After nearly four years in Germany, we finally made it to the highly acclaimed themepark of Europapark. We have heard and seen numerous advertisements and promotions for the place, but the boy was never old enough for us to make the trip until this fall. He is almost three (so his admission is FREE!) and he currently loves all things “festival” and “spooky”. So, what better time to go than his birthday month of October, which is also our family-favorite time of year…Halloween!!
The park does a really nice job of decorating the grounds with beautiful fall flowers, pumpkins, and goulish creatures lurking around every corner. We were hoping to see more entertainers walking the grounds, but only saw three-stilt-walkers occasionally passing by. I assume more creatures are out on weekends and at night when they do their “16 & over Fright Nights”.
We went on a non-holiday Friday and didn’t find it overly crowded, at all. We were able to let my son ride on all of the kiddie rides he wanted, including the mini-bumper cars which he was ecstatic about because he could drive them “all by myself!”.
The theme park is sectioned off as separate countries which made it seem like an Epcot Center-meets-Six Flags. Each country of the park had rides, cuisine, and decor to meet the theme.
Ireland (the Children’s World) is a new 2016 addition and probably one of the most little-kid-friendly sections, apart from the Grimm’s Fairytale forest. In fact, the entire park had sections that were excellent for all ages, especially Germany which had a biergarten and playground in one. I love them for that. There were no shortage of rides, attractions, or playgrounds for our almost-three-year-old to engage in throughout the entire park.
Adults and big kids can ride some of the world’s best coasters here, too. Since we had the kiddo with us, and to reduce the stress-twitches that were beginning to build up, we quickly agreed that this day would be more about him than than us, even though we LOVE LOVE LOVE roller coasters. We managed to ride the Blue Fire coaster in the Iceland section which we did by using the Baby Pass. If you are going with a little one and want to get some rides in, this is a great option that many theme parks have.
How it works:
- Go to the entrance of the line and ask a crew member if they provide the Baby Pass. If they do, they will hand you a pass which resembles a credit card.
- Wait in line solo with the rest of the folks (go in the single lines to get on the ride faster and fill spaces), and ride the ride.
- When you get off, hand the card off to your spouse who will then enter the ride through the exit with no waiting. There will be a Baby Pass sign on the door and typically a buzzer to alert the crew he/she is there. They hop on the next ride, right away!
Since we were there during their Halloween theme (which goes until November 6), we caught the parade that took place in the country section of Russia. The costumes were much more elaborate than we had expected since Halloween is not as widely celebrated here as it is in the states. We were surprisingly impressed with this and my son had a permanent grin on his face pointing out all of the spooky spiders, ghosts, pirates, etc. The characters threw candy into the crowds, approached the kids and adults with frightening gestures (most of which would NEVER occur in the states, can you say “lawsuit”?), and were very animated in their roles.
Items to note:
- Food and drinks were fairly inexpensive and the cuisine was varied throughout the park with sit-down restaurants, fine dining, and snack shacks. The map identifies vegetarian options and picnic areas for those who bring in their own food.
- We brought in our Fuxtec wagon loaded up with a cooler, water bottles, change of clothes for the kiddo, and bag ‘o snacks, but still purchased some food items here and there…and of course a few beers and weinschorles (wine spritzers). We brought our bike lock for the wagon, but honestly I don’t think anyone would have run off with it. I feel safer leaving things unattended here than I would anywhere else in the world.
- Vat forms are accepted when purchasing tickets from the Information Booth, just past the traditional ticket stands.
- Show times aren’t always accurate, so double check the actual venue signs as well as the daily printed voucher. We missed two shows due to the times being listed 10 mins later in the brochure than they actually were.
You can download a park app on your phone to navigate the park paper-free!
How to Get There:
Europapark is located in southwest Germany in the town of Rust. The drive from Stuttgart took about an hour and a half. We parked at the hotel we stayed at, so we did not pay for parking at the actual park (which I believe is 5 Euro). This is an easy day trip, but we initially wanted two full days at the park…which quickly changed after our one day with a toddler. One full day is enough with a nearly-three-year-old, in my opinion.
The park has several themed hotels you can stay in, a campground, and wagons or tree-houses you can rent, as well. We opted to stay at Pension Jager outside of the park which is only a five minute walk to the entrance. We stayed in a triple which had a large double bed for my husband and I and a small trundle/twin-sized bed for our son. Our room also had a nice balcony which was nice to have when we tried to get the kiddo to sleep, a mini fridge which was great to keep my wine chilled, and an updated and very clean bathroom. The breakfast (8 euro per adult) was very hearty and included scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, soft boiled (Gekochtes Ei), cereals, fruits, breads, meats, yogurts, a cappuccino machine, and fresh juices.
Throughout the town of Rust there are plenty of pizzerias and restaurants to dine at, but if you plan to do so, make a reservation. We went into four before we found a place that had room for the three of us on a Friday night.
The park does different themes throughout the year, so I would suggest going back several times if you enjoy these types of places. I loved the multitude of options for my kid, but I could also see coming back here without him. Adults can have a great time here and if we get the chance to secure a trusted sitter, we will enjoy a lot more of the rides, shows, dining options, and take the day at our own pace. More pictures, below.