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Family Activities in St. Gallen

Situated in Eastern Switzerland, St Gallen is a large town that serves as the gateway to Appenzellerland. Bursting with family-friendly attractions, you will be spoiled for choice on how to spend your time here.

The Abbey Cathedral of Saint Gall (also known as St. Gallen Cathedral) is the main tourist attraction. This UNESCO World Heritage site features a Roman Catholic cathedral (completed in 1767) which was part of a medieval Carolingian abbey. The cathedral boasts baroque architecture (glorious frescoes and sculptures), one of three oldest surviving bells in Europe and a comprehensive medieval library. In fact, the library is often touted as a separate tourist attraction with its magnificent Rococo style and is lauded as one of the oldest and richest in the world, containing 160000 volumes.

There are several other religious sites of interest in St. Gallen: the Dominican Abbey of St. Katharina, the Reformed Church of St. Laurenzenkirche and the Roman Catholic parish church of St. Maria Neudorf. St. Gallen was awarded a prize by the Swiss Heritage Society in 1992, to recognise its development and preservation of its architectural heritage.

Also woven into St. Gallen's rich cultural tapestry are the beautiful art nouveau Tonhalle St. Gallen concert hall for classical music and the Theater St. Gallen for opera, plays, musicals and ballet. There are museums to suit all tastes, ranging from art, textiles (embroidery and lacework) and beer bottles to natural history and ethnographical collections. There is even an outdoor art installation of a living room 'Stadtlounge' in the centre of the city.

The educational Peter and Paul wildlife park is nestled on the hilly outskirts of town in a prealpine landscape and provides a rich sensory experience for all ages. Native animals such as the lynx, wildcat, deer, wild boar, ibex and chamois can be found here, delicious regional delicacies can be sampled and views of Lake Constance enjoyed.

For an oasis of peace amid the hustle and bustle, Drei Weieren ('Three Ponds') provides beauty, nature and tranquillity as well as spectacular views over St. Gallen. Popular with hikers, there are grassy slopes as well as a forest for more intrepid explorers.

The Voralpen Express provides a frequent and scenic train service between St. Gallen and Lucerne, providing an excellent way to see more of the beautiful local countryside. For those who prefer to wander around, the Old Town features carved oriels (windows) painted by 16th and 17th century textile merchants.

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