We'll be in Munich with our 2 children (ages 6 and 9) for four days in August. We plan on spending one of those days travelling to Fuessen to tour Neuschwanstein and ride the luge, and one taking a day trip to Salzburg. One day we will be seeing the sights in Munich - walking tour of altstadt, Viktualienmarkt. possibly Residenz. Our first day is still up in the air a bit after arriving on the sleeper train from Orvietto at 8:30AM, and that's why I'm asking this question. My wife would really like to visit Dachau (I'd like to visit also, but not with the same desire she has). Our 9 yo. is pretty mature for her age and we'll likely give her the option of whether she would like to visit w/ my wife or not. What suggestions would you give for me to do with our 5 yo. during that time? Englishergarten? Nymphenburg Palace? Tower in Olympiapark? Other? Thanks for any ideas on this (or anything else in that rambling question you'd like to give advice on).
The Deutsches Museum is a wonderful science museum, with lots of kid-friendly exhibits. http://www.deutsches-museum.de/en/exhibitions/ I don't have children and haven't been 5 myself for a long time, but it's hard to imagine a child that age being interested in a palace for more than a few minutes. Of course, you know your kids better than I do, so if you think this is their thing, go for it.
Mature child or not, I truly do not think taking children under the age of 12 to a Concentration Camp is a good idea. I know people do it, but the question is why would you subject a child to this kind of horror so early in life when you can't be sure if they will understand it at all? As an adult, I struggle to understand the absolute cruelty of this era. How people can do this to another human being? Of course the nazis didn't believe Jews were human, so of course it was ok. They didn't believe people who were unable to work were worth anything, so they euthanized 100,000 of their own people, they thought Homosexuals needed to be "fixed", so they were persecuted and killed too, check how many Jehovah Witnesses they put in Camps who died. They sterizilized alcoholics, prostitutes and all the deaf people in Germany. Now, how do you explain that to a child? These camps are "Must Sees" for adults, but not for children.
A half day isn't much. I tend to agree with Jo. I don't like visiting concentration camps myself, mainly because they are downers. It's important to remember one of the worst parts of human history, but I don't necessarily want it to be part of my vacation. Our kids enjoyed the town center, Marienplatz, the clock on the Rathaus and climbing the tower at the church. If it's a nice day, I'd visit the English Gardens. Stop at a beer garden or food stand for some local food. If it's not nice out, maybe the Hofbrau Haus would be fun for them. It's guaranteed to have oompah music and you can get something local to eat.
Brad, We have four days. One of them will be spent as a family exploring the Marianplatz, etc. as you mentioned. I'm just looking for suggestions for something to do with my 5 yo. (and possibly the 9 yo.) while my wife visits Dachau for a 1/2 day. Thanks!
For a nice day, the English Garden is a good suggestion. Your kid(s) can run around and get some energy out. You can enjoy a beer. I don't remember if the Chinese Tower biergarten had a playground or not, but a lot of outdoor German biergartens do have playgrounds - and German playgrounds in general seem so much more creative and interesting to me than American ones. So maybe do some research towards that end? Also there's the "surfing" spot on the Isar where people surf a man-made wave. That might be cool for the kid(s) to see. Also agree that a kid could enjoy the Hofbrauhaus, don't forget to take them to the museum upstairs so they can try their hand at lifting the mugs!
A second vote for the Deutsches Museum. My husband, and son, have been there many times. There are many "hands-on" demos. It's huge, so pick out what you have an interest in. By the way, it's a short walk from Allstadt. Have a great trip making lifetime memories with your family!
My two cents - I feel a visit to a concentration camp @ age 9 is too young. Yes, it would be educational to a point; but vastly more so once the child is a bit older, having actually studied that period in history, learned about religions, etc. There are few greater examples of man's inhumanity to fellow man than a concentration camp, and i think those lessons are better absorbed once one has a greater sense of both education and maturity. I can also see a nine yr. old being fairly upset by the whole thing, and not just for a few minutes. A visit to a concentration camp was a sobering enough experience for me @ age 16. I will never forget what I saw, certainly; but I think i I had also studied enough history by that time that I was better capable of understanding it in its greater context. As for entertaining a 5 yr old - how about the zoo? I like the Hofbrauhaus idea, too - more fun there than you might think.
The Englischer Garten is a very good idea, just pointing out that if the weather is warm and your sensibilities are delicate for the child, some sunbathers there may wear less than the child may expect.
Where is that "like" button when you need it?
I took my children to Dachau when they were teenagers and they found it very moving. I was surprised at the time to see classes of German school children being taken around and many of them looked as young as 10. However I think it is good that this is part of the curriculum, and not swept under the carpet as it was for many years post war, and I assume that the children had been prepared. You know your child. For instance, I would have had no problem taking my elder son when he was this age. He was interested in knowing more after meeting with his German grandfather and learning of the fate of family and friends from his grandfather's village. You are probably the best judge. Another vote for the Deutsches Museum for those of you that decide not to go.
So I guess what James is saying is, wait on the English Gardens until your wife can come with you. LOL. The nudity depends a lot on the weather. For me it's forgettable because it's really not pruriant - just people getting a tan. Your five year old might not notice - unless your 9 year old or you make a big deal out of it.
Another vote here for the Deutsches Museum-- great hands-on stuff for kids and "big machines." Alternatively, the Olympic Park is a fun place for kids. You can go up in the tower, swim in the Olympic pool, and take a tour on the roof of the Olympic stadum (although that might have a minimum age requirement--not sure.) BMW Welt is nearby, which would have appealed to my son at age 6, but depends on your kids' interests.
Michael, I have to put my 2 cents in also. Took my then 11 y/o son to Dauchau, and regretted it later. Also mature for his age. I think it was too much for him to process, and he has very negative memories. Took him to Matthausen when he was 14 and he got a lot out of that visit. So I have to say - no matter how mature - 9 is too young. I would suggest your wife go on her own, and you take both kids to either the englishergarten or to the Duetsches museum both of which my son thoroughly enjoyed!
Definitely do the paddle boats on the lake in the English Garden.
Thanks for the advice and ideas! I don't think we're going to have our 9 yo. go to Dachau. I'm thinking of renting bikes for her and I, and getting a tandem attachment for my 6 yo. son. We have one for him here, and that would allow us to explore the Englishergarten, and maybe a bit more of the city while my wife goes to Dachau. She's leaning towards taking an organized tour. Two follow up questions: Any recommendations as to which Dachau Tour for her to take? Also, anyone have a review of bike rentals from Mike's Bike Tours? From their website, they have the tandem attachment I'd need for my son available to rent.