How well-equipped is this city for those raising infants/toddlers? Specifically, are there public places to change diapers, maintained playgrounds, etc?
Zurich is considered a singles city, but you will still find a wide variety of children's facilities in and around Zurich.
Where can I get a list of reliable childcare providers/nannies?
Childcare is not as easily accessible in Zurich as in other European cities and most of it is passed on through word of mouth. Most shopping centers, like Migros or Coop, however, have blackboards in their entrance halls where you can find a great variety of such services offered by students or also by local childcare facilities such as “English-spoken play groups,” etc. All communities have so-called “Family Club” entities that can provide families with smaller children information on local childcare facilities.
Discuss any safety issues for children in this city.
There aren't any issues that are out of the ordinary. Zurich is a safe city but you are advised to always exercise caution around traffic and keep an eye on your children.
What are the most popular kid-friendly attractions in the area?
- Zurich Zoo
- Wellenbad Dolder (wave pool)
- Rust Europapark (over the German border)
- Zurich Theatre spectacle (summer only; nearby the lake in Wollishofen)
- Children's Zoo Rapperswil
- Circus Knie at Bellevue (April/ May)
- Park im Grüene Rüschlikon
- Slide on the Uetliberg
- Biggest Slide in Europe on the Atzmännig mountain (45-min. drive from Zurich)
- Robinson playground in Zurich (there are several, but there is a big one at the China Garden inZurich - Seefeld)
- Alpamare Wasserpark Pfäffikon SZ Technorama Winterthur
- Kindercity Volketswil
- Game Park Langenberg
- Urania Observatory
- Planet path Üetliberg - Felsenegg
- Milandia Fun Park in Greifensee
What are the most popular activities for kids after school or on weekends?
Winter time: skiing and sledding
Summer time: bathing in the lake and in many public swimming pools in and around Zurich. Tennis, football and water skiing are also very popular outdoor activities in the summer.
What's it like to be a teenager in this city? Are there any particular challenges I should be aware of as a parent?
Note that the drinking age in Switzerland is 16 for beer and wine and 18 for other alcohol. Your children will not be allowed to buy any alcoholic drinks or cigarettes before 16/18 and the cashier will ask for an ID card if they are not sure about the age. As in most cities, there are also some areas in Zurich that should be avoided as drugs might be offered. Apart from that, there are many activities in Zurich for teenagers and it is a very safe city.
Are there any organizations/social groups in the area that cater exclusively to young people ages 12-17?
A popular choice is the Boy Scouts of the canton Zurich. It offers adventure, amusements and activities, which also develop a sense of responsibility, for boys ages 6 - 18.
Golf and sailing are also popular activities. Local ethnic or religious centers or congregations also offer weekend activities for their members.
I want my child to get the most out of our stay in this country. Are there any specific opportunities to teach young people about the local culture?
As for learning the language, young people can either learn it in school or take special language courses. The best way of learning a language, however, is to be surrounded by people who speak it. This is also a good way to assimilate into the local culture.
The school will also propose some activities for your children during the summer holidays.
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