Hellabrun Teirpark – Zoo
We have been members of the Munich zoo (https://www.hellabrunn.de/en/) since my 4-year-old pictured above was 9 months old and he has really loved it every time we have gone. It is a great place in Munich to walk around with little kids. We especially love the Munich zoo on winter mornings when it felt like we have the whole place to ourselves. Now that my older one is in kindergarten we mostly only go in the afternoons or on weekends when it is more crowded. Apart from all the animals to see there are two main playgrounds inside the zoo. And several other smaller play areas scattered throughout. Our favorite playground for my young kids is near the Rhino café, which specializes in Pizza. It has swings, sandbox, a carousel, climbing structures, water play during the not freezing cold months, and more. We meet friends at the zoo and sometimes all we do is go to this playground and maybe pet the goats which you see on the way. Since my kids’ favorite activity is to play with water I have to either plan our route to avoid this playground or assume we will spend the entire time there especially in the summer months and I always bring a 2nd set of clothing. Our favorite animals to see are the monkeys. We also like to visit the conservation center tucked away in the monkey world. There are several fun things to drop coins in that go to the zoo’s conservation efforts so I always remember to pack small coins for these activities.
I would say kids from 2 years old to 100 would enjoy this museum. The older or more interested you are in a particular subject will dictate how long you spend in any one of the many different areas. I have been with my kids many times and we still haven’t explored the entire museum. We always start at the kinderreich. Here they have daily activities for kids at 3pm but you must be there on time and let them know at the desk when you arrive that you want to do the activity for the day. The kinderreich although much smaller than before due to renovations is also a place you can send 30 – 60 minutes exploring before heading off into the main exhibit halls. My boys at 2 and 4 enjoy looking at all the boats and go anywhere in the museum where there are buttons to push. There are a few more hands on activities and buttons to push in the physics area than some of the others we have visited.
Turnen a.k.a. Gymnastics
If you live here in Munich and have not checked out your local gymnastics hall you need to do it ASAP. I know it is scary going to something very German as an Expat in this city. I avoided going for a while before I got up the courage to try and figure it out. I am so glad I did. It is perfect for all children. Our local verein is TSV Grosshadern (https://www.turnen-in-grosshadern.de/turnen/eltern-kind-turnen/ ) and the parent/kid turnen classes start from 14 months. My youngest was going and participating way before 14 months since we were already there for his older brother. Despite being a great physical activity to do with the kids it is also very affordable. You pay a one time membership fee and then we pay 9 euros a month per child or at ours but not all you can pay 5 euros as a drop in visitor. If you don’t know what is going on just ask another mom, I am sure they will be willing to speak English to you. Reasons we love turnen: it is lots of fun, all the while the kids build motor skills, bravery, coordination and maybe meet some local friends.
I have never lived in another city with children but I think Munich is just a treasure chest of wonderful playgrounds. We don’t have a balcony or garden which is very rare for a Munich apartment but it is a building originally from the 1700s so as a historic landmark they could not add any fancy windows or balconies during renovations. This however has gotten out to our local playground probably 5 out of 7 days a week. It has led to some wonderful friendships for me and my kids with local familes. It has integrated us more into our neighborhood. I know lots of people now as a I walk down the street. In the previous 5 years living in this area I had met no one! I encourage all expat Munich moms that want local friends to visit the same playground in the afternoon every day. The mornings are pretty empty on most playgrounds we have visited since many kids are in krippe or kindergarten until the afternoon. On a nice summer day, the place is packed. Although I think our friendships that lasted are with the families who go to the playground even on the cold winter days like us. We are the few that bare all elements to get outside because it is a great place to play and explore.
We love the Munich pools. Since they are all public there is no membership fees. This is something very new and exciting to me coming from the USA. Kids under 6 entry is free and entry for everyone else is only 4.80-5.30 for several hours at most of the indoor Munich pools or 4.60 for the entire day at all of the Munich outdoor pools. You can check out all the prices here (https://www.swm.de/privatkunden/m-baeder/preise.html). You can even get a card that gives you a discount on the price if you load 25 euros. This card will also let you skip the sometimes long lines at the outside pools. There are pools in what seems like every neighborhood. We frequent Bad Forstenrieder Park https://www.swm.de/privatkunden/m-baeder/schwimmen/hallenbaeder/bad-forstenrieder-park.html most of the year. It is a bit outside the city for most so that means it is not as crowded. The fact there are less people is perfect for me while looking after two wild kids. Forstenrieder bad has a big non-swimmer pool that has a small slide and the pool is kept warmer than the swimming pool. And to look it like most of the other inside pools has a kiddie pool also. In the summer, we prefer the outdoor pools at Westbad. It has a great shaded kiddie pool, a lap pool, a big kid pool with a small slide, and another relaxing pool with a giant water slide for all of the ‘big’ kids. If you are traveling through Munich with kids then you might want to check out Schyrenbad https://www.swm.de/english/m-baeder/outdoor-pools/schyrenbad.html . It is more centrally located it also has a wonderful kids pool and playground. All of the Munich outdoor pools we have visited have fun water slides and great kiddie pools. It seems as if you can’t go wrong and I would choose which ever one is closest to your place.
Hope you find these suggestions helpful whether you are just traveling for a short trip to Munich or you have decided to call Munich, Germany home for a bit longer. Have fun with your kids trying out our favorite Munich activities.