We have traveled extensively throughout Europe with our kids and have seen a lot of beautiful cities along the way. Vienna, the capital of Austria, is among the most beautiful cities we have seen in Europe and is an amazing place for a family vacation.
We visited Vienna with kids in the summer and enjoyed an amazing variety of indoor, cultural activities, mixed with outdoor fun. Our trip to Vienna was a real highlight of our European family vacation and we’d highly recommend it for any family who enjoys a beautiful city, with endless cultural and recreational activities. There are so many amazing things to do with kids in Vienna, we had trouble deciding!
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Top 10 Things to do in Vienna with Kids
In addition to being one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, there are a ton of kid-friendly things to do in Vienna, Austria. Given we had just spent the preceding weeks on a kid-friendly hiking tour in Slovenia and a family cycling tour near Lake Bled, we were happy to give up the active stuff and have some family fun in the city.
Here are the best things to do in Vienna with kids that we enjoyed during our 3-day family visit:
1. Schönbrunn Zoo (Vienna Zoo)
When you visit most zoos around the world, they typically have 1-2 animals which are the stars of the show. Some zoos may be lucky enough to have pandas, orangutans or a polar bear, etc., but the Vienna Zoo seems to have them all. Name all the most popular zoo animals you can think of, and chances are good that the Schönbrunn Zoo has them. We’ve been to many zoos around the world, and can easily state that the Vienna Zoo is a world-class zoo.
The Vienna Zoo is home to countless species of fun and interesting animals from all corners of the planet. Our kids favorite animals we saw on our visit to the zoo includes the giant pandas and their smaller red panda cousins.
On the Australian front, our kids loved the koala bears, wallabies (small kangaroos), and a remarkably cute cloud rat. There were a ton of African animals which we had fun watching, including African elephants, hippos, giraffes, meerkats, cheetahs, lions and leopards.
The rest of the non-African big cats were well represented at the Schönbrunn Zoo. We were excited to see an Asian Lynx moving in the forest, and we were very lucky when two very large Siberian Tigers walked right past us (in their enclosure of course!)
One of the biggest attractions at the Vienna Zoo for kids is the polar bears. They have a huge enclosure, which we explored thoroughly. We were able to see the majestic polar bears from many different vantage points throughout the well designed building. Our kids also loved the penguins in the same enclosure.
I was most excited to see the orangutans, but sadly most of them were out of sight. We did get to see the newborn orangutan, but it was really far away. Oh well, that’s how it goes at the zoo sometimes.
We finished our day at the Vienna Zoo with kids at the petting zoo and the nearby playground. The petting zoo has food pellets for sale which you can feed the small goats and sheep inside the enclosure. Our son got bored pretty quickly and went to the playground with Mom, but our daughter made friends with the littlest goat. She sat there and petted the tiny goat for a long time, making a special connection.
We spent nearly a full day at the Vienna Zoo with our kids. It’s a really large zoo, so if you plan on seeing most of the animals, you should also plan a full day at the Schönbrunn Zoo with your kids.
Tips for Parents Visiting the Vienna Zoo with Kids
- The Vienna Zoo is outside the central tourist areas Vienna, but it’s super easy to get there by subway.
- There are water fountains all over the Vienna Zoo where people refill their reusable water bottles. We visited the zoo on a very hot day in August. I had a 2 L water bladder in my day bag. By using the water fountains, we were able to drink as much as we needed to stay safely hydrated on a very hot day. All told, we drank about 7L of water between the four of us. Be sure to bring your own refillable water bottles or a large water bladder in your bag.
- If your kids love baby animals as much as ours do, take a look in the information centre near the main admission gate. They have a list of all the recently born baby animals at the zoo.
- If your kids are too small to walk the Vienna Zoo, you can rent a wagon or take a ride on the zoo train to cut off some of the longer distances.
2. Naturhistorisches Museum Wien (Museum of Natural History Vienna)
One of the many reasons we travel the world with our kids is to show them the natural beauty of our planet. We try to teach them to love nature and all the living things in it. Although we prefer to experience nature in real life, we can’t resist visiting a world-class natural history museum, such as the Vienna Natural History Museum.
We began our visit to the Museum of Natural History Vienna by visiting the halls of minerals, gemstones and rocks. We started here as our kids love looking at all the amazing rocks and crystals from around the world, and we wanted them to see this exhibit while their energy was still high. Looking at rocks at the end of the day would be a recipe for disaster. We especially had fun looking for rocks, crystals and gemstones from Canada, our home country.
