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Vienna tips for all the family


A DAY AT SCHÖNBRUNN

Schönbrunn Palace

13, Schönbrunner Schlossstraße,
tel. 811 13-239, www.schoenbrunn.at or www.kaiserkinder.at

The kids' tour plays out in the staterooms and puts Empress Maria Theresia's 16 children in the spotlight. After the tour, young visitors have the chance to try on some of the period costumes.

The Schloss Schönbrunn Experience children's museum in the west wing of the palace gives visitory a fascinating insight into everyday life at court for the imperial children. What is the correct way to address the imperial couple? How do you communicate in fan language? And finally the young visitors are given the chance to don regal garb and dress up as young princess and princesses.

Schönbrunn Maze, Labyrinth and Labyrinthikon

www.kaiserkinder.at

Once the exclusive preserve of the imperial family, the maze is now open to everyone. After navigating the warren of hedges you can watch other people tying themselves in knots from the observation deck. The various attractions dotted about the labyrinth give children the chance to experiment and have fun, while the oversized bird climbing frame and Archimedes screw at the Labyrinthikon make this play area a popular destination.

Marionette Theater at Schönbrunn Palace

13, Schönbrunn Palace, Hofratstrakt,
tel. 817 32 47, www.marionettentheater.at

Artistic performances, an imperial setting and state-of-the-art stagecraft add up to ann unforgettable theatrical experience for all the family. Program highlights include Mozart's Magic Flute, Hansel and Gretel, a kids'version of Die Fledermaus and Aladdin and the Magic Lamp.

Schönbrunn Zoo

13, Schönbrunner Schlosspark, Hietzing entrance,
tel. 877 92 94-0, www.zoovienna.at

Enjoy an eventful day out with your loved ones at Schönbrunn Zoo, home to 600 different species - some of which are highly endangered. Drop in on the orangutans, pandas, giraffes and rhinoceroses, experience the tropics first hand in the rainforest house or take a look at the creepy crawlies on show in the house of horrors!

Hungry? Café-Atelier Nonja, the Imperial Pavillion and the Tirolergarten pamper hungry visitors.

Tips: the Nature Experience Trail (incl. fire salamander climbing wall and spider's web climber for the younger children) and the Treetop Trail (a dizzying 160 meter long rope bridge 10 meters above ground)


VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY THROUGH THE OLD TOWN

St. Stephen's Cathedral (Steffl)

1, Stephansplatz, tel. 515 52-3526
www.stephanskirche.at

Treat yourself to a tour of the cathedral, Austria's most celebrated Gothic building. An elevator in the North Tower will take you and your children to see Austria's largest bell, known as the "Pummerin" or boomer. And if you have the energy you can climb the 343 steps to the Türmerstube (tower room) to enjoy unique views of Vienna and take a closer look at some of the cathedral's 230,000 roof tiles. If you are feeling particulary brave you can also take a tour of the catacombs - an underground burial vault.

Tip: go for a spin aboard a horse-drawn carriage (to the left of the main entrance of the cathedral)

Hofburg

1, entry beneath the Michaelerkuppel dome,
tel. 533 75 70, www.hofburg-wien.at and www.kaiserkinder.at

At the Imperial Apartments and Sisi Museum visitors of all ages can find out all about Empress Elisabeth: her beautiful dresses, her fearlessness as a horsewoman, her beauty secrets and the way that she liked to have her shining long hair styled.

Austrian National Library

1, Josefsplatz 1, tel. 534 10,
www.onb.at
Exciting tours and workshops are offered at the National Library, Papyrus, Globe and Esperanto Museums.

Butterfly House

1, Burggarten, tel. 533 85 70,
www.schmetterlinghaus.at

Wander past waterfalls and giant trees surrounded by hundreds of free-flying butterflies - and with any luck your children might even get to witness a butterfly emerging fresh from its pupa.

Tip: pack a snack and enjoy a picnic in the neighboring Burggarten.

