Pinke Panke

A wonderful kids farm and educational playground right next to one of Pankow’s loveliest parks…

Image by Paul Sullivan

The evocatively titled Pinke Panke is a fantastic place to take your restless kids for a morning or afternoon—whatever their age. Inaugurated as an educational playground project for local school children back in 1991, the Kinderbauenhof enjoys an atmospheric location right on the river Panke, adjacent to the lovely Bürgerpark.

Run by a mix of qualified social workers and volunteers, its 7,500 square metres hosts a wealth of animals (around seventy, including chickens, donkeys, sheep, ducks, chickens, rabbits and guinea pigs) arranged in sectioned-off areas around a tree-lined walking circuit that ends just near the river. The animals can be stroked and – at certain times – fed, if they’re not sleeping or hiding.

Outdoor play areas and craft workshops on how to work with natural materials like pottery, wood and stone; a highlight for the older kids is the Bauspielplatz, a sprawling and constantly expanding wooden maze that’s hammered and knocked together by children (and their guardians). You’ll no doubt hear it before you see it.

Pinke Panke’s main building is constructed in distinctive Fachwerk style (i.e. timber-framed, not unlike the English Tudor style) and houses a simple but pleasant café inside that sells home-made fare like waffles, pizzas and cakes. Depending on when you come, you may also be able to sample baked potatoes made on the farm’s own campfire, as well as other specialities cooked in the farm’s own clay oven.

Image by Paul Sullivan

Outside there are shaded benches and chairs in case you need to get out of the sun during summer, sandpits for the smaller kids plus swings and see-saws. A slew of other wooden buildings host the farm’s various classes and workshops, and can also be hired out for birthday parties and other celebrations.

Entrance to the farm is free, though groups of children at busy times may be asked for a donation of one Euro per person. Once you’ve explored it thoroughly, you can hop over to the Bürgerpark, which has a larger Spielplatz for older children, a delightful café (Rosenstein—named after its copious rose gardens) and lots of well-kept grass to lounge and play on. If it starts raining or you fancy heading to a kid-friendly café in the area, the nearby Cafe Schönhausen is perfect for toddlers and serves excellent lunches and snacks.

For a more cultural twist, the recently refurbished Baroque palace Schloss Schoenhausen, is nearby, with permanent exhibitions and pleasant gardens. Those interested in the GDR era might also enjoy a stroll or bike ride around the Majakowskiring, where the likes of Honecker and Ulbricht once lived alongside a host of other East Berlin politicos and intellectuals.

For more info, check out the Pinke Panke website.