully it’s been restored back to a church and today is a magnificent symbol and site of Tbilisi.

Tbilisi Vakhtang statue, Metekhi

For Georgia kids, there’s a nice little cafe just next door where you can grab an ice cream or a drink then wander around the church gardens. Say gamarjoba to friendly Father Tarieli if you pass him in the garden. You’ll see some amazing views of Old Tbilisi, and have a place to pray and meditate as long as the kids allow. If you go in the church women are expected to cover their heads with a scarf, and there’s a box of shared scarves for guests in most churches (I much prefer my own!). Don’t be alarmed, but a kindly volunteer may chase you around with a scarf until you cover your head.

6. Narikala Fortress

From Metekhi you will be able to get a full view of Narikala Fortress in the distance. The kids will love exploring the old “castle” as you wander along the old wall and yard surrounding. This is the perfect Georgia for kids attraction to learn some history and be awed by the castle. The Church of St. Nicolas was rebuilt recently in 1996-97 after the original was destroyed in a fire. This is another fabulous high point to take breathtaking photos of the city. You can hike up to it, which I’ve done before, however, with kids, I’d recommend taking a cable car up.

Narikala Fortress, Tbilisi

If you’re super-lucky you may even get to see a local herd his flock of sheep through the fortress yard. Consequently, there may be squeals of delight, running about, and much discussion of the amazing sheep of the castle. Let me tell you they are some pretty sure-footed sheep climbing up and down questionable rocky paths. Adventure with the kids and act out a story at the castle!

7. Sameba (Trinity) Cathedral

Sameba Cathedral, or Holy Trinity Cathedral, is the third tallest Orthodox Church in the world and one of the largest religious buildings. A mixture of traditional Georgian architectural styles, compared to other well-known churches in Georgia it feels new and shiny. Probably because it was built relatively recently, from 1995-2004. It’s huge inside obviously, and the sheer space above and around is impressive.

Sameba (Trinity) Cathedral, Tbilisi

There’s plenty of space outside to wander around, look at the unusual trees and flowers and let the kids run a bit. This is a must-see in Tbilisi and will be even more impressive to kids. It’s really one of those fun things to do in Tbilisi with family. Just imagine being half your height and your eyes going up and up and up!

8. Open Air Museum of Ethnography

The Open Air Museum of Ethnography is just about the only way to get an education in 14 ethnographic zones in one location: Kartli, Samegrelo, Adjara, Abkhazia, Svaneti, Khevsureti, Kakheti, Meskheti, Javakheti, Guria, Imereti, Racha, Lechkhumi and Ossetia. This is a fun thing to do in Tbilisi and perfect for kids to explore the houses and artifacts from all the different regions of Georgia. The museum is a fabulous experience even on a regular day; however, they also have awesome festivals and special Georgian folk exhibits so look at their website here as you plan your trip.

History and culture buffs, this is the place for you!

9. Rustaveli Avenue 

Rustaveli Avenue is one of the main streets of Tbilisi, and on it, you’ll pass by many Tbilisi sights. Just on this one street, you’ll go by the monument of St. George, the Parliament building, Tbilisi’s number 1 public school, Kashueti St. George Church (with a park behind), the Opera House, the Museum of Fine Arts.

Shota Rustaveli statue Tbilisi

Parent tip: I know it sounds terrible and right now you adamantly claim you would never stop in such a place while traveling. However, after a day of walking and wandering around these amazing places, kids get tired. They refuse to do anything. This may not be on your top things to do in Tbilisi. However, you are tired and may wish to visit the Georgian McDonald’s just next to the Rustaveli metro. Ahhhh! NEVER! You say – just wait.

Shota Rustaveli is arguably the most famous Georgian poet. There are universities named after him, almost every town in Georgia has a Rustaveli Street, and you’ll see this statue of him with a fountain in front on Rustaveli Street in Tbilisi. It’s conveniently located just next to the Rustaveli metro stop, and the Rustaveli McDonald’s. There are so many cool things to do in Tbilisi with Rustaveli in their name!

Shota Rustaveli was a medieval poet, the greatest of the Georgian Golden Age, and composed the epic poem The Knight in the Panther’s Skin. Born in 1166, he served during the time of “King” Tamar the Great (female) and is revered by all Georgians. You might even find a copy of the poem from one of the street vendors near the statue.

