In a continuation of our Easter adventures, we went to Freizeitpark Germendorf, which was recommended to us by workingberlinmum, who went there recently. It's a bit of a trek to get there as it's outside Berlin, past Oranienburg in a little village called Germendorf where the land is most likely cheap as chips. Patently some genius was wandering along one day and thought to themselves, "What this place needs are giant replica dinosaurs dotted about the landscape. Throw in a few zebras and assorted antelope-thingys and they'll flock here in their droves, 850 car-loads at a time, and I'll be rich beyond my wildest dreams!"
And so that's what you have. Hamish has been chomping at the bit to visit this place since we heard about it, and it didn't disappoint him. I was a little worried that the kids would get bored after a few minutes because you can't actually get close enough to touch quite a few of the dinosaurs, but it was fine, and the prospect of getting to walk up to the top of the volcano turned out to be a bigger thrill than I could have imagined. At the top you can stand and look over the park and take photos of the very full car park (which incidentally costs only 50 cents a day - ah, if only airport car parks cost that, and they too are usually built on plots of land in the middle of nowhere). There's also a machine at the top of the volcano where you can pay a euro to presumably hear the sounds of a volcano erupting. Alas, we seemed to be up at the same time as all the other people who seemed quite happy to imagine the sound in their head and keep their euro for something else.
And there's a lot of other things to do in this place. Not only do you have the dinosaur park, but there is also the animal park where you can see a range of animals. It's not exactly on a par with Berlin Zoo, but they have a few zebras, quite a lot of monkeys, meercats, antelope, kangaroos (or possibly wallabies - they were quite small), goats, boar, and Shetland ponies. There were probably more, but as we started off with the animals, my two were getting edgy about 'missing' the dinosaurs, so I think we might have missed some.
In the summer I imagine this place could be utterly awesome. You really could easily spend a whole day here. In fact if you wanted, you could book into that hotel across the lake and spend a couple of days here, because aside from the animals and dinosaurs there are also lakes for swimming in, including some which are better suited for children. We even spotted on the map that they have an island that I think you could swim to which is populated by monkeys. Cool. We could play planet of the apes! And if you fancy a quieter activity, you could hang out with the anglers and stare at the end of a rod.
We however, had animals and dinosaurs to see, and had a lovely wander round the park. There are also quite a few playgrounds for kids and an area with undercover bouncy castles (which are free, yay!) and there is a little train track with a fire engine and some other vehicles that run round that presumably for around a euro a time, and a few other kind of fairground rides which again I don't think cost very much. All in, everything seemed really reasonably priced which was a nice bonus. In fact, for all four of us we only paid 10 euros for a full days entry.
Orla's highlight of the day was the horse ride. This was 3 euros and for that you get 3 rounds of the paddock or whatever it should be called. Orla is always keen on horse rides, but this was Hamish's first time.
Despite the fact he looks very serious and somewhat glum, he actually was thrilled by the whole experience. He was just a bit disappointed that Orla's horse decided it wanted to take a big drink and so he didn't get to go round 2 out of his 3 circuits with her.
After the horse rides, we saw the Shetland ponies. They had about half a dozen of them and contrary to the Shetland ponies I've met before they seemed pretty good humoured. The kids were charmed with the fact that they weren't much taller than them. I told the kids about the time my Aunty Sheena bought a Shetland pony and kept it in the back garden (which was huge). Anyway, it had only been at their house about half a day when we were there and I was the lucky one to get the first chance to ride it. No saddle, but I did have a helmet. Anyway, as soon as it was let loose with me (aged 11) on it's back, it made a run for it, jumped up onto the raised patio, raced across that, and then jumped up the steps and in through the open sliding patio doors. I don't remember being particularly scared, but I did choose to throw myself off once we were riding through the house. As I recall, nobody else was too keen to ride it after that.
So we had a great day. I would highly recommend this place. Hamish would really, really, highly recommend this place. He was begging us to take him back the next day. Even Orla who I wouldn't have said was particularly 'into' dinosaurs, seemed converted. We will definitely be back!
|In prehistoric times the challenge of basketball was more getting such a small object through such a small hoop.|
Further details on Freizeitpark Germendorf can be found on their website: http://www.freizeitpark-germendorf.de/index.php/start.html