Playmobil Fun Park


The adventures of daisy the bus 2

(Updated August 2019. A separate article on exploring “hidden gems” in Nuremberg can be found here.)

All over the world, children and adults alike instantly recognise Playmobil – chunky noseless characters inhabiting cartoon worlds of knights, farmyards, fairytales and other bastions of childhood imagination. This modern classic German toy has been hugely successful since its introduction in 1974; Playmobil figurines cannot hold hands (try it!) but if they could, the resulting chain of every figure ever constructed would circle the globe nearly three times!

But what we discovered only recently is that children of all ages can let their imaginations run riot at the Playmobil Fun Park near Nuremberg, Germany.

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Let’s be blunt: Playmobil is essentially the arch-competitor to Lego, and the Fun Park is the German company’s response to the success of the various Legoland Resorts. However, we have recently visited two of the largest Legoland parks (Denmark and Günzburg, Germany) and the truth is… we MUCH preferred Playmobil Fun Park.

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The problem with Legoland is it tries too hard to be a theme park (à la Disneyland)*. Those chunky roller-coasters and fairground rides may look exciting, but they detract from the basic premise of Lego itself: free childhood play. By a beautiful contrast, there are no “rides” at Playmobil Fun Park – each themed area simply encourages kids to do what kids do best…

Play.

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The result is that Playmobil Fun Park is by far the most relaxed park of this type that we have ever visited. The lack of fairground-type attractions and utter immersion of the kids in their fantasy Playmobil world means that the park is refreshingly unhurried and quiet. No rides also means no waiting around in lines (with a handful of exceptions such as the pedal karts), meaning that your little ones can simply spend their time engaged in whatever hand-on activity takes their fancy.

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Did you know? All Playmobil toys are made in Europe, at their factories in Spain, Malta, the Czech Republic and, of course, Germany.

The centrepiece of the park is the “HOB”: an immense glass structure with funky tiered seating forming an amphitheatre around a main stage. Life-sized Playmobil figurines stand guard over pits brimming with toys whilst water features bubble therapeutically in the background. It’s a wonderful spot for parents to relax over a coffee or lunch, and a safe haven in case of rainy weather outside.

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The vast interior of the HOB at Playmobil Fun Park.

Outdoors, the park is essentially one giant unbroken playground, structured around various themed areas. The castle and life-sized pirate ship may count among the more physically impressive features, but the attention to detail, ample green spaces and countless smaller activities are what really make Playmobil Fun Park such a pleasure to visit.

TIP: Challenge your kids to find the secret entrance to the Playmobil castle.

The park is sensibly targeted towards the same age group as the Playmobil toys, i.e. 4-12 year olds, and better suited for kids at the lower end of this range. Nevertheless, there is (just about) enough to hold the attention of pre-teens such as Ash; fully-fledged teenagers will surely bore more easily.

It’s no secret that we adore the Germanic / Scandinavian approach to family attractions, with emphasis on outdoor activities, responsible parenting and exposure to just the right amount of risk. Visitors from anglophone countries may initially be surprised (hopefully pleasantly so) at the freedom that kids have in the Playmobil Fun Park. Children may go rafting alone on a lake without a life jacket, climb to dizzying heights in a “spiderweb”, and are actively encouraged to scale the castle walls (some five metres high).

Yes they may tumble and hurt themselves, yes they may fall in and get wet (in fact, Mia did!) but in Germany learning to manage these risks is considered to be merely part of the learning process, a fundamental element of childhood and growing up. In short, young visitors to Playmobil Fun Park are encouraged not only to play, but to climb, run, jump, explore and discover. In our opinion, it is precisely this that makes the park so special.

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There’s a hotel at Playmobil Fun Park too, and after a full day of unstructured outdoor play we retired, slightly sunburnt, to one of the coolest (and best-designed) hotel rooms we have ever experienced.

We were meant to leave early the next morning to return to Luxembourg but – guess what? We loved it so much that we snapped up another day pass and let our kids enjoy another day of the simple pleasures of free play, Playmobil-style.

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PRACTICAL INFORMATION ABOUT PLAYMOBIL FUN PARK

(Prices / info correct as of August 2019)

  • The Playmobil Fun Park is located in Zirndorf (near Nuremberg), Germany and is open from late March to early November.
  • Peak season entrance fees are around €12 each for a single day pass or €20 for two days with various discounts / deals available.
  • Arriving by car, the park is well-signposted and there are oodles of parking spots available (€5 per day, or free if you are staying in the hotel).
    • Street parking is free of charge, if you’re lucky (or early) enough to find a spot.
    • Arrival by public transport appears to be somewhat trickier. Nevertheless, bus and train possibilities are neatly summarised here (in German).
  • There are numerous water attractions throughout the park; on warm days we recommend packing a towel, swimwear and / or a change of clothes for your little ones.
  • There are plenty of places to eat and drink throughout the park, at family-friendly prices (e.g. the kids’ menu in the main restaurant costs €5.50, including a toy).
    • There is a drinking fountain near the Pirate Ship.
  • Almost all park information is available in both German and English.
  • Foreign visitors may initially be confused by the very Germanic “pfand” (deposit) system operating in the park’s restaurants.
    • Upon buying food, you initially pay a “pfand” of €2 on each glass / mug / plate that you use, receiving a token for each.
    • Once finished, return the items to the “Geschirr-Rückgabe” with the tokens to receive a full refund.
  • Naturally, there is a huge shop full of every type of Playmobil you never knew existed. Prices are surprisingly reasonable too; a good opportunity for your kids to use up their pocket money on a lasting souvenir.
  • Surprisingly, the hotel does not have a restaurant; plan accordingly. A sumptuous breakfast (€12 adults, €8 for children) is available in the “HOB” for hotel guests.

