15 Fun Things To Do In Vienna With Small Children

I love Vienna. It has been voted to the most liveable city of the world for a reason. I’ve visited plenty of times, however, never with my children until a few weeks ago. Naturally, this time it was a completely different experience, just as we did expect it to be. Not so much of Aperol-Spritzing and Museum Quartier visiting. You can’t just drag your young children along whilst visiting galleries, markets and trendy restaurants. If you plan ahead though, everyone can get something of what they wanted. City tripping with a toddler and a baby sounds challenging but it it’s not impossible!

Start with booking the right accommodation. We stayed in serviced apartments this time, because we knew that we won’t be able to eat out in the evenings. That is one thing we needed to give up. Keeping their usual bedtime routine meant, that they were able to cope a lot better, it’s something they are both (all of us, in fact) heavily rely on. We also needed space, which an average hotel room just doesn’t provides. (The hotelier inside me is gasping in horror now.) So we booked Anyna Apartments, which was OK (price-wise and staff -wise good, but with some small security and other issues) and close to transport links, near a big park with playgrounds and supermarkets.

When the weather is nice, then of course there’s plenty to do. But when it’s raining or it’s too cold outside it can be a bit tricky to entertain small children. So, my list contains a mix of indoor and outdoor activities. However, avoid traveling in winter, as lots of outdoor attractions are closed. Also better to avoid places like Nashmarkt. Whilst it’s one of Vienna’s famous attractions and it’s great fun as a grown up, it’s most definitely no fun as as a parent of small children. It’s very busy, there are a lot of hot food stations, smokers and things to grab from the stalls. (Yes, the experience is talking.)

1. Prater

One if the oldest amusement parks in the world offers a lot of fun small rides for the minis. If they can’t ride on their own, because they are too young, parents can accompany them. There’s no entry fee to the Prater, you just need to pay for the rides (cash only). Plenty of options for food, from small kiosk-type street food to a proper restaurant. Open from March till October. The mini rides are relatively cheap: cost between EUR 2-4 each.

2. Playgrounds 

Vienna has lots of playgrounds, they are all very clean and well maintained, most of them has small swings, slides and sand pits for the littlest.

3. Zoom Children’s Museum

Zoom is quite big, suitable for children of all age. For the minis (8 months to 6 years) particularly, it has a play and adventure area called The Ocean, with a glittering water grotto, a mirror tunnel and a coral reel with tickly anemones. They can explore a ship deck and play role games, untie knots, turn the ship’s wheel or communicate with the lighthouse. Entry fee: EUR 3 for a child (free admission for one adult per child); extra adults pay EUR 5.

4. Hop-On Hop-Off Bus

Sitting on the top deck of the bus when the weather is sunny and pointing to all the exciting things to see is great fun for small children. (They are also prepared for the bad weather with a cover.) There are 6 routes and 50 stops. From EUR 22.50 per person.

5. Cake Time!

No Vienna experience is complete without a cafe house visit. And that means: it’s time for a cake! The traditional cafe houses are not exactly children friendly and booking is always required. Also, at some places  smoking is still allowed (Austrians love their cigarettes.) and normally a separate room is dedicated to that, but obviously you can smell the smoke all over the cafe. However, places like Aida and Oberlaa are more relaxed and welcoming towards children. (No smoking is allowed at all, either.)

6. Schoenbrunn Zoo

Schoenbrunn Zoo is considered one of the best zoos in the world. The animal compounds have a decent sized living area and designed to imitate their natural habitat as much as possible. More than 700 kinds of animal live in the zoo. It’s a fun place for small and big children. There’s also a huge nature trail and an educational forest trail, which I really liked. Unfortunately, not too many options for buying food and drink once inside the zoo in April when we visited, more in summertime. The little train wasn’t operating either, which was a shame as my little boy is a huge fan of trains. Entry fee is EUR 18.50 for adults, free for children under 6.

7. Schoenbrunn Maze And Labyrinthikon Playground

Bobcat really liked both the maze and the playground. And watching the fantastic water fountain. We enjoyed a lovely walk in the palace park. The playground is really cool and it has unusual elements as well as classic toys: climbing poles with sounds, jumping station, puzzles and water gargoyles. He especially liked the water features and marvelled the huge eagle-shaped climbing frame, but he was too small to climb that. But there was plenty of other things for smaller children, so we spent a few hours there. Open from April till November. Entry fee: EUR 5.50 for adults and EUR 3.20 for children.

