What to do when it Rains on Your Vacation
It had been a very rainy and cold early summer in Tirol, with snow falling at an elevation of 1,800 meters. I dared to dream (fingers crossed!) that the downpour would ease up in the nick of time for my friend’s Tirol summer get-away. But, the weather didn’t want to be cooperating! “Rain, rain, go away:” Even childhood lullabies couldn’t prevent the rain from coming down. Thus, my friend and her two kids, aged three and four years, packed lots of waterproof rainwear. While downpour isn’t perfect on your family get-away, there are still a huge amount of things to do in Tirol. We decided not to let a rainy day keep us inside: We got bundled up and got outside to play in the puddles (luckily, we had a few sunny days, too :-)
Day 1 – Sunday forecast: Light rain with highs around 25 degrees Celsius
As my friend was travelling from Germany’s Bavaria, we decided to meet in the middle and travel on to Innsbruck the following day. If you’re looking for fun things to do in the eastern part of Tirol and fancy a great day out, no matter what the weather, make sure you visit the Pillersee Family Land. With loads of attractions, it’s fun for the whole family! Luckily, there’s a giant indoor hall and many places where you can take shelter from the rain. And when the sun comes back out, kids of all ages will find something exhilarating to do, from the Wild Raft and the Crocodile Merry-Go-Round to the Viking Land for tiny tots, to the Family Roller Coaster and the Pirate’s Cove for bigger ones. What’s best: all attractions are included in the theme park ticket, so you can create unforgettable memories for a value price.
Day 2 – Monday forecast: Mostly sunny with highs around 29 degrees; no rain
Lucky me: This day the weather was perfect to get out and play in the sun. So we visited my absolute number one summer destination with kids, Hexenwasser at Hochsöll. When it comes to splashing & wet fun in the sun, the “Magical Witches’ Water” is just the place to come and play! This amazing nature-themed water play park consists of ponds and rivulets where children of all ages can splash and cool off with a rich variety of water play features. It is all laid out with dedication and love for the detail, so you can easily fall in love with the “Magical Witches’ Water” on Hohe Salve Mountain.
Day 3 – Tuesday forecast: Heavy rains with highs around 20 degrees Celsius
Unfortunately, the weather didn’t seem to be cooperating this day. With a summer wash-out of rain set to hit the capital, we snatched waterproof shells, rain boots, umbrella, and took a walk of Tirol’s capital. Innsbruck’s lovely old town district offers dozens of activities that keep kids busy, no matter what the chance of precipitation is. The kids were hunting soap bubbles and doves and found it fascinating to watch street artists. When the skies turned grey and wet, it was time for museum hopping which kept us dry most of the time while we were roaming around. Innsbruck has some great museums you must see, and most have some exhibits or toys to keep the kids entertained. Don’t forget to check savings with the Tirol Museums combined discount card, so you can happily spend half an hour or less at one place—and head on to the next. By the way: the Audioversum creates a compelling and educational experience for all ages, even for toddlers. And it is conveniently located opposite to Landhausplatz Square, so once the rain has stopped, you can admire skaters and bikers for hours (or grab your bike and give it a try). Special Recommendation: Domplatz Square at the heart of the old town district is a wonderful place where you can let the children run free (and splashing water at the fountain). Hofgarten Park is within a two minutes’ walk and boasts a fine playground and open space to romp about and enjoy a picnic. Cammerlander Restaurant at Marktplatz Square has delicious kids’ meals with healthy, non-fried options and an indoor playscape.
Day 4 – Wednesday forecast: Scattered rain and drizzle with highs around 17 degrees Celsius
This day, with scattered rain forecasted, we decided to peer into habitats of animals native to the area at the Alpenzoo (Alpine Zoo) high above Tirol’s capital Innsbruck. Fortunately, there are many places where you can take shelter from the rain and many animals live in covered indoor enclosures. Tucked away under huge chestnut trees, the ample playground is fairly safe from the rain. Rainy day advantage: the zoo is less crowded and you can get up close and personal with all the bears, lynxes, otters and ibexes (and they don’t move that much :-). With its distinctive and spacious mountainside setting, the Alpine Zoo is a great way to spend a few fun-filled hours with the kids. With two eateries on premises, you could easily spend a whole day out here! (Or, get back to Innsbruck and stroll around town…)
Day 5 – Thursday forecast: Heavy rain with highs around 16 degrees Celsius
A surefire way to put a smile on the kids’ faces is to get them in their swimsuits and let them play in the water. Tirol’s indoor treasures rival its outdoor ones, and a rainy day presents the perfect opportunity to explore them. The numerous indoor pools and water parks are some of the best ways to make the most of a wet day in Tirol. If you’re looking for a place to take refuge from the rain where you can be ensured a great experience in Innsbruck, try visiting the Adventure Oasis in the Olympic Village and enjoy hours of fun-filled entertainment. If you’re looking for something to make your family fun day simply splashtacular, head to the Zillertal Erlebnistherme, to the Wörgl Waterworld or to the Stubay Stubay Recreation Complex. A full list of all Tirol swimming pools and water parks is available on www.tyrol.com. After swimming, the kids needed more entertaining, so we headed to the Happy Hopp indoor play center in Vomp.
Day 6 – Friday forecast: Scattered rain, highs around 17 degrees Celsius
As the weather was forecast to get better – at least drier, we headed out on a sightseeing trip “as the locals do”: Running every hour, tram #6 took us through beautiful forest and up to the villages of Aldrans, Lans and Igls. The ride is a truly memorable experience in itself! What’s best, the streetcar is never crowded so the kids can have fun while riding :-). We hopped off in Lans and walked a few meters to get to friendly Gasthof Walzl Inn. Little ones are king in this place—and the food is fantastic! They have a tiny indoor play area and an ample natural outdoor area with playground where you can let the children run free. On our way back to Innsbruck, we exited the streetcar at “Schönruh” and walked down to Ambras Castle. The beautifully preserved romantic Renaissance-style castle includes a vast collection of armouries, swords and peculiarities that were a hit for our boys. We played planes in the Spanish Hall—it just went round and round until we got dizzy (and felt like we’re doing some courtly dance). We fed ducks in the delightful English landscape garden, explored mysterious caves and discovered strange things. We didn’t mind that it was raining again :-)
Day 7 – Saturday forecast: Partly cloudy skies, scattered rain and highs around 18 degrees Celsius
Hooray, it was getting warmer again (not the warmth of summer, of course) but anyway, we dared to go outdoors: Natterer Boden is ideal entertainment for children, and comes with a petting zoo, pony riding, playground and a particularly appealing restaurant. They have great coffee for Moms and the welcoming atmosphere gave us some time to enjoy it in peace :-). In the afternoon, we went to the Innsbruck Airport. The outdoor terrace is a great place for plane spotting, especially on Saturdays with many planes landing and taking off.