Prater Park and the Giant Ferris Wheel
Visiting the Prater, a large natural park between the Danube and the Danube Canal, is a little like stepping into another world. Covering an area of 3,200 acres, this vast park - once a royal hunting ground - has long been one of Vienna's most popular recreation areas. There's something here for everyone, from thrills and spills in the Wurstel area with its old-fashioned theme park rides to dining and dancing (there's even a dinosaur park for the kids). A highlight is taking a ride on the famous Giant Wheel, a Viennese landmark that has provided fine views over the city since 1896 (if you can afford it, go for the super luxurious cabin, suitable for parties of up to 12). Other park highlights include the Prater Ziehrer Monument, a larger-than-life statue of composer CM Ziehrer built in 1960; the Prater Museum with its displays documenting the park's history; a Planetarium; and the Liliputbahn miniature steam railroad traversing a four-kilometer line near the main avenue. Elsewhere in this vast park there's room enough for horseback riding, swimming in the stadium pool, football, cycling, tennis, and bowls. Also worth visiting is nearby Danube Park (Donaupark), a 250-acre open space that's home to a fun miniature railroad, an artificial lake (Lake Iris), and a theater.