It’s sometimes overwhelming deciding what to do while traveling. That’s where an all-inclusive pass such as the “Holiday Pass of Lake Constance” comes in handy. Simply decide to buy the pass and you have three days filled with nonstop fun. With more than 160 free or mostly free attractions available, you can drive around Lake Constance and enjoy guided tours, pools, scenic boat trips and museums.

Boden-seeErlebniskarte

Even children feed the monkeys by hand

Photo Credit: Allan Clark

Yes, that’s quite a mouthful if you want to say “Holiday Pass of Lake Constance” in German. In either language, the card opens up almost unlimited possibilities to explore the area for 3, 7 or 14 consecutive days. The card entitles you to many lake excursions, (You are exploring a lake after all!) cable car rides and some unusual museums.

The Boden-seeErlebniskarte covers activities in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Principality of Lichtenstein. You could actually visit all four countries in one day! We used the three day “Seebaren” card which kept us as active as we wanted to be. Here are a few highlights of our trip:

Affenberg Salem

Somehow I don’t think a live-animal attraction of this type would be allowed in the U.S. due to safety regulations. That makes it all the more interesting to visit!  Barbary macaque monkeys roam freely in a large wooded and fenced enclosure. A circular trail lets you walk through the forest and interact with the monkeys. Yes, interact.

As you enter the compound, a staff person gives you a handful of popcorn along with strict instructions.

1. Never get closer than one meter. (I’m panicking because I can’t envision the length of a meter.)
2. Lay one kernel of popcorn in your flat palm.
3. Hold the other popcorn in your hand BEHIND your back.
4. Never feed a monkey that is walking on the path.

By this time I’m envisioning the monkeys tearing my hand off if I accidentally hold out two kernels of popcorn. It feels peculiar to have the monkey’s paw touch my skin. Peculiar enough that I only do it once. Yet parents let toddlers gingerly offer their piece of popcorn to the monkeys.

Along with the monkeys, the park offers “Stork Condominiums” (My husband’s term!) that sit high above several barns. When we visited, each nest held one or two baby storks. Well worth a visit!

Pfander Cable Car

Catch the cable car in Bregenz, Austria. As you travel to the top of the mountain, you’ll see Germany,Switzerland and Austria.

Who wouldn't want to live in a stilt house

Photo Credit: Allan Clark

Plus you’ll get a great view of hundreds of charming chalets. Your children will have no excuse not to create a realistic diorama when they study Switzerland or Germany! In addition to incredible views, the mountain top area offers hiking trails and a wild life park. Walk through the park and see wild boar, mountain rams, and the ever-popular animal in children’s alphabet books…the ibex!

UNESCO World Heritage Site, Federsee Museum

In the US, we have museums showing items from the Civil War. At the Federsee Museum in Bad Bachau, Germany, archeological items from the Stone Age give insight into the harsh realities of life during that time period. Spears, cooking tools and baskets discovered in this area now are part of an open air museum.

I watched kids examine the various ways homes were built on stilts. They touched and examined walls built from animal hides and roofs created from thatched huts. On some weekends, costumed characters demonstrate tool-making and cloth-dyeing techniques.

Your Boden-seeErlebniskarte gives you admission to several of these UNESCO open air museums throughout the area.

SeaLife Konstanz

The verdict is out on this aquarium. I listened as people left and some were enthusiastically chatting about their experience. Others complained about the high price and crowded pathways. We walked through on a Saturday afternoon and indeed, the narrow passageways between exhibits are confined. The

Kids steer actual wooden rafts on Mainau Island

Photo Credit: Allan Clark

aquarium is designed so small kids and the stroller-set can see the exhibits.

Personally, the piranha exhibit caught my attention. There’s something riveting about those fairly small fish with razor-sharp teeth.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the walk-through section where fish swam directly overhead. Since the aquarium is included in your pass, be sure to stop by and say hi to the penguins at the end of the tour!

Mainau Island

Unfortunately, this attraction wasn’t included in our pass, but Mainau Island deserves a mention. We read half-priced admission began at 5pm, so we showed up promptly at 5. The gardens and walkways let you enjoy the flower displays as kids work off their energy.

A children’s treasure hunt encourages them to explore and discover various areas of the park. In the summer, 10,000 roses in more than 1,000 varieties ask you to vote for your favorite. That’s a tough job! The highlight for most kids is sure to be the adventure playground where they steer actual floating log rafts in a pond. The park even offers a clothes dryer for all the wet clothes bound to happen when kids fall in the

Lake Constance has numerous outdoor cafes

Photo Credit: Allan Clark

water.

Holiday Pass of Lake Constance

The Holiday Pass of Lake Constance offers too many attractions to see in three days, but it’s nice having so many choices. (We tried but didn’t make a dent in the possibilities!) A map included with your pass lets you see which attractions are in your area.

We happened to drive by the Reptile House, so spontaneously dropped in for a quick 10-minute visit. While strolling the harbor in Friedrichshafen, we hopped on a boat, simply because it was leaving. That resulted in a relaxing trip across Lake Constance and ending up in Switzerland.

The Zeppelin Museum caught our attention, so we took our time looking at the displays. Instead of judging the cost of each attraction, we flashed our card and stayed as long (or short) as we wanted, without worrying if we were getting a good deal. If your family enjoys keeping active and trying as many activities as possible, then the Holiday Pass of Lake Constance is worth the money.