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For those travelling with animals, St. Petersburg has a good number of pet-friendly hotels, most of which are located right in the city centre, on the mainland, although there are a couple on the islands of the Petrogradsky district.
For a small nightly fee, guests are allowed to have pets in their bedrooms, but each hotel has its own policy on letting four-legged friends into the hotel restaurants and bars. All of the hotels that allow pets are smoke free and feature many modern conveniences, such as free WiFi, laundry facilities and a concierge service.
The oldest park in St. Petersburg, the Summer Garden, was created on the orders of Peter the Great in the early-18th Century. The park is the location of Peter’s Dutch-style Summer Palace, which still stands today, as well as a large collection of marble statues, collected from all over Europe.
The Botanical Gardens in Petrogradsky was also founded in the early 1700s by Peter the Great and is now the oldest botanical garden in Russia. Originally intended as a garden for medicinal plants, it has since been expanded and now contains 26 greenhouses containing exotic species. One of the gardens’ biggest attractions is the one night in the year when the special tsaritsa nochi cactus blossoms. The gardens open for the entire night, serving champagne to those viewing the flower.
Russia’s oldest zoo, Leningradskiy Zoopark, is known for its successful polar bear breeding programme, as more than 100 have been born here since the early 1990s. Today the zoo has around 410 species from around the world, though the polar bears are still the biggest attraction.
To see colourful sea life, you’ll have to head to the huge Planet Neptune, an oceanarium housed within a large shopping centre. Walkways and corridors have been built through the glass tanks so visitors can have an immersive experience discovering the many different species of fish and sea creatures.