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. |

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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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