Are you travelling to Vienna with your children to attend the EGU General Assembly EGU22? While it may sound stressful to have your kids around at a conference as you try to interact with other researchers, it can also be a fun experience – with a little preparation of course!
I have attended two of EGU’s previous General Assemblies in the past with our son. This year our son and daughter will join us in Vienna. As my husband and I work in the same research field, we have no other choice but to bring our kids along with us! But there are so many things to do with children during the week-long meeting. Vienna is a fantastic city for kids. Below is a personal list of places that our son enjoyed during our earlier visits, and which I’m sure will be liked by other kids as well.
A great place to start is the Donaupark, just behind the Austria Center Vienna (ACV). There is a huge playground for children of all ages (Sparefroh Spielplatz). It is only a 10 to 15-minute walk by foot. Close to the playground is a stop of the Donauparkbahn, a small train that drives around the park which halts at the Donauturm and Donau City, marking the closest stop for the conference venue. The train ride is about 20 minutes and gives you a great break from the conference. The Donauturm, a high tower, is naturally worth a visit. You can ride up to the viewing platform and enjoy the view over Vienna and its surroundings. If the weather is nice, which we all hope will be the case by the end of May, you might be even able to see the snow-covered Alps. Not too far from the ACV is the Danube, where you can have a small picnic along the river with your kids.
If you have a bit more time, you can take the U1 (Metro line 1) from the ACV to the Praterstern and enjoy the Prater. The Prater is an old amusement park that has an old and a newer ferris wheel, rollercoasters, carousel, and attractions for younger kids. You will surely find something there to entertain you and your kid, whether you come with a one-year-old or a teenager.
Not too far away from the Prater is the Hundertwasser Village. This might sound like an odd place to go with kids, but the houses by Hundertwasser are fascinating to see and your kids will love the colourful houses and uneven floors. I recommend taking the tram to give your kids a new experience.
The Museum and Aquarium
A bit further away from the ACV is the Natural History Museum Vienna (take the U3 and get off at Volkstheater). There are so many things to explore in this museum for you and your kids. They have a large rock and minerals collection, a planetarium and of course a dinosaur exhibition with several fossils. One stop further of the U3, Neubaugasse, is the aquarium “Haus des Meeres”. They have many marine animals, but also snakes, crocodiles and saurian. The aquarium is spread over several floors and from the top, you can again have a beautiful view of Vienna. Outside the aquarium is a small playground.
The best place in Vienna might be Tiergarten Schönbrunn, the zoo. It is one of the best zoos in Europe. I always look forward to coming back to the zoo with my kids. It is easy to reach via the U4 (station Hietzing). There is a small train that drives through the zoo, which can reduce your walking time. I would suggest spending an entire day in the zoo as there are just so many things to do! They have a large playground and many animals (including giant pandas, polar bears, orangutans, leopards, tigers, tapirs, and many, many more). If you have time left on that day and your kids are not too tired from walking, the zoo is next to the famous Schönbrunn Palace and Park (I recommend the labyrinth).
In addition to this, Vienna has several playgrounds where you can spend quiet some time with your kid(s). Of course, this is just a small list of things to do with kids in Vienna and is by no means all inclusive.
At the conference center
EGU understands that parenting can get tricky at a large conference, so you will find two quiet rooms and one breast feeding room in the purple level (basement) at the Austria Center Vienna (ACV). If you need any support or guidance, you can always ask the conference assistants or organizers for help during the event.
Lastly, remember that children under the age of 6 are exempt from wearing face masks against COVID-19. However, children from the ages of 6 to 13 should wear a mask (it can be a regular mask), while FFP2 masks are mandatory for everyone above the age of 14.
If you have any other suggestions for parents traveling to EGU22 with kids, let me know in the comments below! Hope to see you soon in Vienna.