Things to do for families in Basel
Basel has much to offer in terms of recreation, sports and family-friendly activities. Bordering areas of Germany and France also feature popular family destinations. Keep an eye on the Hello Switzerland Events page to learn about upcoming events. Basel Tourism and local newspapers provide more information. Hopp Kids is a wonderful website with unending suggestions for family activities and information about events.
A great tour to take with the family is the Augusta Raurica tour, which goes into the daily life experiences of the ancient Romans. Make a visit to nearby Reigoldswil (DE) and take a ride on the cable car. You can also hire a scooter from the top and ride back down to the valley on the prepared path. If your family is interested in theatre, check the programme at the Basler Kindertheater (DE) where the entire cast is made up of young actors. The Basler Marionetten Theater (DE), in the heart of Old Town, is a famous puppet theatre that has good shows for youngsters as well.
The Familienpass (DE) scheme offers reductions for family activities. The FamilienpassPlus card offers further reductions for single parent or low income families. A Colour Key (DE) membership offers youth ages 15-25 a wide variety of leisure activities, including access to the zoo, museums, concerts and sporting facilities. Another good option for six to 16 year olds is the Basler Ferienpass (DE). This pass gives members access to a variety of fun, sport and games during the summer vacation period.
Find more ideas in the Enjoying Basel article.
Outdoor family activities in Basel
Summer is ideal for hiking, swimming and exploring the city. Solitude Park on the Rhine is a beautiful place to sit and relax. There is a children's paddling pool in the middle of the park. St. Johanns-Park has a pavilion with a café and bar and the historic St-Johanns gate is located in this park. The Schützenmattpark is one of Basel's largest public parks. It is filled with large beautiful trees and has a café in the park pavilion as well. The botanical gardens (DE) of the University of Basel are also a nice place to visit. Entrance is free and they offer a multilingual audio tour that explains the extensive collection of plants on display. Another beautiful botanical garden is the Christoph Merian Garden (DE), which is also occasionally a venue for various concerts and events. Find a list of all park spaces in Basel on the city website (DE).
A few more suggestions include:
- Basel's Kinderferienstadt (DE) takes place during spring, summer and autumn holidays at different locations. It offers widely diverse activities from circus skills to sports.
- Park im Grünen in Münchenstein (DE) has various activities in summer such as mini golf, puppet theatre and pony rides. A large park where you can also barbecue in the vast grounds.
- Lange Erlen (DE) is a large deer park in Basel and a home for other interesting animals. In the pavilion in summer there is usually a brass band entertaining the guests. Electric cars for the kiddies to ride around on as well as a carousel.
- Europapark, Germany's largest theme park, is only an hour from Basel,
- The Laguna indoor water park (DE/FR) in Germany makes a great day out.
- Basel zoo (DE) is one of Switzerland's oldest, largest, and most popular zoos.
- Try out some paintballing at the Paintball Arena.
- Winter is great for skiing lessons, sledging, snowshoeing and ice skating.
Rainy day activities with children in Basel
Cinemas in Basel almost always show films in English with French and German subtitles. You can check out the performance language from the internet or newspaper. There is also the Magic Lantern film club for children. Dreirosen Freizeithalle (DE) is an indoor sports and play facility and the Basler Freizeitaktion (BFA) (DE) runs youth centres and offers a wide range of children's activities. Play squash, badminton or bowl at the Allschwil Van der Merwe Centre (DE).
Use a rainy day as an excuse to explore one of the city's magnificent museums or theatres.
- The Basel Children's Theatre (DE) offers a varied programme.
- The Museum of Pharmacy has alchemist laboratories, pharmacies, scientific instruments, ceramics and many other highlights on display in a medieval house.
- The Spielzeug Welten Museum (toy worlds museum), over 6,000 dolls and teddy bears are on display in detailed miniature settings.
- The Felucca Theater (DE/FR) is known for its master puppeteering, fun for adults and children alike.
Babies and small children
The Open Door and Basel Childbirth Trust offer English speaking support and activities for parents with small children. Muki Turnen (DE) mother-child groups are local German-speaking gym classes. Gymboree and Kindermusik run music and activity classes for pre-schoolers
Essential tips for planning family activities
- Check with SBB/CFF for special discounts and family tickets. SBB/CFF trains also sometimes have family carriages.
- Become a member of the Touring Club Suisse (DE/FR/IT) for security while travelling by car.
- Check the Swiss weather forecast in order to plan your activities.
Photo: swiss-image.ch/Andreas Zimmermann.