Flashback: Should You Take Your Toddler to Oktoberfest

With Munich’s Oktoberfest 2016 heading into its final weekend, I thought it would be fitting to re-share a post about our experience at the festival back in 2013.

Most people think of Oktoberfest as a festival for adults. However, the event also has appeal to kids. There are rides, great food to chow down on and when you head into the tents, you’re bound to hear some fun music.

Check out my post “Should You Take Your Toddler to Oktoberfest” and let me know- would you take your toddler to Munich to celebrate or prefer to leave the little ones home?

After writing a post based on a Fodor’s article about 10 Things Not to DO at Disney World, I felt it was fitting to finally write a little about our experience at an amazing festival (which has some rides).

Most people probably consider Munich’s Oktoberfest an event just for adults but they’d actually be wrong.

Last year the calendar finally worked out where I was off during one of the weeks of the festival. Initially I thought that I might just go with my brother for a long weekend but then I mentioned the idea to Kim and to my surprise she wanted to go too. (In the past she had little interest in visiting Germany.)

The next debate was what we should do with Lucas. Is a mega beer festival really the place to bring a kiddie just a little over 1.5 years old? It turns out that the answer is yes.

I knew that Oktoberfest could be family friendly due to having carnival rides besides the beer tents. They even have discounted Oktoberfest Family Days with discounted prices on rides.

Since Lucas comes on all of our trips, going away without him just wouldn’t feel right. We decided this was an event to also experience for better or worse with him. It turned out for us to be a great decision.

We started off our trip to Germany with a few days in Berlin. (Check out some of the amazing art we saw at the Berlin Wall here.)

We were eager to check out the grounds and see the famous tents so we headed out soon after we arrived at the Wiesen. We started off in one of the massive tents. It was jam packed so we couldn’t get a seat but we grabbed a beer and stood around enjoying the action. An older Germany couple struck up a conversation with us and thought it was great that we brought Lucas along.

The one negative with bringing kids to Oktoberfest is that there are some limits to being in the tents and on the grounds. From what I recall, last year kids had to be out of the beer tents by 6PM and off the grounds by 8PM.

This really wasn’t a big deal since we were usually done before these times anyways. We also found great beer halls to eat at close by for dinner.

(If you want to visit tents for dinner, reservations are usually required for pricey set-meals. This wouldn’t have been of much interest to us even if Lucas didn’t come along.)

As for strollers, this was a big plus. We were able to keep bottles of water at the bottom which we bought at a grocery store rather than wasting money on over-priced bottles on the grounds. When we sat in the tents, we had to keep the stroller at the top of the aisle and not right next to use in the rows we sat at.

Since the beer tents get overly crowded, the best strategy (with or without kids) is to arrive early! With this strategy we never had a problem getting seats in our first stop of the day.

After spending time in a tent, we’d get some fresh air, wandering around the huge Oktoberfest grounds. While walking around there are booths selling souvenirs, drinks, snacks, food and of course rides, which are mainly kept in one area.

In the tents just about everyone is in a festive and friendly mood. We chatted and drank with others from a variety of countries. People were very friendly towards Lucas while in the tents and were impressed that he was there. (We did see many other kids with families, in school groups, but mostly outside the tents.) Lucas even learned to say and do Prost (cheers) with his cup.

We all really enjoyed the food options at Oktoberfest. Each tent offers their own cuisine options like beef, fish, pork, turkey, ox and more. Some have big menus while others offer just a few options. They all also have the giant pretzels! Outside the tents  you can also get excellent food which is a bit cheaper, although the food inside the tents is pretty fairly priced.

We all really enjoyed the bands playing the traditional “Oompah” music. For many songs, the party-goers knew the songs and would join in singing. Lucas loved this and would try to scream along! Tents were loud as could be but this didn’t stop Lucas from still taking his naps whenever he needed.

While Oktoberfest does seem like an adult-only event, a lot of fun can be had when bringing kids with you. For us, bringing Lucas along was a great way to experience our first Oktoberfest.

Overall, Oktoberfest with a toddler made for some great memories which we will never forget!

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