Bonn Autumn is best enjoyed outside. It is great to get out into the colourful countryside. You could take the entire autumn holidays to walk the Pfälzer Forest Trail. And if you are looking for something else to do during the school holidays, there are many family-friendly activities on offer at the Wildenburg wildlife park in Hunsrück or in Bingen forest. And at the zoo in Gelsenkirchen you can say hello to a new female orangutan.
Fairytale castle with wedding bridge
Jüchen The magnificent Schloss Dyck in Jüchen near Mönchengladbach with its outer baileys, English landscape garden and the baroque "Wedding Bridge", provides a noble backdrop for wedding ceremonies. The park and castle are open all year round. Exhibits from the 17th to 19th centuries are also on show, as well as an exhibition of international garden photography which is currently running until March. The former outhouses of the moated castle have been converted into a hotel and restaurant.
Info: Tel. (0218) 28 240; www.stiftung-schloss-dyck.de
Djamuna now a Gelsenkirchen resident
Gelsenkirchen The two cities of Dortmund and Gelsenkirchen might be rivals in the football world, but not when it comes to animals: the female orangutan Djamuna recently moved from Dortmund Zoo to the Zoom Erlebniswelt in Gelsenkirchen, while the female Mokkonach was transferred to Dortmund in exchange. This was recommended by the European Conservation Breeding Programme. Djamuna is slowly being introduced to the group of other orangutans and seems to feel at home on the ‘Schalke’ side.
Info: Tel. (0209) 954 51 26; www.zoom-erlebniswelt.de
Heimbach The Heimbach Art Academy is located in the medieval castle of Hengebach in the Eifel. Both amateurs and pros are welcome to attend the courses in graphic printing, painting, sculpture and new media. The works are exhibited in the rooms of the academy.
The 1.6 km "Kunst im Busch" (Art in the bush) circular trail features works of art along the edge of the path. The idyllic town of Heimbach, the Rursee reservoir and the Rur valley are also well worth a visit.
Info: Tel. (02446) 80 97 00; www.kunstakademie-heimbach.de
Cycling along the Wied river
Nümbrecht The Wied cycle path, Puderbacher Land circular route, Nassau-Wäller cycle trail and the Westerwaldschleife route: the Westerwald is very much for cyclists as well as walkers. The Wied cycle path follows the river from east to west with stops in Altenkirchen or Neuwied. The hilly Puderbacher Land demands a higher level of fitness. The Westerwaldschleife passes the Krombach reservoir and ends in the town Diez an der Lahn.
Info: (02602) 30010; www.westerwald.info
Safari in Hunsrück
Kempfeld A tip for the school holidays: There are many animals to be sighted on a trip to the Hunsrück area. At the family-friendly Wildenburg wildlife park in Kempfeld you can see wolves, raccoons, wild cats, eagle owls, peacocks, snakes and turtles. You can take a guided tour through the enclosure. Until the end of October there is a wild cat tour with a ranger every Sunday at 2 pm. The hike is suitable for children and lasts a maximum of 1.5 hours.
Info: Tel. (06786) 72 12; www.wildfreigehege-wildenburg.de
142 km through the forest
Dahn Superlatives always come out on top: With 179,000 hectares, the Palatinate Forest (Pfälzerwald) is the largest continuous forest area in Germany, and the Pfälzer Forest Trail is the only German Prädikatsweg (quality trail) with a direct ICE train connection. The 142 km route starts at Kaiserslautern train station and runs in nine daily stages through the forest to Schweigen on the border with Alsace. The final destination of the seventh stage is Dahn, offering views from the Altdahn castle ruins to the Vosges mountains. The castle tavern is an inviting place to take a break.
Info: Tel. Tel. (06321) 39 160; www.pfalz-touristik.de
Land of adventure
Bingen The forest of Bingen is full of adventures for families. A 4.5 km circuit with numerous stations meanders through the idyll. "The forest is full of sounds", the hosts promise. "Birds twitter, leaves rustle and the wood makes a noise, because dead wood can produce wonderful sounds”. A suspension bridge leads over a gorge. Elsewhere you can play a forest xylophone or explore the traces of the forest inhabitants. And there is also a forester's lodge called the Lauschhütte.
Info: Tel. (06721) 184 205; www.erlebnispfad-bingen.de
(Original text: GA, Translation: Caroline Kusch)