What to do in Hesse with kids? The state of Hesse is located in central Germany and this large area is a great place to vacation with your family. Hesse has fun family-friendly towns, nature and enough children’s activities to keep you well entertained for at least a week. You can reach the state in about four hours by car from Utrecht, so it depends a bit on where you live in the Netherlands whether you can visit the area in a weekend. We list the best activities and attractions in Hesse with kids for you!
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Hesse with kids #1: Frankfurt
Frankfurt is the largest city in the state of Hesse, and you have enough activities in this city to keep you entertained for a few days. For example, the city has no less than two different zoos. The Frankfurt Zoo is not super big, but it does have a lot of the familiar large animals. The other zoo is the Opel-Zoo and it is located slightly outside the city center, but is a lot more spacious. You can have at least half a day of family fun at both zoos.
There are also a number of family-friendly museums, including a science museum where kids can do experiments at more than 130 stations. It is also fun to explore the cozy downtown area. You have plenty of nice outdoor cafes downtown to grab a bite to eat and a drink. It is also possible to take a bike tour of the city with kids with the Dutch company Bajabikes. In fact, the company also rents children’s bikes.
You also have some nice city parks in town with several playgrounds. You also have great views of the city at several places in the city. For example, you have an observation tower, a skyscraper and a church, where you have a great view. If you want to know more about what there is to do in this city, read our extensive blog Frankfurt with kids, with as many as 16 different tips about this city.
Hesse with kids #2: Kassel
Twice a week you have a water spectacle in the city of Kassel which is worth going to see with kids. On Wednesdays and Sundays, starting at 2:30 p.m., water will flow from Wilhelmshöhe Castle into the mountain park. This water spectacle lasts about 1.5 hours and throughout the park, little lakes, waterfalls and streams form everywhere. Especially with kids, this whole spectacle is fun to watch.
Furthermore, Kassel is the capital of the fairy tale route and you have a museum of the Brothers Grimm here. You also have a castle (Löwenburg Castle) in this city that you can visit with kids. In addition, Kassel is a green city and you also have nice city parks here, such as City Park Karlsaue. You have several fun play equipment in this city park and you can also find an outdoor swimming pool.
In short, you can easily spend one to two days in this city entertaining your family. If you want more information about this city, take a moment to read our extensive blog about the city of Kassel with kids, where we go into detail about all the city’s activities and attractions.
Hesse with kids #3: Lochmühle amusement park
Even during a vacation in Hesse with kids, you can visit an amusement park with the family. This is really an amusement park for young kids, though. It is actually a very large playground, with all kinds of attractions. The park is very spacious and it is also a bit like a large petting zoo.
The attractions you can get in are really kid-based for smaller kids. They have a swing ship, but not the one from the Efteling but a much smaller size. They also have attractions such as a roller coaster, a little train, moving tractors and a tower where kids can pull themselves up in a chair. In addition, the park has a large playground with lots of playground equipment and also some large trampolines.
There are plenty of eateries in the amusement park to get something to eat and drink. A funny detail of the amusement park is that you can also rent a barbecue with the family and thus have a nice meal with the whole family. In doing so, you can bring your own food and drinks or buy a barbecue package from the park. For more information on opening hours, entrance fees and a map of the park, take a moment to click on the amusement park’s website.
Hesse with kids #4: Sababurg
While vacationing in Hesse with kids, it is also fun to visit the town of Sababurg. The most famous landmark of this place is the Sababurg Castle, which is known as the Sleeping Beauty Castle. You can do a Sleeping Beauty scavenger hunt in the castle’s garden and it is possible to have a bite to eat and drink. There is also a possibility to spend the night there with the family, but that is a very expensive affair.
From this castle it is a short walk to Tierpark Sababurg. This is an excellent park to enjoy yourself for a few hours. Don’t expect the big African animals here, but mostly farm animals, supplemented by some smaller animals like penguins, wolves and kangaroos. You can also go here to watch a bird of prey show. A big plus of this park is that the entrance fee is not expensive and is less than half the average entrance fee of a Dutch zoo.
There is also an opportunity to hike through the woods nearby in the primeval forest of Sababurg. You can choose from three paths here. The yellow route which (picture of a beetle) is 1.2 kilometers, the orange route (oak – leaf) which is about 2.4 kilometers and the red route (woodpecker) of 4.5 kilometers long. You’ll find some pretty big trees on the various colored trails here. Just keep in mind that when it has rained the trail can be quite muddy.
Hesse with kids: other activities
Of course, there is more to do in Hesse with kids than the activities described above. We describe some more fun options here.
#5 Felsenmeer: If you are looking for a sporty outing in the state of Hesse with kids, then Felsensee is a fun challenge. Here you can climb up the mountain with your kids via a large number of boulders. There is also just a path along it to the top (quite a tough climb though), but of course with kids it is especially fun to climb up through the various large boulders. At the top you have a beautiful view. This climb is fine to do with kids ages five/six and up. Down by the Felsenmeer parking lot is also a visitor center.
#6 Hessisch Lichtenau: This is another medieval town in the state of Hesse and this town is all about Frau Holle. You can also do a Woman Hollow tour here. This tour is well marked and does not take too long. The start of this route is near the Woman Hollow park where Woman Hollow welcomes you immediately as you walk into the park. You also have a playground here (with pictures about the fairy tale, of course). You will see during this walk the city wall and towers, the museum of Frau Holle (Holleum) and nice streets with crooked half-timbered houses and fairly many references to the fairy tale.
#7 Hoherodskopf the Adventure Mountain: this is a mountain in the state of Hesse, where there is plenty for kids to do. For example, here you have the longest toboggan run in Hesse, they have a climbing course through the treetops, you have a park with all kinds of optical illusions/experiments (Galileo), you can play miniature golf and you have a hiking trail among the trees. Here you can have a great day of fun during your vacation in Hesse with kids.
Where to sleep in Hesse with kids
The state of Hesse covers a fairly large area, so we have listed a number of family hotels in some of the places discussed above. Looking for a hotel in another place or other hotels in one of the places listed below click on this link.
Budget hotel: Residence Inn by Marriott Frankfurt City Center
Mid-range hotel: Mainhaus Stadthotel Frankfurt
Luxury hotel: Paulaner am Dom Wirthaus und Hotel
Budget hotel: Best Western Hotel Kurfürst Wilhelm I.
Mid-range hotel: Hotel Teatro
Luxury hotel: Renthof Kassel
To search for other hotels in Hesse with kids click here for the whole list of hotels.
Further information Hesse with kids
If you visit the state of Hesse by car, you will need an environmental sticker for the city of Frankfurt, for example. These can be ordered from the ANWB website and will be sent to you within 5 days. To do this, you need to enter the car’s registration number and report code (found on the registration certificate) and then the correct color will be selected.
The best travel time to visit the state of Hesse with kids is May through September. In July and August, of course, you should expect somewhat larger crowds at the various attractions. Autumn is also a great time to visit Hesse, as this is when the forests have beautiful colors.