Upper Austria (Oberösterreich) with Children
Upper Austria (Oberösterreich) is a vast province (at least by Austrian standards), nestled around the Alps and the Danube valleys. Diverse like its landscape are the many things you can do in Upper Austria. "Classic" means of child entertainment include water sports, horseback riding and various museums, zoos and theme parks. The best place for such joys and delights are the Upper Austrian parts of the Salzkammergut, where the touristy infrastructure is well-developed and many hotels have specialised on family vacations.
This wasn′t done totally voluntarily. The Salzkammergut lacks the kick-ass slopes of Southern Salzburg, Tyrol and Vorarlberg - thus it has a problem attracting a sporty crowd for skiing in the winter season. Plus, the Salzkammergut has a reputation for being somewhat old-fashioned, which again scares away a younger clientele. Niches are spa tourism, elderly travellers - and families with children, who dislike the rowdy resorts.
Beyond the Salzkammergut, Upper Austria offers a lot. In recent years, a couple of very family-friendly thermal spas have developed. These include Thermalbäder in Bad Hall, Bad Schallerbach and Bad Ischl. Especially Bad Schallerbach targets families, but even in the other two resorts you will find plenty of liquid entertainment for your little ones. For details, please see my article on thermal spas (Thermen) in Austria.
Entertaining Kids on an Upper-Austria Vacation...
Zoos, animals and other fluffy things: Plenty of petting and watching opportunities can be found in Upper Austria. Deer enclosures are popular, there are several proper zoos and wildlife can be enjoyed in real motion at National Park Kalkalpen. For animals in enclosures, note the reptile park of Schloss Scharnstein, the Tierpark Schmiding, or the Wildpark Cumberland. Please see my articles on "Wildlife Parks of Austria" and "Zoos and Aquaria of Austria".
Other attractions ideal for children in Upper Austria: There is a steam train going up the Schafberg mountain, starting from St. Wolfgang. Fans of "The Sound of Music" will recognise it and know of its potential to entertain children. Another popular thing to do in the area would be a cruise on one of the Salzkammergut lakes: Try Traunsee, Hallstättersee or Wolfgangsee.
There are several theme parks in Upper Austria; they tend to be tacky and not overly exciting to adults, but rarely fail to excite children. The most famous one is certainly the "dwarf railway" ("Zwergerlbahn") on Mount Pöstlingberg in Linz. For details, please see my articles on "Theme Parks of Austria" and "Open Air Museums of Austria".
Finally, castles, palaces and monasteries: Many of them have exhibitions that will appeal to children (although, to be honest, usually armour and guns are enough to achieve that, at least in the case of boys). Please see my list of "Castles and Palaces of Austria" for details. In terms of monasteries, the ones of Kremsmünster, Wilhering and St. Florian near Linz are among the most elaborate of Austria.
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