Would you build an artificial, giant hill with a fun park just for your two kids? I certainly would! That’s just what a guy did near Ostrava, Czech Republic and now Heipark is open to the public.
What is Heipark
I’m still trying to wrap my head around the idea that a father built a giant hill (think a small mountain) to create various outdoor activities for his kids, but I’m certainly glad he did! In 2001, Heipark opened up to the public, becoming the first artificially-made ski resort in the Czech Republic. Skiing is only one of the many activities. There’s tubing, rock climbing, zip lines, a mechanical bull, and even an alpine sled.
I saw my first alpine sled on YouTube a few years ago and I was dying to do one ever since. I knew there were a few in Italy, Germany and Austria. I had no idea that there was one in the Czech Republic, so you can imagine my surprise when my bus pulled into Heipark and the alpine sled was the first thing I saw. An alpine sled is very similar to a toboggan for snow, but this one is built on rails that wind down the side of a mountain. Some of the courses I saw on YouTube had a single rail, but the one at Heipark has two. You’re first brought up a usual roller-coaster incline to get to the top of the hill. From there, it’s high-speed laughing and screaming…or just screaming…until you reach the bottom. It takes about a minute and a half to get to the bottom…if you don’t use the breaks. I didn’t.
The next ride I went on was the inner tube. The ride is only a couple hundred feet long, and I didn’t think it would be that much of a thrill, especially after the alpine sled. I was wrong. I don’t know if the ride always drops you off going backward at the beginning, but the plastic mats that the inner tube slides down have sprinklers keeping them wet, and the tube picks up quite a bit of speed. Some of the other adults I was with actually found it a little too scary!
Of course, I also had to try the mechanical bull. I’ve been on a few of them in the past, and there’s a pattern that always happens. The operator tries his hardest to get me off the bull. After a few seconds, I hear a distinct click as the operator shifts the machine into a higher gear, at which point the bull goes into overdrive and it’s literally impossible for me to stay on. The mechanical bull at Heipark was no different, except that instead of a single click, I heard four, each time putting the bull into a faster frenzy. At the final stage, the bull was spinning so fast that I simply went into hysterics and fell off. Forty-five seconds I held on for. I challenge anyone to last longer.
The attractions didn’t stop there. Many were designed for kids and are a bit small for adults. Such activities include bungee jumping, a treetop rope course with ziplines, a trampoline park, an archery range, giant slides, bouldering, and a small golf range. There’s also a large disk golf range which I would have loved to spent time at, but we were on the clock during our visit.
In the winter, the tubing goes on the slow and the ski slopes open up. There’s ice skating on the pond and even a giant airbag to bounce off of. All in all, it’s an absolute paradise for kids, which is why I loved it so much. When was the last time you released your inner child?
Other Attractions in the Kravařsko Region
Heipark is in the Kravařsko Region in the eastern Czech Republic, although for some strange reason this region doesn’t show up on Google Maps! While I try to remedy that, here are some other attractions you can check out if you happen to be in the region.
The Kunín Chateau was constructed in the first half of the 18th century by the same architect who designed some of the more impressive buildings in Vienna, such as the Belvedere Palace. The chateau has gone through a colorful history, including getting used as a headquarters by Communist troops. It recently went through a full restoration and is now a museum you can tour through to see the decor and lifestyle at the time of its construction.
If you want a more unique place to stay while visiting this region or nearby Ostrava, you can even rent one of the upstairs rooms in the chateau. They also have a restaurant where you can get some really delicious meals from the region.
This large watermill was one of the last to operate in a region which used to have hundreds of such mills. Originally constructed in the 16th century, it operated for nearly 500 years and is fully functional to this day. You can take tours of the mill, learning about the mechanisms on all five stories and how the mill not only functioned to grind wheat but also provided electricity to the nearby town.
Here too, you can rent a room for the night. Adults are a mere €15 each ($20) and kids are half that! Or, if you’re passing through on your bike or backpacking, you can get the dorm room for about $6 a night! The rooms have been restored to how they looked in the first half of the 20th century. There aren’t a lot of frills here, but you’re out in nature and it’s a beautiful location. Besides, you’ve got Heipark just a couple miles down the road.
Heipark is located a half an hour by car southwest of Ostrava. The park is open year round. On weekdays in the summer, it’s open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Every other day the hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Most of the attractions are priced separately but don’t expect to pay more than about $20 per person, and half that for kids. This is the Czech Republic after all, not Disneyland. Prices are reasonable.
Are you visiting Ostrava and looking for more activities? Here are some other articles to help you out.
- A Traveler’s Guide of Things to Do and See in Ostrava, Czech Republic
- Excursions from Ostrava: Exploring the Jeseniky Mountains
- Excursions from Ostrava: Hiking in the Beskydy Mountains
- The Colours of Ostrava is So Much More than a Music Festival
Here’s some extra reading to save hundreds on your next vacation or stage of your journey.