Expat Essentials

Winter in Vienna: Five fabulous destinations your kids will want to visit again and again

Winter in Vienna can be very beautiful, especially if there’s a fresh layer of snow on the rooftops. However, the weather here in eastern Austria can get incredibly cold and it’s not always pleasant to be outside, especially for kids.

Thankfully the city is chock full of great indoor and outdoor winter activities for kids.

ZOOM Children’s Museum

My kids are obsessed with this museum. There are separate exhibits for different age groups which really helps kids to interact with the museum at a developmentally appropriate level.

• The OCEAN exhibit is for the youngest visitors, ages 8 months to 6 years. It features an enclosed indoor play area all about oceans, designed to stimulate motor skills, cognitive abilities and social skills.

• ZOOM Studio is an open art studio for kids ages 3-12.

• The ZOOM Hands-On Exhibition changes periodically. It is designed for ages 6-12. Right now the exhibit is all about the human body.

• The ZOOM Animated Film Studio is for ages 8-14 to produce animated films that are included in the museum film collection.

It’s a great museum for a wide range of ages. Make sure to check the website in advance for tickets and reservations. Advanced booking is recommended for all exhibits. Unclaimed tickets are offered up in the last 5 minutes before a session to those on the waitlist. In my experience with OCEAN, I have been able to get in every time from the waitlist.

Ticket desk opening hours
Now thru 23 February 2020: Tuesday – Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturday, Sunday, holidays: 9:45 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Note: Each exhibit has its own exhibition hours. Check out the website for specific exhibit hours.

Haus des Meeres

The Haus des Meeres is Austria’s largest aquarium and is housed in a reconstructed former anti-aircraft fire-control tower from World War II. Inside you will find multiple species of sharks, saltwater fish, freshwater fish and a sea turtle.

In the House of the Tropics and the Croc-Park you will find apes, birds and crocodiles. The terrarium houses reptiles, insects and arachnids. There are multiple feeding times during opening hours so kids can see their favorite creatures enjoying their meals.

You can also take advantage of one of the best views in the city on the rooftop of the aquarium.

Opening hours:

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Thursday 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Tickets are 18.90 euros for adults, 5.70 euros for small kids and 8.60 euros for older kids. There are also senior and student discounts, and you can get tickets here.

Indoor Pools

My kids love the novelty of going swimming when it’s cold outside. There are many indoor pool options in Vienna.

One of the most family-friendly options is Dianabad in the second district. At Dianabad you’ll find a pirate ship play area, an inner tube slide, multiple water playgrounds, a picnic area with a dry playground and of course, a pool. Dianabad is most famous for its Master Blaster water slide, a 125-meter-long water slide that goes up, down and sideways.

You can even make an appointment to swim with mermaids! Dianabad is designed to be a mini-tropical vacation in the middle of Vienna.

Opening hours:
Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Wednesday and Thursday: 1:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Tickets prices are all over the place, but you can see the complete list here.

Schmetterling Haus

The Schmetterling Haus, or Butterfly House, is the perfect respite from a cold day of sightseeing in the first district. It is located in the Burggarten very near the Opera in the center of the city.

Inside the warm and inviting exhibit housed within the glass Palm House, you will find 400 tropical butterflies of 40 different species, water features and exotic plants. My kids love checking out the chrysalis display.

Next door you can grab a bite to eat at the iconic art nouveau Brasserie Palmenhaus, or Palm House Café.

Winter Opening Hours:
November thru March
Monday – Sunday (incl. Holidays): 10 a.m. – 3:45 p.m.

Tickets prices are all over the place with group, student and senior discounts, and you can get a year’s membership for 25 euros. See the complete list here.

Vienna Ice World

If your kids want an outdoor activity to enjoy this winter, look no further than Vienna Ice World, Vienna’s famous ice skating rink at Rathausplatz. After the majesty of the Vienna Christmas Dream market at Rathausplatz is dismantled, a glorious 9,000 -meters-square ice rink is assembled in front of the Rathaus, spanning the grounds of the park.

There is a smaller ice rink set aside for young skaters and beginners that is free of charge. Little skaters can borrow ice skate attachments for their shoes and helmets, also free of charge.

The larger ice rink is for all ages and abilities and there are skates available to rent. (Note: Skate rentals require a 50 euro deposit.)

There are food and drink stands surrounding the ice rink as well as an indoor restaurant where you can warm up after skating.

Opening Hours:
22 January: 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.
23 January – 1 March: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Small rink skating opening hours:
Daily 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

About the author:

Lauren Bordeaux is a freelance writer and Instagram micro-blogger.

You can find her on Instagram at @minivan_memoirs where she posts about expat life, family travel and worldschooling. 

She and her family are from the United States and are currently loving expat life in Vienna, Austria.

You can more of Lauren’s posts here.

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