House of Music

1, Seilerstätte 30, tel. 513 48 50,
www.hdm.at

Conduct the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, have a go at banging the timpani or discover what a baby can hear from the safety of its mother's tummy - it's possible at the House of Music. Little visitors can even experiment with their own compositions on the computer and record their creations on a CD to take home. Exciting kids' tours and fascinating children's concerts are also on the bill.

Tip: a stroll around the Stadtpark - let off steam in the play area and take a souvenir photo of the golden Johann Strauss memorial.


IT'S ALL HAPPENING AT THE MUSEUMS QUARTIER

ZOOM Children's Museum

7, MuseumsQuartier/courtyard 2,
tel. 524 79 08 (reserve in advance!),
www.kindermuseum.at

All year round the ZOOM Children's Museum offers a one-of-a-kind range of exhibitions and workshops and even has its very own animation studio. This 1,600 square meter discovery zone is the perfect place for children to explore, research and play. The Ocean is a particulary popular sensory experience for children and infants aged eight months or more. Older children can participate in hands-on exhibitions or head for the animation studio. And in the workshops they can give their creativity free reign as they paint, spray, glue and model away with the members of the ZOOM art team.

Tip: visit wienXtra-kinderinfo opposite for other kids attractions.

Dschungel Wien

7, MuseumQuartier/courtyard 2, tel. 522 07 20-20,
www.dschungelwien.at

This young persons' theater covers an ambitious artistic range: highlights include theater pieces for very young visitors (aged two and older), vocal, puppet, music and dance performances for children and families, as well as a range of youth performances.

Museum Moderner Kunst / Stiftung Ludwig Wien (mumok)

7, MuseumsQuartier/main courtyard,
tel. 525 00-1313, www.mumok.at

Sundays at the mumok are dedicated to finding out what children aged six to 12 have to say about modern and contemporary art. The mumok studio is also open to them on Sunday. On Saturdays budding young artists can hone their artistic abilities in the open studio or join various artists for a practical tour of the exhibitions. But if you would prefer to go it alone, simply grab a kids' art transporter which contains everything a child needs for a museum trip to remember.

Leopold Museum

7, MuseumsQuartier/main courtyard,
tel. 525 70-1525, www.leopoldmuseum.org

Austrian art nouveau (Jugendstil) masterpieces, Wiener Werkstätte designs and expressionist works can be found in abundance at the Leopold Museum. After a short tour, informative and exciting children's afternoons at the LEO kids' workshop lift the lid in the stories and secrets behind some of the museums's most interesting pictures. Next the little artists have the chance to put everything they have learned into practice as they come up with their own works of art - cutting, shaping, drawing and painting to their heart's content!

Tip: in summer recline on the Enzis - enjoy an ice cream from the comfort of one of these striking loungers which can be found in the main courtyard of the MuseumsQuartier.


THE START OF A LIFELONG PASSION FOR MUSEUMS

Kunsthistorisches Museum

1, Maria-Theresien-Platz, tel. 525 24-5202
www.khm.at

A host of treasures collected by the Habsburg emperors can be found on show here. The Egyptian collection includes mummies and objects that were buried alongside the Pharaohs that had owned them. There are also ancient statues of mythical beasts to admire, while anyone interested in finding out how the children were dressed at the Spanish court 300 years ago should take a close look at the masterpieces by Velázquez. There are children's audio guides and regular kids' tours, many of which are followed by creative sessions in the studio. Special kids' brochures are also available.

The Imperial Treasury, the Neue Burg (Ephesus Museum, Collection of Arms and Armor, Collection of Ancient Musical Instruments) and the Imperial Cariage Museum at Schönbrunn Palace also offer regular tours for young visitors.

Museum Of Natural History

1, Maria-Theresien-Platz (opposite the Kunsthistorisches Museum),
tel. 521 77, www.nhm-wien.ac.at

Gigantic dinosaurs and an incredible variety if creatures from all over the world are in show at this museum, alongside precious stones and priceless objects dating back to the earliest days of civilization.
Children aged three and over can see the exhibits, play and conduct their own research during a hands-on tour. At the microtheater the tiniest creatures take center stage - the fascinating micro-organisms in a single drop of water are magnified several thousand times over and projected onto a screen in 3D.

