Tirol for families: 60 years Alpine Zoo and 25 years Tirolean Family Nests
Last updated on 11.04.2022
From Nauders to Fieberbrunn, from East Tirol to the Ötztal Valley – Tirol is home to a huge variety of activities aimed at families with children. This year sees two of the region’s most popular attractions celebrate important anniversaries: Innsbruck Alpine Zoo turns 60, while the Tirolean Family Nests will be celebrating their 25th birthday.
From Nauders to Fieberbrunn, from East Tirol to the Ötztal Valley – Tirol is home to a huge variety of activities aimed at families with children.
This year sees two of the region’s most popular attractions celebrate important anniversaries: Innsbruck Alpine Zoo turns 60, while the Tirolean Family Nests will be celebrating their 25th birthday.
The Tirolean Family Nests turn 25
This year marks an important anniversary for the Tirolean Family Nests. This group of family-friendly areas across Tirol with activity programmes and quality-approved accommodation was created 25 years ago with the aim of giving families with children an unforgettable experience in the Alps. Youngsters of all ages can enjoy activities run by trained experts in the forests and meadows of Tirol. Accommodation providers are awarded special status (“Nest Partner Premium”, “Nest Partner”) in recognition of their family-friendly facilities and infrastructure.
The Tirolean Family Nests have a motto for each year. In 2022, when they will be celebrating their 25-year anniversary, the focus will be on forests and in particular the fir tree – a symbol of the great outdoors which are currently experiencing a boom after the lifting of many Covid-19 restrictions.
Innsbruck Alpine Zoo – 60 years young
Another popular attraction in Tirol an anniversary in 2022 is the Innsbruck Alpine Zoo. In September the zoo turns 60 years old – and there will be plenty of activities throughout the month to mark this important milestone. In the week from 19.09. until 25.09.2022 the zoo will be charging its original 1962 admission fee – just 4 Austrian Shillings! On the anniversary day itself, 22.09.2022, the animals will receive a special birthday cake. The weekend will see further entertainment and activities. The birthday celebrations will last the whole year. For example, the birthday logo of Innsbruck Alpine Zoo will be placed prominently on the main bridge in the centre of the city. There will also be a new guidebook released to mark the 60th birthday as well as a special anniversary publication. And since no good birthday is complete without presents, you will find a gift list both at the zoo and online with details of presents which the friendly animals would love to receive. Last but not least, the zoo has a new play area and a new enclosure for badgers and foxes.
On the water
Tirol may be famous first and foremost for its mountains, but water is also a key element which you will find throughout the rugged landscape. The region is home to water-themed adventure parks, mighty gorges and crystal-clear mountain lakes – perfect for relaxing on hot summer days.
There is even a 12-kilometre-long themed trail all about water in the Wipptal Valley, where friendly mascots Gschnitzy and Gossy share fun stories and fascinating facts about water as you make your way along.
In the Tirolean Oberland in the west of the region you will find the family-friendly Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis, a series of three villages sharing a huge 15,000m² water-themed play area.
Just outside the regional capital Innsbruck is the Mutterer Alm with fun waterwheels and several small ponds and lakes where kids will love splashing around.
Following extensive renovation work last year, the Magical Witches’ Water in Söll in open once again and invites in families brave enough for a magical experience. The adventure begins on the way up with a special musical cable car to get you and your family in the mood. Up at the top, keep your eyes open for the “Eilight”, a special egg museum, as well as lots more attractions and activities.
Older children and the young-at-heart will love Area47, a popular outdoor adventure park at the start of the Ötztal Valley. Covering an incredible 20,000m², it is not for the faint-hearted with highlights including a Kamikaze Slide, a Speed Slide, a Wakeboard Area, a 10-metre diving tower and a special ski jump with a water landing.
In the gorge and on the lake
Hiking and swimming are a great combination on a hot summer’s day. As well as its many mountain lakes, Tirol is also home to plenty of gorges and canyons. Families with children should check out the Kundler Klamm with its buggy-friendly walking trail or the Zammer Lochputz near Zams where there are walkways and tunnels carved into the rock leading to a waterfall. Older children and teenagers will enjoy the Wolfsklamm near Stans with its ladders, bridges and benches for relaxing.
When it comes to lakes in Tirol, Lake Achensee is the big daddy of them all and popular with windsurfers in summer, but there are also plenty of smaller lakes such as the Schwarzsee near Kitzbühel and the Piburger See in the Ötztal where you will find a little more peace and quiet. Those who prefer their lakes not too cold will find relatively warm water at the Walchsee near Kufstein and the Tristacher See in East Tirol.
In the mountains
Tirol’s 16 Family Regions are home to quality-approved mountain adventure areas accessible quickly and easily by cable car. Families can simply hop on the gondola and travel up into the high mountains where lots of fantastic outdoor activities await. Some of the most popular outdoor adventure areas in Tirol include the Magical Witches’ Water in Söll with its egg-themed activities (what came first – the chicken or the egg?), the Triassic Park in Waidring and the ZirbenPark in the Pitztal Valley. Ready for a new adventure? Let’s go!
Mini rollercoaster in the mountains
Throughout the region you will find a number of what are known in German as “summer toboggan runs”. Tobogganing in summer? Don’t worry, behind the slightly strange name are what could best be described as mini rollercoasters for one or two people. They generally start somewhere on the mountain and wind their way down into the valley. Riders have a handbrake which they can use to control their speed on the descent. Two of the most spectacular are the 3.5-kilometre-long Alpine Coaster in Imst and the Osttirodler in Lienz, where riders can reach speeds of up to 40km/h.
There is also a summer toboggan run at Timok’s Wild World, an outdoor adventure area on the Wildseeloder mountain above Fieberbrunn. In the Alpbachtal Valley you will also find the Lauser Sauser with its jumps, banked corners and even an 18-metre-high corkscrew.
Last but certainly not least, Mieders near Innsbruck is home to the steepest summer toboggan run anywhere in the Alps – it is just 2.8 kilometres long but drops 640 vertical metres from start to finish. The run has 40 corners and a top speed of 42km/h. Don’t forget to enjoy the view of the mighty Serles mountain – if you dare look up!
Rainy day? No problem! Tirol has plenty to offer even on those days when the weather gods are not smiling on this part of the world. Bad-weather days are a great chance to explore some of Tirol’s best indoor activities such as museums, historic mines, castles and fortresses.
The Audioversum museum in Innsbruck is all about sound and hearing. Its interactive exhibition teaches children all about these topics in a fun, interesting and engaging way. While you are in Innsbruck, why not also pay a visit to the Glockengießerei Grassmayr. This centuries-old bell foundry has its own museum. Once a week there is also the chance to see a bell being cast.
Away from Innsbruck, at the Burgenwelt Ehrenberg near Reutte, kids can play at being knights and princesses at these former castle ruins featuring a range of activities such as a treasure hunt, a castle-themed play area and a magic forest.
Finally, the Tratzberg Castle is home to a friendly castle ghost named Tratzi who, together with his mouse friend, will guide you through this historic complex. Special guided tours and workshops aimed at children are available at Ambras Castle on the outskirts of Innsbruck.
More information: https://www.tyrol.com/attractions
Staying safe on holiday: For an overview of the current Covid-19 rules and recommendations in Tirol please visit www.welcome.tirol