Europapark

Europapark is a big amusement park in Germany, about a 1hr40 drive from Zurich. It’s like a knock-off of Disneyland – they have their own mouse, many of the rides are almost exact copies (they have their own Pirates of the Carribean ride but named something else) themed. In addition to lots of big, scary coasters, there are tons of little kid rides with no lines making it very fun for 3-6yr olds. There’s an even balance between thrill and fantasy, with a large helping of slow moving boats and cars driving past fairy-land displays (our 10mo old baby came along on these rides). There’s an enormous playground with crazy slides, a pirate ship, and water to play in on hot days. There are several water play areas (greatly appreciated in the summer heat) so remember to bring a swimsuit/extra clothes for your little one.


with no line, my son rode these bumper cars solid for about 45mins


a little more excitement on these planes


no line for this ride – 5 times in a row

There’s plenty to eat at the park and though it’s not great, it’s relatively cheap compared to Disneyland. The park strangely closes at 6pm in summer, so don’t plan on taking a nap and coming back for a lightshow, etc. Even the hotel pools close so you can’t even relax after a long day in the park. We stayed in the Hotel Castillo Alcazar on site, which was cute with the theme rooms but no air conditioning. We were happy that we thought to bring a fan along. The included breakfast was delicious and as a hotel guest you get into the park a bit early than the general public. But half of the park is still closed until the general opening, so you won’t be able to get on the big rides until later.


bumper boats and kayaks, again with no line


one of the many “leisurely drive” rides, safe enough for our small baby


our four year old was just barely tall enough for a couple of the big coasters (log ride, rapids, pegasus) – I felt a little bad after seeing the pure terror on his face afterwards

We went on a weekday at the end of June, before most schools were out for summer break. The park was full but the longest lines for the big coasters were only 30mins, most other rides only a 5-10min wait and there were no lines on any of the kiddie rides. I know it gets more crowded on holidays and weekends but I hear that it’s never as crowded as Disneyland gets, even during high season.


enormous slides in the playground … rides for siblings


Tipi Village

Last time we stayed overnight in the Tipi village, which the kids thought was fantastic! Our Tipi had 12 cots in a circle. We had 5 adults, 4 kids, 2 toddlers and 1 baby and everyone actually got a good night’s sleep. It’s very civilized, not like camping. There are bathrooms, showers, a little store for food, fire pits for cookouts, etc. We paid €19 per person. If you are staying in one of the park hotels, you can enter the park for free one hour before closing the night before. You’d be surprised how many rides you can fit into that hour.

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