What is there to do in Vienna with kids? Which classical music activities are fun for them? And where are the best playgrounds for children? Actually, my own kids and their local cousins were pivotal in pulling together this cheat sheet for young parents visiting Vienna. But before you dive into the top 16 highlights for children in Vienna, here is my answer to a question many travelling parents ask:
Is Vienna Child Friendly?
Having experienced Vienna as a child and then a parent for almost half a century, let me tell you: Wien got so much more child friendly! While Vienna has been a green and safe city for decades, excellent playgrounds, clever children’s sections in museums and child friendly music events have been mushrooming. Even when in Vienna with a toddler, you will have fun! As for accommodation, Vienna now counts about 180 family-friendly hotels and dozens of restaurants where children are more than welcome.
When it comes to local attitudes Viennese are in general more reserved towards children. Unlike with most Southern Europeans kids aren’t automatically princesses and princes. Therefore, turning the volume and level of action down a little when in public places will guarantee your family a fantastic time.
Address: Maria-Theresien Platz 1, 1010 Vienna
Workshops: Sunday, 2pm to 4.30pm
Workshop fee: kids EUR 4, accompanying adult EUR 9;
At the MUMOK, you can let your kids invent comics from the stories they saw in exhibitions; do junk modelling from cardboard, sponges and wire; create animated short films and poems from what they saw in the museum; or train in Andy Warhol-style pop art. In general, workshops are for kids between 4 and 12 years.
Museum of Modern Art (MUMOK)
Address: Museumsquartier, Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna
Workshops: every other Saturday, every Sunday, 2pm to 4pm
Tickets: EUR 2 (EUR 5 for adults)
Bookings: required for most of these popular workshops; English speaking kids can participate upon prior notice; email email@example.com
Apart from MUMOK, the Museumsquartier, Vienna’s large complex of more than 10 museums and cultural institutions, runs dedicated sites for children: the ZOOM children’s museum and the theatre house Dschungel Wien. At ZOOM your children can entertain themselves in four different play areas, separated by age: Ocean (0-6 years), Studio (3-12 years), Hands-on Exhibition (6-12 years) and the Animated Film Studio (8-14 years)
Also to recommend is the café/deli at the Dschungel Wien.
ZOOM Children’s Museum
Address: Museumsquartier, Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna
Opening Hours: Core opening times are 9.45 am to 4.00 pm daily; museum is closed on Mondays, 24-26th December, 31st December, 1st January;
Tickets: EUR 5 to 7
Although not strictly for children only, most kids of pretty much all ages love the Museum of Illusions. For example, amazing visual installations let you shrink or grow to giant size in the same room. You appear upside down, completely tilted or see your own head served on a plate!
Museum of Illusions
Address: Wallnerstrasse 4, 1010 Vienna
Opening Hours: daily, 10.00 am to 8.00 pm
Tickets: EUR 8 (children 5-18 years), EUR 12 (adults); children under the age of 4 go free;
Since I wanted my children to learn about Viennese history the fun way we booked tickets for a history show right in the centre. The venue takes place in the vast underground world of a 17th century Salvatorian monastery.
Guests get a virtual welcome by Wolfgang A. Mozart, Empress Sissi, Sigmund Freud and Johann Strauss. Throughout the venue you meet more Habsburgs, hear parts of Adolf Hitler’s ‘Anschluss’ speech, and confront 17th century Ottomans and 20th century Russian Allies. Stories about coffee and Sacher Torte included.
My children’s favourite was the 5D film that sweeped them through more than 1,000 years of Vienna history (with scents and ‘rat tails’ swinging around our ankles). While the show doesn’t critically analyse historic events it provides your children with a fun overview that prepares them for city sightseeing. Find out more about the show.
Vienna with Kids. While most children love discovering the Olden Days they get bored to death by historic city tours and random walks. If you want to open up Vienna to your kids capture their interest through true stories, legends and people.
In fact, my children and I joined a brilliant local guide specialising in tours for families. (Her magic handbag produced endless fascinating objects about Vienna!) Learn more about our experience in Vienna For Children.
