I hope you enjoyed reading my recent blog about Europa-Park Rust, the Playmobil FunPark and the Ravensburger Spieleland entertainment park. We certainly spent many happy hours at all of them as a family. I’ll update that blog soon with even more information and tips.
Today, I’d like to introduce you to another fun park located in North Rhine-Westphalia – the area where I originally come from.
Passive versus active entertainment for kids
A healthy balance is key
I must admit, I’m not a huge fan of the passive kind of leisure activities for children – meaning that the activities are presented to children without there being any real cognitive challenge or physical engagement. As much as I appreciate that children love these kind of activities, I believe that being active outdoors, exploring new places and learning things is something they’ll remember and benefit from later in life.
Children can experience a variety of things at an entertainment park, and some activities can even be educational. I mentioned in my last blog that we sometimes include a visit to an entertainment park with our son. As a family, we all enjoy the day, but we do try to create a mixed itinerary for it comes to planning activities for our holidays.
Located close to the Netherlands with lots to discover in the area
One of our favourite entertainment parks we often visit whenever we’re in Germany is Irrland. It’s located in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, close to the Dutch border. Despite being situated in the middle of nowhere, it’s only around an hour’s drive from Düsseldorf and one hour from the beautiful Dutch city of Maastricht. A visit to this area could include a trip to the city of fashion, beer, music and art on the Rhine (Düsseldorf), as well as the Roman town of Xanten. The romantic Rhine valley wine region is also well worth visiting for its fascinating castles.
Fun and activities for a reasonable price
Irrland – no spelling mistake!
Irrland was developed by a family of farmers in 1999. The name Irrland means maze and derives from the park’s main attraction. It started as a maze (Irrgarten or Labyrinth in German) in a cornfield. Since then, the park has developed, and now covers an area of 300,000m². It includes an indoor area and an 8,000m² outdoor play area. What I like about the park is that it’s well-maintained and has plenty of things do for children of all ages. With an entrance fee of only 7€ per person, it makes it a relatively inexpensive day out for the whole family.
The park is spacious and nicely landscaped with beautiful flowerbeds and palm trees. There is a variety of kiosks dotted around the park selling snacks like sausages, fries, ice cream and sweets for a reasonable price.
Children can be physically active with activities like climbing, jumping on giant trampoline type things and boating. There is also a good choice of playgrounds that include tractors and planes for the younger children. The water playground is particularly popular during the warmer weather, and the hay play area is something my son has fond memories of whenever we mention this park.
Children can also stroke small animals, and there are many activities to support the children’s imagination and physical skills. I would say the park is great for children between the ages of three and ten.
Summertime is BBQ time
BBQ grills are available for free
Some years back, I visited Irrland with friends and our respective children. We used one of the thousands of covered picnic benches that has its own BBQ grill. All the BBQ grills are free to use and you can purchase charcoal, firelighters and BBQ trays in the park. You can even pre-book your meat online two days in advance, so you don’t need to worry about shopping. On their website, it says that the fresh meat is supplied by a local butcher, so it could be an opportunity to try out something different. We brought our own meat and food for the BBQ, but if you’ve used this service, I’d love to hear how you found it.
Another handy service is that you can hire a handcart to pull along all your picnic gear without having to carry everything. It costs 3€ per day (plus a 10€ deposit). These can’t be booked in advance, but don’t worry, they have loads! One more plus to mention is that car parking is free – handy if you are holidaying on a budget.
Overall, Irrland offers a great day out for the whole family – and it won’t break the bank. Have you been to the park? I’d love to hear about your experiences. Just leave a quick comment on Facebook or here in the comments section.
Avoiding the crowds
Planning is the key
It goes without saying that entertainment parks will be heaving during the school holidays.
As Irrland is close to the Dutch border, it’s always advisable to check when the school holidays fall in the Netherlands to avoid the inevitable busy periods. It can also get busy on bank holidays in Germany – so it’s a good idea to check those as well.
Have a chat with your children about what to do if they get lost. I wrote my mobile number on my son’s arm, and I was very glad I did after he’d managed to lose himself for a few minutes. Luckily, someone called me to say they had found him before anyone panicked too much! Nothing you want to experience as a parent! Writing your number on a wristband or putting a note in their pocket could be alternative solutions in case they wander off.
My top ten tips:
- If you have children under school age, try to visit the park during term time to avoid the crowds. Weekends aren’t usually as bad as bank holidays or during the school holidays.
- Try to get there as early as possible. The park is big, and you will need the whole day to do all the activities and get the most out of it.
- Opening times: 16th March 2019 – 6th October 2019 (From 9am – 7pm).
- You can book a hut for the day so that you have a base if you’d like to have a children’s birthday party, or if you have family or friends visiting. Note: The huts aren’t supplied with electricity, a fridge or a toilet.
- Pack a picnic blanket and a cool bag, as well as food for your BBQ if needed. The BBQ grills are free, but note that you are not permitted to use your own BBQs in the park. Pre-order BBQ food online two days prior your visit.
- Take a pull-along vehicle to make it easier to transport all your things around the park. Handcarts are available to rent at a cost of 3€ for the day.
- Don’t forget sun protection (hats, sunglasses, sun cream).
- Don’t forget swimwear, and maybe crocs or water shoes if you’re planning on going to the water playground. Also, take spare clothes and towels!
- Talk to your children about what they should do if they get lost. Maybe you could write your mobile number on a wristband, on their arm or put it on a note to keep in their pocket. It’s always good to advise them to ask a member of staff for help. With older children, you can always decide to meet at a designated place if they get lost.
- Dogs are not permitted in the park.
More information about Irrland entertainment park on their website: www.irrland.de/en/
Read some TripAdvisor reviews here.
Upcoming Public holidays in North Rhine-Westphalia:
20th June 2019 Whit Monday (Pfingstmontag)
3rd October 2019 Anniversary of the German unification (Tag der Deutschen Einheit)
Check out the public holidays in Germany for 2020 here.
School holidays 2019 in the Netherlands:
6th July – 18th August 2019 in Gelderland (süd), Nordbrabant (süd), Limburg and Zeeland
13th July – 25th August 2019 in Drente, Flevoland (nord), Gelderland (nord), Friesland, Groningen, Nordholland, Overijssel and Utrecht (nord)
20th July – 1st September 2019 in Flevoland (mitte), Gelderland (mitte), Nordbrabant (mitte), Südholland and Utrecht (mitte)
School holidays 2019 in North Rhine-Westphalia:
15th July – 27th August 2019
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