Belvedere

3, Prinz-Eugen-Straße 27,
tel. 795 57-134, www.belvedere.at

Your children will be given plenty of chance to learn about the world of art thanks to various hands-on tours and features at the Belvedere Palace. Regular family features take you back in time to the Middle Ages, reveal the inspiration behind Gustav Klimt's golden paintings of lift the lid on the backstory to the latest special exhibition. Young museum fans have the chance to let their own creativity flourish at the brushstrokes workshop.

Albertina

1, Albertinaplatz 1, tel. 534 83-540,
www.albertina.at

Immerse yourself in the spellbinding world of art at the Albertina where modernist masterpieces from Monet to Picasso line the walls. The family program includes interactive tours of the latest exhibitions, creative workshops in the studio and art courses for the grand masters of tomorrow. Treasure hunts (available for free from the ticket office) add even more excitement to your visit.

Museum of Technology

14, Mariahilfer Straße 212, tel. 899 98-0,
www.technischesmuseum.at

How much does the Ajax steam train weigh? What does a mine look like? And how do planes stay in the air? Interactive info points, hands-on experiments, impressive exhibits and monthly children's workshops shed light on the scientific and historic background to the various technological wonders on show at this museum. Two to six year olds will love the "mini" - an experience for all the senses with highlights including a fire truck, building site and screw cylinder.

Kunst Haus Wien

3, Untere Weissgerberstraße 13,
tel. 712 04 95, www.kunsthauswien.com

Bright splashes of color, irregular forms and an abundance of green - there's no mistaking Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser's Kunst Haus Wien. Upon arrival children will receive a Kiddy Bag from the ticket counter which will help the aspiring artists among them to design their very own Kunst Haus (there are even prizes for outstanding pictures).

Wien Museum

4, Karlsplatz, tel. 505 87 47-85180,
www.wienmuseum.at

Every winter the Wien Museum stages a range of play sessions and educational activities for two to six year olds. The focus of the activities is always linked in some way to Vienna and the museum's current exhibitions. Other locations such as the Hermesvilla, the Roman Museum and the various musicians' apartments offer programs and tours for kids throughout the year.

MAK - Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art

1, Stubenring 5, tel. 711 36-298,
www.mak.at

Tours, treasure hunts and workshops await kids aged four and over in the monthly MINI MAK sessions. MAK4FAMILY stages tours of the collections and exhibitions as well as workshops for all the family.


HIGH TIMES AT THE PRATER

Vienna's Prater Park

2, near Praterstern, tel. 729 20 00
www.praterservice.at and www.prater.wien.info

Reach new heights (e.g. aboard the "Ejection Seat", the Black Mamba or a carousel), test your courage (on the ghost train), enjoy a jungle river trip or treat your kids to a pony ride. Experience the thrills and spills of the Prater with your children. With more than 250 different rides and attractions to choose from, it's the ideal family day out.

Mid-March to the end of October, 10:00 - midnight daily

Tip: go far a leisurely spin aboard the historic Giant Ferris Wheel, taking in the stunning views of the city from 64.75 meters above ground as Vienna's trademark Riesenrad revolves at a pedestrian 2.7 km/h.
2, Riesenradplatz 1, tel. 729 54 30, www.wienerriesenrad.com

Don't miss the beautiful meadows and play areas dotted around the six square kilometers that make up the Green Prater.

Tip: hire your own bike rickshaw (near the rollercoaster) and explore the parts of the Prater park on and around the 4.5 kilometer Hauptallee - the park's tree-lined main thoroughfare.

