Vienna’s Leisure Zone – Prater

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Many people regard the Vienna Prater as just another fun-fair. But it’s much more than that – it is a Viennese institution, like the coffee houses or the Heuriger commonly known as wine taverns. Its has the Giant Ferris Wheel, the ghost train, go-karts and grotto railways, the merry-go-rounds and fruit-machine halls, throwing and shooting galleries.

The Prater is place for family outings it has something to offer for the whole family. Either one can take a ride with the children on the fairy-tale railway, the children’s dodgems and the scenic railway. Or one can even tumble down the extra-long slides, laugh oneself crooked, bent, and fat or thin in the hall of mirrors, savor the romantic nostalgia of an old merry-go-round or the great variety on offer from the Prater caterers- from pickled gherkins to boiled beef.

The wonders of the heavens await one in the Planetarium. And in the Prater Museum one can re-live the greatest moments of this fun-fair. It has to be noted that each booth in the Vienna Prater is an independent enterprise – which is why one does not have to pay an admission charge to enter the Prater, and also why the various attractions in the Prater don’t have uniform opening times.

Opening times for most of the attractions in the Prater are from the beginning of March to the end of October – from morning to midnight. Some attractions like the ghost trains and grotto railways, dodgems, cafes and restaurants are open throughout the year.

The StarFlyer is a very simple ride having a rig holding 12 or 24 seats attached by chains that runs up and down a vertical tower. The vertical movement is provided by a large motor which operates much like a passenger elevator and utilizes a counterweight and fail-safe brakes. As the winch vertically moves the rig motors on the ring spin it forwards and backwards, giving passengers quite a thrill.

Stepping into the StarFlyer for one’s first ride can make one quite nervous. Riders are seated, secured by a seat belt and a lap bar is locked in place that only the operator can release with a key. After everyone is strapped in the ring rises 6 meters above the ground and begins to spin as it ascends the tower. As the chairs reached 60 meters the sounds of the park fade away and all that can be hear is the wind whipping through the sky. It blows so hard that the chair was slightly oscillating, which only added to the fun. Without warning the ring of seats dropped down the tower and fell much faster than one had anticipated. The ride then spins at the bottom of the tower a few times before heading back up, but stopping first at the middle of the structure.

The Vienna Prater is not only entertaining but also exciting. However it can also be relaxing and quiet. One part of it contains attractions ranging from a nostalgic merry-go-round to an ultra-modern roller coaster. In the other area, known as the “Green Prater,” one finds widespread meadows to lie on, shady trees, and quiet paths. The motto is to have fun and enjoy oneself.

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