What to do and where to go with kids in Biel/Bienne
The Seeland area is so large and offers so many things to do, that I just want to point out some Highlights that our family has already tested :-)
Biel is one of the few bilingual cities in Switzerland where both French and German are spoken on a daily basis. Almost every inhabitant of the city is fluent in both languages (more or less).
One of the main “attractions” is the lake (Bielersee) of course. (www.bielersee.ch )
On the shore of the lake, just outside the city’s centre, is a large park area ( called the STRANDBODEN) with a very big playground for children of all ages. In addition, there is a boat rental facility, where you can rent rowboats or Pedalos (small boats powered by bicycle-like pedals) to cross the lake with muscle power.
The local harbour is only a few steps away, from which you can enjoy a trip by ship on the lake over to the St.Petersinsel. (A lovely small peninsula with an interesting history). Many famous people have visited the island’s hotel (transformed from a monastery) for some peace and quiet. One of our family favourites is to travel by ship to the island, make a fire and enjoy a picnic with grilled sausages. The island offers plenty of space for the children to run around or have a quick dip in the lake. (www.st-petersinsel.ch)
On the other side of Biel, (towards Solothurn), one encounters the Bözingenberg, upon which a small zoo (Tierpark) is situated. Native animals can be seen at the zoo, for example chamois, lynx and deer etc. There is no entry fee, but a visit is not to recommend with a stroller, as the paths are quite cobbled and steep. There is also a lovely playground in the middle of the forest at the entrance of the zoo. Finally, located just a short drive past the Tierpark (towards the top of the hill), is the small local restaurant Bözingenberg. From here, you can view the wonderful panorama overlooking all three Lakes whilst enjoying an ice cream.
In the suburb of Studen is another small Zoo known as the SEETEUFEL. This Zoo provides exotic animals as well as indigenous ones. The set up of the entire zoo provides, basically, a large playground for children of all ages. For rainy days, a covered area with a carousel and other “costly” attractions is on hand as well as two restaurants. The Zoo has recently been completely ‘overhauled and renovated ’I need to go and see for myself to tell you more about it: -) http://www.seeteufel.ch
JOHN's KLEINE FARM Shows mostly native animals but is THE zoo to go to with impaired children, all pathways are fit for wheelchairs, the cages are also tagged in Braille. The owner offer tours where impaired children are encouraged to touch, feel and smell the animals!
Telefon/Fax: 032 392 54 09
A rainy day past time could be a visit to the MUSEUM SCHWAB. This museum displays a lot of artefacts and historical information (from stone age to the Roman era) relating to local area, which was/is famous for its stake building settlements.
For Daddies, with machine crazy kids the MUSEUM OF MACHINERY would be a perfect place to spend sometime together and even learn something about how these old machines work. More than 150 machines dating from 1880 to 1940 are displayed in reproductions of early 20th century workshops.
For more information go to: http://mullergroup.org/page.asp?langid=en
Fancy a posh meal WITH your children? No problem, the restaurant Rössli in BUSSWIL is definitely very child friendly, with indoor and outdoor play areas. They have a really good children’s’ menu and provide also high chairs.
Another restaurant my entire family, can recommend is the Kreuz in Aspi bei Seedorf, they too cater for tiny guests just as they will for the big ones.
Both of the above mentioned restaurants are members of a guild and the chefs are highly decorated, so it will NOT be cheap to dine there, but what you’ll get is worth every centime you’ll spend!
Just over the cantonal border in Canton Fribourg is the village of Kerzers boasting two child friendly attractions. The first is the Papillorama/ Nocturama. Under large cupolas you walk into a “rebuilt” Hondurian rainforest, where butterflies, tropical birds, fish and other wildlife can be observed. In the Nocturama (opening this summer) you can observe nocturnal mammals, birds, reptiles and fish whose normal habitat is the rainforest. Visitors should dress lightly as the temperature is always 25-28C° and humidity is around 85%
After a visit to the Papiliorama, have dinner in the only “fairy” restaurant in Switzerland, the Maerlipinte. The Maerlipinte is designed to entertain children and provides a really good (and healthy) cuisine for children as well as grown ups, all at affordable prices. In addition, there are play areas spanning two floors and most of the restaurants rooms are NON SMOKING!!!http://www.maerlipinte.ch/1024/d/index.htm
Sylvie is a born and bred Swiss woman who dedicates a lot of her time , trying to help expatriates understand Switzerland and the Swiss a little bit better, by explaining customs and behaviour out of her vast knowledge of her homecountry.She's married and a busy mom of three girls.