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.
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.