4. Schonbrunn Palace: Zoo, Marionette Opera and Children’s Museum
Vienna with Kids. Schonbrunn Palace has a range of attractions for children: its award winning zoo, the Children’s Museum where kids learn about the life of Habsburgs’ Imperial children, the Marionette Theatre with its charming rococo marionette plays, and lessons in quadrille dancing.
My daughter adored putting on a princess gown in the children’s museum. Then she joined the quadrille dancing lessons at Empress Sisi’s work out room. The panorama train through the gardens is another children’s favourite. Learn more about Schonbrunn Palace, the Vienna Zoo, and the Puppets Theatre Vienna.
5. Mozart’s House
Vienna with Kids. As much as adults love his music, the child prodigy Wolfgang Mozart fascinates many children, too. At his apartment just next to St. Stephen’s Cathedral, kids learn how he lived.
What kind of music did Mozart compose at an early age, and how did he conduct his music? Who were his friends and patrons, and what was life like in baroque Vienna?
Clearly, our favourites are the media installations of Mozart’s Magic Flute (photo) and Figaro Parallelo. You can listen to Mozart’s most important works and learn more about them. There are special children’s audio guides in 11 languages. Learn more about touring the Mozart House Vienna.
6. Viennese Prater: Chocolate Museum And More
Vienna with Kids. Since they were small I have been visiting Prater with my kids and nephews. The Prater is Vienna’s oldest and largest amusement park. My children’s undisputed favourite is the Chocolate Museum (see photo) just opposite the Giant Ferris Wheel.
Not only is the museum a great way to connect with Vienna’s chocolate culture but kids can participate in fun chocolate workshops and interactive games. Read our story of the Vienna Chocolate Museum.
In the warmer months good old steam trains take you through the local woodlands. Especially smaller kids love Vienna’s First Pony Caroussel while older ones enjoy roller coasters, the haunted house and more nauseating stuff. Read more about what to see and do in the Vienna Prater amusement park.
Vienna with Kids. Accessing Vienna through Schnitzel, strudel and dumplings is yum, and even more fun when you prepare them yourself. A group of local Viennese foodies lets you and your children get their hands dirty in their own private homes.
This photo shows my children doing apple strudel under the guidance of lovely young mum Angelika. Learn more about our experience and how you can participate in Vienna Cooking Classes.
8. Opera for Children
Vienna with Kids. Vienna nurtures musical theatre and opera for children. The Vienna State Opera, the Volksoper and the Marionette Theatre Schönbrunn perform bespoke opera for kids. The performances introduce classical music for children, are fun and most do not last longer than one hour. Learn more about Opera for Children in Vienna.
9. Classical Music For Children
Vienna with Kids. Where if not in Vienna should kids enjoy classical music? In fact, we have several charming and exciting music venues and events: First and foremost, the House of Music represents the perfect point of entry into exploring music as such:
As an interactive music museum, Haus der Musik lets your kids explore sounds and music, while learning about great composers. For example, my six-year-old daughter loved Namadeus, a musical game invented by Wolfgang A. Mozart. But her crowning moment came when she virtually conducted the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra!
When it comes to singing, the 10 to 14-year old boys of the Vienna Boys Choir will act peer-to-peer: introducing Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Johann Strauss, Ludwig van Beethoven and others. Apart from that, the choir boys’ Sunday Mass concerts are also one of the few daytime concerts. For more inspiration on concerts with kids visit Classical Vienna Concerts With Small Children.
If your children are a little older, operettas at Volksoper Vienna are a fun way for them to explore light hearted Viennese music. If your kids are younger, Peterskirche in the city center sometimes also stages afternoon operettas.
10. Best Free Playgrounds
Vienna with Kids. Especially if you visit with toddlers playgrounds bring the fun back into a city break. In the city centre, the two best playgrounds are in Stadtpark and in Resselpark. Just a few dozen meters from the Golden Johann Strauss statue in Stadtpark, children and toddlers will find a vast playground with slides, swings, a seesaw, a sandpit and other equipment, based on a ground of soft wood chips.
In Resselpark, close to baroque church St. Charles Borromeo and the Vienna Secession, you will find a slightly smaller toddler and children’s playground. Apart from a slide and swings, kids can try a game of skills, a seesaw and a small sandpit. Other than that, Rathauspark in front of the Vienna City Hall (Rathaus) hosts a smaller toddler friendly playground.
