Vienna, Austria with Kids
Vienna is an amazing European city packed with things to do. We barely scratched the surface with our visit, but enjoyed the nice weather as best we could. It’s on our “to re-visit” list because there was so much more to see and do!
Our flight arrived in the late afternoon into Vienna. Instead of taking the City Airport Train (CAT) which costs €11 we opted for €4 public transportation route. We purchased the tickets on the app. Its best to set up the app before you go, as you have to validate your card and that can take some time. There is a separate app with maps of the public transport options. The Vienna info page has a list of all the apps that will help you get around.
We stayed at the Mariott Imperial Ridding School, where we had access to the club lounge. The rooms were spacious. The lounge allowed us to not worry about breakfast and dinner with the kids, which is a huge advantage. We were traveling with my mom and some friends, so it also gave us a social space to hang out in.
Once we were settled, we took the kids to the nearby Modena park. The park has plenty of playground equipment and some hammocks to hang out in.
While the kids were playing we ran to pick up our Vienna Passes. There are several pickup locations (including the airport) but we were instructed to pick ours up at the in town location. Despite confirming the time, we arrived and found the location closed.
After dinner, Jeff headed out without his Vienna Pass and saw a few museums that were open late. The Globe Museum, Esperanto Museum, and Papyrus Museum are all housed in the the Austrian National Library.
The next morning we were up early and headed out to explore Vienna on foot. We stopped at the Soviet War Memorial so the boys could enjoy the fountain.
We had our sights set on a playground but these two were happy to play in any patch of grass we found on our walk.
We made another quick stop at St Charles Church. We did not go in as it was still early, but you can enter for €8.
Just across from the church is a lovely playground. There was a variety of equipment and the kids burned off a ton of energy. Jeff left us here to go pick up the Vienna passes. He arrived to find a line wrapping around the block. We had to call our contact to get them to bring out our reserved pass. The moral here is to buy your pass early and arrange pickup at a closer location.
The plan was to send the older kids, the dads, and Grandma to the Spanish Riding School demo, free with your Vienna Pass. Babies are not allowed in the performances, so I was going to go with the baby somewhere else. The dads, kids, and grandma’s arrived at the Spanish Ridding School and found a huge line. After waiting for some time, Jeff popped inside where he was told the performance was full to capacity and they wouldn’t be letting anyone else in. They said they had no plans to inform the line outside. We would advise reservations for this, however you cannot make reservations if you plan to use the Vienna Pass. The dads rerouted to the Natural History Museum.
Meanwhile I found myself inside the Albertina Museum (Free with the Vienna Pass). We arrived just as it opened and had no wait to get in. When we left, there was quite a line for tickets. The Vienna Pass allows you to skip the line here.
The collection is outstanding. I enjoyed the impressionist exhibit the most. The layout is a bit confusing, so make sure you’ve seen everything – including the apartments- before you leave. Most importantly, I was able to find a statue that shares my profile. Ha!
We all met back up at the Natural History Museum. This place is huge and could easily take up half a day. The museum is a mix of old display cases and new interactive exhibits. They also house the worlds largest collection of meteorites.
The museum quarter has a lot to offer. In addition to museums, there are plenty of little cafes for lunch. We wandered in to the Vegan Festival, grabbed a bench and a variety of food and enjoyed lunch in the sunshine before heading to the children’s museum.
The Zoom Children’s Museum is an absolute must. I first learned about this museum through BéBé Voyage. You will need a reservation for the exhibits. There are a variety to choose from and they all look amazing. (If you don’t have a reservation, you can put your name on the wait list and get in 10 min before it opens if space is available. We were told it is quite common for people not to show.)
To accommodate everyone, I made reservations for the Ocean exhibit. Everyone must remove their shoes and are invited into a small auditorium for an introduction, which includes songs and a little puppet show. Then, they can head into the world to explore.
All of our littles had a great time. There were even things for our Little Little to enjoy. The activities ranged from fun things to touch to costume play. There were boats to drive and places to go fishing.
If we went back, I would look into one of the creative workshops for the older ones. They peered longingly through the glass at the kids making and testing boats as we were leaving.
On our way out we grabbed some vegan ice cream to enjoy. It was warm and the kids needed a little pick me up!