8. Family Fun

It’s a huge amusement park for children, with a section called Kiddyworld, where even the smallest kids can enjoy themselves too. There’s trampolines, ball pools, a magic climbing tree, and some more. I’d say it’s probably from 1 year up, depending on the child’s capabilities. The toddlers will love it. Entry fees: under 1’s go free, 1-3 year olds EUR 3.90, 3-16 year olds EUR 8.90, adults EUR 3.50

9. Riding An Old Tram 

Simply 🙂 Very old, vintage trams are still in every day use in Vienna. Some of them are more than 50-60 years old with wooden benches. They are one of the coolest things to see, so don’t miss our on a Ring-ride, especially if you have a transport and vehicle maniac 3 years old, like us. Just buy a ticket and complete a whole Ring loop, it’s really good fun.

10. Bogi Park

It’s a huge indoor playground for children aged between 1 and 12. Again, I’m sure even some active babies can enjoy it, and recently they started to do Baby Mondays. For very small children, they have  bouncy castles, slides, ball pools, small climbing installations. Entry fees: under 1’s go free, 1-3 year olds EUR 3.50, 3-16 year olds EUR 8.90, adults EUR 4

11. Donau Insel

The Danube Island is very popular amongst the locals, there’s so much to see and do for the whole family! There’s a family beach, which is protected by a number of small islands surrounding the beach and the water no more than one meter deep. Absolutely fantastic in summertime. There’s also a free water playground with a separate splashing area for under 3’s and a trampoline center. Free entry.

12. Horse carriege ride (fiaker)

One of the tourists favourites, an absolute must do. The children loved it, it’s a leisurely ride (really slow, very safe with being small children on board) around the historic inner city area. You can find them parking all around the old town, just hop on one. It’s normally a half an hour and prices vary, around EUR 50.

13. Cobenzl City Farm

Meet and get to know the farm animals at a working farm producing organic goods. You’ve got pony rides, a nature trail and yummy cakes to buy. Entry fee: EUR 18 for kids and EUR 28 for adults.

14. Danube Boat Tour

The shortest tour takes around 1.5 hours, it’s a lovely, cultured thing to sit on the top deck in the sunshine. Waiving to the other boats and to people strolling at the river bank, it’s a relaxing cruise on the river. It’s operating from April till October (with the heating on when needed). There’s also a restaurant or bar on all the cruise ships. Prices vary.

15. Inner City Parks

When everything fails, just let them run around in a lovely, well manicured, safe park. There are plenty of them: the Stadtpark, the Volksgarten, the Burggarten, the Sigmund Freud Park and more.

One Messy Mama

 

 

 

Real Mum Reviews

Review: Nim’s All Natural Vegetable And Fruit Crisps

I’m always on the look out for healthy and vegetarian nibbles. Bobcat is a very picky eater, he currently doesn’t eat any fresh fruits or vegetables apart from a little banana and some tomato. No matter how creative and persistent I am, he just won’t eat them. Therefore, I’m keen to try new things just to make him eat some more natural fibre, vitamins and minerals.

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So when Nim’s asked me to review their product range I got excited. I was already a big fan of the veggie crisps available in the supermarkets, but they are all too salty for a toddler.

Nim’s all natural crisps range is invented by a fellow mum, who was looking for healthier snacks for her children. They are air-dried snacks because this way they keep most of their nutritional content and natural sweetness. Nim’s sources locally grown (British) fresh products and produce no waste. I was in love with the idea even before tasting them.

Tastewise, they are not super sweet nor salty, but naturally crispy and the packs are coming in a few lovely combinations like my favourite: kiwi and pineapple. I only wish they would come in bigger packs as we finished the entire range in a few days!
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These crisps make a lovely addition to your meals too. Just a couple of ideas to use them: adding them to your morning porridge or topping a hearty soup or risotto. You can also make mini open sandwiches with chocolate spread and banana then top them with fruit crisps – lovely party food idea!

And of course my chief tester really enjoyed the crisps too! On this photo he’s actually stealing my nice crisp arrangement prepared for a photo:

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Nim’s currently planning to launch a special product range for kids and crowdfunding it with Tesco Backit as they are passionate about helping to combat unhealthy snacking habits for children.

I’m more than happy to promote this innovative, award winning and independent business.

Hotel Review: Meon Valley Marriott Hotel And Country Club

We picked Meon Valley Marriott Hotel And Country Club for five nights in August as a mini-holiday near home. As we checked the reviews on Tripadvisor it was clear that many families chose the hotel for being “children friendly“. We thought, the rooms are big, there’s golf for daddy and beauty treatments for mummy, small children can use the swimming pool, so it seems a great choice.

