Vienna: The best FIVE family-friendly experiences
You want do stuff that's not family-friendly? No problem, there's plenty of that too and you probably won't need my help for that ;-) Here I'm going to give a run down on the top five experiences we had as a family. I have four kids. FOUR. So emphasis here will be on stuff that is inexpensive or free. Lucky for you, there's plenty in those categories.
In no particular order because ranking them is like ranking apples and bananas (but harder, because bananas are clearly superior)
You can find carriage rides all along the Ringstrasse, but we caught ours at the Albertina. Great introduction to the First District and you’ll find that the drivers are very knowledgeable about the history of Vienna. We had been in Vienna for four months when we did our carriage ride and we found that ours was able to spot locations that Mozart had played, etc. that we'd never known about. Only time ours was stumped? She pointed out the Protestant Church in the first district and we'd asked whether it was continuously operating (given that the Protestant Church faced some oppression in Austria). She fumbled for a bit and said their weren't "very many Protestants anyway." Ah okay. Twenty minutes ran about 50 euros (they offered us a discount on this on Mother's Day).
This is a veritable family wonderland with great playgrounds at the ends of the island, with great running, biking trails running the length of the island. You’ll also find plenty of people swimming and fishing out of the river. For the parents, you’ll find foodstands near each of the playgrounds, which makes it easy to get snacks for kids and coffee for grownups to keep the fun going.
In the shadow of two flak towers, you’ll find great tree-lined paths for running, hiking but also plenty of benches for sitting out with books and picnic tables for a family picnic lunch. Boasting a history of musicians including Mozart, Schubert, and Beethoven, this is a great spot for spending a relaxed day under the trees.
True to Vienna’s reputation of great playgrounds this a ground specific to scooters and skateboards. As with every other playground, you’re no more than a stones-throw from ice cream and drinks. The variety of obstacles will keep your kids busy for hours. Helmets recommended for this one (we keep a helmet on William anyway). The Prater
This is the only one on this list you'll probably need to think financially about. While the Prater has several no-cost playgrounds and outdoor workout areas this area is perhaps best known for its amusement park. The Ferris wheel is particularly famous and the park, much like Magic Kingdom, does a great job of delineating areas that are better for specific ages. No tickets, etc. here—you pay per ride, which is either a benefit or a drawback depending on how you look at it.
For point of reference, I budgeted about 50 euros for my first visit and 100 for the second. Family of four kids. The 100 euros got each kid about 4-5 rides. But that easily was three or more hours, in part because the rides are actually a bit long. No lines, which is great. Every ride we could just walk up to. My kids loved the Labyrinth and obstacle course rides, which were relatively cheap (4-5 euros) in comparison to the more premium rides but could take 15-20 minutes to complete. The key, locals will tell you, is to set your budget and stick to it.