Over the years we have visited a lot of theme parks, many at home in the UK, some in Japan and several in Florida – we enjoy them immensely and don’t mind admitting it; there is no place for the intellectual snobbery that puts many off as far as we are concerned – fun is fun, after all. So when our friends suggested a day at Playmobil Fun Park in Zirndorf we didn’t hesitate, although none of us were really sure what to expect. The boys do have some Playmobil toys at home and we are familiar with the iconic Playmobil figure but it is fair to say that Lego is their construction toy of choice and for a while we had annual passes to Legoland which they all enjoyed very much.
Playmobil’s website states that the park’s focus is “on movement and activity, and not on standing in queues” and boy do they mean it: The boys spent hours climbing, balancing, punting, sliding, digging and playing without once complaining about the lack of rollercoasters or thrill rides. When they got tired of one thing, we moved on to the next – mining in the stone quarry, rafting in the pirate waters, shimmying along balance beams and then climbing to the top of one of the largest rope frames I have ever seen. Initially I worried that John, at 10, might find the park a bit too tame, but not so – he was as enthusiastic as the others and the first to ask when we will be going back again.
And at just 10 euros a ticket, I would gladly go back over and over again! To put that into context, an adult ticket for Playmobil Fun Park is 7 times cheaper than a ticket to Legoland Windsor. Ironically, if you could snap up a cheap air ticket from Ryanair to Nuremberg a day out at Playmobil Fun Park from London would probably be cheaper and you would certainly spend less time queuing! Without a doubt, this was by far the best value family theme park we have ever been to and if we lived closer we would be annual members for sure. By the end of the day all the children were pleasantly worn out and ready for an early night, which meant that we didn’t get to try the biergarten – ah well, there is always next time and there will be a next time!
Day 4 saw us heading back to Pottenstein to Kletterwald, a zipline and aerial adventure park with 11 individual courses for different age ranges; some suitable for children as young as 4 ranging up to others for those over 14. Training is given on how to use the equipment and, fortunately for us, a guide with perfect English was able to help our group. Initially I paired up with the older boys and had a go on some of the mid range courses; throwing myself over rope walls and wobbling across suspended planks in the trees – it probably wasn’t a pretty sight, but I don’t think anyone was watching. John and Ted were fearless and a great deal faster than me, which I like to think is because of their lower centre of gravity and lack of experience falling, rather than my level of general (un)fitness!
For the second hour Alex and I took things a bit more gently on the Panda course until we took a wrong turn somewhere and had to be rescued by a very nice member of staff. What I realised when going round with Alex is that, as the accompanying adult, you either have to decide to go ahead of your child (which doesn’t really work if they need help with the rigging on and off the zip wires) or you go behind them. At one point I was encouraging Alex to cross between two barrels suspended a long way off the ground (which, with a lot of encouragement, he eventually did) only to find that when it was my turn to cross between the barrels the gap between them was, in reality, a lot larger than it had appeared from behind. I really don’t know how he managed it because it made my heart race, never mind his!
For our final full day in Germany, we felt a bit of culture was called for and we headed over to Weissenburg where the Romans founded a garrison in AD89 and where you can now see the restored Northern gate of the fortress Biriciana as well as the bath house which has been turned into a fascinating museum. Unsure what to do in the castle grounds, the children decided that the ditch provided the perfect landscape for a game of “What’s the time Mr Wolf?” – possibly not the history lesson we had in mind but lots of fun nonetheless. They were a little more focussed in the bath house museum which included a short film with English subtitles showing what the baths might have been like in their heyday.
A run around in the park after lunch and a quick detour to another sommerrodelbahn on the way back to Nuremberg rounded up an incredible week in Bavaria and it was with heavy hearts that we headed home again the next day.