Madame Tussauds

2, Riesenradplatz in the Prater park, tel. 890 33 66,
www.madametussauds.com/wien

Ever dreamed of introducing your children to Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Sisi, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Angelina Jolie or Michael Jackson? A collection of 65 uncannily lifelike waxworks of famous people are waiting to make your acquaintance at Madame Tussauds. You can pit your wits against Albert Einstein in an intelligence test, conduct the Blue Danube Waltz with Johann Strauss or try to outplay Austrian soccer legend Hans Krankl in a gripping penalty shoot out.


WELL WORTH A VISIT

Summer toboggan run

14, Mauerbachstraße 174, tel. 979 00 25,
www.hohewandwiese.at

The 850 meter long summer toboggan run is an unforgettable experience for all the family. Prepare to hit speeds of up to 40 km/h as you hurtle down the valley in one of the 25 state-of-the-art toboggans. 14 turns and a white-knuckle jump ensure this is a trip to remember!

Easter to October

Children's farm at the Wien Cobenzl Estate

19, Am Cobenzl 96a, tel. 328 94 04-20,
www.landgutcobenzl.at

Children have the chance to come face to face with sheep, goats, rabbits, ducks and all kinds of other animals at the Children's Farm on the Cobenzl Estate. Highlights include tours of the stables and pony rides.

Tip: visit the Cobenzl woods playground and enjoy a picnic on the Am Himmel meadow with wonderful views of the city.


SUMMER, SUN AND WATER

Danube Island outdoor paradise

www.wien.gv.at

The Danube Island is a mecca for swimmers, rowers, cyclists, joggers, skaters and beach volleyball players. But if you prefer, you can simply pack a picnic and take some time out from your sightseeing tour. Fun, action and relax-action for all the family.

At the 5,000m² water playground children can play in the water, cross the pond aboard a rope ferry or rope bridge and conduct various hydrological experiments (there are also showers where you can clean up before returning to the city center).
22, Donauinsel, 300 meters downstream from the Reichsbrücke bridge, tel. 4000-8042, www.wien.gv.at

Tip: try a trip to Minopolis

Old Danube

www.alte-donau.info

Relax on one of the numerous public lidos, cool off with a dip in the Old Danube or treat yourself to a boat trip (pedalos and electric and row boats available for hire).

And it your children have a head for heights then make your way to the nearby Danube Tower and enjoy amazing views of the city from the observation decks 150 meters above ground.
22, Donauturmstraße 4, tel. 263 35 72, www.donauturm.at

Tip: go for a leisurely spin aboard the Danube Park Train in the Donaupark, which is also home to a large playground.

Wasserturm water playground

10, Windtenstraße 3, tel. 4000-8042,
www.wien.gv.at

The Wasserturm water playground - at 15,000m² the largest if its kind in Europe - is brimming with waterfalls, streams, ponds, bridges and countless places to spread out a blanket, lie back and relax. A slide from the six meter high water tower and an extensive wet zone with plenty of sand to play with are among the most popular attractions.

Ship ahoy on the Danube and Danube Canal

Tel. 588 80, www.ddsg-blue-danube.at

DDSG Blue Danube offers a number of themed cruises for children - including Easter Bunny and St. Nicholas trips.

The boats depart from Schwedenplatz and from Handelskai at the Reichsbrücke bridge.


WHERE CHILDREN TAKE CENTER STAGE

Volksoper

9, Währinger Straße 78, tel. 514 44-3670,
www.volksoper.at

The Volksoper regularly schedules special performances for children and teenagers. Young music fans have the chance to meet the singers in person at kids' workshops, where they can also find out everything they ever wanted to know about opera, ballet, musical instruments and life in the orchestra. Plus there are puzzles to be cracked - and delicious candies if you are able to solve them.

Austrian Theater Museum

1, Palais Lobkowitz, Lobkowitzplatz 2,
tel. 525 24-5310, www.theatermuseum.at

Shadow, improv and puppet theater: children are given an unparalleled insight into different theatrical forms through dressing up, acting and arts and crafts.

