Every parent knows that little ones tend to get fixated on one thing and dwell on it for weeks, months — maybe years. My boys now go through a “dinosaur phase”, where they are really into dinosaurs. Well, some obsessions are more fun than others are; this year we have decided to spend our summer holidays at home and explore all of Tirol’s mountain adventure parks. And luckily, there’s a dinosaur attraction in the easternmost corner of Tirol, where we start our discovery tour of the country.
Up there at Steinplatte Waidring, little ones can explore the mystery of pre-historic life in an environment of learning, discovery, and fun at Triassic Park. A rich variety of hands-on activities and experiences await kids of all ages, which makes spending the day here a great experience for the entire family. Win-win-win.
A “Diving Gondola” Ride to the Petrified Coral Garden
The environs may be prehistoric, but the adventure park is bang up to date: Equipped with a luxurious exploration manual, expeditioners like us ride in true style in U-shaped “Diving Gondolas” from the base up to an elevation of 1,700 meters. There is a lot to see from the gondola, perpendicular rock faces, erratic blocks and boulders—and my boys even spot dinosaur footprints. Having arrived at the top, we take a five-minute walk to the Triassic Center, the first highlight of Triassic Park.
Dino-Themed Exhibits in the Triassic Center
We explore the awe-inspiring display of dino-themed exhibits in the Triassic Center: Hands-on experiences, vibrant sounds and graphics bring to life the ancient beasts that called this area home in the Triassic period. Games, films, replicas and fossils make this a fun stop. Good to know: The interactive visit inside the Triassic Center is fascinating, but the real fun is just outside the Center.
A Paradise for Kids: Triassic Beach
When we’re out in the sun again, we grown-ups enjoy the warmth while our kids are catching tadpoles in the pond. The rafts are real fun! You climb over the raft and reach the opposite shore by pulling on the rope. Triassic Beach is fun for us parents, too: from brushing off fossils in the sand over gemstone panning and the climbing wall to the climbing park in the water (!)… our boys are having the time of their lives here. The “Stone-Splitting-Station” sparks our kids’ excitement most: Outfitted with chisels and hammers, they are allowed to split as many slabs and stones as they want (officially digging for fossils, of course) – and they want to do so for hours upon end ;-)
To the Ropes Course along Dinosaurs
It is hard to prise our children out of this place… as we finally succeed, the next highlight awaits: Life-sized replicas of dinosaurs make the Interpretive Triassic Trail a fun walking experience. The kids can expend some extra energy at Robinien Park’s ropes course. Hovering high above the ground is a spectacular viewing platform that resembles a fan coral and offers breathtaking, if vertiginous, views of the surrounding mountains. The trail continues to a tiny lake where a Cymbospondylus emerges from the water every now and then.
The Bottom Line
Triassic Park is definitively among our best-loved family attractions! It feeds our kiddos’ obsessions, scores serious “best parent ever” points with our little ones and actually is fun for us, too. The experience stops and interactive information kiosks are designed to entertain kids but are equally enchanting to grown-ups. Triassic Park even scores more points with its luxurious exploration manual (that is available for free in two versions, one for toddlers and one for older kids). Moreover, all of the experience stops at Triassic Park are easily stroller accessible. The only downside: as Triassic Beach provides a splashtastic time for kids with all that water play areas, it is not really the place to go on a rainy day (although there are covered play areas, too!).
Bring swimwear! And bring enough to drink – there are very few places to refill your water bottle at Steinplatte and drinks at the on-mountain restaurant are quite expensive. My personal recommendation is to brings some snacks for the mountain and to dine afterwards, back down in the valley (i. e. at Gasthof Oberweissbach Inn, a Kid-Friendly Restaurant in Waidring, located only a ten minutes’ drive from the base of Steinplatte-Waidring Gondola)!
The prehistoric fossils and the petrified coral garden at Steinplatte Mountain, at an elevation of 1,800 meters, are 200 million years in the making (back in the Late Triassic period, when dinosaurs ruled the earth). Tethys, the primeval sea of the Triassic Period, left behind an imposing shelf and numerous prehistoric fossils. Plus, Steinplatte affords stunning views of the amazing mountain scenery.
BB Steinplatte Waidring | Rudi Manesch | Simon Oberleitner | TVB Pillerseetal | Tirol Werbung/Julia König