The history of the Nature Park

A popular destination for families since 1975

The Purkersdorf Nature Park was founded as "Sandstone-Wienerwald Nature Park" on April 26 in 1975, which used to be the then Austria "Forest Day". The aim was to set up a local recreation area in the vicinity of ​​the metropolitan area of ​​Vienna.

From the nature trail to the nature park

The establishment of a nature park was suggested since the municipality of Purkersdorf had already set up a nature trail along the Wien River on the initiative of the then city gardener Josef Elsinger since 1968, which had become very popular with many hikers in the Wienerwald.

The founding chairman of the Naturparkverein (i.e. the non-profit organization that runs the nature park), the then vice-mayor Dr Kurt Schlintner pushed the expansion of the nature park forward, and during the first years of its existence, deer and wild boar enclosures plus a small museum were built.

Rudolfshöhe observation tower

In 1978, the nature park commissioned a 27 m high observation tower on Rudolfshöhe that allows a wide view over Vienna and the Vienna Woods to the Pre-Alps. These important investments were largely paid for by the federal province of Lower Austria and the municipality of Purkersdorf.

Good connections to public transport

Very soon after is establishment the Purkersdorf nature park became a popular destination for the population of the greater Vienna area, especially because of the easy and quick accessibility with public transport, particularly with a train station very close to the Kellerwiese park entrance. From 1980 the park was expanded with further farm animal enclosures (with sheep, goats, donkeys and ponies). In 1986 a pedestrian bridge was built over the increasingly busy main road so that easy and safe access was possible from the train station.

"Education" as a core competence

At the beginning of 2000, the then City Councilor for environment Rudolf Orthofer, took over as chairman of the nature park and initiated, together with Gabriela Orosel as general manager, the professionalization of the park management. Since then, an important focus of the activities has been on nature education. The reason for this is that it many schools and other educational institutions have expressed an increasing interest in nature education.

In 2004 the Wienerwald museum was converted to show and help visitors experience the life of the former Wienerwald farmers and a little later the nature trail was expanded with two interactive water stations along the Wien River as well as a children's trail with an exciting knowledge quiz and "wood laboratory", where inquisitive kids can experiment and learn about forests and their importance. Much of the necessary investment was provided by the EU Programme for Rural Development.

Experience nature "with all your senses"

The “Blind Date” trail is a specialty: in 2005, part of the nature trail was rebuilt so that people with visual impairments can have an intense experience of nature. It has been shown that people with good eyesight also benefit when they have the opportunity to experience nature with other than just their eyes. Since then, the nature park has been working to enable visitors to experience nature “with all their senses”.

Nature experiences for families and children

The nature park has always focused on families and children. Since the demand for guided hikes, children's birthday parties, and summer wilderness camps was constantly increasing, we have started to offer such programs with external partners in recent years.

Tourist involvement for more regional development

The first nature park product has been available since 2014, namely the nature park honey from beekeeper "Bieno", who has set up his hives in the park and gives guided tours and apiculture lessons for children.

The nature park has received several prizes for its achievements in recent years: in 2009 and 2012 we have been awarded the Hans-Czettel-Preis for nature and environmental protection from the province of Lower Austria, in 2013 we have received a UNESCO award for our generation forest project, and since then we have had several nominations for the Energy Globe Award, most recently in autumn 2020 for our "Genussbroschüre". In 2020, our project proposal "Zugpferd Naturpark" received an award and a funding through the Biosphärenpark Wienerwald (BPWW). And another project submitted to the PBWW by the Purkersdorf city administration "Aufblühen auf der Feihlerhöhe", for which the Nature Park provided a major contribution also received an award.