CONTRIBUTED BY LUCY B.
We spent a lot of money in the process of moving to Germany. After the paying the moving company, our deposit and commission on our new apartment, plane tickets and buying a car, we were pretty much tapped out for a while. Besides that, most of our son’s favorite toys and books were on a boat, crossing the Atlantic, so pretty soon we were bored out of our minds. Here are a few of the things we figured out to entertain ourselves without dipping into our dwindling savings too much.
1) Go to the main train station or construction site and watch the trains and diggers. Stuttgart is currently doing a major renovation on their train station and rail network, so this was a great place to see the cranes, trains and other big machinery in action. It costs almost nothing, is somewhat sheltered from the rain and cold, and if you bring a sandwich, you can make an afternoon of it.
2) Library– German libraries usually charge membership fees if you want to check out materials, but there’s no fee just to visit and look around. The Stuttgart library has an awesome children’s section full of great books, and also little push carts, reading nooks, and great views of the city and construction sites below.
3) Public Parks/Nature trails– I’ve written quite a lot on the wonders of Killesberg Park, but that’s not the only destination worth visiting in Stuttgart. There are plenty of nature trails for those that like to hike, and typically just outside the city, you’ll find small family farms, full of tractors and cows and other super interesting discoveries. For playgrounds, try Spielplatztreff, which lists playgrounds all over Germany, including maps and pictures to help you plan your adventure.
4) Amateur sports team game– We live near a couple of sports parks, where varieties range from semi-professional down to Kindergarten soccer teams. On our many walks, we have seen sports as varied as Lacrosse, field hockey, soccer, American football and climbing. If you have time to kill and nothing to do, few things beat the fun of watching enthusiastic players fight for their team.
5) Free museums– Some museums have open door days when the entrance is free. If you check ahead, you can also find places that offer free admission to children. Here is a list of museums that have been featured on Germany Ja.
6) Yoga/tai chi in the park– Keep an eye out for these, as they’re often announced on bulletin boards in bakeries, pharmacies and grocery stores rather than online. Also look out for Schnupperkurs, which is a trial course, sometimes offered at a reduced price for beginners to try it out. Our local pilates center and ice skating rink both offer them from time to time.
7) Festivals (but bring your own food)- If you don’t spend anything on beer and food, festivals are actually virtually free. Often there is outdoor music, and depending on the festival, even activities for kids to play and make crafts. Here is a list of festivals featured on Germany Ja.
Picture credits: Click on top photo for link to the credits. The other two are by the author.