Minopolis - The Children's City

22, Wagramer Straße 2, tel. 0810 970 270,
www.minopolis.at

Young visitors aged between four and 12 can find out about more than 90 different professions at Europe's first ever children's city. Whether your children dream of becoming a police officer, doctor, journalist, crane operator or a firefighter, the Minopolis experts will show them what the job involves. Minopolis is a brilliant setting for role play and other fun learning experiences.

LILARUM puppet theater

3, Göllnergasse 8, tel. 710 26 66,
www.lilarum.at

Vienna's largest children's theater stages puppet shows for kids from three to ten - and parents will be enchanted too. Puppeteers bring the hand puppets and marionettes to life and keep visitors perched on the edge of their seats with their deft movements, voices and music.

cinemagic - cinema seasons for young people

1, Friedrichstraße 4, tel. 4000-83400,
www.cinemagic.at

From storybook cinema to crazy cartoon capers, award-winning children and youth cinema to film versions of literary classics - cinemagic has something interesting for every age group.


EXPERIENCES THE WEATHER CAN'T SPOIL

House of the Sea

6, Esterházypark, tel. 587 14 17,
www.haus-des-meeres.at

Want to get to grips with a shark or get up close and personal with a piranha? Or maybe witness the fearless divers in the shark pool? You and your children can come face to face with any of the 10,000 creatures that call the House of the Sea home: fish from Austria and faraway countries, tortoises, crocodiles, venomous snakes and constrictors, leaf cutter ants, free-flying birds and roving monkeys.

Tip: check out the views of Vienna from the rooftop terrace... and the playground in the Esterházypark

Therme Wien

10, Kurbadstraße 14, tel. 680 09-9600,
www.thermewien.at

The Therme Wien spa is the perfect place to unwind - or to have fun in the water. At the Adventure Stone kids' zone young explorers can swim against the current in a wild water torrent, jump from one of the four meter high diving boards or hurtle down the water slide. There is a water park, an infant and toddler pool, free children's entertainment and a large outdoor area. Meanwhile, parents can relax in one of the spacious spa zones.

Dianabad water park

2, Lilienbrunngasse 7-9, tel. 219 81 81,
www.dianabad.at

Take the plunge! Palm trees, 870 square meters of pools and a wave machine give the Dianabad a truly tropical feel. Kids just love to play on the 125 meter water slide, and let their imagination run riot as they storm the pirate ship and water castle. The spa with sauna and steam room gives parents a chance to get away from it all and take a break from everyday stresses and strains.

Bogi Park

23, Gutheil-Schoder-Gasse 17, tel. 23 000 00,
www.bogipark.at

Shoes off, socks on and off you go! This 5,000m² indoor play area is always full of climbing, sliding, jumping and laughing for one to 12 year olds. A giant slide, climbing volcano, magic disco, quad track, labyrinth and soft play area for infants and toddlers ensure there is never a dull moment. Children's entertainers and face painting are also part of the fun on selected days.

Family Fun

22, Breitenleerstraße 77, tel. 236 70 70,
www.familyfun.at

Family Fun is an adventure park which has been specially designed for children aged frim one to 12. In addition to a separate area for the youngest visitors there is a 3,500m² indoor zone bursting with attractions including a climbing tower, kart track, pedal car course, slides and labyrinths. The 4,000m² outdoor area has go-karts, bumper boats, bouncy castles and a trampoline.


BUT THAT'S NOT ALL

Magic of Advent

1, Rathausplatz, www.christkindlmarkt.at

This traditional Christmas market in front of City Hall is packed with stands selling toys, gifts and delicious food and drink. There is also a magical trail in the Rathauspark and a Christmas workshop inside City Hall where your children can feverishly work away on their own yuletide gifts.

Mid-November until December 24

Vienna Ice Dream

1, Rathausplatz, tel. 40 900 40,
www.wienereistraum.com

Cut toe loops to waltz music and glide along to salsa beats at the 6,000m² ice rink on Rathausplatz in front of City Hall, and the dreamy winter trail in the neighboring Rathauspark. Curlingis another of the fun outdoor options.

End of January until early March, skate hire available.