From amazing theme parks to some of the best zoos in the country, from thrilling aqua parks to museums that delight little hearts – the state of North-Rhine Westphalia (NRW) is filled to the brim with attractions for the entire family. Here is our top pick of destinations in the state for your next family getaway.
NRW is home to a series of great amusement parks, including one of the most popular in Germany – Phantasialand. From scream-inducing rides like Black Mamba, Talocan, and River Quest to easy rides that ensure giggles from little guests, Phantasialand has something for everyone.
Phantasialand, Berggeiststraße 31-41, Brühl, Germany, +49 2232 36600
Movie Park, Bottrop, brings together the glamour of Hollywood and the thrill of amazing rides. The park promises abundant rides for all ages as well as stunning shows in seven Hollywood-themed areas. The fun quotient is considerably upped when SpongeBob SquarePants makes his appearance.
Movie Park, Warner-Allee 1, Bottrop, Germany, +49 2045 899899
With several exciting slides (including a few for little ones), sauna, pools and relaxation areas, AquaMagis is the ultimate fun destination for the entire family.
Böddinghauser Feld 1, 58840 Plettenberg, Germany, +49 2391 60550
Splash in the water down a 90-meter-long tube slide, hit the pools, relax in the whirlpool, watch the kids having a ball in the paddling pool or try water aerobics – you just can’t go wrong in AquaFun Soest.
Aqualand Cologne is likewise packed with all the ingredients to ensure a happy time for children and adults – seven water slides, sauna, beauty treatments, pools, and more.
Merianstraße 1, 50765 Cologne, Germany, +49 221 70280
The very name of the museum tells you that you can’t go wrong with this one. Through multimedia installations, sniff-boxes, artifacts, and machines, visitors learn everything there is to know about everyone’s favorite guilty pleasure. You can even grab pieces of freshly-made chocolate off the conveyor belt and dip a wafer in a chocolate fountain. Top it off with a visit to the awesome café and chocolate shop, and it promises to be a sweet, sweet day to remember.
Am Schokoladenmuseum 1a, Cologne, Germany, +49 221 9318880
Older children, adolescents, and adults are sure to appreciate the fascinating exhibits at Neanderthal Museum near Düsseldorf. The displays trace the evolution of human beings spanning four million years, through life-like models.
Talstr. 300, Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, +49 2104 97970
Explorado is a science museum aimed at children between 4 and 12 years of age. Here, children learn about everyday phenomena, scientific facts, and a lot of interesting lessons through play, experiments, and other hands-on activities, which demand the use of all their senses.
Philosophenweg 23-25, 47051 Duisburg, Germany, +49 2032 9823340
Parks and playgrounds
Erlebnisberg Kappe boasts a bike park, climbing courses of varying levels of difficulty, a panorama adventure bridge, summer toboggan slide, trampoline, mini golf, and little vehicles for children to zoom around in. To add to the fun, it can be reached on the adorable, rattling Kappe Express.
Erlebnisberg Kappe, Kapperundweg, Winterberg, Germany, +49 2981 9296433
Irrland is an amazing old-world alternative to amusement parks. Feel time whisk by as you jump on haystacks, dive in corn pools, whoosh down long, twisting slides, splash in pools, and pet adorable farm animals.
Am Scheidweg 1, 47624 Kevelaer, Germany, +49 2832 976656
Kettelerhof is another great destination for sporty families to blow off steam. Here, you have the opportunity to climb, go rafting, jump, slide, and run to your heart’s content. At the small farm, the friendly animals are always ready to eat out of your hands.
Rekener Str. 234, 45721 Haltern am See, Germany, +49 236 43409
Zoos and Aquariums
One of the oldest and most beloved zoos in Germany, the Cologne Zoo is home to 10,000 animals, reptiles, and birds belonging to almost 800 species. Don’t miss the feeding times of certain animals.
Riehler Str. 173, Cologne, Germany, +49 2215 6799100
The biggest selling point of the Duisburg Zoo is that it has Germany’s largest dolphinarium, home to nine adorable bottle-nosed dolphins. You also get to see cuddly koalas and fossas, a native mammal from faraway Madagascar.
, Germany, +49
Locals and tourists love Allwetterzoo Münster because many of the viewing platforms are covered, ensuring that the fun continues uninterrupted even in unfavorable weather. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the zoo boasts some 3,000 animals, many of which belong to rare species.
Allwetterzoo Münster, Sentruper Straße 315, Münster, Germany, +49 251 89040
Sea Life Oberhausen
Dive into the fascinating world of sea creatures at Sea Life. Make friends with sharks, exotic colorful fish, sting rays, otters, and more. Feeding times are particularly interesting.
Zum Aquarium 1, 46047 Oberhausen, Germany, +49 1806 66690101
Snow World Züschen is the ultimate destination in NRW for the entire family to indulge in winter sports, including skiing, bobsledding, snowtubing and airboarding. At Snow World, they offer ski lessons for beginners of all ages, as well as exciting activities for kids.
Snow World Zuschen, Zum Homberg, Winterberg, Germany, +49 2981 1535