Vienna – 5 attractions you must visit with your kid
Vienna is a historical city where we can trace back a part of our roots. For the sixth time in a row, the Austrian capital has also been named the world’s most liveable city.
Destination: Vienna, Austria
Time of travel: May 2015
Travel days: 4 days – a prolonged weekend
Age of children: 14 months, 3 years, 5 years and 6, 5 years.
Appropriate for children: babies, toddlers, preschoolers, primary school, everyone
Weather: winters can be cold, spring and autumn months are perfect for visiting Vienna. We did not have any major problems with the weather. We experienced the sunshine, rainfall and cold. Since we are not too sensitive about the weather, we successfully ticked off every activity on our to-do list that we prepared beforehand.
Accommodation: this was not our first time in Vienna, so we already knew the location of all the major attractions and the great public transport infrastructure (no need for a car). We decided to book the 24-Hours Apartment Hotel which is close to the motorway and has free parking areas nearby. Next to the hotel is a large park with lots of greenery and playgrounds for the kids.
We stayed in an 80m2 duplex apartment with three bedrooms and one large bathroom at the top and a large living area with a TV and an expandable couch in the lower storey. The kids had enough room to spend their last atoms of energy while the adults had enough privacy and could avoid disturbing the kids on the upper floor. We also had a kitchenette where we could heat up the milk for the kids in the morning or make coffee.
Public transport: Vienna is a family-friendly city with a great public transport network (metro, bus and tram). Kids up to 6 years of age can travel for free. You will always find room for your stroller or balance bikes and the drivers are also happy to help out.
The biggest attraction is, of course, the metro. In the four days spent here, we knew all the line colours, timetables, ground and underground parts of the metro, lifts, and ticket machines. You get used to such things if you only have male offspring around.
Budget: We paid €242 for a three-night stay for 2 families. The prices in European capitals all depend on your wishes, demands and your resourcefulness. Prices in shops and restaurants are comparable to other European countries.
Why Vienna? :
- It is the capital
- Great public transportation network and a great city for young families on foot
- World-known Lipizzaner Spanish Riding School
- Real castle and Empress Sissy
- Oldest ZOO in Europe
Top 5 activities for kids in Vienna
1. Schönbrunn ZOO
The oldest ZOO in Europe officially opened in 1752 when Emperor Franz Joseph I came on his first visit. The ZOO is well-maintained, has a wide range of different animals and can be seen in one day. Kids can take their time watching animals and enjoy on the playgrounds which are spread across the whole ZOO in a consistent manner. The park is mostly shaded by trees so you can also come in the summer. The historical heritage is interlaced with the modern design of the animal habitats which offer a lot of room for the animals to move freely. We were most impressed by polar bears, penguins, koalas, pandas and the cubs of the polar wolf.
Kids up to 6 years of age have free entrance; the adult ticket costs €16.5. We decided to buy a combo ticket for €19 that includes a visit to the ZOO and the ride on the giant Ferris wheel. You can find more useful information on their website. The ZOO also has a few restaurants, coffee shops and a promenade with ice cream, waffles and hot dog stands, and souvenirs. The restrooms and changing rooms are well-maintained and you will also find water dispensers everywhere.
2. Schönbrunn Park
The park stretches behind the Schönbrunn Palace and is supposed to be a smaller version of the gardens of Versailles. A wonderful place to rest your feet after a whole day of exploring the ZOO. We walked around the park and went up the Gloriette – a small hill above the park with wonderful arcades, waterworks, and a pond, all overlooking Vienna. We had a small picnic on the soft grass.
You will find plenty other attractions, from the botanical gardens, the Neptune fountain and a real labyrinth. Learn more on their website.
