Just 60 kilometers Southeast from Berlin, sits a former airship hangar in a wide open space that used to be the Brand-Breisen Airfield. The dome is the largest freestanding hall in the world, and inside it today is a tropical world of FUN!
Our kids have been longing for the beach and warmer weather, and this was a great family escape for a day! They did not know we were planning this little day trip, so it was fun listening to them guess where we were headed during the 45 minute drive there (okay, it got a little old after about 15 minutes!). You should have seen the delight on their faces as we walked through the doors of that big gray structure into a tropical paradise! They were absolutely tickled!
Upon arriving and purchasing day tickets, we were handed wristbands that look similar to watches, which each had a chip inside and our locker numbers on it. The chip unlocks and locks the locker just by holding it up to the locker pad. It also serves as payment for anything purchased from the vendors on site. This was great, because we didn’t have to carry around money and worry about leaving anything valuable on the beach chairs while we were taking a dip in the water with the kids. Anytime we purchased drinks, snacks, or anything from the shops, all that was required was a quick scan of the handy wristband. At the end of the day, we turned them in and paid the bill. Super clever!
The “islands” boast six restaurants, four lounge bars, and a few beach bars sprinkled throughout Tropical World. They did a great job creating a relaxed vacation atmosphere that makes you forget you’re inside a huge blimp hangar!
To get to the “beach”, we walked through the “rainforest”, a kilometer long nature walk in the center of the hangar. We loved spying the bright flamingos on our (short) stroll.
The beach has a great little splash and play area for small children and plenty of sand to build sand castles with. The “tropical sea” is great for swimming and they even offer scuba lessons! Our kids loved the ship with the slides in the center of the waters. Ben and I both felt a bit like we were on the set of the Jim Carey movie, The Truman Show, with the faux horizon on the walls! Ahhh, the things you do for your kids!
Fancy a hot air balloon ride, but worried about making it back okay? This place has you covered. Someone will guide you by rope all around the beautiful sky. You just pay with your wristband and up you go!
Like all families, ours has one thrill seeker. She’s not yet five years old and she absolutely terrifies me with how wild and adventurous she is. So, as you might imagine, massive water slides were a great way to satisfy her need to be daring. She was disappointed that she couldn’t go on the Turbo Slide that reaches up to 70km/hour. You need to be 15 years or older for that one. But we did go down the others over and over and over!
Next to the waterslide tower is and insane play area for kids. Paddle boats, bumper cars, a massive play structure and, of course, a nice big germy ball pit. According to their website, they also offer a daycare program filled with fun activities. So, if you feel like sunbathing on the deck over Palm Beach without little ones knocking your cocktail over, that is an option. We didn’t do that, but the option is there!
The “village” surrounding the “lagoon” offers all sorts of souvenirs, including a temporary tattoo station. We didn’t go in the lagoon, but it looked awesome with its grotto and waterfall, as well as slides and whirlpools. It was surrounded by some of the huts and villas overnight guests stay in.
There is also a huge outdoor water section called Amazonia, which is open year-round. Imagine floating around outdoors in German wintertime! You actually enter via the Whitewater River, a jet stream channel. We didn’t go in this first time, mainly because I’m short and I was carrying a baby. I didn’t want Ben to have to man all three of our bigger kids by himself. It was just too crowded to be bothered with that family experiment! It did, however, look fun! Maybe next time.
Tropical Islands also hosts a sauna and spa, as well as overnight accommodations. It truly is a one of kind amusement center!
Helpful Things for Families:
- An umbrella stroller is wise- If you are going to bring one at all. There aren’t many ramps, so we had to lift ours up quite a few steps. The only reason we decided not to put it back in the car after arriving was because I knew our eight month old son would nap in it. Had we only had children over one year old, I definitely would not have brought it along.
- There are plenty of restrooms, changing stalls, and showers- We put most of our stuff in our lockers, then showered before our departure. You can bring your own shower gel and shampoo. They have plenty of hair dryers as well.
- Kids get ankle bracelets- Don’t worry, your young ones won’t have the option of scanning their trusty wristband repeatedly at the frozen yogurt stand!
- The food is overpriced for what it is- Kind of a given at amusement parks. You aren’t authorized to bring snacks. I fed ours healthy snacks on the way there, and had snacks ready for the drive back. We ate lunch there, but it was definitely not anything to write home about.
- Bring floats if you think your children will need them- They have floaties available for purchase in the store as well, but of course they are more expensive than they would be elsewhere. We brought one of the chest and arm type along for our two year old, and we were glad we did since it’s a safer option than what’s available on site.
As someone who is kind of a germaphobe and doesn’t typically like amusement parks, I was surprised how relaxed I was here! The kids said they had the BEST DAY EVER, so it was worth the trip! We will probably go back one more time before we leave Germany this fall. I only wish we would have gone during the loooong winter months!
Would you go somewhere like Tropical Islands? We would also love other suggestions on places like this to visit with the kids before we move if you know of any!