Imagine falling asleep on your Grandma’s sofa and waking up after a good night’s sleep in a land of knights, princesses, pirates and dinosaurs. This is exactly what happened to the Littlins last Friday: we surprised them by making a stop over en route from Budapest to Eindhoven in a village just outside Nürnberg. This is the home of Playmobil and the Playmobil FunPark.
At the entrance you are greeted by 2 life-sized guards flanking the draw bridge leading to the ticket office, the entrance to a magical land of fun and adventure. Within minutes we had lost Little Man… he was totally distracted by some construction vehicles and a quarry. All there for children to play on. It immediately made sense why they had arm bands and pens right by the entrance! The excitement gets young and old carried away and it’s easy to loose eachother.
Little Miss, Mini Man (who was happily sleeping through all of this) and I headed off to the castle. By the time Dadonthebrink and Little Man caught up with us I had lost Little Miss somewhere in the mirror labyrinth or the underground dungeons. Somehow the two Littlins emerged together after some time. Only then to disappear again into Jurassic Park- with its rope bridges, look out, tent with hammocks,- while I fed Mini Man. Dadonthebrink finally found them on a large pirate ship before they set off to “sail the seven seas”. He stormed their ship from a raft.
After a quick picnic lunch we found Noah’s Ark, behind which my kids could’ve spent the rest of the day playing with different boats, sea planes in long troughs of water. With difficulty we prized them away to the Farm, where they got to wash the large plastic animals and “milk” the cows (there was water flowing from their teats, when children pulled) and then on to the Wild West. Here we found ourselves in the midst of the goldrush and ended up digging and sieving for gold, just like those long ago in America looking to find their fortunes. …and we were lucky: we ended up filling our little treasure chest with gold nuggets.
Wilting after all the climbing, running and exploring, it was time to find some quieter activities, so in we went to the indoor play area (a huge glass building ) with yet more large versions of the different Playmobil themes and the different sets of Playmobil set out for children to play with (and a dedicated team of staff quietly reassemmbling things kids hafe taken apart). Here Little Man settled with the knights and dragons and Little Miss immediately made a beeline for the princess castle. She quickly made friends with another girl about her age and they played beautifully together despite not speaking a word of eachother’s language…We just loved watching this unfold. Pure play and how it bridges barriers!
The Littlins played for well over an hour before we dragged them away to have some bratworst and chips (which we picked up at the self service restaurant with drinks in playmobil themed plastic cups and a Playmobil figurine to go with the meal). Unfortunately it was nearing closing time, so the Littlins only had 5 more minutes in the indoor playground, climbing rope ladders and crossing rope bridges before whizzing down some curling slides…. and then it was time to leave. As soon as the Littlins’ bottoms hit the car seats they were asleep, only to wake next morning at the other Grandma’s house.
Playmobil FunPark is what childhood dreams are made of. The place is heaven for kids and it’s all active. There are no rides as such ( though they are planning to introduce some electric boats next year) and their motto is for kids to spend the time playing instead of queuing. It achieves this perfectly…and what I also LOVED about the place is there is none of this over protective health and safety driven culture present. The kids climb and they can climb high, the ropes wobble, the kids can slip and end up in the knee deep lake from the ladder bridge to the pirate island for example. It’s all part of the discovery. On the other hand, there are wasp traps hung all over and sun shelters, parasols on the ready for a hot summer’s day (unfortunately, we went from 36C in Budapest to 18C in Nürnberg and rather overcast so these were stowed). You can see a lot of thought has gone into everything.
My only gripe- the chips were way too salty, especially for kids, and all announcements were only in German (saying that all staff we asked anything of spoke perfect English.)
We shall be back on our next trip crossing Europe.
Is it worth making the trip especially? I’d combine it with a couple of things in the area and make a long weekend of it. If your kids love Playmobil as much as ours do then it’ll be a winner.
Thanks goes to my friend Steph and fellow blogger Alex, aka Daddacool for inspiring this excursion! There will be lots of pictures to follow.