Neanderthal Museum, © Neanderthal Museum / H.Neumann

Nean­der­land for fam­il­ies

All over Düs­sel­dorf, chil­dren can en­counter Neander­thals or ex­per­i­ence the ad­ven­ture of climb­ing or the fun of wa­ter ski­ing

There’s no room for bore­dom in Nean­der­land: Chil­dren will ex­per­i­ence fun, games and en­ter­tain­ment at the Neander­th­al Mu­seum, the Time Tun­nel, and while climb­ing, swim­ming and wa­ter ski­ing.

While urb­an ad­ven­tures await fam­il­ies vis­it­ing Düs­sel­dorf, the more rur­al land­scape of Nean­der­land is just a stone?s throw away. There is plenty of room here for climb­ing parks, wa­ter ski­ing fa­cil­it­ies and out­door pools, all great des­tin­a­tions for young fam­il­ies.

The name Nean­der­land in Kre­is Mettmann (Mettmann dis­trict) is de­rived primar­ily from the Neander Val­ley with its Neander­th­al Mu­seum. In 1856 the fos­sil­ised re­mains of a Neander­th­al was found in the nearby town of Mettmann, where the mu­seum now stands. Ac­cord­ing to the latest find­ings, this Neander­th­al, or pre­his­tor­ic man, must have lived in the Neander Val­ley some 42,000 years ago. At the Neander­th­al Mu­seum, grown-ups and es­pe­cially young­er vis­it­ors can learn all they need to know about the ori­gins of man­kind and can en­counter re-es­tab­lished breeds of pre­his­tor­ic an­im­als, such as aurochs and tarpans (wild horses), by vis­it­ing the out­door game re­serve. An­oth­er at­trac­tion that is par­tic­u­larly ex­cit­ing for chil­dren is the Stone Age Work­shop, where young crafts­men can try their hand at mak­ing tools just as our pre­his­tor­ic an­cest­ors once did.


Activ­it­ies for hot sum­mer days: Zeit­tun­nel and Naturfreibad

If all this sparks an in­terest in the ori­gins of our world, the whole fam­ily can con­tin­ue on to the  Zeit­tun­nel Wül­frath (Wül­frath Time Tun­nel). Hid­den away in the 160-metre-long min­ing tun­nel at the Bo­chu­mer Bruch lime­stone quarry on the out­skirts of Wül­frath lies an un­usu­al ex­hib­i­tion that il­lus­trates the 400-mil­lion-year-old his­tory of our plan­et to chil­dren and adults in a most en­ter­tain­ing way. Vis­it­ors en­ter­ing the tun­nel em­bark upon a voy­age through time: every single geo­lo­gic­al era is presen­ted, ex­plain­ing its char­ac­ter­ist­ic prop­er­ties and the de­vel­op­ment of liv­ing creatures, cli­mate and con­tin­ent­al drift. Dark tun­nel sec­tions form an ex­cit­ing back­drop with stun­ning land­scapes of craggy rocks, coun­tryside and old in­dus­tri­al plant re­mains, al­tern­at­ing between col­our­ful ?time win­dows? fea­tur­ing ex­cit­ing ex­hib­i­tions. Here, vis­it­ors will en­counter un­usu­al creatures from a by­gone era, and meet di­no­saurs and the first hu­mans.


A vis­it to this cool time tun­nel is es­pe­cially re­com­men­ded for those days when the tem­per­at­ure soars dur­ing the sum­mer hol­i­days. An­oth­er great des­tin­a­tion for these swel­ter­ing sum­mer days is the Naturfreibad Mettmann. This open-air swim­ming pool, which is situ­ated in the middle of the forest, was de­signed with eco­lo­gic­al prin­ciples in mind and is com­pletely free of chlor­ine and chem­ic­als. The ex­pans­ive play areas and clear wa­ters in­vite you to ex­er­cise, en­joy your­self and re­lax.


Sports activ­it­ies for fam­il­ies: Wa­ter ski and Cli­mp­ing Park

Also suit­able for fam­il­ies of wa­ter sport en­thu­si­asts is the wa­ter ski track in Lan­gen­feld. De­pend­ing on skill level and ex­per­i­ence, ski­ers can choose between four dif­fer­ent tracks of vary­ing lengths. Be­gin­ners and chil­dren can also start off on the track with a teach­er be­fore throw­ing them­selves in­to the ex­per­i­ence of speed­ing off from the ramp alone. And if this gives you a real taste for the wa­ter, you can also have a go at wake­board­ing, at speeds of up to 30 kilo­metres an hour. The fa­cil­ity of­fers a beach bar, where you can re­lax after your aquat­ic ex­er­tions.


An­oth­er great des­tin­a­tion, which is just as ath­let­ic but steers clear of wa­ter, is the Wald-Klet­ter­park Vel­bert-Lan­gen­berg, a climb­ing park that also of­fers activ­it­ies for young fam­il­ies. Chil­dren as young as four can prac­tice their climb­ing skills on the chil­dren?s course. Nurs­ery- and primary-school-aged chil­dren who are at least one metre tall can climb up to ten metres high and then whiz down the 60-metre-long gi­ant zip line. Older chil­dren aged nine and up and meas­ur­ing at least 140 cm can even try out the adult ad­ven­ture course. This course fea­tures heights up to 15 metres, dozens of climb­ing and bal­ance chal­lenges, mega zip lines and vary­ing levels of dif­fi­culty that are not too much for com­plete be­gin­ners yet can still put am­bi­tious ath­letes through their paces. The huge for­es­ted area, which cov­ers five hec­tares, of­fers more than 60 chal­len­ging climbs for young and old, in­clud­ing five gi­ant zip lines. The bravest among your party may even dare to con­quer the ?Ba­nana Jump?, where you jump from a plat­form to­wards a gi­ant ba­nana sus­pen­ded high above the forest floor ? you are of course well se­cured. Tar­z­ans both young and old can also try out the ?death sling? and swing through the trees on a long vine 14 metres above the forest floor.

www.wald-aben­teuer.de | www.nean­der­land.de/nean­der­land-fuer-fam­i­li­en

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Neanderthal Museum, © Neanderthal Museum / H.Neumann
Neandertaler hautnah, © Stiftung Neanderthal Museum
Werksgelände von Rheinkalk am Steinbruch Prangenhaus, © Kreis Mettmann

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