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Peonies bloom in the Chinese Tea Garden in front of the tea house at Luisenpark in Mannheim, Germany, on May 6, 2022.

Peonies bloom in the Chinese Tea Garden in front of the tea house at Luisenpark in Mannheim, Germany, on May 6, 2022. (Heather Benit/Stars and Stripes)

Wandering white storks, gardens, green spaces and gondolettas are just some of the eclectic delights of spending a spring day at Luisenpark in Mannheim, Germany. 

My visit in May was inspired by two seemingly opposing goals: finding peace among the peonies and burning energy at the playgrounds. 

The 100-acre park along the Neckar River is known for family fun and some of the nicest gardens in Europe, and it is being expanded through a project expected to continue through 2023.  

Luisenpark in Mannheim, Germany, is undergoing expansion and construction through at least 2023.

Luisenpark in Mannheim, Germany, is undergoing expansion and construction through at least 2023. (Heather Benit/Stars and Stripes)

Walking paths and seasonal gardens are seen throughout the 100-acre Luisenpark in Mannheim, Germany.

Walking paths and seasonal gardens are seen throughout the 100-acre Luisenpark in Mannheim, Germany. (Heather Benit/Stars and Stripes)

The work interferes with the serenity and scenery in some parts of the park. Fortunately, my travel companion was a little boy who thinks construction cranes are as exciting as storks strutting around. 

There are seasonal gardens throughout Luisenpark, and peonies bloom in May at the Chinese tea garden, which surrounds a 2,400-square-foot traditional tea house at the eastern end of the park. 

The Chinese Tea House at Luisenpark in Mannheim, Germany, is surrounded by a garden designed with feng shui principles.

The Chinese Tea House at Luisenpark in Mannheim, Germany, is surrounded by a garden designed with feng shui principles. (Heather Benit/Stars and Stripes)

The garden, designed using the principles of feng shui, offers a tranquil space away from the bustle of the city and noise of construction.

There is a foot bridge crossing a koi pond and a rock path that leads under a small waterfall. The cascading water sounds like a sigh of relief as a feeling of relaxation takes over. 

The tea house was built in 2001 and is the largest original Chinese tea house in Europe, according to Luisenpark literature. The site has a stage for tea ceremonies and a large terrace where visitors can sip any of the 30 teas on the menu and eat warm dumplings and pastries. 

A resident stork looks for food near chairs on a green meadow at Luisenpark in Mannheim, Germany, on May 6, 2022.

A resident stork looks for food near chairs on a green meadow at Luisenpark in Mannheim, Germany, on May 6, 2022. (Heather Benit/Stars and Stripes)

A stork walks across a Freizeitwiese at Luisenpark in Mannheim, Germany, as children walk to a play area in the background, on May 6, 2022.

A stork walks across a Freizeitwiese at Luisenpark in Mannheim, Germany, as children walk to a play area in the background, on May 6, 2022. (Heather Benit/Stars and Stripes)

In front of the tea house and garden is the park’s largest Freizeitwiese, or leisure meadow. People relax on blue chairs or lounge on the green grass as resident white storks forage for earthworms and insects next to them.  

The leisure meadow has a children’s play area and several tire swings that shift the vibe from chill to children at play. 

Near the Freizeitwiese is one of the park’s many popular playgrounds. It has water pumps and mud and bumps up to another space with wooden cars and slides.  

Children swim at the water playground at Luisenpark in Mannheim, Germany, on Friday, May 6, 2022.

Children swim at the water playground at Luisenpark in Mannheim, Germany, on Friday, May 6, 2022. (Heather Benit/Stars and Stripes)

One of the playgrounds at Luisenpark in Mannheim, Germany, has wooden houses and wooden cars for children to climb on.

One of the playgrounds at Luisenpark in Mannheim, Germany, has wooden houses and wooden cars for children to climb on. (Heather Benit/Stars and Stripes)

The area has a small farm with two cows, Shetland ponies, sheep, pigs and rabbits. There is a small barn that visitors can enter. 

During our visit, we tested the trampolines, drove miniature cars in circles on a tiny track and crossed wobbly wooden bridges before discovering our favorite spot: a water playground where happy kids, from age 1 to teens, splashed around for hours. 

After a full day at the park, there was still much more to see. Luisenpark has a zoo, programs like a science school, and walking paths with fountains, sculptures and wild birds. 

Wet and worn out, we headed home having been successful in discovering both tranquility and adventure.

Luisenpark in Mannheim, Germany, is open 365 days a year.

Luisenpark in Mannheim, Germany, is open 365 days a year. (Heather Benit/Stars and Stripes)

On the QT 

Address: Theodor-Heuss-Anlage 2, Mannheim, Germany  

Hours: Opens 365 days a year at 9 a.m.; closing times vary, depending on the time of year.  

Cost: Adult admission from March to October is 7.50 euros for adults and 3.70 for children 6-15. See website for annual pass prices and winter rates. 

Food: There are reasonably priced cafes and food stands at the park. 

Online: luisenpark.de


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