My ten top tips for a great holiday in Vienna with the kids
Vienna has so much to offer tourists. There are so many great things to do all year round, not just for adults but for children too. I am going to reveal my ten top tips for a fabulous family city break with children in Vienna.
#1 – The Zoom Children’s Museum
The Zoom Children’s Museum was and still is my absolute favourite of all the things you can do with children in Vienna. It is the perfect place to visit when the weather is unsettled and its central location makes it ideal to include in a programme of activities that will fill a whole day. You could still choose to visit if the sun is shining because a visit here does not fill up the whole day. Alongside a very varied selection of exhibitions, Zoom also offers workshops for older children (usually relating to film or crafts) and a really great attraction for younger children is the ‘Zoom Ocean’. Children can spend an hour here touching, testing, sliding, playing and marvelling.
#2 – Schönbrunn Tiergarten
Schönbrunn zoo is a tried and tested classic. Do you find yourself visiting a zoo in nearly every city that you visit with the kids? Schönbrunn Zoo is a large zoo and has a great deal to offer. You could spend a whole day here if you wanted. You will see that a great deal of effort is put into ensuring that the animals are looked after as well as possible in accordance with their species’ needs (as far as this is possible considering they are being kept in captivity). You will find nearly every species of animal here from polar bears to stingrays. We love the tropical house (with its bat caves) and who can fail to love the orangutans? The seal/sea lion show is always a hit (performance times are listed on the noticeboard in the entrance).
Tip: Combi-tickets –If you are intending to visit a number of attractions (e.g. the aquarium), it is definitely worth looking out for discounted combi-tickets. (Photo: Judith List)
#3 – Haus des Meeres Aquarium
Always a classic attraction for children! Both children and adults marvel at the Haus des Meeres; the former for obvious reasons and the latter due to the astonishing architecture. During inclement weather, you will not just see tourists queuing up to get in, but also local Viennese families. You can just go straight past the queue if you have an annual pass! (Photo: Haus des Meeres Aquarium)
Tip 1: Consider the current weather conditions –There is not so much happening in the Haus des Meeres when the weather is fine. Leave your buggy in the hotel if possible. If you need to take your buggy with you, you will have to leave it on the ground floor and take the lift (there can be long waiting times here!). It is better to carry babies in a sling or carry young children for short distances if necessary.
Tip 2: Climbing at the Haus des Meeres – There are opportunities to have a go at climbing or bouldering outside the Haus des Meeres during the summer months. It is possible to hire equipment. Let’s grab the ropes and get climbing!
#4 – Lilarum Puppet Theatre
I highly recommend a visit to the Lilarum Puppet Theatre. The Lilarum is one of the most enchanting and lovingly created puppet theatre I have ever visited with my children. We never miss a performance and I really enjoy going myself. You will not only get to meet the cheeky Kasperl and friends (the Austrian equivalent of Punch and Judy), but also other characters such as colourful birds, moles, fish, mermaids, penguins and many other creatures. Of course, humans also make an appearance! The stories and songs that are performed in the shows are written by the performers themselves and I often find myself humming one of the catchy tunes on the way home.
#5 – Natural History Museum
You will find everything here from dinosaurs to stuffed giraffes! Why do children find this so fascinating? I don’t know. At any rate, we have purchased an annual pass for the Natural History Museum which we visit regularly. We absolutely have to visit the dinosaur section every time, just to make sure that they dinosaurs have not broken free! The location of the museum is ideal for combining a visit with a walk around the city centre.
#6 – Lainzer Tiergarten (wildlife reserve)
I would recommend the Lainzer Tiergarten more as a location for a shorter walks rather than as a tourist attraction. The terrain is particularly buggy-friendly and the children love looking out for the animals who are roaming around freely in their open enclosures. There are also play areas dotted around. Another highlight is the viewing point at the Hubertuswarte. It is also perfect for younger children as the terrain is not too steep. There are plenty of places to stop for breaks.
#7 – Fantastic parks and recreation areas in Vienna
There are a range of parks across Vienna that are definitely worth visiting because they are so child-friendly. Each one of them has at least one children’s play area and many of them offer the opportunity to experience nature, animals or other special events and activities. The best thing about the parks is that they are dotted about across the whole of the city. No matter where you are, there is always a park close by. The Rathauspark is located right in the heart of the city directly next to the ring road. You will find a small but very pleasant playground here. Like all the other parks that are mentioned, the Türkenschanzpark is located outside the inner zone and is an oasis of calm situated in the 18th district. The Blumengärten Hirschtetten are beautiful landscaped gardens where you can visit the impressive palm house, see sheep, goats and many other kinds of creatures, play in the enormous playground and experience a number of other themed areas. I particularly associate the Donauparkwith my own childhood when I remember visiting the Donauturm (the tallest landmark in Austria) and its fantastic viewing platform. The park is located next to the Kaisermühlen/Alte Donau station on the U1 underground line. There is also a small railway line that runs around the park and the Sparefroh playground which is well-known across the whole of Vienna. If you have a free afternoon and are looking to connect with nature, you should definitely make a point of visiting the Lobau National Park(see photo below) in the 22nd district. And the pièce de la résistance is the Donauinsel (Danube Island) where you will find a fantastic water fun park, a climbing park and many other playgrounds.
#8 – Wiener Prater public park (Wurstelprater amusement park)
The area around the Prater is in fact also a recreation area (known as the Praterauen). This is a great place to take part in sports, play, relax or visit some of the many playgrounds with your children. Prater itself is not a place you go to relax, but you can definitely have lots of fun here. It is certainly very loud and vibrant! Therefore: Be careful with very young children who are sensitive to noise. When you are in the middle of the Wurstelprater amusement park you will hear a myriad of sounds booming out from different places every metre or so. Lights will be flashing, the bumper cars will be tooting and voices will be heard shouting over loudspeakers encouraging visitors to climb aboard the next ride.
Tip: take a ride on the carousel –As long as you are not scared of heights, a ride on the chain carousel in the middle of the Prater provides you with a magnificent view across Vienna. This is also the case if you take a ride on the giant Ferris wheel. There is also a lot for younger children to enjoy at the Prater: slides, a miniature railway, an obstacle course, water rides, a fairytale train ride, a ghost train, trampoline and so much more.
#9 – Kahlenberg forest high-ropes course
The Kahlenberg forest high-ropes courseis a great outdoor activity for climbing enthusiasts. Please note: this activity is probably best suited to older children and teenagers as height restrictions apply.
#10 – Information portals for children’s activities in Vienna
Before you visit Vienna with children, it is definitely worth checking out some of the different websites that list the range of children’s activities that are taking place in Vienna. The website WienXtraprovides up-to-date information on different events and activities that are available for children in Vienna. You will find detailed descriptions of a range of excellent day trip destinations on the websites Mamilade and Babymamas.
The perfect base in Vienna from which to embark on your adventures:
stay at the JUFA Hotel Vienna City
Modern facilities with excellent access to transport links, this JUFA hotel is located in the Simmering district of the city. The many attractions the city has to offer can be reached within just a few minutes by public transport. The hotel also has a large family room, a chill-out lounge and a break-out area for young people to socialise which includes a play corner with table tennis etc. This is a great place for the kids to happily amuse themselves without the adults!
Tel: +43 (0)5 / 7083-700, Email: [email protected]