Home » Kids In Italy » How to Visit Merano 2000 with Kids – From a Mom in Italy
Mom and three sons hold hands while walking on a dirt trail in the Dolomites in northern Italy. Green grass on either side of the trail.

How to Visit Merano 2000 with Kids – From a Mom in Italy

Whether you’re still deciding where to go in the Dolomites with your kids or you’ve already chosen Merano and you’re looking for family-friendly activities…

Don’t miss Merano 2000!  You may be asking, “Hey, Mom in Italy, what is Merano 2000?  It sounds like an energy drink or something you can purchase on the Home Shopping Network.” 

Merano 2000 is an area above Merano that you can reach by cable car.  It’s got an excellent playground for kids, numerous hiking trails, places to eat, and the Alpin Bob (more on that in a minute). 

One of the best things about visiting Merano with kids is that there’s something for everyone in your family, and Merano 2000 is the same.  Toddlers, parents, teens, elementary-age kids – they’ll all have a blast!

How do I know?  I’m a mamma of three here in Italy and I’ve spent part of every summer since 2004 in the Dolomites.  I love it up here, and I’ve been visiting as a cycling/hiking guide, trip planner, solo traveler, and mom – and I can’t get enough of this majestic part of Italy.  I’ve enjoyed our visits to Merano, and I’m always on the lookout for more family friendly places and activities that I can share with you.  Merano 2000 is one of them.

Good To Know:  Merano 2000 is a popular area for snow activities in the winter, but I’m looking at it from a summer perspective. 

Let’s take a look at:

  • Where Merano 2000 is & how to get there
  • What you’ll find there
  • Why you should visit (or skip it)
  • How to plan your day
  • Where to eat at Merano 2000
  • Tips for your visit
  • Basics for families (strollers, diapers, etc)

Merano 2000 – Location & How to Arrive

Merano 2000 is an area just above the city of Merano in the Dolomites in northern Italy. 

Good To Know:  You’ll also hear it called Meran 2000 – Merano is the Italian name, Meran is the German name.

You can reach Merano 2000 by bus from the center of Merano, or you can drive your own car.  I’m a fan of driving when visiting Merano 2000 with kids, because you can arrive and leave when you want, bring your stroller easily, etc.

Read more about
Driving in the Dolomites
Driving in Italy

Renting a Car in Italy

What to Do at Merano 2000 with Kids

If you’re visiting with your family, I recommend the below activities.  There are more things you can do in the area, but you can easily spend ½ day to a full day on just those activities.

  • Outdoor Kids Camp Playground – One of our favorite playgrounds, especially because it’s a blast for all ages.  My 3-year-old, 6-year-old and 10-year-old all had an amazing time and didn’t want to leave.  Highlights are the wooden ball run (have a few 2€ coins), the in ground trampolines, the double zip line, tighropes, and the parkour area.  There are also comfy chairs for mamma and papà, but if you’re like me, you’ll be having too much fun on the trampolines to sit down and relax.
  • Little Kids Playground – This is just around the corner from the main playground.  It’s fenced and it has a slide and a few other toys for younger kids.  My 3-year-old enjoyed it but was also happy playing at the main playground.
  • Alpin Bob – Glide down a track for 1.1 kilometers!  You control the speed and braking on this little ‘sled.’  It’s a bit like your own personal roller coaster.  I admit, I had visions of a rickety contraption, but hey, we’re in Süd Tirol, where things run smoothly and are very well-made.  The ride feels incredibly safe and the staff makes sure everyone follows the rules and knows how to ride safely.  Enjoy the ride!
  • Walk to Waidmannalm – It took my family 1 hour and 20 minutes to walk from the top of the Merano 2000 cable car (where the playground is) to the Waidmannalm mountain hut.  The hut is in a gorgeous spot and it’s got a play area with swings, a tightrope, a spring toy, and a water play area. They’re ready for kids too, with extras like crayons at the table. To get to Waidmannalm, we took trail 3, which starts off with an uphill (but it’s doable, just ask my 3-year-old).  You could take a jogging stroller on the trail, but the first part could be challenging if it’s rained recently (you’re walking up the ski run and the ground is soft in places).  You can return on the lower forested trail (which you see on your right on the hike to the hut), or, do like us and take the Naifjoch cable car back. 
  • Horses & Cows – There are horses near the Alpin Bob, and you’ll see happy cows (and hear their bells) out along the trail. 

