Birthdays in Germany are slightly different than most other countries. For example, German customs require that you, the birthday girl, needs to bring a cake for everyone. And if there is a dinner plan after, be ready to pay for everyone, unless you specify that it is a dutch party.  It’s not all that bad though; there are plenty of treats for you as well, in the form of freebies that a numbers of establishments dish out for a birthday baby. 

Phantasialand in Brühl

Be a kid again at Phantasialand, where birthday girls and boys get free entrance. You have to show your ID card to save 47,50€. The amusement part has some fantastic attractions, including looping rollercoaster “Black Mamba”, the free fall tower “Mystery Castle” or the whitewater raft “Chiapas”.

Berggeiststraße 31-41, 50321 Brühl
Opening hours: 9 am to 6 pm (attractions open at 10 am)

Aqualand in Cologne

Swimming area with light-flooding dome, sunbathing spots, 11 saunas, two steam rooms, massages, and seven adrenaline pumping slides – Aqualand is just the kind of vitamin sea the doctor prescribed. Birthday babies enjoy it all for free (sans sauna and massage).

Merianstrasse 1, 50765 Cologne

Opening hours: Monday to Thursday 9.30 am to 11 pm, Friday 9.30 am to midnight, Saturday 9 am to midnight, Sundays and public holidays 9 am to 11 pm

Kölnbäder 

All 12 of bathing facilities (Agrippabad, Chorweilerbad, Genovevabad, Höhenbergbad, Naturfreibad Vingst, Lentpark, Ossendorfbad, Rodenkirchenbad, Stadionbad, Wahnbad, Zollstockbad, Zündorfbad) under Kölnbäder, including the one I go to to learn swimming at, offer free admission to birthday babes. Along with pools, you also get access to saunas and ice skating rink, and can stay in for as long as you like. 

Monte Mare swimming facilities in Rheinbach und Bedburg

The facilities, free for birthday babies, include pool area, sauna, spa and the waterpark.

Monte Mare Rheinbach, Münstereifeler Straße 69, 53359 Rheinbach 

City Museums

Museum enthusiasts can enter all public and private museums in city for free on their birthday – including The Museum Ludwig, the Wallraf Richartz Museum, the Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum, the Museum of Applied Arts and the Cologne City Museum (full list here www.museenkoeln.de). However, special exhibitions may be ticketed, so come prepared.

Schokoladenmuseum at Rheinauhafen

Located right on the Rhine, you can find out everything you want to know about chocolate here – from cultivation of the plant, to production and marketing. The highlight, of course, is the chocolate fountain and the Chocolat Grand Café on the ground floor of the museum – where you’ll get really fine and not-so-cheap chocolate artworks. And of course, museum entrance is free on your birthday.

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 10 am to 6 pm, Saturday, Sunday and holidays 11 am to 7 pm (closed on Mondays in November)

Saunapark Siebengebirge

Another birthday treat is free entrance (normally costing 19.50€) to the sauna park Siebengebirge, where you can indulge in herbal sauna, Primavera sauna, forest sauna, garden sauna, aroma sauna, dry sauna and Irish-Roman steam bath.

Opening hours from 18 September 2018: Monday to Thursday 11 am to 11 pm, Friday and Saturday 11 am to midnight, Sunday 10 am to 10 pm

Dollendorfer Straße 106 – 110, 53639 Königswinger

Geysir Andernach

Volcanism has created a rare natural phenomenon in the Eastern Eifel: Geysir Andernach, the world’s highest cold-water geyser. Visitors to the three-part attraction can look forward to a colourful program suitable for all ages, and free access to the Geysir Centre, boat trip and Heyser for birthday babes.

Opening hours: 25th March to 31st October 2018 from Mondays to Sundays 9am to 5.30pm

Panoramapark in Olpe

The amusement park in the Sauerland is a special attraction for families. The panoramic park relies on the animal facility, but also has some rides, carousels and shops. Visitors pay 13€ to enter, whereas birthday folks enter for free.

Drachenfels Zahnradbahn

A trip to the Drachenfels is another nice idea for a daytrip on your birthday. The Drachenfels is a mountain in the Siebengebirge on the Rhine between Königswinter and Bad Honnef and has stunning views on top. You can hike up or take a train to the top, all for free, only on your birthday. We went for a friend’s birthday and I did a post about it as well. You can check it out here.

Toverland in Venlo

If you are willing to travel for more than an hour, you can spend your birthday in Toverland in the Netherlands. The amusement park is known to be fun and family-friendly. It has four sections, and is a good idea even on a rainy day. 

Fish Spa Neumarkt

You eat the cake while tiny fishes nibble on your feet’s dead skin. Okay, that sounded a lot better in my head. Anyway. The fish spa at Neumarkt offers free fish pedicures on your birthday. The same treat would otherwise cost 15€ for 15 minutes, 20 minutes cost 20€, 30 minutes you get for 25€.

KD Rheinschifffahrt (vergünstigt)

Sailing over the Rhine on a boat may sound like tourist stuff but it is fun even when you have lived in the city for many years. Whether it is a one-hour panoramic drive along the Old Town Rhine promenade or a longer tour to the Siebengebirge, birthday babies receive a 50% reduction on all panoramic and scheduled trips for themselves as well as an accompanying person.

Saltmines at Bergisch Gladbach (vergünstigt)

If you want to do something good for your body on your birthday, you can visit the Salt Grotto in Bergisch Gladbach. The operators compare an hour’s stay in the salt cave with a three-hour walk by the sea. Birthday folks get an admission at a reduced price of 7.5€.

Indie and alternative parties in the tsunami

The tsunami club in the Südstadt is a real club legend. Birthday children come to the tsunami club for free on their birthday.

Hochwildpark Rheinland

Only 45 minutes by car from Cologne is the Hochwildpark Rheinland, where you can get up close with animals who roam around without fences or barriers. Be prepared for an unrestrained sighting of moose, wild boar, deer, goats, sheep, mini-pigs and many other animals. Not for me but perfect for animal lovers, who also get free entrance on their birthdays.