Wild monkeys? Why yes. They are among the wild things that make Alsace fun for the young and young at heart…
Kintzheim (Monkey Mountain, Eagles’ Castle)
Kintzheim promotes itself as the “village of animals in freedom.” The freest animals are the 200 or so Barbary apes living on a fifty-acre forested hill. The monkeys are friendly and interact with adults and children alike along a well-interpreted nature path. You can even get popcorn to share with your furry hosts. Caretakers stationed throughout ensure that the animals are sensitively observed and treated. Interestingly, Kintzheim has a similar climate to the monkeys’ original Moroccan habitat. The “Eagle’s Castle,” Kintzheim’s medieval fortress, puts on several daily falconry shows. The impressive demonstration features enormous birds of prey of various species in free flight just above you. They then dive from tremendous heights toward their trainers.
Or check out the storks…
Hunawihr (Stork Park)
The beautiful village of Hunawihr houses one of several Alsatian parks where storks stay year-round. The park provides an opportunity to see the region’s famous storks at very close range. The size of the birds and their five-foot-diameter nests is impressive. This one also features otters, making it a fun trip for the kids. Check with the park for daily show times. Hunawihr also has a great covered picnic spot at a clothes-washing fountain in the lower section of town. The old fifteenth-century church is one of the only ones in Alsace to still function in simultaneum, meaning that both Protestants and Catholics hold services here on Sundays.
For the kids to blow off some steam, try this…
The children of Alsace enjoy lovely playgrounds where visitors are welcome. The playgrounds in the Ribeauvillé and Sélestat public parks allow children the opportunity to blow off steam and meet others their age. In Freiburg, the sprawling playground near the cable car station is filled with highly imaginative mounds, tunnels, swings and climbing equipment. It features miniature trees especially pruned so that children can sit in or scramble through their branches.
And don’t miss the astronomical clock in Strasbourg, with its animated figures! (See above.)