Tbilisi McDonald's menu

10. Dry Bridge

Are you still thinking, what to do in Tbilisi, Georgia? If you’re looking for a souvenir to take home, you’ll find paintings and souvenirs in Old Town shops (probably the most expensive place), outside souvenir and painting shops along Rustaveli Street just a bit north of the Rustaveli metro, or at the Dry Bridge.

The Dry Bridge is fun to visit and just look around at all the paintings, textiles, Georgian figures, anything you could want. I love to look at the paintings, but my daughter, of course, was on a mission to find the perfect Georgian hat, slippers, and doll. The four-year-old got tired after a while, but it’s a great place to grab any necessary souvenirs. Also, I’d suggest taking a taxi there and back as it’s not the easiest place to walk to. Wave a hand to pull over a taxi and tell the driver: Mshrali khidi (mshrah-lee khee-dee), this means dry bridge. They should get the picture. Also, make sure you have your hotel or Airbnb address with you to tell or show your driver when you return!

Man looking at displayed paintings at the Dry Bridge

There’s a sort of a flea market area on top of the bridge where you’ll find people selling old dishes, Communist paraphernalia, binoculars, silverware, whathaveyou. If you have room in your bags and enjoy flea markets and garage sales, it’s a little paradise. Just be careful and haggle a bit as it’s expected.

Georgian dolls, Tbilisi

11. Eat Some Good Khinkali

This is a do not miss! This is at the top of my list for fun things for kids in Georgia although I have it at number 11. Definitely, seek out some traditional Georgian restaurants and try the local cuisine. It’s AWESOME. I love almost everything, but make sure to order some good khinkali. A true Georgian will tell you to pick it up the dumpling by the nib, carefully bite into the side, and drink the lovely warm broth out of the middle. DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT spill the juice on your plate (you will 😉 ) Only a wimp uses a fork!

Khinkali, meat dumplings, Tbilisi

You order khinkali by the number, and they come out on a big plate family style in the center of the table. So if I say: Otsi khinkali gvinda, that means we want 20 khinkali. There are different kinds although most places will have pork or beef. Sometimes you can even get potato, mushroom, or cheese. Normally I don’t embrace carbs, but I LOVE khinkali!

12. Sample the Churchkhela

Another Georgian food the kids will enjoy is called churchkhela. Basically, it’s hazelnuts or walnuts strung on a string. They’re then dipped in a grape juice, flour and corn flour boiled mixture, and set to dry. Traditionally, churchkhela was made as a treat in the home and would last and not go bad for a long time. In World War II and probably even before, men were sent off to war with churchkhela as a sort of travel food. The early Georgian fruit and nut bars that are amazing and addictive.

Churchkhela (stringed nuts dipped in grape juice and flour/corn flour mixture and dried) in various colors, Tbilisi

Allergy Warning: As we have a nut allergy in the family, we are always on guard at all times when traveling. In Georgia, you especially have to look out for walnuts because they are in sauces, salads, desserts, pretty much everything.

So are you planning a family trip to Tbilisi?

Lately, I’ve seen Tbilisi on National Geographic’s top places to visit this year, as well as on many other lists. Georgians are open and hospitable, and it’s a culture-filled trip. There are so many more things to do in Tbilisi also. My kids absolutely loved exploring, as well as through the country to the Black Sea. All things considered, it’s an education and experience not to be missed. Your taste buds will thank you!

Tbilisi, Georgia: Doors and Windows

Tbilisi, Georgia: Doors and Windows

This page contains affiliate links. Tbilisi, Georgia

I’ve always been attracted to different kinds of architecture, specifically doors and windows. Over the summer we took the kids to Tbilisi, Georgia and then around the country. Naturally, I spent much of the time chasing the kids around, but I also tried to get some good photos to remember the trip. Time and time again I found myself taking pictures of doors, windows, and buildings.

What draws your eye to a door or a window?

To me, a door or a window can say or hide much about a culture. Moreover, a closed-door always makes me more curious. Curiosity’s not a bad thing, so the monkey tells us, but it makes one wonder. What is behind that ancient wooden door?

When I was in college, I spent some time in Oxford, England. There you can walk the streets and see so many closed doors, but then suddenly one opens up, and you get a peek in. Is it to a stairway or a room? No, it opens up to a beautiful quad grassy area with pathways and more buildings across. The colleges of Oxford allow only the chosen ones in through their doors to the beauty of the grass, gardens, and the inside buildings. As a curious one, I had to get myself invited into a few: to a play, a lecture, and even in with a tourist group.

