It’s not new information when I say Germans love the outdoors. Cities are all separated by untouched forests and nature is appreciated in a variety of ways. The trail system throughout the forests is extensive, well marked, and well traveled. It’s very common to come across a biergarten, picnic huts, and playgrounds in the middle the woods. What’s also common to see are Kletterparks, which are essentially ropes courses with obstacles laced throughout the tree tops. In my state of Baden-Wurttemberg alone, there are nearly 80 parks. This website breaks down the locations and descriptions.
My husband and I have wanted to do one of these since we arrived, but never had the chance until recently. My husband took off a day from work for his birthday and since it was a weekday, our son was in his kindikrippe. This left us a good part of the morning free to head to a local Kletterpark.
We chose Rutesheim Freizeit Park which includes a biergarten, mini golf, playgrounds, wilderness trails, and a restaurant. Rarely do the Germans build “just” a Kletterpark. There is always a variety of activities available in any park like this.
You pay a flat fee for the day (in cash, always in cash) and are asked to sign a waiver (in German, so good luck with that). You get equipped with a helmet, harness, and offered the option to buy these gardening type gloves enhanced with rubber nubs for grips at the bargain price of 2 Euro. We opted for the gloves, and if you plan to experience a Kletterpark, I advise you to do the same, or bring a pair from home. We are then told to wait for the instructor to give us a run down of the rules and safety instructions. My husband and I were the only two English speakers in our small group, but managed to understand his German fairly well since he was clicking in and out of the harnesses and physically showing us what to do as he said it. Each tree has two wires you can clip yourself to. One on the rope as you climb to the starting point, one to a stationary wire to keep you secure when you get to the top. Once you are ready to do the obstacle, you click both onto the obstacle and have at it. When the instruction part was over, he asked if we had any questions in English so he could try to help, but we didn’t. It’s quite simple. ALWAYS have one of your lanyards clicked in to one of the hooks while you’re flying through the tree tops. We did a practice run with him on the mini zip line set up in the instruction area, gave the thumbs up, and went off on our own to try some tree hopping.
The obstacles varied from zip lining while standing on a snowboard, clambering over uneven, hanging logs, to balancing on a tight rope. One course had a wooden sled attached that you sat on and rode over to the other side which was my personal favorite. Each grouping of obstacles ended with a zip line. To say we had fun was an understatement. I want to encourage my husband to play hooky at least one more time before summer is over so we can do this again. Not only was it fun, it was a bonding experience and a relationship builder. It was nice to laugh and connect while helping each other out, competing to complete the obstacles better, and it’s always wonderfully healing to be outside in the fresh, forest air. Some parks, like Herrenberg’s Wald Seilgarten, also offer night climbing with glow in the dark ropes and gear, themes, and private events. They also offer gourmet dinners while seated high up in the tress if you want to take date night to another level. Every park is different which makes it exciting to have so many options in our area!
As of now, we can’t take our son to do this with us. However, they have a mini course for children starting at age three which means next year he can join in. There are some pretty wild kletterparks out there with views of castles, mountains, and green forests as far as the eye can see. This is our new date day activity!