As for central neighborhoods and outside the center, these playgrounds and key play equipment are located near key attractions:
Alfred-Grunwald-Park, near Naschmarkt: swings, slides, sand pit, seesaw;
Andreas Park, near Hofmobiliendepot (Imperial Museum of Furniture): nest swing, slide, carousel, climbing devices, play house, outdoor chess;
Gutenbergpark, along the Art Walk (Spittelberg): nest swing, slide, play house, sand pit;
Votivpark, near Ringstrasse: climbing tower with slide, seesaw, sandpit, swings
11. Spanish Riding School for Kids: Piber Meets Vienna
Vienna with Kids. Every July, the illustrious Spanish Riding School presents their Lipizzaner stallions in relaxed fun shows. For a couple of weeks only, young foles and their mothers are brought in from the Federal Austrian Stud of Piber, where they showcase life before they receive their formal training at the stud and the Spanish Riding School.
Unlike the more formal Lipizzaner shows during the rest of the year, these performances are very vivid and include presentations of Lipizzaners pulling original horse carriages. Learn more about Piber Meets Vienna.
Vienna With Kids. Just as our cakes, Viennese candy (‘Bonbons’) has a treasured tradition. After my friend Elisabeth’s children managed to re-visit that shop three times with her, she warmly recommended this place for us, too. What mostly fascinated our kids was the showroom: Watching the candy makers mix and knead the soft silky dough, then roll it masterfully, cut and shape the sweets with their delicate patterns was utterly engaging.
As you see in the photos, the candies come in all colours of the rainbow. By far the most traditional are the Wiener Seidenzuckerl (Viennese silk candy). A bit like British humbugs, those stripey cushions boast a shimmering surface, and are filled with melting cocoa cream.
Location: Herrengasse 6-8/4 (close to Spanish Riding School and Cafe Central)
14. United Nations Headquarters Tour
Vienna With Kids. Unless you come from a UN headquarters city, why not take advantage and tour Vienna’s UNO City? Besides gaining insight into a key international organisation your kids will explore a fascinating side of contemporary Vienna.
Since my family and I enjoyed a guided tour there we thought we’d share your experience in this tour review of the United Nations Headquarters Vienna.
Because it has several large pools, two of them shallow enough for non-swimmers, our family loves it. On top, Schafbergbad offers beautiful views of Vienna’s skyline, and a fantastic spiral water slide. About 40 min by public transport from the city centre, the pool sits on ‘Schafberg’ hill in one of the villa outskirts of Vienna.
Just as important, there is lots of space for you to stretch out on the lawns. If you visit during the hot season, be aware that weekends can get a little busy.
Location: Josef-Redl-Gasse 2, A-1180 Vienna
Opening Times: 2nd May to 14th September
Price: around EUR 7 for one adult and one child
How to Get There: take tramway 2 from Vienna State Opera to Ottakringer Strasse/Wattgasse; then take bus 10A to Czartoriskigasse; then take bus 42A to Schafbergbad (total journey: around 50 minutes)
16. More Vienna With Kids: Kahlenberg
Vienna with Kids. If your kids need a thorough work out, take them to Forest Rope Park Kahlenberg. Both young kids and teenagers will have fun climbing and walking in four different areas, at heights between just 35 cm and 20 metres.
The ‘Waldseilpark’ has the size of four football fields and includes 15 climbing courses. The adventure park is about 45 minutes from the city centre in the north of Vienna.
This photo show my 13-year-old nephew who went crazy there. We all had to put on full mountaineer-gear and received a thorough instruction from staff at the start. The park is located on a hill, with beautiful views of the Vienna skyline. Don’t miss nearby Josefinenhütte, an utterly charming traditional restaurant and café. See more information on the park’s website.
Location: Josefsdorf 47, A-1190 Vienna (take metro U4 from city centre to Heiligenstadt terminal, then take bus 38A to Waldseilpark;
Dates and opening hours: 1st June to 30th September, daily from 10am to sunset;
Tickets: between EUR 13 and 28; family tickets available;
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