Updated: Dec 1, 2022
While we are not opposed to heading outside when it rains or gets cold, sometimes,it is nice to be shielded from the elements.
We put our heads together at Fresh Air Kids and came up with a few ideas to help keep you dry on those days when the rain beats down and you feel less than thrilled to head outside.
Yes, it is primarily outside, but with the aquarium, the restaurant and other exhibits that are indoors, it's a great place to enjoy a mix of in and out throughout the day. If you frequent the zoo, here's a fun tip to help spice things up. As you enter the zoo from the tram 10, take a moment to look at the "new arrivals" board. With your children, write down all of the baby animals that have recently been born. When our children were little, we would spend the day searching for just the babies in the zoo. It was great fun!
If you are looking for a bit of physical exertion, consider spending a few hours at the local climbing hall. If you are new to the sport, sign up for a family climbing course to gain basic knowledge and confidence. There are family climbing courses, which are great for families of all ages. To discover their latest classes, visit their website.
For a fun indoor bouldering experience, head over the ELYS Boulderloft. ELYS is open Monday through Saturday from 09:00 - 23:00 and on Sunday from 09:00 - 21:00. We have yet to give this location a try, but it is on our list for the Christmas holidays.
Older children often want time alone with friends to just "hang" out with their buddies. For an exciting afternoon, head over to Stücki for bowling and/or a movie. The movies are also less expensive than the theaters in town!
Bus 36 drops passengers off right in front of Stücki for added convenience.
For a sweet, family-friendly experience, head over to Arlecchino Theater located in close proximity to the Basel football stadium. This casual theater, that caters to younger children, is the perfect way to spend a relaxing afternoon.
Families will laugh and enjoy the theater on Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday afternoons. Book your tickets in advance, gather your children and their friends and enjoy an afternoon of relaxed theater. Inquire about birthday parties too!
The Familienpass is one of the best ways to get your family exploring Basel. For just CHF 30 per year, you receive three pages of coupons for free access to swimming pools (indoor and out), ice-skating rinks, movie theaters, and lots of other activities.
Plus, you will also receive the Familienpass magazine highlighting activities in the area and those stores in the region that provide discounts for Familienpass card holders.
The library system in Basel is incredible and school aged children receive a free library card when they enter primary school. This card is good for checking out books, movies, games and more. If you are looking for activities, the GGG West library offers a full array of programs for children of all ages. With movie nights, Toddler Tales, and the perfect spots to read to your child, the library is perfect on rainy days.
There are multiple GGG locations sprinkled throughout the city, so have a look at their respective websites to determine if there is a special program of interest at your local branch.
Cafés in Basel
While this café is indeed tiny, what it lacks in size, it makes up for in friendliness. The owner is delightful and they certainly serve up a delicious cappuccino. When the weather permits, head outside to the terrace area, where there is more room to stretch your legs.
This massive café has a funky vibe and an inspired feel. Full of people working away on their laptops, this is a great place to meet for a coffee, a working lunch or a nice place to pop in for a snack. Never quiet, the location is welcoming and makes a scrumptious chai latte. Plus, on Wednesday mornings, the space opens itself up to babies and toddlers, making it a great gathering place for new parents in poor weather!
This sweet little family-friendly café is not only ideal for baked goods and a cup of coffee, but also houses workshops, birthdays and other activities. Parents can relax in this special space, as their children enjoy playing or drawing. Specially designed for families, this café welcomes families of all ages.
Check out their website for their regular classes, which include music classes, prenatal yoga, a bilingual music class and baby connection classes.
The café is open Tuesday through Friday, though closed Saturday through Monday.
Museums in Basel
When our children were little, we spent hours and hours at the Natural History Museum located just off of Münsterplatz. Each time we entered the museum, the sheer size and scale felt magical to us all. Once we entered the museum, despite being very familiar with its contents, we were instantly immersed in a new world. From searching for crystals, playing games, observing the animals; we were always learning and embarking on a new journey. Plus, their special exhibit, Wildlife Photographer of the Year, is always a captivating experience. The exhibit is open from 11.11.1011 through 16.04.2022.
For an extra cool experience, consider an overnight at the museum. This event takes place just a couple of times of the year and allows children ages six and over, escorted by a parent, the opportunity to spend the night in the museum and enjoy a lovely breakfast. What a fabulous opportunity! Your child can also enjoy a birthday party at the museum. Check their website for all of the details.
Did you know?
The last hour at the museum is always free of charge, as are other public museums in Basel. Enjoy your visit from 16:00 - 17:00. This free admission does not include special exhibitions.
The Tinguely Museum is a thrilling experience, especially for children who appreciate movement. The building, perched right on the Rhine, houses an impressive collection of Jean Tinguely (1925-1991). Tinguely is classified as, "one of the most innovative and important Swiss artists of the 20th century."
The museum, with moving installations, some of which can be quite loud, are a feast for the eyes. While children might be tempted to touch the pieces (a big museum no, no!), they do have the opportunity to press the red buttons located on the floor to inspire movement of those articles on display.
The museum is open daily, however, closed each Monday. There is a bistro located on site, as well as an impressive gift shop.
If you child happens to love art, consider enrolling him or her into the Kinderclub, which meets each Wednesday from 14:00 - 16:00. Children pay just CHF 5.00 for the class, though they must register for a trial before officially starting the program! Both of our children were members of the Kinderclub and came home with remarkable pieces of self-made art!
The next time the forecast looks less than favorable, head to one of our top choices for indoor recreation. Have fun and just remember, the sun will indeed shine again! When that happens, our top choice is to hit the trails, slopes, sled runs or any other outdoor spot!