Trip Report: Hamburg with Kids (Part 1)

Breaking news!  Live!  On location!

I always thought I’d be able to blog while I travel.  Bahahahaha.  Hilarious.  Maybe when my boys are 11 and 13, not 1 and 3.  But I’m still going to try.  I wrote most of this post from the floor next to the bathroom while they napped.  And just like the ending your English teacher told you never to write, they woke up.

Anyhow, this trip is the first of its kind for me.  I traveled to Hamburg with Doc Sci (for a conference), but I was with the boys all day… by myself.

I know.  Who thought that was a good idea?!

Actually, it turned out just fine.  But, I think that was largely due to three things.  First, I kept my expectations beneath-rock-bottom low.  Second, I kept my itinerary totally bare bones.  And, third, I only put things on my itinerary that my boys would find interesting.

On our first evening in Hamburg, I had Doc Sci with me.  We decided to visit the Hamburger Dom, the biggest and longest fair in Germany.  It’s only held three times per year, and I usually never find myself in a city during any event of note.

The cotton candy booth also had oodles of fruit dipped in colorful coatings. A bit expensive but pretty nonetheless.

I should mention there are some notable differences than fairs in the US, though I openly admit I’m no expert.  I’ve only been to a handful of fairs and never the Minnesota State Fair.  But, I do know that no fair in the US has a both devoted solely to the sale of tobacco.  And the mermaids keep their clam shells on.

Would you like cigarettes with that?

The highlight of the Dom trip for me was seeing T-Rex’s reaction to his first taste of cotton candy.  (I did not get a good picture, sorry!)  And the boys were able to ride one attraction together without mom and dad.  They sat together in a shoe car and went around a track.  A teeny track in reality, but a big moment for us.  Both boys went from unsure to waving and giggling in the course of the 4.3 second ride.

Most of the exhibits had ledges for little legs to stand on and get a better view.

Wednesday’s main event was the Miniatur Wunderland which boasts the largest model railway in the world.  I thought it might be interesting for the boys and so-so for me.  But, I found myself wishing I could go back and take a look at all the little details in the two floors of exhibitions.  The humor and attention to detail are definitely worth the time.

Glowing buttons with interactive features were a bit hit with my boys.

Two thrifty things of note about the Miniatur Wunderland: I did not have to pay for either boy (only adults and children obviously over 1 meter high pay), and they have a cafe where we sat down to eat our picnic lunch instead of in the annoying spit rain outside.

At Miniatur Wunderland, each room has special lights to simulate dawn, day, dusk, and night. Amazing. We must have been there a whole two weeks.

That afternoon, we made a trip in to town to see the Chilehaus, but I was disappointed.  I had mentioned to T-Rex that we were going to see a “house” shaped like a boat.  While that is true, and definitely architecturally interesting, you have to stand far away to notice the ship-shape which isn’t even very recognizable for little ones.  I told him, sorry dude, it’s not that cool.  Let’s go find some dinner.  Food fixes everything!

I dragged the boys out of bed on Thursday morning and down to the Planten un Blomen, a ginormous park next to the convention center with tons of gardens and – of course – a rockin’ kinderspielplatz.  The boys played for two hours, one of which offered almost the only sunshine of our entire trip.

One part of the huge playground.

I’ve never seen a rope contraption like this before.

This is the biggest water playground I have ever seen. Unfortunatley, it was too early in the spring, so the pumps were not turned on yet.

My favorite part?  The tire swing that wasn’t really a tire.  I loved tire swings as a kid and my little ones seem to be following suit.  Since the middle was all plugged up, I could sit Screech on his bum while T-Rex stood up like the big boy he is becoming.  Do you think I could find one of those for the living room on ebay?

The tire swing!!

Our last hurrah in Hamburg: a trip to the port.  The boys were amazed at such large ships.  I was amazed that my hair could go in so many different directions when faced with a northern sea wind.

Hello, Hamburg, and Goodbye.

Furthermore, I was amazed that I handled both boys in a new city by myself (most of the time).  And, for the real shocker, I enjoyed it.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to look for more conferences where my smarty pants husband could submit papers.

For Part 2 of our Hamburg trip, click here.  And don’t miss my tips for planning itineraries when traveling with kids here.Signature-Marigold


5 thoughts on “Trip Report: Hamburg with Kids (Part 1)

  1. Pingback: Trip Report: Hamburg with Kids (Part 2) | Thrifty Travel Mama

  2. You may have noticed that I’ve been reading through your posts about Germany, great info for somebody travelling with toddlers. I still need to ask: what would be your absolute to do’s and don’t bother’s in hindsight? We are planning an Interrail trip in Germany (, and Bremen and Berlin are at least on the menu, Hamburg wouldn’t be far off and the miniature land is of interest to me. Other good advice? Seems like we like similar stuff (and even though I blog about freebies, I am happy to pay for good things as well 😉 )

  3. Pingback: train museum | Thrifty Travel Mama

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