Spring and summer are approaching and we’re all starting to think about fun weekend getaways with the kids. This past August, just before school started, my family took a last-minute weekend getaway to Thüringen, a wooded state in central Germany. There, we visited the Feengrotten and adjoining Feenweltchen. It’s a great place to take the little ones, from pre- through elementary school.
The Feengrotten (Fairy Grottoes) cave tour itself, which is recommended for age 3 and up, does not feature a large room to the magnitude of Luray or Carlsbad Caverns. However, a light show at the end, set to the narration of a fairy tale about the grottoes, makes the tour completely worthwhile. The tour lasts about an hour and visitors wear cloaks provided for them, in order to protect clothing from drippings from above. Some areas of the cave are wet (even in walkways), and very narrow and low; proper footwear should be worn.
The Fairy Grottoes came to be after a system of caves was created during mining operations. After the mine was abandoned, colorful stalagmites and stalactites began to slowly fill the caverns; eventually, the mines were rediscovered. For 1 euro, you can rent an English-language audio guide to use throughout the tour, which is in German and discusses both mining and the formation of stalagmites and stalactites. Our guide kept the children engaged throughout the tour.
In some areas of the cave not a part of the tour, visitors pay to sit in the cave for varying lengths of time for health benefits. Next to the grottoes are Feenweltchen, an interactive museum which we did not visit (Grottoneum), and a hotel.
Feenweltchen is an outdoor trail setting, weaving through a fairy world of obstacles and themed playground equipment, most of which was beautifully handcrafted. Giant musical instruments hung in the woods, kids could make a craft, a fairy painted faces inside a tiny hut, and boys and girls just generally ran through the forest shrieking and playing. It is a simple, natural place to be a kid.
This is a worthwhile day trip if you’re in the area, and Thüringen itself is a state for outdoor activity. Many girls wore fairy wings, boys sometimes troll hats. If your child is dressed as a fairy, be sure the ticket agent sees so they get a little surprise.
Tips For Your Trip:
November – April
Feengrotten / Grottoneum
Daily from 1030 – Last admittance at 1530pm
In January the Feengrotten is only open on Saturdays and Sundays
May – November
Feengrotten / Grottoneum / Feenweltchen
Daily from 0930 – last admittance at 1700
Feengrotten (Guided tour of caves):
Grotteneum (Interactive museum):
Feenweltchen (playgrounds and trails):
Combination (May – October all three areas):
Combination (November – April Feengrotten and Grottoneum):
Tel +49 3671 55040