Plenty of leisure activities in the south

Fun has many faces! In Stuttgart the Wilhelma zoo with its world-renowned Botanical Garden attracts not only families but also botanical experts, who flock in large numbers to view the rare flora and fauna. When the magnolias bloom in spring, the expansive gardens are a feast for the eyes, awash in all possible shades of red and rosy pinks. Technology fans have a wonderful time in the Mercedes-Benz Museum or the Porsche Museum, whose unusual architecture alone makes for a memorable experience. These car museums make you time-travel through the history of German cars, explaining and demonstrating a wealth of technical details. The scientifically minded can ­enjoy Experimenta in Heilbronn, a Science Centre of the Heilbronn-Franken region, where little Einsteins can investigate to their heart’s delight.

There is the Pforzheim game park, or the adventure and wildlife park Tripsdrill near Cleebronn offering some 100 different attractions for both relaxation and excitement across 77 hectares. The car and technology museum in Sinsheim invites visitors to explore and experience technology in exciting and entertaining formats. Classic cars, sports cars, airplanes, Europe’s largest Formula 1 race car exhibition, motorcycles, commercial vehicles, locomotives – there’s something new to discover in every corner. An original Air France Concorde and a Russian Tupolev TU-144 can even be investigated from the inside. And if you like things a bit quieter, take a look at EINS+ALLES, hidden in the Wieslauftal valley between Welzheim and Rudersberg. Here you can enjoy an oasis of peace and see, hear, smell and touch exhibits to gain a completely new perspective on experience. More practically inclined visitors should stop in at the Hymer Museum in Upper Swabian Bad Waldsee. Here they can gain a true-to-life impression of travel in caravans and mobile homes, with many historical exhibits of old and new vehicles. The route stretches from the past to the present. And nature-lovers can hike from the Hohenwittlingen ruin to the impressive Schiller cave, following the footsteps of Rulaman, the main character of a natural-history tale set in the time of cavemen and cave bears, written by David Friedrich Weinland and published in 1878. The plot unfolds around numerous caves in the surrounding Swabian Jura during the Upper Palaeolithic era.

“You have to like people”

-The motto of Roland Mack, owner of the Europa-Park in Rust

The Mack family of entrepreneurs boasts a proud 230-year history in the entertainment business. As far back as 1780, Paul Mack of Waldkirch manufactured all kinds of wagons. Many of his customers were showmen and circus people, so he started to build merry-go-rounds, auto scooters and even roller coasters for them. This activity culminated in the founding of the Europa-Park in 1975 by Franz Mack (who died in 2010) and his son Roland, still the owner of the enterprise today. In 2011, Roland Mack also became the first German president of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA).

The idea of building an amusement park was born during a trip to the USA in 1972. Originally, the park was to serve as exhibition grounds and presentation space for the company’s own products. In the Baden town of Rust, however, this visionary project was viewed with great scepticism. The local press commented on the idea with headlines such as “The vultures of bankruptcy hover over Rust” or “What will happen with the entertainment ruins in the Baden fishing village?” But the number of visitors streaming into the park proved the Macks right. By 1978, one million visitors had come to enjoy its numerous attractions. After completing his studies, Franz Mack’s younger son Jürgen joined the newly founded company with his brother.

The sons of Roland Mack, Michael and Thomas, have been working in the general management of the company group since 2007, thus ensuring the Mack family’s continued successful development of the enterprise.