Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Great Playgrounds in Europe

As any family traveler can attest to, finding a playground can be a huge mood changer for everyone.  After sitting in a stroller or walking miles to see a cathedral or driving hours to take in the scenery, the sight of a playground on the horizon usually evokes screams from our kids of “there’s a playground, lets go play!”

We took a 6-week trip through Europe and stumbled across a few great playgrounds.  Here are some of the best playgrounds we found.

Ralambshovsparken-This park is full of open spaces for picnics with views of Gamla Stan.  It sits right next to the water and has a fun playground with slides for little kids and a tire swing for older kids.  A walking trail from this park leads into Gamla Stan and is a beautiful 20 minute walk.  It was a great place to run off some steam at the end of the day and was right across the street from our hotel, Courtyard Stockholm Kungsholmen.
View of Gamla Stan 
Mason on tricycle
Gwen doesn't stand a chance
Mason loves to swing

Kinderspielplatz-This isn’t exactly a “free” park, but was very cool.  It’s a section inside the Berlin Zoo (Zoologischer Garten).  It is a huge sandbox with large slides and rope bridges.  You can tell the attorney’s haven’t taken all the fun out of being a kid in this park.  The park looks like zoo cages and is quite clean.  It is surrounded by places to eat and buy ice cream.

Berlin Zoo Park
Getting up the courage to slide
Gwen loved this park

The Charles Bridge Playground-One of the most amazing parks we found in Europe, and not because of the park itself, but the location.  It is located directly under the Charles Bridge on the left bank of the Bltava River.  It is a welcomed oasis for families after the mandatory miles you walk enjoying the sites of Old Prague.  It was amazing to find this park sitting on such a valuable piece of real estate.

Crazy location for a park
Nice find

Lake Fuschl Beach and Pool-We stumbled across this place while driving through the Austrian Alps and for me it was my favorite part of our European Trip.  It is about a 30 minute drive from Salzburg.  Next to a crystal clear mountain lake is this family swim hall.  We were clearly the only Americans there.  The pool was nice, the waterslide dropping into the lake was fun, but for me, the best was to just swim in the lake that was so clean, locals drank the water.  If you swim out about 100 feet from shore, there is a floating dock with two diving boards.  One amazing, beautiful find on our vacation.
I was surprised how warm the water was
I loved this place
Mason wants in
Gwen with a nice dive

I couldn’t find the name of this park.  Locals call it “Bagdad” because of how immense the sandbox.  If you’re walking from Zurich toward the lake, stay on the left bank of the lake and walk about 15 minutes.  You’ll soon see a HUGE family playground that has things kids of all ages would enjoy.  If I wouldn’t have looked like a “Strange American” I would have played on this playground.

This picture captured about 1/10 of this playground
Luxembourg Gardens Playground-There is a small fee to enter this playground, but as a traveler, it’s fun to see your kids playing side by side with kids speaking as many as 15 different languages.  The park is centrally located with good crepe stands just outside.  Our daughter loved climbing the 20 foot bungee replica of The Eiffel Tower.  A great little find in Paris
Gwen climbing the Eiffel Tower
Mason is hiding in that train somewhere.  He loves trains

Mason and Gwen riding horses next to playground


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