Traveling with children: Hurray, we go to the farm!

Holidays with children? Saddling horses, milking cows, bringing sheep to dry land: animals make our little ones happy. Only where? 14 great addresses in Germany.

Everyone is looking forward to a family vacation : finally something exciting to do together, beyond school, work and everyday life. But there the questions go already: Where can one go, so that all have their fun? Especially if the parents do not feel like package holidays, the little ones refuse the (expensive) professional child care anyway, the one wants to the sea, the other into nature and the third has long dreamed of a city break? Our suggestion: Holidays on the farm with cuddly animals and lots of nature. And one or the other city for excursions is usually also nearby. The best: All farms are located in Germany , so you can save the expensive flights for long-distance travel.

Schleswig-Holstein

Yard gap

Organic farm with Bibi and Tina

On the thatched Dreiseithof on the Schlei movie stars give the handle in the hand. Director Detlev Buck had “Bibi and Tina” saddle the horses, even the “5 friends” were already there. That the ZDF “country doctor” visited patients in this house interests children less. More important are the riding ponies Tammy and Schöbby, the cats, chickens and ducks. Hosts Gisela Lorenzen and Ernst Wohlgehagen welcome their guests with coffee and cake. Sometimes not personally, because some animal always wants to be taken care of. Two spacious apartments with natural wood furniture and antiques can accommodate five to seven people. On Schleswig-Holstein’s first Kneipp health yard hangs a hose in the shower for the cold cast, which in the morning brings the circulation going, and in the garden a log cabin invites you to take a sauna.

Twedt, Hof-Gap Buschau, Tel. 04641-90 93, www.hof-luecke.de ; Apartment from 80 €

Good Royum

The family business is located on the Schlei and has a lot to offer for children. Trampoline and go-karts in the garden, table tennis in the barn and of course animals: rabbits, goats, horses, cows and a dog are looking forward to playmates. But adults also get their money’s worth while the children play safely and happily. The small sauna in the garden brings everyone back on track and also the many surrounding routes for cyclists or walkers bring a great change. There are large apartments or rooms for rent.

Gut Royum, Royumer Weg 6, 24864 Brodersby, Phone 04622 414194, www.gut-royum.de

Heligoland dune

Seals – very close

Seagulls are called Emma – at least the Helgoland James Krüss claims in the children’s book classic “The lighthouse on the lobster cliffs”. The seals, which are born on the Heligoland dune, also get names. Their initial letters depend on the locality: S as south beach, N as north beach, A as the flint beach Aade. On the dune you can get close to the animals. They are not far from the beach chairs in the sand or emerge directly next to the bathers from the North Sea. Every half hour, the ferry departs from the main island to the dune, about a kilometer away. Bungalows, cabins and tents accommodate guests. Originally the dune was part of the island, but in 1721 a storm surge made two out of one. Today, vacationers enjoy the seclusion, and on the sandy beaches, children happily carry fossils home in their pails. The perfect North Sea Idyll!

Helgoland dune, Tel. 04725-81 12 51, www.helgoland.de ; Cabins for 2 pers. from 135 € (first night), every additional night 90 €, children from 14 years 10 €; Bungalow from 57/31 €, rent from 55 / 3o €, each for 2 persons, children from 14 years 8 €

MECKLENBURG-VORPOMMERN

Good Dalwitz

Eco-paradise for cowboys

When Heinrich Graf von Bassewitz traveled with his wife from Uruguay to Mecklenburg in 1992, he found a ruin between fields and meadows. The former family estate, expropriated in 1945, he knew only from romantic narratives of his grandfather. It was these stories that drove him to bring the old estate to new splendor. Today, the Mecklenburg Ökohof is a magnificent property with South American charm. Because the guests may feel like cowboys here, learn Westernreiten on one of the 100 Criollopferde and help with cattle rubbing. Children swing on ponies, visit rabbits and guinea pigs in the petting zoo, swing on the playground or listen to the sounds of nature: the storks clatter on the roof, bees hum in the garden, the moor frogs in the moat moult. Cattle and sheep are on pasture all year round. In the farm shop there are eggs, meat, sausage, honey, jam and apple juice – and in the restaurant “Remise” down-to-earth Mecklenburg cuisine. Not only the guests of the 22 tasteful holiday houses and apartments, also locals like to come here. On summer Mondays, the landowners invite you to the Asado, a South American barbecue (adults 18 €, children 9 €). If you prefer to cook yourself, you can harvest fresh vegetables in the courtyard garden.

Walkendorf, Dalwitz 44, Tel. 039972-561 40, www.feriengutdalwitz.de ; Apartment from 75 €, house from 120 €, breakfast can be booked, adults 10 €, children 3-12 years 5 €

Bullerbü

Cozy stork’s nest

Storks stalk through the grass or clatter in the nest on the high pole. The wild geese chatter loudly to drown out the throaty calls of the cormorants in the Schaalsee biosphere reserve. In the farming village of Dechow is built in 1922 Rotklinkerhaus, a dive jump from Röggeliner lake, not far from Schaalsee. In the rugged garden, apple trees lean against each other, in the house children and adults sink deep into thick sofa cushions or stretch their legs on the kitchen bench. The Apartment Bullerbü is small or big to have: If you need more space, rent bedroom and gallery on the upper floor. It is not far to the Baltic Sea. But who needs a sea when the lake is at the door?

