{Germany} Dinosaurs, solar systems & dodos – toddler testing Berlin’s Natural History Museum

June 8, 2012

Kids in Museums, Germany

Today I’m very pleased to welcome Melanie Haynes as a guest blogger. We originally met at a playgroup for English speaking expats and their kids, and recently reconnected at The Hive bloggers conference. Melanie is a British stay at home mum to 2 year old Noah. She lives in Berlin now having relocated from Copenhagen at the end of 2011, and shares her experiences at her blog, Expat Mummy In Berlin, as she and her son explore the city. She is also the Berlin insider at luvaville.com and contributes to other family and expat blogs. In this blog post, Melanie shares her experience of toddler testing Berlin’s Natural History Museum with Noah.


Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

Natural history up close (photograph by Melanie Haynes)

I have taken my son Noah to the Natural History Museum (Museum für Naturkunde) in Berlin since he was almost two and many times since. I really believe in exposing children to cultural experiences from a young age but making sure it is fun for them. It is important as a parent that you handle your expectations of the visit realistically. You are not going to see every exhibit in the museum in detail over a long protracted visit but most likely concentrate on the areas your child most enjoys. This will change as your child gets older so a visit to a certain museum is not to be seen as a one off.

Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

The Dinosaur Hall (photograph by Melanie Haynes)

For my son, the first main room you enter – the dinosaur hall – is one of his favourites. The huge dinosaur skeleton definitely has the wow factor for a two year old and there are little binoculars positioned around the room so you can see the dinosaur in more detail. He is a little bit small for these at the moment but enjoyed taking a peep with his dad holding him up.

Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

The Solar System (photograph by Melanie Haynes)

The Solar System exhibit here is another big winner but he hasn’t yet had the patience to watch the whole film projected onto a big screen positioned about a huge round sofa. But he is obsessed with music so always insists that we climb the wide spiral staircase above the main part of this exhibit to the listening posts playing planet inspired classical music.

There is a hall close to this exhibit with hundreds of animals and birds stuffed and presented in glass cases. I love that every time we visit this room Noah spots a new animal to gaze with fascination at. As his speech has been rapidly developing, I notice that he picks up a lot of new words, like dodo, whilst we are at the museum simply because his interest is aroused.

Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

Biopolis (photograph by Melanie Haynes)

The current exhibit Biopolis, showing all the animals you can spot in the urban areas of Berlin, is my favourite here and I was amazed to learn that there are raccoons living in the city!

The Natural History Museum is a place we like to visit on a wet or cold day here in Berlin and so far, after four visits, my son still enjoys going. I believe that interests in museums change as children develop and I hope we can continue to enjoy this museum as my son gets older.

Practicalities

This museum is very child friendly with almost all of the main exhibits on the ground floor so a young child can move easily from room to room. The access to the building is good for those with strollers, with an entrance with a bell for access on the side of the building – follow the disabled signs. There is a large free cloakroom on the basement level and in the toilets there are changing tables. You can borrow museum strollers if you wish.

Children under three are free and they offer discounted family tickets – check the website for up to date information. It is important to note that the museum is closed on Mondays but is open on Sundays and public holidays.

 

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  2. Museum City Guide: Mel’s Top 5 for Kids in Copenhagen | Museum Diary - July 22, 2013

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  3. Museum City Guide: Mel’s Top 5 for Families in Copenhagen | Museum Diary - July 22, 2013

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