Munich is a cheerful, fun-loving city, filled with lots of attractions and activities to keep young travelers happy. Bavarians are fond of children and will pamper yours wherever you go. They also welcome them in restaurants and beer gardens, friendly places great for an inexpensive casual meal. Don’t speak German? Don’t worry, most people you’ll meet here speak English; it’s taught in school from the early grades, so other children your kids meet will be anxious to practice.
Bavaria’s royal family certainly knew how to live glamorously. Little girls will imagine themselves as princesses as they walk through rooms whose walls glitter with gold flourishes and crystal chandeliers. Boys will like the collection of royal coaches and everyone will have fun in the maze garden. The grounds are filled with gardens and more mini-palaces to explore. There are fountains and pools with swans to feed and a walled garden in the vast park, which is free (you can pay separately to enter the buildings or buy a combined ticket).
Has your child ever looked a giraffe in the eye — at the giraffe’s eye level? It’s possible here, with the viewing platform that lets them watch these long-necked giants up close enough to see their blue tongues. It’s more like a nature reserve or park, where wild animals live in large spaces that replicate their native environments. The monkeys swing from real trees and lions snooze in a natural landscape where you can watch them without bars, thanks to ditches and other invisible barriers. It’s like being on safari. Birds fly among the trees in a gigantic mesh-enclosed aviary more than 50 feet high. Daily events include feeding the sea lions, raptor shows and pigeons that play flutes.
Your kids may think they don’t like museums, but they haven’t seen this one yet. In place of boring glass cases they’ll find hundreds of exhibits specially designed for younger children. Especially designed for ages 3–8, Kids’ Kingdom is a museum in itself, full of hands-on experiences. They’ll never realize how much they’re learning about physics and energy as they play with pulleys and levers and build with giant blocks. They can play with light, make music, drive a fire truck and travel to the stars.
Your kids will soon spot these pleasure palaces of sweet goodies with its windows full of luscious cakes and pastries covered in frosting and glistening fruits. Make a stop in one of Munich’s many Konditorei part of your daily routine. They’re a good place to rest your feet between adventures and recharge with coffee or tea while the kids drink hot chocolate (be sure they order it mit schlag to get whipped cream on top). You don’t need to know the names of all the cakes: Go to the display case and point. They’ll be brought to your table along with your drinks, all elegantly presented.
When it’s time for kids to let off steam, head for this huge city park. The English Garden has miles of paths and playgrounds where kids can swing, slide, spin and climb to their hearts’ content. Rent a paddleboat to ride around the Kleinhesseloher, smell the flowers in the gardens, picnic on the lawn or grab a snack at Munich’s most popular beer garden, under the Chinesischer Turm (Chinese Tower). You can’t miss this 80-foot pagoda surrounded by tables. Come on a weekend to hear Bavarian bands and watch people dancing to their lively oom-pah-pah rhythms.