When: August 2017
Why Germany: My mom has been visiting Germany since we first showed up in 2013, but I had really wanted both my brother and sister’s families to come visit. Finally, in the summer of 2017, my sister and her two children (then 8 and 6) plus my mom were coming to visit. I was super excited…and then got a little panicked. I knew how to plan an itinerary for adults, but not so much for kids to make sure they stayed interest and didn’t get bored. Turns out – Europe isn’t just for adults! 😉
The Trip: When I was building the itinerary for my mom, sister, niece and nephew’s trip over here, I enlisted the help of co-workers with kids, as well as the local Facebook travel groups (in addition to blogs, always find the local group page dedicated to travel – I’ve gotten many a travel idea/advice from those groups). I knew the first day needed to be light on the plans, but do enough to keep them all awake as long as possible to work on getting over jet lag. My plan was to drop the bags at home after picking them up from the airport, let them shower, and then train it out to the Stuttgart Zoo, Wilhelma. John isn’t a fan of zoos, so we had never been, but it seemed like the perfect place for the kids to walk around – followed by the afternoon in the beer garden, which has playgrounds and wine. Perfect for adults and kids!
The next day was a big one with activities in the Black Forest to include a Treetop Walk and Glass Blowing – neither of which I had done and was excited to try out both. Each activity got high praises from the parents in my office, so it definitely made it onto the itinerary.
The treetop walk in Bad Wildbad stretches just over 3/4 of a mile and the walk is 65 feet high, going through the forest of beech trees, firs and spruces, with little play areas mixed in. For my gymnastic niece, it was perfect. It’s a really pretty walk that culminates with an observation tower that reaches over 130 feet. The walk up is a windy one, and you can either walk back down or take the slide to the bottom (which is what we all did!)
The next stop was the Dorotheenhütte, a glassworks shop that was founded in 1947, and is the only shop in the Black Forest that still manufactures mouth-blown glass. It’s a very large complex with the workshop, restaurant, museum, and even a Christmas village. The glassblowing was available by walk-ins only, but thankfully because we went on a Tuesday, it wasn’t busy and we didn’t have to wait long at all. You get to pick the color of the vase you want, and then go up and use the long tube to blow the glass (I let Char take my turn). It was a cute little activity and you get a pretty vase at the end of it – totally worth it!
Final Impressions: Both the treetop walk and the glass-blowing were a success (although the spaghetti ice may have been the real winner of the day). Neither activity was so exhausting that the kids got grumpy at the end, and because we had a big day in the car the next day, this was only about 3 hours round trip with lots of walking and activities in between. Stuttgart is such a great place to not only take easy day trips but also as a starting point to explore other parts. Days 1-2 a success! I was keeping my fingers crossed the next few days were equally well received.