Vienna with Children:
Touring Austria′s Capital with Kids
Who doesn′t dream of zigzagging Vienna with a bunch of little children constantly asking for drink, restrooms or general attention? Well, I don′t. And not being a father myself (yet), I lack personal experience in travelling with children. However, when I worked in Vienna, I shared an office with a single-mother of a five year old girl that constantly needed to be entertained. This article is primarily a result of the conversations I listened to between this woman and the poor Au-pair girld that was the chief of entertainment in the household.
As you might have expected from a large city like Vienna, there are plenty of things that appeal to children of all ages. The best starting point for touring Vienna with kids is the MuseumsQuartier, the new museum district. Whilst most of the art museums here will generate boredom rather than excitement with normal children, there is also a museum just for the little ones: The ZOOM Kindermuseum stimulates the children′s sense of curiosity and has a "hands on" approach. Just next to the ZOOM, parents will find an information office where they can obtain info on child-friendly events and venues currently on or open in Vienna.
Remembering my own interests as a child, I recommend the zoo or Tiergarten Schönbrunn. Going there too often might result in your child turning into a useless biologist like myself, but the zoo is Austria′s finest and certainly worth at least one visit. Just around the corner, in the Schloss Schönbrunn Palace has a small section especially dedicated to children′s needs, called "Kindermuseum". Here children can wear costumes in historic styles and learn of Austria′s Imperial past in a playful manner. Schloss Schönbrunn also offers guided tours for children.
Things to See in Vienna: More Attractions for Children
Speaking of guided tours: The Heeresgeschichtliches Museum or "Museum of Military History" in the third district is generally a no-go for families with little children: Too many cruel displays of soldiers being smashed into pieces. However, there is a sub-section on pre-19th century wars with knights, armour and other cool things that generally appeal to children. The museum organises guided tours for children and even birthday parties - similar to Schloss Schönbrunnn, they equip little guests with appropriate costumes for the tour.
A classic in terms of child entertainment is the Prater: A fun fair with tacky attractions, colourful lights and the famous 19th century Riesenrad - the Ferris wheel of Vienna. The surroundings of the Prater area are less appealing, and the only feature concerned with children in this area are the under-aged illegal prostitutes here. Only in the very south of the Prater, you get to extensive parks and meadows that are good for walks.
Vienna Sightseeing with Children
Nerdy kids love places like the Technisches Museum Wien (Technical Museum of Vienna), the Haus des Meeres Aqarium or the Naturhistorisches Museum Wien (Natural History Museum). Similar to other museums, they offer specialised tours that are custom-made for the needs and interests of children. If your little ones are into history and Royalty, take them to the Schatzkammer or Treasury - here you find the crown jewels not only of Austria, but of a whole range of Empires that happened to be under Habsburg rule at some point.
But going on vacation to Vienna should include at least some music, even if your children are not of the musical type (I wasn′t). The "Haus der Music" is a modern and lively museum that is very suitable for children - it is dedicated to sound perception and music in general. Nearby, you will find the "Mozarthaus", dedicated to its most famous resident - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It is a bit of a touristy rip-off, but state of the art in terms of its facilities. And after all, Vienna with no Mozart is not an option.
For access to skeletons and creepy-ness, try the catacombs in St. Stephens Cathedral (Stephansdom) or the Michaelerkirche - both are accessible only with guided tours. They include open coffins and dead bodies and therefore, they are not suitable for little children. Little children will be rather delighted to learn about the Urania - the puppet theatre by the Ringstraße is the most famous of its kind in Eastern Austria, but requires command of the German language.
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Austrian Provinces with Children
Vienna by District
District Overview - 1st (Innere Stadt) - 2nd (Leopoldstadt) - 3rd (Landstraße) - 4th (Wieden) - 5th (Margareten) - 6th (Mariahilf) - 7th (Neubau) - 8th (Josefstadt) - 9th (Alsergrund) - 10th (Favoriten) - 11th (Simmering) - 12th (Meidling) - 13th (Hietzing) - 14th (Penzing) - 15th (Fünfhaus) - 16th (Ottakring) - 17th (Hernals) - 18th (Währing) - 19th (Döbling) - 20th (Brigittenau) - 21st (Floridsdorf) - 22nd (Donaustadt) - 23rd (Liesing) - Ringstraße - Surroundings