A trip through Tripsdrill: Germany's first amusement park
Quirky, unique and overall historic, Germany’s first amusement park of Tripsdrill (also known as Erlebnispark Tripsdrill) — in the town of Cleebronn, close to Stuttgart — offers a little piece of homegrown German culture wrapped up in a fun-filled package. Opened in 1929, Tripsdrill began taking form when Eugene Fischer built a windmill on the site, along with a restaurant and a slide in the mill for children to play on. Today, the theme park is still owned by the same family and has grown to include more than 100 attractions, and a separate wildlife park (Wildparadies) that embodies Tripsdrill’s spirit of originality and attention to detail, fulfilling their motto of “made with love” (mit Liebe gemacht).
Undoubtedly, Tripsdrill’s main charm lies in its homegrown attitude and unabashed sense of humor that traces back to the park’s beginning. Still standing today, as the heart of the theme park, is the original mill and slide, named the Old Women’s Mill (Altweibermühle) by Fischer. The legend still goes that old women would travel to the mill to be made young again, with the grinding stones erasing signs of old age and the youthful plunge down the slide. Not to be outdone, in later years an Old Man’s Mill (Altmännermühle) was built next to the original mill, housing an obstacle course that once again, according to legend, was created to rejuvenate elderly men. Tripsdrill’s tongue-in-cheek approach continues in other attractions, with themes such as the Badewannen-Fahrt zum Jungbrunnen log flume, which is a ride in a bathtub through a castle, and other household-based rides (including themes such as Bundt cakes, coffee cups, old shoes, soup bowls, laundry baskets and wine barrels).
Attraction-wise, the Tripsdrill theme park has more to offer for families with younger children, including easier rides and slightly more daring options for kids attempting to move up to bigger kid’s rides. While thrill seekers may ultimately be disappointed by the park’s lack of options and laid-back attitude, there are a few extreme rides, such as the G’sengte Sau roller coaster built in a medieval style; the Karacho catapult roller coaster complete with multiple loops and corkscrews; and Mammut, the first entirely wooden roller coaster built in southern Germany.
Connected to the theme park by an in-park train and walking path, the wildlife park of Tripsdrill is included in the day pass for the theme park or available separately. Open during both summer and winter seasons, the wildlife park is home to more than 40 different species of animals such as brown bears, artic wolves, lynxes, wild horses, goats, yaks and multiple birds of prey. Some animals, such as the deer, can be fed and pet by visitors, and viewable feeding sessions for the larger predators occur daily at 2:30 p.m. (except Fridays). A bird of prey flight demonstration is also shown daily (except Fridays) at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.; it’s exciting to see, even though the show is presented only in German. The wildlife park also includes a forest adventure path (Walderlebnispfad) and barefoot path (Barfusspfad) to explore and gain insight about nature, as well as an adventure playground (Abenteuerspielplatz) for children.
For more information, including seasonal dates, opening hours and prices, go to tripsdrill.de/en.