3. Prater and Reisenrad
If you are visiting Vienna with your kids, you will not be able to escape Prater park. The park is suitable for kids of all ages and is mostly known for its amusement park that is full attractions. We decided to limit the fun part because we did not want to leave with a thin wallet. Otherwise, we would have to pay for every individual attraction per person/per ride, etc. And kids do not get a free ride J. We decided to go on the Ferris wheel to get a panoramic of Vienna. The ride of Reisenrad is reeeaaly slow, so be prepared to play a game or two to entertain the kids in the meanwhile.
Prater Park also offers plenty of options for stroller and balance bike rides and other means of transport for kids. There is enough space to workout, run around, and you can also watch ducks and throw stones in the pond. We recommend the path leading to the middle of the park where kids can ride their bikes and run freely, safe from the rest of pedestrian traffic.
4. ZOOM Children’s Museum
As true travellers and parents of future intellectuals, we also wanted to see a museum. We headed to the museum quarter and visited ZOOM Children’s Museum. It is located in an old building and the entrance is in the courtyard. There is also a large piece of playground equipment with a slide and climbing elements. Next to it is a coffee shop from where you can observe your kids at play and have a nice cup of coffee.
ZOOM offers various theme workshops, experiments, creative challenges, and is appropriate for kids of all ages. The programmes vary in length, and only the children pay for the tickets while parents or adults can enter for free and help kids with translating, creating and experimenting. We chose ZOOM Ocean – the instalment is appropriate for kids aged 0-6. With all of our youngsters under control, we set off to explore the ocean.
The introductory area is carefully and thoughtfully designed and equipped with all sorts of objects. The kids’ minds and sensory organs were stimulated and working full throttle. The experience lasts about an hour and kids get to explore the underwater world, submarine, boat, and the rainforest. Games and costumes are available everywhere, kids can also press on buttons, steer the rudder, switch signal flags, feel underwater creatures, listen to the sound of waves, observe the changing colours of water, and more. The experience was interesting for our 14-month-old and 3-year-old boys, as well as for the girls who let their imagination run wild in their mermaid costumes and really enjoyed the water world.
5. Centre of Vienna, the Manner shop and the Palace stables
The comfortable public transport will soon make you feel at home in Vienna. The most important metro lines cross at St. Stephen’s Cathedral, so we could visit the Stephansplatz square every day, visit the cathedral, pet the carriage horses and treat yourself at the Manner shop. The girls were clever enough to realize that every time they circled the shop, they would get something sweet. We spent almost an hour inside and the girls came out bright-eyed with their mouths full and with big smiles on their faces.
A stroll across town pass the impressive architecture, numerous fountains and shops ends best with a piece of cake and a good cup of coffee at the Sacher Hotel. Our walk through the centre also led us past the Eurovision Park, the Palace stables where we greeted the horses and past Sissy’s museum where our girls admired the Empress’s dress.
What parents should know about:
- Accommodation – Vienna offers a number of options and a varied price range. We found our place to sleep at com. The site offers a wide selection of rooms.
- Child equipment – we always try to mention that we have a small kid with us. The service providers usually offer a baby bed or mattress.
- Activities for kids – like every big city, Vienna has plenty of parks appropriate for kids. Our hotel also had a large green patch behind it with playground equipment. We went there with bikes one afternoon. The selection of activities was perfect for children and they could play around and explore on every step of the way.
- Food – we opted for the street food and it worked out fine with everyone. Kids are always hungry and would eat anything, so our backpacks were always filled with goodies to get us through the day.
- Public transport – kids up to 6 years of age can travel free of charge in Vienna. Public transport is family-friendly. There is always room for strollers and other means of transport.
- Entrance fees – you will often have the option of buying a combo pass for various sights. Kids up to 6 years of age usually have free entrance and only the parents have to pay for the ticket.
Vienna has so much more to offer than what we have experienced on our short trip. It truly is a historical treasure chest and you will find plenty more things to do on every step of your way. This time, we decided to see Vienna from the children’s point of view and no one was left disappointed.
This is how Erika and her family and friends experienced Vienna. However, we trust that everyone has their own story, so we encourage you to share your own memories with us. For more information, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org