This is NOT a sponsored article. We’re writing it simply because we enjoyed our visit to the Playmobil Fun Park and think that other families may too.

Daisy the bus visited Playmobil Fun Park in April 2018. We loved it so much we returned in August 2019.

(c) 2018 & 2019 Jonathan Orr 

*This is perhaps not surprising: Legoland Parks are not actually managed by Lego itself, but rather by Merlin Entertainments, a British theme park company also in charge of attractions such as Alton Towers and Madame Tussauds.
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Categories: family travel, germany, park, theme park, tips and adviceTags: , , , ,

19 comments

  1. I’m supposed to be reading your post about London but have found myself here instead! Am now wondering how I can incorporate a trip to Nuremberg on our summer holiday…
    Incidentally, we’ll be in Luxembourg this summer staying at a campsite for a few days to break a journey south. If you have any tips for great playgrounds in the area in the Germanic style do let me know!

    • Ha ha! How did that happen? ;o)

      Whereabouts in Luxembourg will you be? If you are near Luxembourg City, then this article may be of interest to you: https://daisythebus.com/2016/12/29/playgrounds-of-luxembourg-city/ It’s maybe a bit out of date now, but as far as I know all those playgrounds are still going strong.

      And our kids still ask about the Playmobil Fun Park – there’s a fair chance we’ll be going back there during the next half-term. A really cool place for kids – I hope you make it there!

      • Thanks, we’ll definitely make use of that. We’re staying near Wiltz.

      • Oh, I’m afraid that I don’t know much about kids’ facilities in that part of the country (that’s north-west; we live in the east and work in the City). I’ll have a look and get back to you if I discover anything.

        But it is really beautiful up there. You will be very close to the gorgeous Upper Sûre lake, where you can do hiking and watersports, near some spectacular castles (e.g. Bourscheid) and only a short drive away from the UNESCO-listed (and utterly extraordinary) “Family of Man” photograph exhibition. (I have an article on this too: https://daisythebus.com/2017/02/28/the-family-of-man/)

  2. The fact that there are no rides at this attraction makes me more keen to visit. I wonder if that will stop them from creating Playmobil fun parks in other countries like France and England. #CountryKids

  3. I didn’t know there was a playmobil fun park! This looks a fantastic day out for children – what fun! #CountryKids

  4. I remember those Playmobil toys – my younger brother had full box of it. I had no idea of existence of theme park dedicated to those toys. Looks like a great place to visit with the kids. #FarawayFiles

  5. Oh think my son is just too old for here! Looks amazing

  6. This looks amazing. I had no idea there is a Playmobil Park! WOW 🙂

    Popping over from #CountryKids x

  7. WOW – I had no idea there was a Playmobil Park! How amazing.

    Popping over from #CountryKids x

  8. Now this really appeals to me. I loath Legoland, the queues, endless fast food and sweet pop ups surrounded by wasps, the crowds and the waiting for rides that last just 2 minutes. The Playmobil fun park would have my vote any day and three cheers for letting kids take more risk, we have become lost up our own backsides with safety in the UK and it can be to the detriment of the children. Our insurance company would have kittens if we tried to have a climbing wall like that without harnesses and helmets. Your kids are lucky to be able to enjoy this lovely park where free play and imagination rule.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CoutnryKids

  9. we love lego and playmobil. I love the sound of this park. I had no idea it existed. #countrykids

  10. I love this post, and found it so interesting to hear how it contrasts with LegoLand. We’ve never been to a Play mobile park, and have only been to a mini LegoLand, but I think I would find Play mobile so much more appealing for all the reasons you mentioned. Does unstructured play even exist anymore in this new age of hovering parents and over scheduled kids?! Also, not a fan of theme parks ;). Thanks for linking up with #farawayfiles

    • I’m no expert on family life in the US, but the approach to parenting in Germany and Scandinavia is completely different to that found in the UK, for example. I’d love to be proved wrong, but a place like Playmobil Fun Park – with its inherent risks and focus on unstructured activities – is unlikely to be a hit in the UK, where many parents and guardians tend to wrap their kids in cotton wool and expect places like this to be a source of entertainment. Of course hovering parents and over-scheduled kids exist here too (sometimes I feel that my own kids are over-scheduled…) but I feel that there is an overriding element of common sense parenting in Germany that doesn’t exist in the UK, and I love it that way.

  11. In our home we love both LEGO and Playmobil, but have now outgrown Playmobil. I had a hard time giving away all those adorable little animals and tiny accessories. They’re SO well done! We visited a much smaller Playmobil park in Florida a few years ago, and loved it. As much as we love LEGO in our home, and we LOVE LEGO, we aren’t fans of the theme parks. They are just trying too hard. This looks like such a wonderful time. #farawayfiles

  12. Looks like the best kid park ever! And the price seems quite reasonable to be honest. Can I buy the giant Playmobil unicorn please? We had a ridiculously huge collection of both Lego and Playmobil when my not-so littles were little. Pirates, Vikings and Police seemed to dominate the free play in our house. Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles, cheers from Denmark.

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