Today I went hiking in the Sparbach Natural Park in the Lower Vienna, Austria with my family of 3, my husband, and my son of 8 years old. It was one fine Saturday full of sun and the temperature reads 29.8 degrees Celcius on our iPhone. We started off with a full meal at a local McDonald’s Brunn am Gebirge. It was a delightful meal as we have been in total lockdown for almost 3 months now. After the meal, we then drive slowly toward our destination for our 4-hour walks. Here, I am trying to identify various reasons why hiking helps kids to connect with family more closely.
Sparbach Nature Park
So the place where we went for hiking this summer 2020 is located in a small Austrian village called: Sparbach. According to the leaflet provided to all visitors, this park is also known as Austria’s first Nature Park. In fact, in the year of 21810, Prince Johann I of Liechtenstein began the afforestation of the karst hills around Modling and designed a romantic estate. This is evident through several remains of monuments (such as the Sparbach Castle) up high in the hill.
Just like any other attractions in Austria, some parks are only open during warmer months. This Austria’s first nature park is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from April to the end of October every year.
The cost is 7 Euro for an adult and 4 Euro for a child between 5 to 15 years of age. So for us, the cost is 18 Euro for the three of us today. This is pretty reasonable as we had been very much enjoying the hike.
by the way, in case you are interested to visit this Austria’s nature park, you can visit their site here: https://www.naturpark-sparbach.at/kontakt
Benefits of Hiking with family
One and half hours later during our hike up the hill, my son exclaimed: “Mummy, let’s play a game. I want you to list the top 9 reasons why do you love hiking”. I said “OK”. This is the reason why I thought it would be great idea to share this with you as well since it is a real experience that my family went through almost every weeks.
The love of trees
Yes, hiking in a small forest here in Austria lets us experience the green scenery. Depending on where we hike, we may see pine trees, giant trees, and green lush. Unlike going to the city center, hiking in a forest allows us to enjoy nature much more.
Animals and insects
It is quite a usual sight here in Nature Park to witness different types of animals and insects. Today, we saw wild boars, donkeys, rabbits, and deers. My 8-year-old enjoy petting donkey the most.
Yes, this is one of my reason to hike out. I live in Vienna, the capital of Austria and price is not cheap. The good news is that surrounding Vienna are forest and within 30 minutes to a 1-hour car ride, we would be able to enjoy the forest. Although most parks require an entrance fee, the price is not exorbitant either. Sometimes, there is no entrance fee at all. Hence, hiking with the family doesn’t need to be an expensive affair.
This is one reason mentioned by my husband, Paul. He is an introvert type who doesn’t enjoy party life. He enjoys staying home and chills out. By going to hike, he enjoys the quiet time with his family. The hike usually makes him more calm and happy. Hence, if you are looking for solitude, hiking is one of the activities you could do.
Exercise with beautiful scenery
People enjoy different types of exercises from jogging to swimming to cycling. For me, what could be better than a slow pace walk up the hill and enjoy the scenery at the same time? In fact, hiking is considered as an ultimate cardio workout. I bet you too. Trust me, if you have not tried hiking before, consider trying out the simple route next weekend, you will see what I really mean.
Quality Time With Loved Ones
Through hiking or slow pace walking through the forest, you are alone with your family and loved ones. There are no distractions, no games, no mobile phones to distract you. You will spend real quality time with your children. Like me today, we chit-chatted, we looked at flowers and animals together. My boy and Paul simply love the accompanying. Hiking in a small hill definitely helps us to connect more closely as a family.
Learning with Nature
What is better to understand nature than being immersed in the natural environment? Hiking allows kids to observe nature at its finest. Instead of using the internet to research for their school work, kids can enjoy real life in nature. As part of the walk today, my son asked me a lot of the different sounds that he heard. This allows him to be more curious and upon return home this evening, he basically went on to googling on the sound he had heard earlier in the wild.
By going into the wood, my son can roam freely. There is no worry about cars, motorcycles, or even covid19. My son would take a short cut while I race to be the first to reach the destination. I saw a smile on his face when he managed to overcome small or big obstacles in the wood all by himself. In short, hiking activities let you be free and improve self-confidence.
Finally, is hiking for you?
I would say yes! Hiking can be for anyone. There are different trails from easy to advance. Choose a simple hike to start out with your kids and progress upward weeks after weeks. You will not look back when you start. Hiking would definitely help kids to connect with family more closely.
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