The Prater is the central amusement park and recreation area in Vienna. And so I thought that Saturday early Spring is the perfect chance to explore the park for the first time this year.
And yes, there is this famous music piece which is translated into “The trees are blooming at the Prater again” (“Im Prater blühen wieder die Bäume”) but that is already a quite old music piece. Well, maybe because the Prater is truly old. But of course, who cares about the old if you should be living in the present and looking into the future. So, the Prater (http://www.prater.at) today is a big recreational area for the Viennese – very much like the Central Park for New York. There is the park itself with picnic spots, playgrounds and a long street (4 kms long) where you can go for a work out and there is the part which is called Wurstelprater (Sausage Prater) where you find all the attractions even including a big disco (supposedly the biggest in Austria but I did not really check it – the Prater Dome (http://www.praterdome.at).
So it is here that the old and the current is fusing. This because just a few meters from the Prater Dome at the entrance of the Prater there is the Giant Ferris Wheel. It was erected in 1897 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Emperor Francis Joseph I.
Today it is part of the entrance area to the Prater – some call it kitsch some like it. And so the Prater becomes a mosaic of the traditional and what people try to make of it.
There is the 117 meter high tower on the one side and there is the little horse carousel where people keep discussing whether it is fair to the horses to keep them running in circles the whole day long right opposite of it.
Hence, I would say it is up to the visitor to decide for him- or herself. For me I do not like the new entrance area as it looks like a cheap Disneyland but I cannot decide on the horse issue as there are always two opposing opinions. I only know that the Prater is definitely worth visiting when you are in Vienna. In the end, there is the true Vienna reflected with its many contradictions.
The Viennese Prater is open all year long but be aware that there is not much happening in the amusement park in Winter. Everything is closed and no attractions are open. So you might come from Spring til Fall. As for the Giant Ferris Wheel that one is open throughout the year with the exception of much of January.
Info: Prater website with all the attractions and restaurants http://www.prater.at – the Giant Ferris Wheel http://www.wienerriesenrad.com – prices start at 4 Euros for kids and 9 Euros for adults for one ride. You can also rent a whole cabin for your private party. There is space for a maximum of 12 passengers. You can buy the tickets online as well. Opening hours from end of April until beginning of September 9:00 a.m until 11:45 p.m.; the Prater Dome (http://www.praterdome.at) is open Thur, Fri, Sat, & before national holidays from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.