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Leisure time in Wolfsburg – seven tips for excursions the whole family will enjoy

Allersee in Wolfsburg, Ansicht mit Steg (Copyright: Kathrin Dressler)

If you associate Wolfsburg with Volkswagen, good jobs and great income opportunities, then you are right. But the fifth largest city in Lower Saxony doesn’t just shine thanks to impressive economic data...

Wolfsburg offers first-class leisure, educational and recreational opportunities with the Allerpark, Autostadt, phaeno and Planetarium. The automobile metropolis has a lot to offer in terms of culture, too – including the Hallenbad cultural centre, an art museum, summer theatre and Movimentos Festival Weeks. Let’s get going on an exciting tour of discovery!

Discover Wolfsburg with Sarah Mangione!
Wolfsburg offers first-class leisure, educational and recreational opportunities with the Allerpark, Autostadt, phaeno and Planetarium. Let’s get going on an exciting tour of discovery with Sarah Mangione!

#1 Autostadt – not just for car buffs

Brightly lit, the Autostadt landmarks tower into the night sky. But the Car Towers don’t just look impressive; they are also the largest car distribution centre in the world, delivering 500 new cars every day. Next door at the Zeithaus, Autostadt’s museum, visitors of all ages can travel back in time to the beginnings of motor vehicles and discover more than 260 unusual models. And when the sun is shining outside, 28 hectares of parkland and lagoon landscape invite you to go for a stroll and explore, as this is where the Volkswagen Group’s brands are presented in seven attractively designed pavilions. The educational aspect isn’t forgotten, either: there is something suitable for every age group and every occasion – from nurseries and schools, to family outings and children’s birthday parties. And if seeing all those cars gives you the urge to drive yourself, you can get right behind the wheel: panoramic tours and off-road driving offer the right experience for every type of driver. But that’s not all: every spring, dance, drama and film enthusiasts from all over the country make their way to the Movimentos Festival Weeks, a unique event in Germany’s Autostadt, where they enjoy a rich and varied programme of cultural and dance performances.

Autostadt
The old power plant with four smokestacks shapes the silhouette of the city (Photo: Hans Georg Kleinau)

#2 phaeno Science Centre – fire tornadoes and flying carpets

According to British newspaper The Guardian, one of the twelve most important buildings in the world can be found right in Wolfsburg’s railway station square: the phaeno Science Centre, designed by renowned architect Zaha Hadid But the avantgarde science museum isn’t just amazing to look at from the outside. Inside, an incredible 9,000 square metres of experimental landscape await visitors, with more than 350 stations inviting visitors to discover science and technology. Tend to be a bit of an individualist? No problem. The permanent exhibition deliberately foregoes a preset route and is only divided into the six main themes of life, vision, energy, dynamics, senses and math. Browsing and marvelling at your own pace is not only allowed, but expressly encouraged. Visitors can admire, for example, Europe’s biggest fire tornado, set a ball in motion merely by easing tension, or float on a flying carpet just like in ‘The Arabian Nights’. That’s not enough? Then delve even further into the world of natural phenomena in the science theatre, the ideas forum or in one of the two visitor laboratories!

phaeno
The phaeno Science Centre, designed by renowned architect Zaha Hadid (Photo: Klemens Ortmeyer)

#3 Planetarium Wolfsburg – a return ticket to space

If you want to travel to space in Wolfsburg, you start right in the middle of the city. Here, at the foot of Klieversberg Hill, you will find the city’s planetarium, one of the largest in Germany. Visitors can travel to the stars under its impressive dome, which measures 15 metres in diameter. When the projector starts and the dome takes on the appearance of a starry night, everyone falls silent in the auditorium. Young and old alike look up in astonishment and are enchanted by the celestial bodies, the moon and over 9,000 stars. But the deceptively realistic representation of the artificial starry sky isn’t the only phenomenon; so is its background story. The Planetarium dates back to a contract with the German Democratic Republic, which provided the shell structure and the projector as an add-on to a deal with Volkswagen. On Wolfsburg’s 40th birthday, the car manufacturer then gifted this gateway to the stars back to the city. Today, lectures such as ‘Conquest of the Cosmos’, ‘Easy Guide to the Stars’ or ‘Danger from Space’ offer fascinating variety. And if you want to start your marriage under a particularly lucky star, you can exchange your wedding vows at the Planetarium.

#4 Hallenbad – a cultural centre in a former swimming pool

Do you enjoy experiencing culture in a unique and special ambiance? If so, you will find a wide variety of possibilities in Wolfsburg! One real gem, for example, is the cultural centre on Schachtweg, which was an indoor municipal pool until 2002. Rather than fun in the water, the renowned venue has been offering cultural events since 2007 in an iconic swimming pool atmosphere. The former swimming pool with its illuminated diving boards is used for exhibitions, and the ‘Jazz in the Pool’ concert series is a perfect fit for this experimental environment. Regular cabaret events are held on the stage in the former non-swimmer pool and the sauna club, which is located in the basement of the former indoor pool, becomes a dance floor lit by a disco ball – a fantastic atmosphere!

#5 Sommerbühne (Summer Theatre) – a colourful cultural cocktail without a hangover

Those who enjoy culture in a historical setting will also find what they are looking for in Wolfsburg. Every year in June, the International Summer Theatre stages a festival at the Schloss Wolfsburg Renaissance castle. For ten days, international artists from nine nations transform the castle into a lively melting pot of creative forms of expression: a capella sound, Latin, Soul and film music, but also pop and rock sounds echo through the castle. Large and small attractions for all ages can be found on the castle’s grounds: magicians, classic car photo shoots and a petting zoo, to name just a few examples.

#6 Kunstmuseum (Art Museum) – extraordinary art in a brightly lit atmosphere

The Art Museum in the centre of Wolfsburg is anything but ordinary. With its transparent appearance and an extensive overarching roof, the building amazes visitors even from the outside. Inside, the building has gained an international reputation since its opening in 1994 with 130 contemporary and modern art exhibitions. But the museum is also firmly rooted in the region. For example, exhibitions such as the one dedicated to Kaiserring (Emperor’s Ring) winner Olafur Eliasson are a nod to the town of Goslar, where this important art prize is awarded.

#7 Allerpark – 130 hectares dedicated to sports, enjoyment and recreation

Recreation is serious business in Wolfsburg. The city’s Allerpark is Germany’s largest recreational area, covering ​​130 hectares and attracting over three million visitors from all over the region each year. This isn’t surprising, as the public theme park near the city centre offers a variety of recreational opportunities and delicious culinary options. At the heart of the park is Allersee Lake, which not only offers swimming, but canoeing, rowing, sailing and fishing as well. The lake is framed by imposing structures, such as the Volkswagen Arena, where Bundesliga club VfL Wolfsburg plays, or the Kolumbianischer Pavillon (Colombian Pavilion), a former Hanover EXPO building where guests enjoy international fusion cuisine. But there’s more: BadeLand Wolfsburg, northern Germany’s largest water park with a water surface area of 3,000 square metres, attracts visitors with a wave pool, giant slides and a spa. And those who prefer to keep their feet dry can pass the time with indoor football, climbing in the high ropes course or bowling.

cafe
Wolfsburg offers just the right thing for every taste and budget (Photo: Bärbel Mäkeler)
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