Fahrt auf der Wildwasserbahnim Wunderland Kalkar, © Wunderland Kalkar

The Lower Rhine for fam­il­ies

Dis­cov­er­ing nature and loc­al his­tory

Our tips for fam­ily days out in the Lower Rhine: From en­joy­ing the great out­doors to learn­ing about the re­gion’s in­ter­est­ing past, there is a huge choice of things to see and do.

Map of NRW

Cyc­ling and walk­ing for fam­il­ies

The flat land­scapes of the Lower Rhine provide the per­fect set­ting for short or ex­ten­ded fam­ily cyc­ling tours. Chil­dren will eas­ily be able to man­age the level path­ways against a back­drop of pol­lard wil­lows, river mead­ows and heath­land. The Nieder­rhe­in­route (Lower Rhine Route) the Drei-Flüsse-Tour (Three Rivers Tour) or the Römer-Lippe-Route (Ro­man Lippe Route) are three of the most pop­u­lar cyc­ling tours that can be ap­proached in stages or as day trips. On the Ro­man Lippe Route, vis­it­ors have the op­por­tun­ity to cross the river Lippe on a re­ac­tion ferry.

Walk­ing provides an­oth­er great way for fam­il­ies to dis­cov­er the idyll­ic land­scapes of the Lower Rhine. One par­tic­u­lar tip is the ?Hasen­pfad? (Path of the Hare), a roughly four-kilo­metre-long trail along which chil­dren and their par­ents can learn many in­ter­est­ing facts about the hare and its hab­it­at.

Fun on the wa­ter and winter activ­it­ies

The Lower Rhine is a wa­tery world, so it is no sur­prise that fam­il­ies will find loads of wa­ter-based activ­it­ies in this part of North Rhine-West­phalia. The Schwalm, Rur, Niers and Nette rivers and their trib­u­tar­ies, oxbow lakes, wet­lands and quarry lakes all dom­in­ate the scenery of the Lower Rhine. At the Schwalm-Nette Nature Park, fam­il­ies can get close to this wa­tery land­scape and even take a ca­noe tour. Back on dry land, chil­dren of all ages will love the forest climb­ing course in the middle of the nature park.

When the heat be­comes too much in the sum­mer­time, there is a par­tic­u­larly good place to cool off in the Lower Rhine. ?Freizeitzen­trum Xanten? leis­ure centre has a swim­ming beach, fa­cil­it­ies for wa­ter­ski­ing, fish­ing, diving and surf­ing and a crazy golf course.

Winter is also a great time for a fam­ily vis­it to the Lower Rhine as this is when thou­sands of Arc­tic wild geese gath­er in the mead­ows and pas­tures. Vis­it­ors can get good views of the mi­grat­ory birds from a num­ber of spe­cially cre­ated look-out points. Between Novem­ber and Feb­ru­ary, the bio­lo­gic­al field sta­tion of the Wesel dis­trict also provides guided view­ings of the geese.

Dis­cov­er­ing the ex­cit­ing his­tory of the Lower Rhine

The Lower Rhine has ex­per­i­enced an event­ful past, and chil­dren can learn about its his­tory in a vivid and ex­cit­ing way at Xanten Ar­chae­olo­gic­al Park. Here, vis­it­ors can travel back to the time when ?Co­lo­nia Ulpia Trai­ana? was one of the largest cit­ies in the Ger­man­ic provinces of the Ro­man Em­pire. The re­con­struc­ted am­phi­theatre and houses of Ro­man ar­tis­ans bring the an­cient town to life, and vis­it­ors can see Ro­man ar­chae­olo­gic­al finds in Xanten?s mu­seum. Chil­dren will also love the mu­seum with its ?touch and try? ex­hib­its, au­dio games and many sec­tions ded­ic­ated to young­er vis­it­ors. In the sum­mer, ?Ro­man Week­ends? are or­gan­ised to give chil­dren an op­por­tun­ity to see ?Ro­man? bone carv­ers or shoe­makers in ac­tion and even have a go them­selves.

Fast for­ward sev­er­al cen­tur­ies later to the Middle Ages. The at­trac­tions at the ?Graf­schafter Musen­hof? dis­cov­ery and edu­ca­tion vil­lage in the grounds of Mo­ers Castle in­clude a pot­tery, a bakery, a shop, a stable, a bour­geois half-timbered house and a tower com­plete with dun­geon. Chil­dren can play the roles of mer­chant, ?law and or­der en­for­cer? or farm­er to get a real­ist­ic idea of what life was like in me­di­ev­al times. Par­ti­cip­a­tion is free at fixed times when the role play­ing is over­seen by an edu­cat­or.

The more re­cent his­tory of the Lower Rhine is told at Doren­burg Open-Air Mu­seum. Here, farm­steads with half-timbered houses and work­shops show how loc­al people used to live and work. Young vis­it­ors will also love the toy mu­seum with its in­ter­est­ing ex­hib­its from the last three cen­tur­ies. Bud­ding de­tect­ives should def­in­itely pick up one of the mag­ni­fy­ing glasses at the mu­seum tick­et desk. This will al­low them to de­cipher secret writ­ing as they tour the mu­seum.

An­im­al and leis­ure parks

The past is be­ing pre­served at Weeze Zoo. Here, amid the ru­ins of Her­ten­feld Castle, vis­it­ors can see en­dangered do­mest­ic an­im­als like the white Ger­man goat, the fox-col­oured Fuchsschaf sheep or the Rotes Höhen­vieh breed of red West­phali­an cattle. A forest dis­cov­ery trail and a nature trail also provide lots of in­ter­est­ing facts about plants and an­im­als.

Young an­im­al lov­ers will also be able to en­counter nat­ive spe­cies in Vi­ersen. The Süchteln wild­life re­serve is home to deer, wild boars and goats. A bare­foot path and an in­sect hotel provide fur­ther op­por­tun­it­ies to get really close to nature.  

Ter­ra­Zoo in Rhein­berg is where you will find all kinds of snakes, liz­ards, spiders and am­phi­bi­ans. This is also a great rainy day des­tin­a­tion, since the exot­ic creatures are mostly ac­com­mod­ated in­doors. Guided tours give chil­dren and their par­ents the chance to touch and hold the an­im­als.

Thrills of a dif­fer­ent kind await at the most pop­u­lar amuse­ment park in the Lower Rhine. Dar­ing vis­it­ors will love the wa­ter flumes and roller­coast­ers at Kernie?s Fam­i­li­en­park, while there is also plenty for the young­er ones to en­joy, in­clud­ing a tea cup ca­rou­sel and a toy train.

In Kevelaer, mean­while, fam­il­ies can vis­it a ?farm ad­ven­ture oas­is?. The Ir­rland at­trac­tion has play and activ­ity barns, an in­door climb­ing course and the largest all-weath­er park in the Lower Rhine. There are of course plenty of fun activ­it­ies for the young­est fam­ily mem­bers here as well.

Images and videos

Be inspired: images of your NRW

Der Mittelaltermarkt im Freilichtmuseum Dorenburg, © Niederrheinisches Freilichtmuseum
Ansicht auf den Hafentempel in Xanten, © Niederrhein Tourismus GmbH
Unterwegs an der Schwalm in der Nähe der Molzmühle, © Naturpark Schwalm-Nette
Fahrt auf der Wildwasserbahnim Wunderland Kalkar, © Wunderland Kalkar

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