If there are 2 things that my daughter loves, they are swimming pools and trampolines – combine the two and she is in heaven! That is why this summer we have paid almost daily visits to Mayrhofen’s ‘Erlebnisbad’ fun pool. At 22 months, Ella loves the three-tier, three-depth kids pool with its connecting slides and elephant baby slide. The benches around the pool allow mums and dads to sit and observe (and enjoy an ice-cream in peace!) while the kids splash and play together. The big fun pool is also a massive hit with its fountains and bubbles, spooky cave and floating ride-on toys. The depth varies in different parts of the pool so that, in the shallows, even my not-quite-a-meter tall toddler can touch the bottom. As I am not always as keen to jump in as she is, it is also good to know that the water is heated to a refreshing but comfortable 24°C!
Afterwards the well-shaded park area keeps her entertained for hours. For Ella, the star attraction is, of course, the newly-installed trampoline. After she is all ‘bounced out’, she runs off to enjoy the sand pit, slide, swings and a climbing frame. Some chips or an ice-cream from the snack shop, and I can be sure to leave with a very happy (and nicely tired out!) baby.
A short drive or bus journey from Mayrhofen, at the base of the Hintertux glacier mountain lies the ‘Hintertuxer Hof’ hotel. Its terrace opens up onto a child’s play paradise. Bouncy castles for little and big kids, more bobby cars and tractors than children to ride them, 2 climbing frames, a wooden train, a gondola, a zip wire and 2 trampolines are among the attractions which have my daughter squealing with excitement from the moment we arrive. The hotel also has an excellent restaurant for refreshments.
Hintertux has some beautiful scenery so why not make a day of it and take a short walk to see the Kessel Falls waterfall behind the base station of the Hintertux cable car, take the cable car up to the glacier or enjoy the child-friendly hiking trail back towards Mayrhofen.
With Ella’s love of water, this park was always going to feature high on this list! But, this unique wooden play area hidden deep in the forest offers a different sort of play and so is also a personal favourite of mine. With its multilevel wooden structure, it reminds me a little of an abandoned fort with riverlets of water running through it. The watermill, water pump and water troughs intrigue and delight the children who love the ability to manipulate the water. A nearby sandpit and slide add to the fun. Under the shelter of the thick forest trees, this park is also a great place to escape the hot afternoon sun or shelter in a light rain shower.
Our local playground has the most beautiful setting in open grounds with views of the surrounding mountains in all directions. The largest of the nearby parks, Ella loves the space to run, jump, climb, slide, spin, dig and swing on the 2 climbing frames, large sandpit, 2 sets of swings, mini roundabout and trampoline. Older kids can enjoy the zip wire, skate park, volleyball and basketball courts, and everyone loves a kick-about on the Astroturf of the adjacent football pitch. The playground is just a stone’s throw away from a second smaller playground, the Brindlang water playground and the mini golf course so children are really spoilt for choice!
These three villages are home to 3 playgrounds within walking distance of each other so easily offer a full afternoon’s entertainment. Close to the river, directly next to the Ziller Promenade walking and cycle path, the Mühlbach playground has a sandpit, raised playhouse (a favourite with Ella), swings, slide and roundabout. A short walk further down the river, the park at Schwendau has similar apparatus and even a little lake with fish and ducks! Finally the Ramsau park is great for train enthusiasts (i.e. most small children!) as it lies close to (but safely closed off from) the train station and tracks. Look out for the steam train which passes through 4 times a day!
There are many more parks and playgrounds to explore and enjoy in the Ziller Valley.