This newly built observatory in a converted former coal mining area between Recklinghausen and Herten can be recognized from afar due to the the giant steel constructions symbolizing the meridian and the equator line. It was labeled the new "Stonenhenge", and several installations in the area allow to discover the laws of the movements of sun, stars, moon, and seasons. A very popular destination in the area, and several hiking paths around.
Location: Follow signs "Hohewardspark" in the town of Herten.
The ZOOM zoological garden ist just 15-20 minutes from Recklinghausen by car, in the city of Gelsenkirchen. The city itself is absolutely not worth seeing - yet the zoo has been modernized and has some quite spectacular theme-oriented enclosures. The rebuilding of the zoo will be finished in 2009, when the South-Asian-themed enclosures will be completed. Today, the two main sights are the "Alaska" theme area with north american animals and the "Steppe" theme area with African animals. It is even possible to do a boat ride and view the African animals from an artificial river.
The Westruper Heide is a beautiful heather area near the town of Haltern, and very popular for hiking. Once an army training ground, it has now been converted to nature.
You can find it if you drive from Recklinghausen to Haltern (Halterner Strasse) and take the exit to Lüdinghausen. Just a few hundred meters after the exit is a parking place where all hiking paths into the Westruper Heide start.