AFRC's Just for Kids program provides an introduction to the Alps
Stars and Stripes June 3, 2003
The Armed Forces Recreation Centers in Chiemsee and Garmisch, Germany, have deals that could make any child behave.
The Just For Kids program introduces children 5 and older to independence, while at the same time allowing them to explore southern Bavaria and the foothills of the Alps.
Summer programs run from June 16 to Aug. 29 in both resorts and are $25 per day, per child, Monday through Friday. Children team up with Just For Kids vacation leaders from 8 to 9 a.m. and are brought back to the resort for pick up between 4 and 4:30 p.m., leaving parents to enjoy other activities the resorts offer.
Price includes complete supervision by resort vacation leaders, transportation, admission fees to all scheduled activities and lunch.
Activities include paddleboat rides, miniature golf, arts and crafts, swimming, biking and hiking. Also, there are field trips to such destinations as: Fairytale Fun Park, salt mines, Salzburg (Austria) Zoo, House of Nature, Herrenchiemsee Castle, Mermaid Lake or Munich Zoo.
A minimum of six children must be registered in the Just For Kids program for daily trips during the summer.
While vacationing in Garmisch — known for playing host to the 1936 Winter Olympic Games — parents can take on the nine-hole golf course, go kayaking, white- water rafting, mountain biking and hiking on the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak.
Tour destinations include Innsbruck, Austria; Munich; and the Neuschwanstein Castle.
While in Chiemsee, avid adventurers can take instructional programs on sailing, windsurfing and skiing. Equipment and clothing rentals are also offered for those accomplished athletes who want to strike out on their own.
Those who are into relaxing while on vacation can soak up the sun near Bavaria’s largest lake, Lake Chiemsee, or tour nearby sites, including King Ludwig’s Herrenchiemsee Castle and Berchtesgaden, which features salt mines, bunkers and Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest.
The Chiemsee resort offers evening events for youngsters, too. Through the Kids Night Out program on Fridays and Saturdays, children watch movies, play games and eat pizza from 6 to 10 p.m. The cost is $15 per night.
Chiemsee was built in 1937 and was the location of the first Autobahn guesthouse built in support of the German highway system. The hotel later served American forces as a hospital and since 1945 has existed as a rest and relaxation center.
AFRC has provided the resorts for military and family members for 50 years now, but this year marks a change.
Chiemsee will be given back to German authorities after Labor Day weekend. A new hotel will be built in Garmisch by next year and AFRC will be consolidated into one center.
Chiemsee’s last day will be Sept. 2, according to Corey Henderson, AFRC spokesman. The new Garmisch hotel will be built between the end of summer and next fall.
The Garmisch facility will continue to offer many of the same activities, minus those involving water sports, since there is no lake at Garmisch.
The new hotel will be a 330- room facility, including a conference center and a wellness center offering an indoor pool, fitness center, juice bar, sauna and message therapy.
Chiemsee is closing because military operations have taken a toll on the number of guests, according to Gen. B.B. Bell, U.S. Army Europe commander.
If you go ...
To reach Chiemsee for its final splash, take Autobahn 8 and drive south of Munich. Get off at the Feldon exit in Chiemsee. Signs will direct you to the Lake Hotel from a traffic circle directly off the autobahn.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is also near the Austrian border, 1½ hours from Munich. Take Autobahn 95 south from Munich. The autobahn ends and merges onto Highway B2 north of Garmisch. Turn right onto Highway B23 toward Garmisch.
Call AFRC’s Vacation Planning Center at DSN 440-2575 or commercial (+49)(0)8821-72981 for information and reservations.