Summer thunderstorms, autumn rains, or the icy cold of winter – what to do if the weather won’t permit you to engage in any outdoor activities? North-Rhine Westphalia allows sports enthusiasts to move indoors with some extraordinary indoor activities from a climbing church to moonlight minigolf that keep the mood good even on cloudy days.
Indoor fun in water
Submersing in the diving pool!
Nuttlar mine, Bestwig
Bestwig in the Sauerland allows water sports enthusiasts to go diving in a former mine. For more than a century, slate was mined in Bergwerk Nuttlar, creating a labyrinth of tunnels with large halls on five levels that measures about 20 kilometres in length. Since the pumps that used to remove ingressing water were turned off when the mine was shut down in 1985, the level in the galleries kept increasing to the point where water athletes can dive up to 30 metres deep today. Underwater, everything continues to look just as the miners left it. Among other things, carts are still standing on their rails, and the miners’ jackets are still hanging on the wall in the break room.
The former gasometer in the Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord is another special diving site. The Tauchrevier Gasometer is Europe’s largest indoor diving and training centre, offering courses for beginners as well as for those striving to become diving teachers. Anyone sufficiently proficient can also go on their own dives here.
A paradise without vertigo
Climbing up high!
Mönchengladbach has a highlight for climbing enthusiasts, as anyone not suffering from vertigo can prove their climbing skills in a former church nave. The climbing church is the first of its kind in Germany. At wall heights of up to 13 metres, the special climbing park lives up to any demand: There are beginners’, fun, and extreme areas. A number of climbing courses are also targeted at climbing athletes with very different skills and prior knowledge.
Bottrop has the world’s most modern wind canal. At a height of 17 metres, the wind tunnel chamber is the highest one of its kind in Europe. Beginners and pros can practice parachuting here without needing to get on a plane. Even people with zero skydiving experience can try out flying here with a trainer. The airstream of 286 km/h is just as even as it would be in free fall during a real skydive.
Escape into snow
Or would you rather be at the beach
The Alpincenter Bottrop is located right next to the skydiving hall, giving everyone who loves winter the opportunity to quickly escape into snow even from a warm summer rain. The Bottrop skiing hall has the world’s longest indoor slope, at 640 metres. It also offers skiing and snowboard classes for adults.
The Alpenpark Neuss also gives winter athletes and those striving to turn into them an opportunity to practice their skills or prepare for the upcoming winter holiday. It holds another record, as the skiing hall with the largest area world-wide.
If you’d rather bring back summer in bad weather, you should go visit the world’s first indoor beach sports centre in Witten, where the heated sand keeps your feet warm while inviting you to join a match of beach volleyball, beach football, or handball. A gym area with strength and cardio equipment and spinning bikes is connected as well.
Feeling like action?
Adrenalin without a risk of muddy weather
Michael Schumacher Kart & Event-Center, Kerpen
Kerpen, the home of the Schumacher brothers who were successful in Formula 1 races, allows dauntless visitors to set new speed records in bad weather. The Michael Schumacher Kart & Event-Center lets racing sports enthusiasts try out their driving skills on more than 600 metres of indoor kart track. If the sun does peek through after all, the racetrack can be extended on the 710-metre-long outdoor track. Karts equipped to the latest safety standards make it possible to keep achieving new best times.
Alma Park, Gelsenkirchen
Racing, jumping, playing wild, and strategising are not tied to the weather for visitors of Germany’s largest indoor theme park: The Alma Park offers paintball, laser tag, a trampoline park, bubble ball, live escape, minigolf and black-light minigolf, arrow tag, pool ball, and virtual reality. About 9000 square metres contain a total of eleven different action sports options for groups and individuals.
Top Golf, Oberhausen
The innovative golf adventure facility in Oberhausen is the first of its kind in Europe, allowing golf enthusiasts and amateur players to play to their hearts’ content on a three-floor driving range with a target range about 220 metres in length. Games such as Angry Bird or Jewel Jam are offered here, as are tasty food, sport event broadcasts, live music, or DJ events on the roof terrace.