Viennese kids always have fun when summer arrives. Be it for kids who spend time in the kindergartens and horts, who have regular activities for each day and also for those who stay at home with family. Given that some weeks are spent away on vacation or city breaks, the remaining days in Vienna would be out in the parks, strolling along the Danube, grill out with the family, and perhaps spent playing ball games.
The biggest amusement park that Vienna has to offer is the Prater, and there are so many things to do and enjoy, our kids always go home with a grin and has lots of stories to tell. If you happen to be in the city and want to just be a child, head to the Prater and try these rides and things to do.
Ride the Ferris Wheels
Vienna’s giant Ferris wheel, constructed in 1897, is the oldest built Ferris wheel and was also the world’s tallest extant Ferris wheel from 1920 until 1985. It has become the most recognizable icon of Vienna through the years. It has been featured in many films, one would be, Before Sunrise where Ethan Hawke and Julie Delphy rode as Jesse and Celine.
There’s a smaller Ferris wheel (Blumenrad) within the Prater grounds which goes a little bit faster than the giant one and has gondolas as cars. No matter which you choose to ride on, both will give a good glimpse of the beautiful Vienna landscape.
Bumper cars with the Family
What could be more fun in an amusement park than bumping cars? While the cars should actually be used to dodge each other, it is more fun to bump on them and play a game of tag.
Say Hello To The Horses
If memory serves me right, there are two horse houses at the Prater. One is where the kids can go horseback riding in a small track. (Or that’s probably a carousel…hhmmm.) And there’s the Hippodrome opposite the Schweizerhaus where a riding track through trees and paddocks has been provided. Kids can ride supervised by a horse trainer.
Experience Dirt Biking
In this track, kids can ride a motorcycle designed for use on rough terrain. While the pathway is not as unsurfaced as the roads or tracks used by professionals, they would get a feel of the rough road. Haystacks are strewn neatly around the path to soften an impact, in case a child falls over. Helmets are also provided, and only kids of a particular age are allowed. Kids should know how to bike in order to ride, and even though my kids went without prior experience with motorcycles, they seem to have a good control of it.
How exciting would it be to see Johnny Depp and get a picture with him? Only, that could happen close to impossible. Madame Tussauds wax museum is the closest to this dream I could get. Doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of Arnie, Brad Pitt, or Benedict Cumberbatch, take selfies with everyone for posterity’s sake.
Taste Austrian Specialties at Schweizerhaus
Schweinshaxe is roasted ham hock – the end of a pig’s leg (usually called Stelze in Austria). When at the Prater, it is best to try this famous dish at the Schweizerhaus. Other meat dishes you can try are Rindsgulasch, Grillhendl, Putenschnitzel, and various sausages. If you’re not for low carb dishes, you can try their other dessert offerings as Mohnnudeln, Apfelstrudel, Powidltaschen, and more. Don’t forget the beers too.
Get Dizzy on the Sombrero
The Sombrero ride takes inspiration from Speedy Gonzales, it’s a Mexican carousel that will surely leave you dizzy. The oversized sombrero rides can take in about 5-6 people, it turns on its axis and twirls as a whole ride while going up and down. Make sure you haven’t eaten anything from the Schweizerhaus before taking this ride on.
Twist and Turn on the Volare
Ride a rollercoaster while lying down on your stomach? Why not?
This unique rollercoaster takes your adrenalin to a whole new level. Unlike the usual rollercoaster where the cars’ wheels roll on track, the Volare’s cars are hanged instead. It gives the feeling of flying and twirling on air, but you’d definitely have those butterfly in your stomachs as you go downhill.
As with other rollercoaster rides, there will be pictures taken while you scream and shout, and that ads to the fun in riding this with friends!
Darts, Arrows, Shots, and Ball Throw to Win a Prize
What’s best to take home from an amusement park than a big plush toy won from popping a water balloon with a dart? Probably a plush toy as big as you! Back when the kids were smaller, we won a Scrat (Ice Age) plush toy from one of the booths, and it’s still with us until now.
Popping balloons with darts or arrows, throwing balls to knock off cans, shooting toy green army men are fun games although the prizes wouldn’t amount much. It’s challenging and satisfying enough as hitting a target is harder than it looks. Also, you get the feel of holding and shooting with a bow and arrow sans the fear of hitting a deer.
Billiards and Air Hockey
Air Hockey is the kids’ most played table game at any given place it’s available. They’re just so happy when they’re holding the strikers. Billiards though would be for the older kids (or the kids at heart). We love playing billiards but rarely get the time to play, so going to the Prater guarantees a number of rounds at the billiard table.
Try Food at the Kiosks
There are many food booths and kiosks at the Prater for small hunger. You can try the different sausages, choco-banana on stick, cotton candy, chocolate-covered apples, slush, langos, and other fast food they offer. Restaurants for lunch and dinner can also be reserved. Just don’t overload on sugar or have too much food before getting on vertigo-inducing rides.
Reverse Ride With The Boomerang
This looks like your normal roller coaster ride, until after the twists and turns, it slowly stops at the top and goes on reverse….Yes, have your tummy churning going backwards, it could really make you scream!
Whack-a-Mole and Strength Testers
Like cats trying to catch a mouse, we play whack a mole with such concentration. This game tests kids eye and hand coordination, and probably make them improve should they play long enough.
There are Strength tester machines around the Prater like High Striker, Punching Power or Boxing Fist where you can try to break records.
There are four Go-Kart tracks at the Prater, and it’s perhaps the best place for you to test if your kid’s going to be an F1 racer in the future. ^_^
The largest track among all car racing areas at the Prater, the Mega Kart boasts a route of 330 m. It’s outside, so racers get a feel of the wind and real race environment as they go.
Minimum age: 16
This track might be smaller than the others, but as its an oval track, maneuvering requires a lot more skill than usual.
Minimum age: 12
Mountain Rally GoKart
This track is 250 m and features a second floor racers can access through a spiral driveway. The track has rock formations created to mimic rough nature trails.
Minimum age allowed: 10
Grand Prix Monza
This indoor track has a tunnel and can accommodate 15 racers at once.
Minimum age allowed: 10
Try not to Get Wet Riding the Aqua Gaudi
This is a thrilling roller coaster ride with the addition of water! The cars are bamboo boats and the track has a lot of descents to tickle you too as you avoid getting wet.
This museum showcases the history and remains of what was once the old Wurstelprater amusement park, which was destroyed in 1945 during the last days of World War II.