Dechow, Seeweg 4, Tel. 0451-899 31 52, info about www.schaalsee.de ; Apartment from 60 € for 2 pers., Each additional person. 10 €

Good Rensow

Farm house with animal park

Peacocks boast of their beauty – sometimes even in the house, when not just lambs walk or dogs keep court. Outside, deer roam the meadows, frogs sing their evening song, foxes lie

n from the undergrowth. “Bude” Knut Splett-Henning calls his 30-room estate with the wild, once English park. The Hamburger bought the dilapidated estate in 2002 together with his Danish wife Christina Ahlefeld-Laurvig. He restored it piece by piece, collecting antique furniture at flea markets and in barns. Soon the estate, which was intended as a holiday home, became the home of the now five-member family and their animals. Since they do not fill 30 rooms, guests are welcome – in four baroque apartments. Family is also the food. The host is a hobby chef and serves all on a long table with regional delicacies.

Rensow, Am Anger 22, Tel. 039972-562 88, www.gutshaus-rensow.de ; Apartment from 95 €

Good Boldevitz / Boldevitzer Rügenkaten

The pure equestrian happiness Even if the manor on the island of Rügen in the ZDF series “Hello Robbie” once played a role: “There are no seals, but many horses. Big and small, serene and spirited. The boss of the herd is Martina Herrmann. With her holiday guests not only learn to saddle up and down, they can also – depending on prior knowledge – practice for the riding badge, shine in horse musicals or try as a coachman. There is plenty of room in the park with swimming and fishing ponds. Children over the age of five spend whole days in the care of Martina Herrmann and her team. They vault, practice equestrian games, decorate ponies in horsepainting. In the evening, they crawl into the holiday nest of the former farm workers’ chats, while the parents relax in the sauna.

Parchtitz / Boldevitz (Rügen), Dorfstr. 16, Tel. 03838-31 39 76, www.ruegenkaten.de ; Apartment from 85 €

BRANDENBURG

Erlenhof

Delicious farm animal arche

Meadows surround the large log cabin, sheep are frolicking on it. Skudden, to be precise: that’s the name of the “Heidschnucken der Masuren” that Barbara Brunat and her husband Karl-Heinz breed in the Oderbruch. The Erlenhof is a livestock ark for an endangered sheep breed, which provides variety in the farm shop. Sheep cheese, meat and sausage are sold, sheep’s milk soap, knit socks and sweaters. The wool was spun by the Brunats themselves on long winter evenings. From spring to autumn, shepherd carriages are ready for guests: mobile lodgings with bunk beds and mini-kitchens. Log cabin and stone house are habitable all year round. Mobile phone reception and Internet you are looking for in vain. Here you can only find peace.

Letschin / OT Kienitz North, Kienitzer Oderstr. 51, Tel. 033478-389 80, www.erlenhof-im-oderbruch.de ; Ü in Schäferwagen from 20 € per person, log cabin 50 € for 2 pers., Child 3-11 J. 12 €

Good Netzow

Holidays in the organic country

The address sounds as if Erich Kästner had thought it up: Gut Netzow in Netzow am Netzowsee, in the Uckermark. Here chickens roam freely across the yard, mini-pigs and goats look forward to visiting the pasture. The three Labradas do not only serve as watchdogs, they are above all one thing: very fond of children. The Biolandhof grows mainly cereals; Cow and calf barn serve today only as a bicycle garage and as a play ground. Or they were turned into apartments. From the bedrooms you can look over the lake, which also has its own swimming area, even with a small sandy beach. Canoe and rowboat are ready to go. Each of the five apartments has a garden, the largest being a short walk from the estate. Do not worry: at most children cycling over the village street.?

Templin, Good Netzow, Tel. 03987-20 16 84, www.gutnetzow.de; Apartment from 80 €

LOWER SAXONY

Hof Thöle

Idyll for everyone

The kids love to bake treats for animals. You may also set up the guinea pig stables, stage equestrian rallies with patient ponies or go on a treasure hunt with bitch Lindsey. Ludger and Renate Ording receive guests with and without handicap in a barrier-free apartment on the listed Fachwerkhof in Artland – between Oldenburg and Osnabrück. Not only children with deficits and peculiarities, such as dogs or horses overcome an obstacle course, feel the beneficial effects of dealing with animals. And while the parents doze on the swing with the cats, the children have long trampoline and slide uncertain.

