Schokoladenmuseum Köln
Cologne's Chocolate Museum is one museum where children definitely won't get bored. Photo: Dieter Jacobi/KölnTourismus GmbH

Cologne with kids: seven tips for a day out to remember

Cologne has lots for children to do: from a tunnel slide to an evening boat trip, there's something for every age group.

Tasty views at the Chocolate Museum and Bona’me

Schokoladenmuseum Köln
“Quality control” at Cologne’s Schokoladenmuseum Photo: Schokoladenmuseum Köln

It can take quite a lot of coaxing to get children into a museum but there’s probably no easier one to get them interested in than a chocolate museum. At Cologne’s Schokoladenmuseum, visitors can learn all about the history of cocoa and even taste various chocolatey creations at the Chocolat Grand Café. Over a mug of drinking chocolate or a slice of cake, kids can enjoy the view through the 30-metre long window and watch the tour boats pass by on the Rhine.

A family ticket for parents and all of their own children under the age of 18 costs 34.50 euros. If you’re interested in exploring the world of chocolate in a little more detail, you can book one of the special tours for families like the “Kleine Schoko-Schule”, which includes a visit to the glass-fronted “chocolate factory”.

And what’s the second favourite thing children love to eat? That’s right – pasta! So when you’ve finished at the museum, you can take a short walk along the riverbank to get some fresh air before heading straight to Bona’me. This eatery is actually better known for its superior Kurdish/Turkish cuisine (which the adults should definitely try). But if you want a no-fuss, full-tummy end to the day, you can play it safe and order pasta for the little ones. While they wait for their food, they can work off some energy at the playground right in front of the restaurant, which even has a play boat. And the grown-ups can enjoy an aperitif and perhaps watch that tour boat float by on its return journey.

Schokoladenmuseum, Am Schokoladenmuseum 1a, 50678 Cologne, adults 13.50 (weekdays) – 14.50 euros (weekends), children up to 18 years 8-9 euros, children under 6 free, family ticket 34-37 euros

Bona’me, Anna-Schneider-Steig 22, 50678 Cologne

An action-packed day out at Rheinpark and Cologne Zoo

Kölner Zoo
The hippos at Cologne Zoo waiting to enthral visitors. Photo: Zoo Köln

Cologne’s Rheinpark has a history spanning more than a hundred years. The park was built back in 1912 and continuously expanded over time. Its current form dates back to 1957 and the first Bundesgartenschau (national garden show) to take place in Cologne. In the middle of the park, there’s a large playground where children can zoom down tunnel slides. There’s also a mini train that takes you on a tour of the park, past flowerbeds, ponds, fountains and poplar trees. Once the kids have had a good run around, you can cross to the other side of the Rhine by cable car – a handy way of getting to Cologne Zoo, with attractions such as an elephant park, rainforest house and baboon rocks. An action-packed day that’s virtually guaranteed to do away with the need for a bedtime story!

Rheinpark, Auenweg, 50679 Cologne, round trip on the mini train: adults 4 euros, children (2 years and above) 3 euros

Cable car, one-way ticket: adults 5 euros, children (4 to 12 years) 3 euros

Cologne Zoo, Riehler Straße 173, 50735 Cologne, admission: adults 23 euros, children (4 to 12 years) 11 euros

Boat & bus sightseeing tours

Schifffahrt Köln
Cruise with a view: Cologne’s postcard panorama.

From the beginning of April to the end of October, the Köln-Düsseldorfer (KD) line runs a one-hour sightseeing boat tour, the “panorama cruise”, starting from Cologne’s old quarter. They also have a “hop-on hop-off” bus & boat ticket so you can combine the boat trip with a tour of the city by open-top bus. Guests can decide for themselves when and where they want to “hop on/off”. And for children who are old enough to stay up late and manage to talk their parents into it, there’s a two-hour evening boat trip complete with a DJ – a “nighttime adventure” on the water.
Children under 14 pay 11 euros for the ticket, adults 26 euros,
For details, call+49 (0)221 208 83 18

Lentpark – a children’s paradise with water and ice

Wide slide = fun in the sun! Photo: Lentpark

Lentpark‘s 50-metre natural pool is the perfect place for a cool-down – and it’s chlorine-free! While the grown-ups relax in the sun, tiny tots can dig away in the sand and water play area or splash around in the toddlers’ pool. Older children can show off their diving and sliding skills or play volleyball.

