CONTRIBUTED BY LUCY B.
Killesberg Park is one of our ultimate warm weather destinations in Stuttgart, because it has almost everything you could want for a kid-friendly outing. First of all, it’s a park, so there are fountains, flower displays, landscaped areas where you can just lounge around, stroller-friendly pathways, and gorgeous, panoramic views of the city below. Besides the fresh air and beautiful surroundings, the best thing about Killesberg Park is that it doesn’t have to be expensive. If you bring your own lunch, it could be virtually free. There’s no admission fee, and there are plenty of attractions. The open nature of the park and all of the recreation areas it provides gives it a very friendly and community-oriented feeling, unlike the stress and overheated feeling I get from amusement parks. Since it is public, there’s no rush. People open a blanket and a picnic basket and lounge around all day, or watch their kids play on the playground. There are plenty of public restrooms, great access to the public transportation and handicapped access, making this park truly open to anyone.
The two most iconic aspects of the park are probably the tower at the top, where the brave can climb winding metal and cable stairways to get an even more incredible view of the city, and the Kleinbahn. This little child-friendly train does require a ticket, and I find it a little pricey at about 3.50 for adults and 1.50 for kids, but my train-crazy kid loves the ride so much that it’s well worth it. It takes you on a little jaunt around the park, and gives you the chance to spot the places you want to visit next. You ride by fountains, flower gardens, animal enclosures, the amazing playground, the swimming pool, a few restaurants, a beer garden and a children’s theater. We usually park our stroller (or bikes or scooters or whatever you have) next to the Kleinbahn ticket office. Since our stroller is worth as much as a bike and would be easy to walk away with, we lock it with a cable lock.
After the train, it’s easy to spot the tower in the near distance. Just at the foot of the tower, there is a child’s dream of a little carnival. At the window of the Waffelbäckerei (waffle baker) you can order anything from hot chocolate, to fresh waffles with whipped cream and sugar (my favorite), to beer, wine, soda, ice cream, popcorn (be sure to specify salty or sweet), cotton candy, Flammkuchen (kind of like pizza), and other treats that are very reasonably priced. On weekends sometimes you can get a grilled sausage there, too. There are open tables and a little gazebo, all situated to give a stunning view of the park and city below. We make sure to ride the historic carousel. In the afternoons, there is a puppet theater there, too. You could stop right there and make a day of it, basking in the sun and listening to the carousel music and munching on tasty snacks, but there’s more to see!
Just down the path, there are enclosures with several kinds of animals. On the left, there’s a duck pond with some of the most exotic ducks we’ve ever seen, and even a few flamingoes. On the right, you’ll come across a pony paddock. In the spring, you can usually find one or two baby ponies (extra tiny) as well. Make sure to keep an eye out for little ones, as the ponies can bite. There’s also an electric fence that is not supposed to be turned on during the day, but you never know. You don’t want anyone to get zapped! Just downhill from there, you will find pigs, chickens, goats and llamas. There is a feeding automat where you can buy little pellets (10 cents). The sign there asks that you not feed the animals any food (even innocent things like carrots and apples) because it can give them “fatal diarrhea.” If I have extra 10 cent coins when we’re done, I leave them on top of the automat in case another family doesn’t have correct change and wants to get some pellets. Next stop: the playground.
I can’t say enough about the playground at Killesberg. It is huge. It has it all. There are slides for all sizes, swings for everyone (and baby swings are hard to find in Germany), bridges, climbing frames, sand, basket swings, play houses, turtle sculptures, wooden trains, a very interesting merry-go-round that kids power by pedaling, and so much more. This would be the ideal place for a low-cost children’s birthday party. There is a lush lawn right next to the playground where you can lay out a big blanket and bring your own food and drink and just enjoy the whole day playing in the sun. (Bonus: public restrooms!)
The hidden gem of the park for those that have kids is the water playground (Wasserspielplatz on the map). It’s a little out of the way, and across the street from the rest of the park, but a great discovery on a hot day. Channels and canals funnel water down over a series of small rock pools where children take off their pants and splash around. If you bring your sand toys, they take on a whole new role, and become exciting all over again. The maximum water depth is less than a foot, so it’s relatively safe for little ones (of course, adult supervision is still important). Since it’s gravely, I recommend sandals or pool shoes.
These are just some of the options the park offers. If you’re in a quieter mood, there are plenty of hidden gardens tucked away behind hills and trees where you can read a book and lounge. There are also several restaurants, a snack bar, a beer garden, a night club (for those lucky enough to have a babysitter), two children’s theaters, a swimming pool, an open-air theater and tons of walking paths. In summer, there are plenty of events like concerts and fireworks displays. With so many options to relax and have fun, it would be easy to spend a whole weekend there.
Adress: Stresemannstraße, 70192 Stuttgart, Germany