Top 5 rainy-day attractions in Germany
Germany is an outdoor-lover’s paradise: strolling through lush forests, swishing down ski slopes of snow-covered peaks, or taking a culinary wine hike between local villages. Unfortunately, these activities can be weather dependent. During the gloomy and rainy days that signal the ushering of spring, it can be difficult to muster the energy to roll off the couch. If the constant gray skies are making you restless, here are five awesome indoor activities to help banish the rainy-day blues.
Play at an indoor park.
If you can’t handle another episode of “Paw Patrol” or your couches are beginning to resemble an impressive military fort with blankets, indoor playgrounds are a great option for families with little ones. Located in Mehlingen, Yabadoo is a popular indoor play park frequented by families in the Kaiserslautern area. With a variety of activities to choose from, including trampolines, ball pits, slides, obstacle courses, child-sized rides, bounce houses and indoor Fußball, you won’t be hearing the words “I’m bored!” any time soon.
Tip: Most indoor play areas offer kid-friendly fare in their cafeterias, but many also allow you to bring your own food.
Walk with dinosaurs.
For budding paleontologists, Das Praehistorium is the perfect spot to spend a rainy day. Located 45 minutes west of Kaiserslautern, experience the Jurassic and Triassic periods like never before. Be careful while roaming through the dinosaur exhibits; some of the ancient reptiles are so realistic they may scare younger children. As you make your way through the museum, check out the different fossils and bones on display. Don’t miss the 4-D Megalodon experience — this fearsome creature once ruled the seas and was about 10 times larger than its relative, the great white shark. If the kids need to expend that pent-up energy, let them loose at Gondi’s Dinowelt. Designed for ages 12 and under, this playground is complete with jungle gyms, slides and trampolines.
Tip: Das Praehistorium offers various military discounts for DOD ID cardholders. Every first Friday of the month, military families can receive a 20-percent-off discount on the family ticket.
Geek out at a science museum.
If you’ve ever wondered why or how things work, science museums are a great place to start. The Dynamikum Science Center in Pirmasens is a hands-on museum that helps teach the basics of physics. My daughter is naturally curious about the sciences and fell in love with this museum on a recent school trip. Ride a bike to discover how energy is created, find out how many kids it will take to lift a parent off the ground, or learn the fascinating procedures behind crime-scene investigations.
Tip: With more than 150 exhibits and experiments, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to explore.
Channel your inner Mario or Luigi.
For older kids, or those who are kids at heart, try a real-life version of Mario Kart at an indoor karting facility. Think you’ll be driving slowly around a short oval track? Think again. Germans have a penchant for fast cars and autobahns — which has been translated on a much smaller scale indoors. These karts are faster than their American counterparts — traveling upward of 40 kilometers per hour — hugging steep curves and long straightaways on multiple tracks. Most indoor facilities are suitable for drivers of all abilities and offer safety instructions and helmets. Be sure to check your local track for minimum age requirements. If you’d rather watch the shenanigans from the sidelines, enjoy a frosty beverage while watching the pole positions shift between your friends.
Tip: Indoor karting can be a little pricier than other indoor activities. Specials and discounts for all-you-can-drive packages are offered occasionally, so you may want to call ahead of time. If you have respiratory sensitivities, be sure to step outside for some fresh air, as exhaust fumes can exacerbate breathing issues.
Explore the history and amazing world of German cars.
If rain-soaked streets are putting a damper on your driving adventures, check out BMW Welt and Museum. The sprawling BMW complex in Munich is a motorhead’s dream-come-true. Stroll through the museum and discover the rich 100-year history of the high-end automaker. Or sit behind the wheel of the latest models, and take a sneak peak at future concepts cars. Guided tours are offered at BMW Welt, the museum, the group headquarters, and the recycling and dismantling center. Tours in English start at 2 p.m., and there is a specific tour designed for young adults ages 12 to 18.
If you’re closer to Stuttgart, the Mercedes-Benz headquarters is a must-visit for auto enthusiasts. The approximately 90-minute tour will take you
through the museum and vehicle assembly. Marvel at the technological advances — from vintage cars to robotic production lines. Also based in Stuttgart, Porsche offers guided tours for those with a need for speed. With rare models on display and a high-tech interactive touch wall, you won’t mind spending a few hours inside. Through June 2017, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz are offering a special joint admission price for both museums. Present your entrance ticket from one museum for 25-percent off admission to the other.
Tip: Test drives of performance vehicles are available at all three automakers. Reservations are required or highly recommended, and fees are often charged per minute.
Germany has a lot to offer — both inside and out. If rainy days have you cooped up and feeling restless, why not explore the great indoors?