Traveling to Cologne
with your kids? Here are sights and attractions that the whole family will enjoy; from a chocolate museum, and boat cruises, to one of the most fascinating buildings in Germany, here are Cologne travel tips for visitors of all ages.
Every Cologne visitor, big or small, should see the signature landmark of the city: The Cathedral of Cologne
, one of Germany's most important architectural monuments. This Gothic masterpiece, situated in the heart of the city, is the third tallest cathedral in the world and boasts the highest church spires ever built. If you share some fascinating details about the cathedral, your kids will be even more impressed: It took 600 years to build the cathedral and it is home to a golden sarcophagus studded with jewels, which holds the crowned skulls and clothes of the Three Wise Men. Older kids will be interested in the modern stained glass window created by German artist Gerhard Richter. Composed of more than 11,000 identically sized glass pieces, it offers the modern interpretation of a stained glass window.
Your kids can satisfy their sweet tooth in Cologne’s Chocolate Museum
, which showcases the 3000-year long history of the cocoa bean around the world, from the Mayan’s chocolate “drink of the gods” to today's commercials. The museum is home to a small glass chocolate factory, where you can see how the coca bean turns into a chocolate bar. The machines all have viewing windows, so you can get a detailed look at the individual production steps. If all this talk about chocolate makes your mouth water, head to the 10-feet high chocolate fountain; the museum staff will be happy to dip waffles into the warm chocolate to give you a try.
Visit the oldest city hall in Germany at the Alter Markt (Old Square) in Cologne, dating back to 1150; while you will be interested in the building's history, your kids will be fascinated by the 130 statues that adorn its elaborately decorated façade. Look for the wood-carved mask of the statue "Platz-Jabbeck"; when the clock strikes the hour, it opens its mouth and sticks out its wooden tongue.
Follow your nose to the birthplace of the famous perfume Eau De Cologne 4711 on Glockengasse. When Cologne was occupied by the French, Napoleon
ordered his soldiers to count all the houses; the Eau de Cologne building was number 4711, and the perfume got its name from this historic building. Your kids will love the Glockenspiel, which plays the French anthem every hour; inside the building, you will find a shop, a small historic exhibition, and a fountain, where your kids can dip their hands in pure Eau de Cologne.
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If you did enough sightseeing with your kids, head down to the Rhine river; you can take a walk along the water, or relax in a park; for a unique perspective and a fun adventure, take the kids on the Koelner Seilbahn (aerial tram) over the Rhine river – it’s Europe’s only cable car crossing a river. You can also hop on a boat and continue your sightseeing tour on the water (KD Rhine river cruises).
A trip to the zoo is always a fun outing for the whole family. Cologne’s zoo, opened in 1860, is home to over 10,000 animals of more than 700 species. Highlights of the zoo are the rain forest hall with free-ranging birds and reptiles, a large elephant park, the monkey house, and the latest attraction, the new Hippodrom, a replication of an African flood plain habitat that allows you fascinating insights into the world of African animals such as hippos, crocodiles, and antelopes. If it rains, pay a visit to Cologne’s fascinating aquarium adjacent to the zoo.