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The Vienna Prater
July 21, 2010

The Vienna prater is not only a large park but contains also an amusement park in which the famous Giant Ferris Wheel is situated. The word "Prater" was first used in 1403, originally referring to a small island in the Danube north of Freudenau, but was gradually extended to mean the neighbouring areas as well.  The Prater was once imperial hunting ground and only accessible for the aristocracy, until the Austrian Emperor Josef II donated the area to the Viennese in 1766 as a public leisure center. In 1873, a World Exibition was held in the Prater.

The amusement park is called the "Wurstelprater" (lit. "Clown`s Prater) and contains about 250 attractions which vary from merry-go-rounds to rollercoasters and flight simulators. In addition to this you can spend some time at one of the over 60 cafés or restaurants. One of them is the Schweizerhaus. There you can enjoy the typical Viennese atmosphere in the large beergarden. You should try the world famous rear knuckle of pork and order the home-made Schweizerhaus potato chips. The Schweizerhaus season starts on the 15th of march and lasts til the 31st of October (opening hours from 11:00 a.m till 11:00 p.m.). The Vienna Prater also houses a planetarium and the Prater Museum.  

Next to the amusement park one finds the "Green Prater" whose meadow area used to be an imperial hunting ground and was opened by the Emperor Joseph II to the public. You can spend your leisure time walking through the spacious forest or the main avenue, cycling or horseback riding. If you prefer not to walk, one should take the Liliputbahn, a miniature railway spanning more than three miles.

The Vienna Prater is situated in the 2nd district. You can go there by public transportation, either by the subway U" or tram line 5. Get off at the station "Praterstern".