Next up we learned a lot about meteors, before moving on to the four halls dedicated to the history of the Earth. One of the rooms had a lot of fun interactive activities which our kids enjoyed such as making a volcano explode, learning how stalagmites are made, etc.
We live close to the Royal Tyrrell Museum, a world-renowned dinosaur museum, so we can get a little snobby about dinosaurs in museums. But, I must say that we were really impressed by the massive collection of very impressive fossils at the Vienna Natural History Museum. It was especially fun looking for fossils from the Burgess Shale, an important fossil site near our hometown.
Other highlights of the dinosaur exhibit that our kids really enjoyed was the amber display. Our kids have recently gotten into Jurassic Park, so to see so many incredible samples of amber with insects fully intact inside, was pretty exciting.
The remainder of the mezzanine floor was dedicated to anthropology, taking us on a visual tour of human history for the past 100,000 years. Our kids always gravitate towards the skulls and ancient weapons, but there was a ton of other interesting artifacts on display. I found the full Neanderthal skeleton pretty cool, but I was strangely creeped out by the display of early human species – haha!
Our kids had a lot of fun with the interactive activity called “What Would You Look Like as an Early Human?”. They sat down and had a picture taken of their face. They then picked which type of early human they wanted to look like, and then the video display showed them transforming into it. It was a lot of fun.
The upper floor of the Vienna Natural History Museum is dedicated to the vast variety of life on Earth. The number of species on display is staggering; ranging from the iconic African animals (elephants, giraffes, etc), to whales, bears, monkeys, sharks, birds, snakes, spiders, butterflies and any other animal you can think of.
The kids liked tricking Mom into looking at creepy bugs, while I liked looking at the well-preserved snakes. Some of the more unusual exhibits we enjoyed most were of a duck billed platypus and a dodo bird skeleton.
Tips for Parents Visiting the Vienna Natural History Museum with Kids
- Your kids may pressure you to watch one of the daily shows in the Deck 50 Theatre on the upper level of the natural history museum. We bought tickets for the Dinosaur show, but we left after 5 minutes when we realized that it was 100% in German. The museum was kind enough to refund our money due to this misunderstanding.
- We visited the Vienna Natural History Museum on a hot sunny day (32°C / 90°F). There is very little air conditioning in the museum, and it was quite hot at times. If you are looking for a cold museum for a kid-friendly activity in Vienna on a hot day, the Natural History Museum will not cool you down.
- There is a little restaurant on the second floor underneath the incredibly beautiful central dome. They have a simple menu, but there should be something for everyone to enjoy.
3. Haus des Meeres (Vienna Aquarium)
Our kids love ocean life, so we always try to make an effort to visit aquariums around the world. We’re used to aquariums being in massive, spread out buildings, so we weren’t sure what to expect when we found out the Vienna Aquarium is housed in an 11-story building. It was a unique design and they did a really good job with such a unique space for an aquarium.
The Vienna Aquarium Meeres packs a ton of aquatic displays into their 11-story building, including a lot of crowd pleasers. Our kids especially liked the manta rays, sharks, piranhas, the jellyfish display and the sea turtle.
We were all very excited to see the hammerhead shark exhibit, thinking we’d get to see a massive 15-foot hammerhead shark, but we all had a good laugh when two tiny hammerhead sharks swam by. One of them seemed to take an interest in our son, which was very exciting for him.
We were surprised to find out there is a lot more to Haus des Meeres than just ocean life – there’s a lot of land creatures on display as well; and a lot of really interesting species too!
They had a large snake section, including a massive anaconda snake (which we have never seen anywhere before), cobras, pythons and boa constrictors. The kids were fascinated and freaked out over the tarantulas and scorpions.
The stick bugs and chameleons were a big hit, as were the small monkeys and lemurs.
One of our favorite exhibits was the leaf cutter ants, as it reminded us of hiking to the Lost City in Colombia. The Vienna Aquarium cleverly showed the entire cycle of work these fascinating ants do every day. They start with a display of the leaf-cutter ants actually cutting the leaves. They then carry the leaves through a see-through tube which spans the whole room. At the end, we get to see the leaf-cutter ants farming the leaves. Amazing!
Tips for Parents visiting the Vienna Aquarium with Kids
- If you know you are going to visit the Vienna Aquarium with your kids, buy your tickets online ahead of time. You’ll need to pick an arrival window, but you can skip the line-up for tickets when you arrive.
- The air conditioning is not very good inside the Vienna Aquarium, so don’t visit as a way to cool your kids down on a hot day in Vienna. We found it quite uncomfortably hot at times on the day we visited when it was 30°C / 86°F outside.
4. Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna
When we travel with our kids, we’re not really museum people as we tend to seek outdoor adventures. But whenever we find ourselves on a family trip in a cultural capital such as Vienna with our kids, we like to make an effort to get them some exposure to some culture as well.
When looking at the large selection of museums in Vienna, the Kunsthistorisches Museum stood out as one of the best museums in Vienna for kids. We were especially interested in seeing the large collection of Greek and Egyptian artifacts and artwork on display.
We began our family visit to the Kunsthistorisches Museum with a walk through the Greek antiquities. Our kids are now at the age where naked statues are funny, so we had quite a few giggles as we walked past the many extraordinary Greek marble statues.
After the Greek exhibit, we spent quite a bit of time in the Egyptian section. Both of our kids were really interested in the Egyptian hieroglyphics, so we took more time than usual to stop and read about what we were looking at. In no time, our kids were able to identify the major Egyptian gods in the hieroglyphic stories.
The Egyptian statues were also a big hit with our kids, and they thought the sarcophagus’ on display were pretty cool. I think the exhibit which won the day was the mummified crocodile! We’re not sure why they would mummify a crocodile, but it sure was cool!
Finishing off the main floor of exhibits, we explored the artifacts from Vienna. There were many beautiful and shiny objects on display, but nothing which really caught our attention for any given time.
Then our daughter stopped to watch a video display on some automated models from the 1500’s. It was really quite fascinating to see how artists could bring a complex structure, such as a battleship, to life through the magic of automation. Once the video was complete, we went back to the exhibits and spent a lot of time looking at the artwork we had just learned about.
Once the first floor was complete, we went upstairs to complete our visit to the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna with our kids. The second floor is all paintings – many of them masterpieces. While we can appreciate good paintings, we’re not super interested in them either.
We ripped through the second floor pretty quickly. We stopped to look at a few notable paintings, including the Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel and a self-portrait by Rembrandt.
It’s worth nothing, that the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna building itself is a work of art. Each and every room is beautiful and the artwork is displayed in such a pleasing fashion that it’s a true pleasure to walk through.
Tips for Parents visiting the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna
- Kids under 19 years old are free.
- You must check your bags before entering the museum. There are coin-operated lockers to store your stuff, so bring a €1 or €2 coin with you.
- The air conditioning in the Kunsthistorisches Museum is really good, making it a good thing to do with kids in Vienna on a hot sunny day.
We love visiting food markets in new cities, so we made a point to visit Naschmarkt in Vienna with our kids. Naschmarkt is a huge food and restaurant market sandwiched in the space between two major roads.
The large selection of restaurants makes the Naschmarkt a great place to eat with kids in Vienna. The selection of restaurants ranged from Michelin rated restaurants all the way down to take-away sausage places. We enjoyed a delicious and healthy lunch at the Doan Restaurant.
6. Exploring Old Town Vienna
The pedestrian-only streets of Old Town Vienna are a pleasure to explore with kids. From a safety perspective, we love a city with pedestrian-only streets as we don’t need to worry about our kids being distracted by something and darting out into traffic.
As you’d expect, much of the pedestrian-only streets in Vienna are shopping-focused. Our daughter loves to window shop, so she was in heaven as we walked the beautiful streets of Vienna.
7. St. Stephen’s Cathedral
We stopped in St. Stephen’s Cathedral for a really quick visit. We loved the towering stain glass windows on the sides and the towering pillars along the center corridor of this very impressive Vienna cathedral.
We personally enjoyed the above 7 family-friendly attractions, but with only three days in Vienna with kids, it was impossible for us to see it all. The following are the rest of the popular family-friendly activities in Vienna which we considered, but ultimately didn’t have time to enjoy:
8. Spanish Riding School
Our daughter loves animals, so she would have loved the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. Normally a must-visit attraction with kids, the Spanish Riding School is known for its stunning Lipizzaner stallions performing intricate dressage routines.
9. Zoom Children’s Museum
We usually love taking our kids to children’s museums on our family trips, but by the time we had reached Vienna on our family trip to Europe, we had already been to several and didn’t feel like one more.
That said, the Zoom Children’s Museum in Vienna is a very popular destination for families, offering a hands-on and interactive learning experience for kids. The Zoom Children’s Museum offers a range of engaging exhibits and activities, encouraging children to explore art, science, and creativity in a fun and accessible way.