Why You Should Visit with Your Family (or Skip It)

One of the best things about Merano 2000 is there’s something for everyone.  The main playground has areas that are fun for all ages – even teens.  And, there’s a little kids playground too (but even toddlers will love parts of the main playground).

The playground is unique.

A visit is easy if you’re in the area – it’s just 10 minutes up the road from Merano.  No long drives or crazy, winding roads to get there.

Dining is flexible.  There are plenty of spots to have a picnic, or you can eat at one of the many restaurants at Merano 2000 (huts or the restaurant at the top of the cable car).

The many cable cars make the hiking options plentiful.  If you get tired, you can always detour to a cable car.  For example, I’d planned for our family to walk a loop to Waidmannalm and back, but my little one was tired, so we took the Naifjoch cable car back (it’s just 50 meters from Waidmannalm).

You may want to skip Merano 2000 with kids if:

 You don’t have much time to spend at Merano 2000.  The lift up/down is pricey if you only have time for a quick visit.

The weather forecast is poor.  The hiking and playgrounds won’t be fun for your kids (or you) if it’s raining.

You or your kids don’t feel comfortable riding the large cable way up/down.  The main cable car (Merano 2000) is large (it fits 120 people) and almost completely standing-only. 

People sit and stand inside the Merano 2000 cable car in the Dolomites, Italy. Forest in the background.
A look inside the Merano 2000 cable car

Merano 2000 with Kids – A Basic Itinerary

Keep it simple!

  1. Pack a picnic lunch.
  2. Drive and park at the base of the lift (use the free lot next to the road if there are empty spaces).
  3. Buy your tickets and take the Merano 2000 cable car up.  Remember to buy a family pass if it makes sense for your group (it did for us).
  4. Use the toilets at the top of the cable car.
  5. Walk to Waidmannalm.  Play at the little playground when you arrive.  Order a hot chocolate or cold drink. 
  6. Walk back to the hike start (top of the Merano 2000 cable car).  Or, take the Naifjoch cable car back if little legs are tired.
  7. Play at the amazing playground! 
  8. Ride the Alpin Bob.  Kids 3-9 can ride with an adult (16+).  My boys loved it and rode it twice each (but could’ve kept going!).
  9. Take the Merano 2000 cable car back down to the parking lot.

Lunch: Eat your picnic lunch wherever it works best timing wise.  We had ours on the trail to Waidmannalm.

Where to Eat at Merano 2000

Boy puts hand above hot chocolate on a table. Pamphlet underneath the hot chocolate.
My son enjoying his hot chocolate at Waidmannalm

Picnic!  Make or purchase panini and supplement them with salty snacks (chips or popcorn), fresh fruit (apples are easy, and they’re grown in the area), and something to drink. 

Have a mountain meal at one of the huts.  If you want a hot pasta or something more hearty like sausage and potatoes, huts are your best bet.

Tips for Visiting Merano 2000 with Kids

Pack warm layers!  Even if it’s hot in Merano, it’s much cooler up at Merano 2000. 

Try to do the walk to the Waidmannalm (mountain hut) before playing at the playground.  It’s best to have them walk when they’ve got the most energy!

Have some Euros with you.  On our visit, the Naifjoch cable car was cash-only.

There’s a family toilet next to the in-ground trampolines.

I hope you have an amazing time with your kids at Merano 2000! 

Visiting Merano? Be sure to check out:
Cycling Dolomites Bike Paths
Cycling the Merano-Bolzano Bike Path with Kids

Things to Do in Merano with Kids
Where to Stay in Merano with Kids
Where to Stay in the Dolomites with Kids

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