We grabbed the hop on hop off bus to get to our next destination. It was sunny, so we sat down below, but as a result couldn’t see much! The kids loved the kids commentary though and were laughing throughout the ride. The hop on hop off bus is included with the Vienna Pass.
The bus dropped us off just a block from Prater amusement park.
The Vienna Pass includes a ride on the ferris wheel, which we knew we had to check out. These wheels have become a staple in our city visits and the kids always love them.
With the Vienna Pass, you skip the line and just scan yourself into the waiting area. This area is full of little miniature models. All of them light up and move. Had we known what was going on we would have had an adult wait in the line while the kids looked around but instead we all blissfully enjoyed the dioramas and then got in line for the wheel. The line is long because loading and unloading is inefficient. Try to not worry about it and just enjoy your time.
They load about 20 people in each car. There are benches that seat about 10. We had the stroller with us and had no trouble getting it aboard. The ride is slow and gives you plenty of time to view the city. You make one full rotation.
I love seeing a city from above, there is just something so romantic about it!
Just across from the Ferris Wheel is the Roller Coaster Restaurant. This was another fun suggestion from the Bébé Voyage blog. We popped in for a quick drink and some fries which was the perfect way to experience this place.
You order your food from an ipad and scan the number of your seat. When your food is ready, it is loaded onto a race track and sent to your table!
I’m not explaining it well so here is the video.
With bellies full, we headed to another Vienna Pass attraction in the park: The miniature train!
The Liliputbahn is the miniature railroad that rides throughout the park. A roundtrip ticket is included with the Vienna Pass. If we had more time, we could have easily gotten off at some of the other stops and enjoyed the playgrounds and the park.
Instead, we stayed on for the full roundtrip ride. The train picks up some serious speed going through the woods. There is a diesel engine and a steam engine. There are a few cars that can accommodate strollers. We were glad to have our Mountain Buggy Nano with us as it easily stored under our train seat in a normal car.
We hopped onto the metro and took it an easy, one stop back to our hotel.
The next morning we headed to the Belvedere.
The gardens are free and open to the public. They proved to be the perfect place to let the kids run around and enjoy the weather.
There were plenty of things to peek into and explore. The older two were convinced this was The Secret Garden.
There is plenty here for parents to enjoy as well. We loved walking around and exploring all the little details right there with them.
The Belvedere has an upper and lower museum which each require their own admission, but are both included on the Vienna Pass. We opted to just see the upper museum. Vienna Pass members get to skip the line.
These art galleries inside of palaces are often hard to take everything in. The rooms themselves are often pieces of art.
There were also incredible views outside the windows onto the gardens.
The main attraction is “The Kiss” by Gustav Klimt.
Photos of the artwork are prohibited – oops! They have set up a fun Selfie point so you can take your photo with The Kiss. I’m a sucker for any fun photo opportunity.
And as usual, I made everyone around me take photos too.
Taking a selfie is always fun, particularly when you find a “selfie point.”
We scooted out of the museum after about an hour. The kids had enough and we saw the highlights. Our friends who bought tickets at the museum received a kids booklet for the museum, so make sure you ask for one.
We walked through some of Vienna’s neighborhoods. When we arrived at Central station, we were able to pick up lunch to take with us on the Twin City Liner to Bratislava.
With one last morning in Vienna, we hit up a playground in the shadow of the Flak Towers.
The Big Littles favorite part of the playground was the invisible staircase.
He also informed us he could read some of the “art” on the tower and ran over to show us this. He correctly told us it said “poop.”
We wanted to squeeze one more thing out of our visit so we hit up the Haus Der Music museum. My kids were enthralled! There was a stairway that played music, a game to create your own composition, and even a (recorded) concert you could attend.
The kids loved the area that explored different sounds. Here you would listen to sounds and see if you could identify them. Some of them were music and others were city sounds or bodily functions.
When we were done at the museum, we popped into a park cafe for a bite of Vienna’s famous chocolate cake. I, of course, also had a coffee.
There is so much left to explore in this amazing city that I know we will be back.
We want you to know that Vienna Pass provided us with a free pass in exchange for our review. As always, we provide you with an honest review based on our experience.
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