Badbergen, Im Langener Esch 22, Tel. 05433-91 35 12, www.hof-thoele.de ; Apartment from 75 € for 2 pers., Each additional person. 12 €

THURINGIA

Hohenwarter Seehof

Meadow bed by candlelight

No bed in the cornfield, but one in the middle of the meadow: In the Thuringian Slate Mountains Nature Park, on a 16th-century farm, Rolf Schnitter and Heidi Seiffert nurse Dexter cattle, pigs, pygmy goats, Shetland ponies, chickens and rabbits Everything is organic. The “WiesenBetten”, four lodge tents at the edge of the forest, have comfortable sleeping quarters for up to six people, cold running water in the kitchen and a wood-burning stove. You should not expect sockets and light switches, here oil lamps and candles shine instead. In the morning, the children collect eggs directly in the chicken coop; Vegetables, sausages and meat are available in the farm shop; Anglers get fresh fish from the Hohenwarter lake, which is within sight. Swimming is also allowed. And when in the evening the last game “man does not annoy you” comes to an end, the birds are still chirping for a long time.

Altenbeuthen, Altenroth 65, Tel. 036737-303 00, www.wiesenbett.de ; Lodge tent from 269 € for 3 nights, April to October

Rhineland-Palatinate

Weiher Wiesenhof

Organic farm with Wwoofing

In the Kyll valley in the Eifel, near Bitburg, humans and animals are getting closer. Cats roam about, chickens and geese are chattering, and guests sniff the dishes on a long board after the meal. Because at the Weiherwiesenhof you do without classic holiday apartments. Everybody sleeps in the barn in the barn, in the tent in the meadow or in the trailer. Spending time together – this is the program. Those who help with the harvest and the stable will have free meals and lodging for a maximum of six hours. Wwoofing – “World wide opportunities on organic farms” – is the name of this England-based version of active farm holidays. Those who prefer to put a deckchair under the walnut tree are also welcome. In the herb garden grow dill, chives and nasturtium, raspberry and currant bushes bear fruit; Guests are also allowed to harvest apple trees. In the afternoon, everyone goes to the bays by the river.

Malberg, Finstinger Str. 6, Tel. 06563-1354, www.weiherwiesenhof.de ; Bed / breakfast in a bunk bed on a bunk bed € 17 / person, children € 8.50; Tents 9 €, trailer 17 €

BADEN-WÜRTTEMBERG

Organic farm Tannenburg

Visit to the lord of the castle

Looking from the Tannenburg over the Hohenloher country, feels amazing. The old walls on the Nibelungenstraße dates back to the 12th century and towers over the Bühlertal like a fortress. Family Zipperer operates the castle as a holiday home and an organic farm with herd of cows including calves, minipigs, cats, ponies and tame rabbits. If you like, you can look over the lord of the castle at work, ask questions or help to feed the animals. Bauer Zipperer then tells that the castle was once built in the reign of Emperor Barbarossa, that for 500 years it housed the Ellwangen Abbey and belongs to the third generation of his family. Today, table kickers, sandpit and bowling alley lure visitors to the castle courtyard; In the rose garden you keep bread in the fire. Grandfather Ernst-Wilhelm has furnished five guest rooms and a holiday apartment with antique furniture. In summer there is a tepee for six people in the garden.

Tannenburg 4, Bühlertann, Tel. 07973-59 85; www.zipperer-tannenburg.de ; DZ / F from 26 € per person, children from 10 €; Apartment 80 € / day, teepee 30 € / day for 2 pers., Each additional person. 10 €

Mooshof

Around the cow

Pack plenty of books and go shopping once before getting here. Because as soon as they arrive at the Mooshof in the Black Forest, the children do not want to leave. And at the latest, if you have completed the first stable time yourself, you also know why. Early at half past five the children are trudging past Josef Günther to the pasture, bringing the cows. Back in the stables, they practice under expert guidance, the inscription. And if the cows then ruminate, there are warm milk bottles for breakfast. In addition in the farm shop? Cheese from own production, yoghurt, quark, butter, sausage and eggs. Fresh bread bakes the old farmer personally. And because the cows are in the pasture during the day, rabbits, chickens and pigs get a lot of attention. From the balconies of the two apartments you have stable or playground, so the children, mostly in view. And on the second day it feels like you’ve been in the yard for a week already.

Tennenbronn, Schwarzenbach 271, Tel. 07729-410 or 81 54, www.bio-mooshof.de ; Apartment 46 € / day

BAVARIA

Ferienhof Schmidtner

Fischers Fritze

Fishing makes you happy. One of them is convinced on the farm in the Altmühltal. This is not surprising, because a trout brook splashes in front of the house, and in the nearby fish pond, which also belongs to the yard, swim char. Host Hans Schmidtner explains how a good catch succeeds and, if necessary, even lends his rod to small guests. Once the bait has been ejected, you can sit back and relax on the dock. In the garden you can enjoy the shade of the mighty oaks and birches. Water-shy animal lovers prefer to watch the horses grazing, feeding rabbits, chickens or sheep in the yard. From the three rustic apartments and the house overlooks trout stream, paddock and playground. Those who prefer to go fishing again after fishing can relax in the whirlpool of the small wellness area. And for excursions, the natural park Altmühltal offers.

Biberbach 30, Beilngries, Tel. 08461-14 37, www.schmidtner-biberbach.de ; Apartment from 42 €, house from 60 €, each for 2 people, children depending on the age from 6 €

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