The Wurstelprater (or simply Prater) is an amusement park and section of the Wiener Prater in Vienna.
The theme park dates back to the 19th century (1766), when Vienna was the imperial capital of a multicultural state and the Emperor Josef II still ruled over his country, making it the oldest amusement park in the world. To draw a comparison for our readers in United States this amusement park feels like a Viennese version of Coney Island. Some of the rides date back many years, others are brand new with the fear factor of the best midways.
The best-known attraction is the Wiener Riesenrad, a Ferris wheel. It is one of the best-known sights of Vienna because featured in the iconic film about post-war Vienna, The Third Man. The view from the top of the ferris wheel across the city and beyond is stupendous, and very well worth it.
The park also features several harmless roller coasters (unfortunately all closed during our visit due to the snowy weather), casino slot machines, autodrome rinks, haunted house rides, bumper cars, carousels, ghost trains and even a Madame Tussauds wax works cabinet.
The mascot for the park is Calafati, a 9 m-tall sculpture of a Chinese man, which stands near the Wiener Riesenrad.
The park is open from 10:00 am to 1:00 am daily in its season, which runs from March 15 to October 31. Some attractions, as well as the food stands and restaurants, are open throughout the year. Entrance is free of charge but each attraction charges its own fee because the attractions are individual businesses mostly owned by local families. We went to Austria in December 2014 so it is not the best time to visit because the main attractions were closed due to the weather conditions. Fortunately some attractions were open (including a merry-go-round with real ponies) and there was a small Christmas Market on Riesenradplatz, right beside the Wiener Riesenrad Ferris Wheel at the Wurstelprater entrance with traditional gifts and food, including hot sausages in rolls, crepes, cakes, tea, coffee and gluhwein (a beverage usually made with red wine along with various mulling spices and raisins). There were also various famous traditional Viennese restaurants open (such as the Schweizerhaus and the Walfisch) and souvenir shops.
Finally i rode the swing ride that goes 130m into the air which was a terrifying freezing thrill as you can see in the video at the bottom of the page and for young kids was open The Liliputbahn – a gauge light railway that offers a round trip over the 4 km long route through the Prater and the Hauptallee and takes approximately 20 minutes. The over 75 year old attraction is probably the funniest railway in Vienna.
The Wurstelprater is located in the Wiener Prater and can be conveniently reached by public transport (U1/U2 Praterstern) as well as by car (parking facilities available).
Would I recommend a visit? Absolutely yes. We’ll definitely come back in the summertime!. By Ana Alegria and Carlos Canaes
Location: Riesenradplatz 1, 1020 Wien, Austria
The park opens from March to October (but several rides are opened all year log).
Free entry to the park. Pay per ride system.
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