Fairytale garden, Wolfratshausen near Munich

Fairytale garden reindeer

What's a Fairytale garden? A sort of very low-key amusement park for kids, you might say. I'm not sure how many exactly there are in all of Germany and Austria, but they seem to be in all the touristy areas and there are definitely about ten in Bavaria alone. I myself have only visited three so far, though of course I'd like to see them all. I think it'd make a great photo book, and I'd definitely do it if I was a better photographer. Gosh! I can just see it as I'm writing this ...capturing this way-back-when feel that is so rapidly disappearing everywhere.

Standard features are moving puppets in glass cases mostly from the Fifites or Sixties. They re-enact Brother Grimms' tales in various degrees of technical under-achievement, which I find rather endearing. Other than that, musical mushrooms, assorted fiberglass animals, teeter-boards, small rides and usually a merry-go-round and a kiosk where you can eat sausages and ice-cream. Also some live animals, usually smelly goats or smelly pigs, rabbits or deer. The setting is a small piece of forest or castle grounds. They differ in size, but you can usually spend about 2 hours without getting bored (if you like kitsch) or a whole afternoon (if you're a kid).

Fairytale garden people

The atmosphere is similar to elderly amusement parks or model villages in Britain. "Blackgang Chine" on the Isle of Wight, for example, only it's Mother Goose Rhymes instead of Grimms' tales, and, of course, a great sea view instead of Bavarian mountains.

The park where I took the photos is comparably low-key, smallish and quiet, which makes it so nice. Also it's the only one that can be reached reasonably easily from my home town of Munich. One of the more unusual things there is a less-than-p.c. display on the old rhyme of "Twelve little negroes" (don't ask...!) or the Squirrel ride, which looks deceptively harmless, but made me feel rather queasy. You can see an illustrated plan of all their "attractions" on their website.

Address: Märchenwald Isartal, Kräuterstrasse 39, 82515 Wolfratshausen

Fairytale Garden photos

More Fairytale Garden photos

How to get there

Ideally, in a car from Munich, or take the S 7 to Wolfratshausen then two stops on bus No. 370 or 376, direction "Geretsried" to stop called "Farchet" & hike 10 minutes. This is boring though. I recommend taking a bike with you on the train and a short ride to the river afterwards; absolutely gorgeous landscape for a picnic. The town of Wolfratshausen is nothing to look at, plus you might run into Edmund Stoiber, who lives there, and who wants that? I know I don't.


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