Advent program for children
In the run-up to Christmas, a family visit to the Vienna Christmas World on Rathausplatz is a tradition. There are lots of lovely things again this year: A tall arched gateway with candles forms the entrance to City Hall Square, the trees gleam in an impressive lighting design and everyone, young and old, can go skating through the park on a 3,000 m² ice rink. Children will be wide-eyed at the sight of the wares and treats offered by the more than 150 market booths. A Christmas world in the park awakens magical memories in young and old alike. At City Hall park, children will find many attractions for having an unforgettable time: a historic carousel, a reindeer train, a giant ferry wheel, sleigh rides an play stations. (17 November to 30 December; Christkindl Market booths until 26 December).
At the Old Viennese Christmas Market on Freyung the grown-ups marvel at the diverse handicrafts, while the little ones enjoy an almost daily character play with the Dolomitenkasperl and Co. (11 November to 23 December).
The atmospheric Christmas Village at the Altes AKH also has lots to offer children: the original Prater Kasperl (similar to Punch and Judy) visits the Altes AKH every Sunday. A ride on the historic Giant Ferris Wheel, the children's carousel or the children's train fascinates many small visitors. On Saturdays, a magician teaches tricks to young sorcerer's apprentices (18 November to 23 December).
In the Christmas Village at Belvedere Palace, the very youngest can climb aboard the nostalgic children's carousel and go for a ride on the reindeer railway (24 November to 26 December).
The Vienna Prater organizes a winter market on Riesenradplatz. The kids explore the Prater together with the adults - on adventure rides on board the winter train, on pony rides or on a tour with the mechanical riding animals: zebra, lion and unicorn. There's action on the chair-o-plane and in the autodrome. A round on the Giant Ferris Wheel is an unforgettable experience for everyone. The CliniClowns come to visit on Sunday afternoons in Advent. (18 November 2016 to 7 January 2017).
Schönbrunn Palace and Zoo
The Cultural and Christmas Market in front of Schönbrunn Palace, with its romantic booths, is especially nice. Children can model marzipan figures, decorate gingerbread and play in the adventurous House of Stars. Shepherds on stilts are the market's mascots – they help to solve tricky puzzles in a participatory rally (18 November to 26 December, New Year's Market until 1 January).
At the Children's Museum Schloss Schönbrunn Experience, where palace ghost Poldi resides, Poldi's Christmas Workshop (18 to 24 December) and special guided Christmas tours for children (Sa, Su, hols.) are on the program. St. Nicholas gives presents to all the children on "his" day (6 December). On 24 December, Poldi tells a Christmas story on a guided puppet tour.
And at the Marionette Theater at Schönbrunn Palace, there's a special program including "Lena seeks the Christkind", "The Children's Magic Flute" and "Hansel and Gretel".
At Schönbrunn Zoo, visitors can make small Christmas gifts in the ORANG.erie under expert instruction and bake Christmas animal-shaped cookies at the Tyrolean farm (8 to 10 December). There are free guided tours of the zoo for children every Sunday in Advent. And on 24 December, a visit to the elephants, penguins and koalas shortens the wait for the Christkind. Anyone in need of some last-minute gifts can make a few in the ORANG.erie until 4.00 pm.
Shepherds' songs and Advent concerts
The popular children's songwriter Bernhard Fibich gives participatory Christmas concerts at the House of Music (3, 8-10, 21-23 December) and at Kabarett Niedermair (7, 14, 19, 20 December).
The Vienna Boys' Choir gets in the mood for Christmas with its program Good Shepherds in their concert hall, the MuTh (6, 7, 8, 9, 21 December).
Marko Simsa and the Boogie Woogie Gang invite everyone aged 5 years and up to sing and dance along at their concert Swinging Christmas on 8 December in the Stadtsaal.
Children's theater and character play
The story Von Engerln und Bengerln (Of Angels and Rascals) is about a family of dormice who interrupt their hibernation for Christmas – performed by the Heuschreck Children's Theater at the Porgy & Bess (2, 10, 16, 17 December).
At the Lilarum, Vienna's biggest children's theater, Christmas character theater fascinates the very youngest from 3 years of age: The story "Die Weihnachtspuppe" (The Christmas Doll - 25 November to 17 December) is followed by "Weihnacht im Winterwald" (Christmas in the Winter Woods - 18 to 24 December).
The Vienna Praterkasperl experience numerous adventures, such as "Das Vanillekipferl" (The Vanilla Croissant) and "Oh Tannenbaum" (Oh, Christmas Tree).