Not only for the Li'l Ones: Theme Parks of Austria
Article by Nicole Rabitsch
Although Austria can′t come up with any of the big, world-famous theme parks such as Disneyworld, it does offer an acceptable number of comparable - albeit smaller - attractions dealing with quite a wide range of different themes. Visiting a theme park is an excellent pastime for children as well as for adults, and in several Austrian parks you can spend a whole day without even noticing. Here are some of Austria′s most famous theme parks:
Visiting the whole world in one day
If you would like to see Saint Peter′s Basilica in Vatican City, Taj Mahal and the Statue of Liberty in only one day, you should definitely come and see the miniature park "Minimundus" in Klagenfurt, the capital of the province Carinthia. Minimundus - which means "small world" - started in 1958 and is now displaying 150 models of the most beautiful buildings from all five continents on 26,000 square metres.
For the detailed and realistic models (built at a scale of 1:25), mostly original materials are used, such as sandstone, marble or basalt. Visitors also enjoy walking through the nicely arranged gardens and relax between flowers and special mini-landscapes. Minimundus is usually opened from April to October.
A time-travel in Styria
You are fascinated by dinosaurs? Then it′s worth visiting "Styrassic Park" in Bad Gleichenberg, a village situated South-East of Graz. Styrassic Park was built on an area of about 5 hectares located on the volcanic hills of Bad Gleichenberg. You can admire 70 life-size models of all different kinds of dinosaurs that lived in this very part of Styria (such as the Triceratops, the Stegosaurus or even the Tyrannosaurus Rex). One of them (the Kongosaurus) is "revived" (animated) twice a day. There are also models of ice-age animals, such as a mammoth, a sabertooth or a giant sloth.
Visitors also get to know what happens at an earthquake or a volcanic eruption. Besides, Styrassic Park tells the story of mankind over seven million years. A big adventure for children is a stay at the "Baumhotel zum frechen Affen" - a hotel for children located in the trees where they can stay several nights and enjoy their meals in the dinosaur restaurant or become cooks themselves at the barbecue (with or without their parents). Styrassic Park is open from March until September.
Once being at Bad Gleichenberg you should also take the opportunity and visit the Riegersburg, situated 20 km north of Bad Gleichenberg, or enjoy the thermal spa, together with a good glass of regional wine.
The Wild West in the East of Austria
For fans of Cowboy and Indian Stories, a stop at "No Name City" (at Wöllersdorf, near Wiener Neustadt) is a must. The western city is open from March until November and offers quite a lot of attractions: enjoying Mexican food in the "Cantina Mexicana", proving your shooting arts in the Shooting Hall or at the archery site, washing gold, canoeing, admiring (and buying) fine Indian handcraft, watching horses and even buffalos or finally getting to sleep in a tipi or on Trapper Island after a hard day - all this is possible in No Name City.
You can also watch one of the shows, for example a bank robbery, a train hold-up or two gangs shooting each other at high noon. If you like country music, you should not miss one of the many music evenings in the saloon. If you prefer a more luxurious accommodation to a tipi, you can also spend the night at the Silver Star Hotel.
At this point the Karl May Festival (Karl May-Festspiele) should also be mentioned which takes place at Weitensfeld in Carinthia and at Gföhl in Lower Austria. Karl May is one of the most famous German writers, known especially for his tacky books set in the American Wild West ("Winnetou") and in the Middle East ("Durch die Wüste"; "Der Schut").
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