Carinthia (Kärnten) with Children
Carinthia or Kärnten is ideal for a vacation with children. The skiing areas of Carinthia generally suck (ie. the slopes tend to be not quite as steep as elsewhere), which makes them ideal for families, old people and Italians. This is most obvious in Bad Kleinkirchheim and the nearby Nockberge mountains. Bad Kleinkirchheim has another selling point for families with children: It has hot springs that feed two thermal spas with hot water, allowing a fancy adventure water world that will excite your little ones all year round.
Hiking and water sports on the many Carinthian lakes is another big deal for families. Sailing, paddling or cruises in small boats driven by an electric engine - all rather popular with children. Given that the geographic wealth of Carinthia in terms of family-friendliness, it won′t surprise you that many hotels have specialised on family vacations. It is easy to find hotels with extensive child-care facilities, specialist staff and a rooms ideal for families with varying numbers of members.
Austria′s most famous theme-park can be found in Carinthia: Minimundus is an array of models of famous attractions from the Eiffel tower in Paris to the pyramids of Gizeh. Minimundus is decades old and has a somewhat old-fashioned touch to it, but in my opinion, this actually adds to the appeal of the place. Not sure if children will agree, though. For more information on Minimundus and theme-parks, please see the article on "Theme Parks in Austria".
Entertaining Kids on a Carinthia Vacation...
For zoos and wildlife, try Wildpark Rosegg. Here you can find different sorts of deer, birds of prey and other local animals. As a bonus, the wildlife park comes with a ruined castle, the Burgruine Altrosegg. See my articles on wildlife parks in Austria and zoos and aquariums of Austria for further information.
Burgruine Altrosegg is by far not the only castle in Carinthia. In fact, the province is known for its many fortifications and castles, which became necessary due to many invasions from Eastern Europe. Burg Hochosterwitz is the most spectacular fortress of Carinthia; the ruined castle of Landskron near Villach has shows with birds of prey that will certainly appeal to children. For more on the castles of Carinthia, see my list of castles and palaces in Austria.
A very special doll museum can be found in Winklern near Villach: The Elli Riehl museum is dedicated to a local woman who developed a great skill in creating highly realistic dolls modelled after typical figures of the Carinthian village life. Elli Riehl lived from 1902 until 1977; the opening hours of the museum are pretty unreliable (at least in my mother′s experience, who tried to get there several times when she happened to be in Carinthia until she finally managed to be there when the museum was actually open), so check the current opening hours before you go there.
Another museum ideal for children will be the doll and comic museum of Seeboden. It is typical for the old-fashioned, tacky approach to "entertaining tourists in the summer" common in Austria - again, I find that rather charming from my post-modern perspective, but children might think differently.