Kinder beim Malen im Odysseum Köln
"What's interactive drawing?" Children can find out the answer at Odysseum Köln. Photo: Odysseum

Cologne with kids: seven tips for autumn

Autumn - a time for staying at home? Oh no it isn't! There's plenty for children to do in Cologne - from brain-teasing live adventures to pumpkin-packed fun at the farm.

Exploring, learning and getting creative: family activities run by Cologne’s museums

3D Streetart Selfie Gallery Odysseum
Posing for pictures in the 3D Streetart Selfie Gallery: one of a number of highlights for children at Odysseum Köln. Photo: Odysseum

Autumn in Cologne has plenty of adventure to keep boredom at bay in bad weather. The city’s museums have a brilliant range of activities and there are family tours, readings, workshops and courses for kids big and small all over the city and all autumn. Children can explore the colours of Impressionism, the possibilities of photography and the role of animals in art – all in age-appropriate formats. Various venues, such as Odysseum (see photo), run workshops where children can get creative themselves, making things, taking photos and painting.

Good to know: during Cologne’s Museum Night on 5 November, there are special tours for children.

Cologne’s museums. Admission to Museum Night is free for children aged 15 and under, teens aged 16 and over and adults pay 22 euros

An up-close look at nature: the Gut Leidenhausen centre

For furry and feathery wild animals and lush meadows and forests – (almost) in the middle of town – head over to the Gut Leidenhausen centre for environmental education. The centre is a perfect symbiosis of discovering and doing, offering exciting ways to experience nature hands on. The vast grounds include a bird of prey sanctuary and a wildlife enclosure where kids of all ages can watch the animals close up and feed them. The numerous workshops and tours for children and adults also offer an opportunity to explore the neighbouring woods. The aim throughout is to instil a love of nature in visitors. Take a look at their programme of events to find out what’s happening when. For instance, there’ll be a free falconry workshop for children on 13 November. If you’re interested, they ask that you register in advance.

However, during opening hours, you can visit the bird of prey sanctuary, the Haus des Waldes forest museum, the café and the nature playground, which is also part of Gut Leidenhausen, at any time.

Gut Leidenhausen, Gut Leidenhausen 1, 51147 Cologne, +49 (0)2203-980 05 41, free admission, prices for events and seminars vary

Kite-flying: conquering the skies

Forstbotanischer Garten
Cologne’s Forstbotanischer Garten will make you feel all autumny even if you haven’t got a kite. Photo: Forstbotanischer Garten Köln

There are also lots of lovely things for families and children to do outside in autumn, of course. A classic one is kite-flying. Cologne has quite a few blustery spots that are perfect for flying kites – be they of the homemade or the shop-bought variety.

There’s a large meadow and masses of space in the “peace forest” at the botanical forest park. If you’re going to the peace forest anyway, it’s worth stopping by in the park, especially because of the nature playground there.

Another favourite place to fly kites is the Poller Wiesen park on the banks of the Rhine. Wide expanses of grassland to run around and views of the river and the city skyline – what else could you ask for?

Forstbotanischer Garten und Friedenswald, Schillingsrotter Str. 100, 50996 Cologne, free admission; Poller Wiesen,  Alfred-Schütte-Allee 20A, 50679 Cologne

Pumpkin-packed: Gertrudenhof farm park

This place is worth a visit any time of the year but autumn at Gertrudenhof in Hürth (just outside Cologne) is a special treat for families. Autumn is pumpkin time and they go all out here to celebrate it. There’s orange as far as the eye can see, with a pumpkin exhibition, pumpkin pyramid, bouncy pumpkin castles and even a pumpkin café – all spread out across the market and the farm park. The little ones love the petting zoo but there’s also a playground and lots more. Visitors can shop for fresh produce at the market but it’s worth making sure you’ve got a bit of time – the market alone spans an area of 1,200m². If you want to visit the farm park, it’s best to book in advance – it can get quite crowded.

Erlebnisbauernhof Gertrudenhof, Lortzingstraße 160, 50354 Hürth, +49 (0)2233 72816,
Tickets for the farm park: day tickets for adults cost 7.90 euros, evening tickets from 5pm cost 3.90 euros, children under the age of 3 and birthday girls/boys get free admission; there is no charge and no need for a ticket to visit the market

Guaranteed to give them a thrill: escape rooms in Cologne

Team Espace Köln
Budding pirates hunting for Anne Bonny’s treasure with Team Escape at Eloria. Photo: Team Escape

Looking for an adrenalin rush and perplexing puzzles? Then Cologne’s escape rooms are the perfect autumn tip for you. In a nutshell, the idea behind these popular interactive adventure games is that the players are all “locked” in a room and have to get out within a fixed time. They can only do that if everyone works as a team to find the hidden clues and solve the puzzle in the race against the clock.

Cologne has a wide range of escape rooms offering a wide range of puzzle adventures. On Hohenzollernring, for example, there’s an escape room based on the Drei ??? junior detective series. At TeamEscape Köln in the Rheinauhafen district, teams can become master thieves or attempt to protect the world from a terrible virus, for instance. At the Team X “escape theatre” in the city’s Neustadt-Süd district, the focus is on magic and time travel.

It might sound a little complicated but it’s completely family-friendly. All of the escape room operators offer different levels of difficulty and scariness so children of all ages can help solve the clues.

Drei ??? Escape Room, Hohenzollernring 22-24, 50672 Cologne, tel.: +49 (0)221 42301313, tickets from 79 euros (2 players), contact them for special prices for large groups

Team Escape Köln, Im Zollhafen 5, 50678 Cologne, tel.: +49 (0)221 64306742, tickets from 84 euros (2 players) for 1 hour, children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult

Team X – Agentur für Zeitreisen, Quantenmagie und Abenteuer, Vorgebirgstraße 59, 50677 Cologne, tel.: +49 (0)221 95621445, tickets from 99 euros per escape room (for 2 players), children who want to play without an adult have to come in a group of at least four and be at least 11 years old

Jumping for joy: Sprung.Raum and Jump House trampoline parks

Kinder im Jump House Köln
At Jump House, kids can bounce to their hearts’ content whatever the weather. Photo: Jump House/Tom Menz

The Sprung.Raum Köln/Bonn trampoline park promises visitors they can “do all the things you’re not allowed to do in other places”. Actually, there are a couple of rules but the hugeness of this space, measuring more than 6,000m², is enough on its own to give visitors a sense of freedom. Plus you’re allowed to bounce to your heart’s sweaty content – beginner or expert, child or adult. There are trampolines galore here, with exciting-sounding names like “Ninja.Bounce” and “Dodgeball.Reloaded” signifying the themed areas that have been created for trampolining enthusiasts to enjoy. If you want to learn how to do things properly, they even have courses. Another highlight is the indoor zip line – “the longest in Germany”.

Kids can hop ’til they drop in the middle of the city too. At Jump House Köln, there’s even a MINIJump session for toddlers (minimum age 2) from 9 to 10 am on Saturdays and Sundays.

Sprungraum Köln/Bonn, Junkersring 28, 53844 Troisdorf, tel: +49 (0)2241 2615630, tickets from 16 euros for 60 minutes; first-time visitors will need to buy some special trampolining socks for 3.50 euros

JUMP House Köln, Köhlstraße 10, 50827 Cologne, tel. 040 540 70 12

Fancy some chocolate, a boat trip or perhaps a beach party? More adventures in Cologne await you here.

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