europe · the mom life · travel

Insel Mainau: Come for the Flowers, Be Awed by the Playground

Visiting beloved flower gardens during spring is always a good idea; it’s time for Mother Nature to show off her vibrant hues and delicate silhouettes.

The last time we went to Insel Mainau, though, we did not have two kids in tow yet. Now that I’ve seen the park through the eyes of an ever-alert parent, I just realized how much of a refuge it can be for families with small children.

How do you keep a toddler from getting his shoes and socks wet? We may never know.

Starting from the obvious, the park is mostly green and car-free, so kids can run and explore to their hearts’ content. Just bring along a picnic mat, and you can make a stop almost anywhere (perhaps on the green field, while your little one is busy inspecting all the stones and flowers on the path?).

By the lakeside, we found a spot with large wooden lounges, so we didn’t even have to lay out our mat to stop for a snack. Since the lounge was wide, I could even set down our 6-month old freely as she viewed the world while lying on her tummy. Next to the lounges was a pond, where my 3-year old was happy to prance around and find where all the frog sounds were coming from. Meanwhile, this Mama was grateful to give her arms a rest, all while snacking on the groceries we brought along.

The ever-reliable kid magnet

As you would expect, there were plenty of gardens with eye-catching blooms to wow your kids (and older gardening-geeks alike). There was even a small petting zoo for the animal lovers. However, what really amazed me was the sprawling, whimsical playground, and I mean wow:

How cool is this? In the center of the climbing structures was a mini-lake, where kids can get on rafts and either paddle or hoist themselves across. As an anxious parent, I did worry that my son might lose his balance and fall into the water, but upon thinking more about it, the water was only as deep as the shallow wading pools that my toddler already swam in. If he did fall, the only real “hardship” would be perhaps a sore butt and having to take home wet clothes, but in exchange, my kid would have memories of awesome adventures in this one magical playground.

The pricey entrance fee for Insel Mainau may discourage a few families from visiting, but I would say that it was well worth our money, given that we spent almost the whole day inside (and we saved on costs by bringing our own food and a picnic mat). The vast open space was a godsend to our kids (who couldn’t wait to run and play unhindered), as well to us parents (who badly needed fresh air and the power of rejuvenating nature to bring us back to calm).

With small kids, a lot of days may be crazy —
but some days, some days we do get to be as calm as this.

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