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A report on Vienna (Austria), starting in the so-called “Little Vienna”, the city of Timisoara in the Banat region of western Romania.
Those who don’t go skiing in the mountains during the cold season or book an exotic trip to warmer countries can take a city break. Vienna is one of the most popular places people like to travel to, especially from western Romania. No wonder, as the Austrian capital can be reached from “Little Vienna”, Timisoara, in just five hours with light traffic – the main thing is that you don’t have to wait long at the Romanian-Hungarian border. Families with children will certainly not be bored in Vienna, as there are plenty of sights and interesting places to visit.
The Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum is a must for families with children. The science museum in the heart of Vienna looks back on over 270 years of history. The forerunners of today’s museum were the imperial collections of the 18th century. The institution comprises several extensive biological, geoscientific, anthropological and archaeological collections with more than 30 million objects and presents an overall picture of the planet and its history. Children can learn about the evolution of life and the development of mankind, but adults also enjoy the excellent exhibitions. Perhaps one or two of the little ones’ questions can be answered at the Natural History Museum.
A little tip by the way: don’t miss the special exhibition “The Changing Polar World”, which runs until 22 September this year! “The unique nature of the Arctic, its fascination and vulnerability as well as the rapid changes in the Arctic regions form the thematic starting point of the exhibition,” says the website of the Natural History Museum Vienna (www.nhm-wien.ac.at). If you can’t make it to Vienna after all, you can explore the entire exhibition space of the Natural History Museum virtually with the help of Google Arts & Culture. Children have free admission to the Natural History Museum, adults pay 18 euros and there are also discounts for pensioners.
Immerse yourself in the house of the sea
Fancy a walk through the Atlantic? A trip to the most dangerous lizards in the world? On a jungle adventure? Then head to the Haus des Meeres in the centre of Vienna! Originally a flak tower from the Second World War, the facility has been transformed into a scientifically managed zoo. On eleven floors, young and old alike can marvel at more than 10,000 animals: Sharks, rays, turtles, lizards, snakes, a variety of fish, birds, flying foxes, monkeys, insects and much more.
On the haus-des-meeres.at website you can also find out when the most important feedings take place and where you can be there. For example, you can watch a shark feeding in the 360° shark tank. The tank is accessible from all sides and offers views from all angles, so you can watch live as the blacktip reef sharks, rays, Miguel the zebra shark and many other bony fish are served their menu. Adults pay 21.90 euros to enter the Haus des Meeres, while children can buy tickets at reduced prices.
Lipizzaners and high equestrianism
A visit to the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, the oldest riding school and the only institution in the world where classical horsemanship in the Renaissance tradition of the “High School” has been practised for more than 450 years, is something very special. It is a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage site. According to the srs.at website, classical horsemanship aims to study the natural movements of the horse and cultivate them through systematic training in the highest possible elegance of the High School. Children and adults can experience this harmony between rider and horse at the performances of the Spanish Riding School. The world-famous Lipizzaner performances – the “Ballet of the White Stallions” – take place in the baroque Winter Riding School in the Hofburg, which was built between 1729 and 1735 under Charles VI.
The performances are usually held in the evening, but if you are travelling with children, you can also attend the morning work and gain an insight into the training of the riders with the Lipizzaners. Not only the young stallions, but also the school stallions, the so-called “white stars”, can be admired by children and parents. The classical Viennese music provides a special ambience. Tickets for the performances cost from 26 euros (standing room only), admission to the morning work costs 17 euros for adults. Children up to the age of 6 sitting on their parents’ laps pay no admission, while older children enjoy reduced ticket prices.
Prater and Giant Ferris Wheel
The Prater with its famous Giant Ferris Wheel is a classic in Vienna, and not just for children. Once an imperial hunting ground and only accessible to the nobility, Emperor Joseph II gave the area to the Viennese in 1766. As a result, catering stands were also built – the forerunner of today’s Wurstelprater was created on the edge of the former hunting ground. Inns were set up and swings and merry-go-rounds followed. However, the Prater also went through difficult times: During the Second World War, it was bombed and destroyed by the construction of trenches and shrapnel trenches, and part of the Wurstelprater also fell victim to a fire. However, the Wurstelprater was rebuilt by private initiatives and the area was reforested.
Today, the Prater is a world-favourite amusement park with rollercoasters, ghost trains and attractions of all kinds. The Lilliput Railway with open carriages and steam locomotives, which runs for around four kilometres, is also particularly popular. And: from the Giant Ferris Wheel, from a height of almost 65 metres, you can enjoy an incomparable panoramic view over Vienna. A ride costs 13.50 euros for adults and 6.50 euros for children.
Learning through play – at the Technical Museum
The Vienna Museum of Technology offers children, teenagers and adults a fascinating insight into the world of technology. Not only older children, but also very young children get their money’s worth in the museum, as kindergarten children (1.5 – 5 years) have their own adventure area. The new children’s area minTi gives very young explorers plenty of space for movement and playful experiences and encourages their joy of exploration, according to the website of the Technical Museum (technischesmuseum.at).
Slightly older children, teenagers and adults can visit the museum’s collections with numerous scientifically analysed objects. The Vienna Technical Museum offers free admission to children and young people up to the age of 19, while adults pay 16 euros.
Vienna is always worth a visit, even in winter. The Austrian capital offers numerous attractions for young and old, making it almost impossible to get bored as a tourist. If you want to self-cater, you should also know that individual flats can be found for around 100 euros per night on Booking or Airbnb.
ADZ | General German Newspaper for Romania
Text & Images: Raluca Nelepcu