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All in all, it’s ok. It’s reasonable. For a start, the rooms are big enough. We booked a deluxe with two queen size beds, one for Bobcat and one for us. Babi slept in her Moses basket. Still plenty of space left in the room. The room is indeed needs little revamp, especially the bath. The empty minibar was handy for us. No air conditioning. It wasn’t too hot weather in those days, 20-23C but it was just about acceptable during the night. Good breakfast. Mind you, more sweet pastries available than fresh fruit, but plenty of choices. The filtered coffee was disgusting though, leaving a sour aftertaste. Loads of available feeding chairs and toddler cutlery. The staff was excellent: kind and very attentive. Daddy was of course very happy playing (cheap) golf and I enjoyed my beauty time.

Bobcat really enjoyed swimming with daddy in late afternoons, and that is the other reason we booked the hotel: small children are allowed to use the pool. Unfortunately, there is nothing else for children to do. No play area or a small outdoor playground. The hotel is surrounded by the golf course, quite tightly in fact. You walk out the main door and you’re at tee one.

As we noticed at breakfast, a lot of other families had the same idea and in those days we hardly saw corporate-looking guest, but families only. That’s why it’s surprising that the hotel doesn’t invest more in some children entertaining facilities.

My opinion is, that it’s simply an American style golf hotel with American size rooms (originally designed for couples sleeping on separate beds) and breakfast which happens to be the only in the area making a family stay comfortable. That is the reason they don’t need to build a playground. Families will keep coming because there’s a lot of exciting things to do with children in the area.

Ski Chalets Le Chardon – The Family-Friendly Luxury

Have you ever tried to go on a ski holiday with small kids or babies? If you have then you’ll know that you usually need to take everything with you. It can take a lot of time to research and plan childcare, family-friendly restaurants and the best ski schools for you and your family.

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Le Chardon Val d’Isere have everything you need for a perfect, stress-free family ski holiday. The 5 traditionally designed ski in / ski out luxury ski chalets located in Val d’Isere in the French Alps are easily accessible from Chambery, Geneva or Lyon airports. All major European cities also have trains going to Bourg St. Maurice, which is just 19 miles from beautiful Val d’Isere.

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The smallest chalet has 5 en-suite rooms and the largest has 10 rooms, so you can plan your holiday for small or big families. Each luxury ski chalet  is individually and tastefully designed and equipped with everything you need for a relaxing holiday.

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They offer a 5* concierge service who can arrange highly qualified nannies for babies and toddlers so for a change, mummy can ski too and just pop back to the chalet for feedings. All the chalets have sledges, high chairs, cots, DVDs and games. Private or group ski lessons and ski hire for the older children and family can be arranged with the option of boot fittings done in your own chalet. When you’re not on the slopes, there’s plenty of family fun activities such as husky rides, ice karting, ice skating or a visit to the Aquasportif Centre in the village is always a popular choice. All chalets are equipped with a sauna or outdoor hot tub and you can also book in a massage with Le Chardon’s very own wellness therapists.
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I think the best feature is the 5* dining with every meal prepared by your own chalet chef. Using the finest local produce, your chef will create a bespoke menu especially for you and your family. Each chalet also operates an open bar policy including fine wines, spirits, beers and soft drinks. So, you don’t have to worry about finding child friendly restaurants that will suit your children’s daily meal schedules. You don’t have to drive to get to a restaurant or waste your precious time with cooking. You don’t have to worry about the menu and whether picky toddlers will eat it or not. They can go to bed at the usual time and have breakfast in their pyjamas!

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Their concierge service will provide everything you may need from airport transfers including champagne picnics to ski hire. If you wanted a private flight to Geneva Airport and back – that’s not a problem either.
The French Alps are also beautiful after the snow has melted and a popular destination for active families. The area provides wonderful mountain walking routes, mountain biking possibilities, hiking, trekking, via ferratas, rafting or even glacier skiing.
If you’d like to find out more about Le Chardon Mountain Lodges for your next luxury ski holiday then check their availability and prices. Most chalets are booked on a chalet basis, however shared chalets options are occasionally available.

And to celebrate Easter, Le Chardon are running a competition until 21 March ’16 to win a fabulous Fortnum and Mason Champagne and Truffles gift. To be in with a chance of winning, head to http://www.lechardonvaldisere.com/fortnum-mason-easter-giveaway/to enter.