10. Schönbrunn Palace
If you are looking for a good combination of culture and fun, why not combine a visit to the Schönbrunn Zoo with the nearby Schönbrunn Palace? While at the Schönbrunn Palace, kids can enjoy exploring the lavish rooms, dressing up in period costumes, and even exploring the beautifully landscaped gardens.
Three Days in Vienna with Kids
To help you get a sense for what is possible on a family trip to Vienna, here is our 3-day itinerary for Vienna with kids.
Day 1 in Vienna with Kids
After breakfast, we set out to explore the renowned beauty of Vienna, Austria. The city is instantly likeable and a pleasure to explore on foot. We enjoyed window shopping on the pedestrian only streets of Old Town Vienna early in the morning, before the streets got too busy.
We arrived at the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna for its 10 am opening. It’s such a pleasure to visit a very popular museum ahead of the crowds. We spent most of our time in the Greek and Egyptian exhibits, but we also enjoyed the Vienna artifacts and the paintings as well.
After the Kunsthistorisches Museum, we walked to the Naschmarkt for lunch. After walking up and down the stalls, we decided to eat at the Doan Restaurant as they had a wide and varied menu with plenty of healthy options which looked appealing to the kids too.
Our final stop on our first day in Vienna with kids was the Haus des Meeres (the Vienna Aquarium). We had a ton of fun looking at all the interesting fish and animals on display over the entire 11 stories of the unique building.
Day 2 of our Family Trip to Vienna
For our second day in Vienna with kids, we headed to the renowned Natural History Museum. Given it is right next door to the Kunsthistorisches Museum, which we visited on our first day, we tried a different walking path to get there. This time we walked through the incredibly beautiful series of buildings including the Sisi Museum, the Imperial Treasury Vienna, the Swiss Gate, the HeldenPlatz and the Weltmuseum Wien. What an incredible series of buildings to walk past on our way to our kid-friendly museum.
We arrived at the Vienna Natural History Museum a few minutes after opening. At the risk of repeating myself, it’s so nice to be able to look at the exhibits with our kids without having to deal with the massive crowds that appear towards noon.
We visited every single hall in the Vienna Natural History Museum with our kids and we learned a great deal about our world and the creatures in it. All told, our visit to the museum lasted nearly 4.5 hours.
Day 3 in Vienna with Kids
For our final day in Vienna with kids it was going to be another really hot day, so we decided to spend it outside. We hopped on the U4 subway line, just minutes from our hotel, and before long we arrived at the Vienna Zoo.
We got to the Vienna Zoo right at opening. I always enjoy arriving at a zoo as early as possible as the animals are usually awake, engaged and moving around. This was the case for our visit to the Vienna Zoo – nearly every animal we saw between 9 – 10:30 am was awake and moving around. As we neared midday and the crowds swelled, the animal sightings got fewer and fewer as the animals sought relief from the sun and the huge crowds.
If you plan on visiting the Vienna Zoo with kids, we highly recommend you get there as close to opening time as possible.
Where to Stay in Vienna with Kids
When we travel with our kids, we often try to find accommodation where we each have our own space. Often we achieve this through a vacation rental, where we can all have our own bedrooms. In addition to the bedrooms, we like vacation rentals for their family-friendly amenities such as full kitchens and laundry facilities.
When planning our family vacation to Austria, we were unable to find a good, family-friendly vacation rental in Vienna in a good location at a reasonable price. Perhaps we waited too long to make a reservation?
It all worked out nicely in the end. We ended up booking two rooms at the Hilton Vienna Park. When booking directly on the Hilton website, I was able to book two connecting rooms – one which had a queen sized bed and the other had two twin beds. It was perfect for our family and it had a great location.
The Hilton Vienna Park was within easy walking distance of almost everything we did in Vienna with our kids, with the exception of the zoo. But the U4 subway line which goes to the zoo has a stop just across the street from our hotel. There’s tons of kid-friendly restaurants in the area and the CAT airport train is also just minutes away.
If the Hilton isn’t right for you, check out the Top Picks for Families on Booking.com.
We hope you enjoyed reading about our visit to Vienna with kids. If you’d like more inspiration for a family trip to Austria, check out our guide to visiting Austria with kids.
Dan Brewer is an intrepid family travel blogger with a passion for exploring the world's most captivating destinations. With 58 countries under his belt and a sense of wanderlust that knows no bounds, he has made it his life's mission to share his travel experiences and insights with fellow families who love to travel.
When Dan isn't traveling with his wife and kids, he's either out enjoying the Canadian Rockies he calls home or working on one of his three travel sites (Family Can Travel, Travel Banff Canada and Ultimate Sports Road Trip).