Possibility

So really, it’s the possibility of what’s behind that door or window that may draw you to it. Whenever I travel I look at the different buildings, old, new, run-down, or immaculate. Especially when traveling in Tbilisi, Georgia and the surrounding areas, what you expect to find on the inside of a door is not at all what you find when you go in for a visit. A run-down building with trash around it, some broken brick, and wires hanging about can lead you into to a modern state of the art apartment, nothing like you’d expect.

Imagine

Now sit back and imagine. Look at some of these buildings and doors in Tbilisi, Georgia and around the country. Georgia is a beautiful mountainous country with beaches on the Black Sea, skiing in the Caucasus, vineyards, and powerful traditional music and dance. This area of the world’s also had a difficult history, but so many of the strong people there have risen above the hardships and celebrated their culture and traditions in a modern Georgia.

What do you think’s behind that door?

Tbilisi, Georgia

Tbilisi, Georgia, Cat in a doorway

What’s inside this building? Is it someone’s home, an office? Has it been abandoned or now inhabited by cats? Who owns the car in front of it?

Tbilisi, Georgia door with ivy

Now, what’s behind this door? Is it a church, an office, or a storage area? In addition, who goes through this door, and what does that symbol mean?

Tbilisi, Georgia Parliament

This building has seen a lot. Built in Soviet times, members of Parliament convene here and make decisions for the country. What is the monument on the front steps? Furthermore, who else has walked those steps and tried to go through those arched doorways?

St. Nino metal door

A woman carrying a cross. Who could she be? Why Saint Nino brought the distinctive cross to Georgia, formed out of grapevines and entwined with her own hair. Orthodoxy is a major part of the daily lives of many Georgians. Who’s behind this door?

Tbilisi, Georgia church

What has happened to this once ornate church? Did this happen during Soviet times? Who goes through those doors now?

Old town Tbilisi wooden building

How many people live in this house? How long has it been in the family? Does the design on the rug mean anything?

More Tbilisi, Georgia

Door with grapevines

Do you see those vines hanging down? In Georgia, you will see grapevines on nearly every house. Traditions run deep, and Georgians make wine to celebrate and welcome guests. It’s truly an art form. I wonder who planted this vine in the middle of the city?

Brown church door

How long has this door been in place? It’s not a work of art like the Saint Nino door, but it tells a history just the same.

Opera house

What is this place? Can you imagine a famous opera singer on the balcony? The people are dressed up to attend an orchestra or boys’ choir performance. It’s the Tbilisi Opera house!

Restaurant overlooking Tbilisi

If you’re a fan of old Soviet movies, I’ve been told this restaurant appears in all the ones with scenes in Tbilisi. Famous movie stars, politicians, and the well to do have dined at this restaurant at the top of the mountain overlooking Tbilisi, Georgia. The funicular brings you up to the top from the center of town. I can imagine quite a few scenes happening here!

Beyond Tbilisi, Georgia

Train station at night

Train station doors by night. Was that a bat that just dive-bombed me?! Look out for ghosts! Phew, that’s just my shadow.

House front

Here’s a cheerful house front. Grapevines, laundry, a happy yellow with open doors inviting over the neighbors.

Batumi blue apartment building

What is it like to live in one of these giant apartment blocks? How could each one be individualized to the tastes of its owner?

Soviet Batumi building

Imagine this building in its prime. Who would have stayed here at this prime location on the beach of the Black Sea? Vacationers, government leaders? Maybe someone on house arrest?? What do you think happened here?

St. George Batumi

Saint George is not only the Patron Saint of England but also of Georgia. Who doesn’t love the idea of George slaying the dragon?

Batumi green apartments

Again we have the apartment block, but here at the seaside, it’s a brighter shade of green. How many people live here? Incidentally, are they rented out or for vacationers? Hmmm…

Explore Batumi, Georgia!

Batumi with kids feature

Metekhi gift shop door

Small church by the church

Wooden doors

Follow the Open Door

Gonio Fortress

Be curious. Wander. Travel is an education in so many things. Listen to the stories of the people around you. The doors will open up, and you’ll be invited in to be a part of a new culture, tradition, and way of life.

Writing Prompt

Any one of these pictures would make an awesome writing prompt for a short story. If you use one I’d love to read it! Take the time and go through that door to a new world!

Curious to know more? Click on the object to take you to it on Amazon:

   

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