Lentpark is worth a visit in the cooler months too. Apart from the natural pool outside, it also has an indoor pool and an ice-skating rink. On the rink, penguin-shaped skate aids are available free of charge to help children find their feet. Below the rink, there’s a sports pool, a toddlers’ pool and a beginners’ pool. They’re heated using the heat generated by the rink’s refrigeration system. There’s also a sauna area.

Lentstraße 30, 50668 Cologne, Tel. +49 (0)221 27 91 80 10, outdoor pool: adults 5.80 euros, children (under 18) 4.10 euros

Take to the trees – and the water – at Blackfoot Beach

Blackfoot Beach
Whizzing across the water – and then to the beach: Blackfoot Beach. Photo: Blackfoot Beach

Zooming downwards from a height of 20 metres across a 300-metre line with the water sparkling below: the Blackfoot Beach high ropes course is aimed more at older children but it’s exactly their thing. There are seven different routes between the treetops. You need to be at least 120cm tall to embark on this climbing adventure and people smaller than 140cm have to be accompanied by an adult. Handily, there’s a bathing beach and beach bar right next door – the perfect spot to chill out after all that excitement.

Blackfoot Beach, Stallagsbergweg 1, 50769 Cologne (Seeberg), Tel. +49 (0)221 16 88 18 10, entrance to high ropes course: adults 24 euros, children (up to 17) 19 euros – includes entrance to the beach

Art for children: Cologne’s Museum Ludwig

Museum Ludwig
Getting creative is more fun than just listening: children at Museum Ludwig. Photo: Museum Ludwig

The world’s most extensive pop art collection, the third largest Picasso collection and awe-inspiring works by German expressionists…. It might not sound like it would be particularly tempting to children but that’s where the magic of museum education comes in. And Cologne’s prestigious Museum Ludwig has a lot to offer for younger guests.

The “For children and parents” tours are suitable and free of charge for children aged 7 and above – they decide whether they want to take a grown-up with them (for the regular admission price). There’s also a special audio guide for children and three different “family suitcases”, which can be borrowed from the information desk (a deposit is payable) and which take families on a journey through colour, shape and materials.

Mu­se­um Lud­wig, Hein­rich-Böll-Platz, 50667 Cologne, Tel. +49 (0)221 22 12 61 65,
Tickets: Adults 12 (concessions 8 euros), children (up to 18) free

Green Cologne: Forstbotanischer Garten and Finkens Garten

Finkens Garten
A green classroom: young visitors at Finkens Garten. Photo: Finkens Garten

How about a trip to a Japanese forest? Or perhaps you’d prefer the rhododendron ravine or the peony meadow? There’s no need to choose for visitors to Cologne’s Rodenkirchen district because they can have all these things right next to each other – at the Forstbotanischer Garten.

Work on this botanical forest park, which now takes in 25 hectares, began in 1962 when plants from around the globe were planted on a plot of disused farmland. The park opened to the public two years later in 1964. Children will find loads to explore here, from the giant redwood to the water lily pool to the peace forest with its sandy play area.

Right next to the park, the wonder continues at Finkens Garten. In this five-hectare nature discovery garden, children can find out about various biotopes, using all their senses to learn as they explore a “bee house”, a barefoot trail, a meadow orchard, an “aroma garden” and lots more.

Forstbotanischer Garten und Friedenswald, Schillingsrotter Straße 100, 50996 Cologne,
free admission

Finkens Garten, Friedrich-Ebert-Straße 49, 50996 Cologne (Rodenkirchen), free admission

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