{Germany} If you go down to the woods tonight…

October 1, 2014

Kids in Museums, Germany

If you go down to the woods tonight, you’re sure to…stumble across a museum. At least, in Berlin you are. Tucked away in Berlin’s Grunewald is the ‘Waldmuseum’ (Forest Museum), which is is managed by the German Forest Protection Association.

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The museum’s aim is to introduce visitors, especially children, to local plants and animals and to the ecosystem of the forest. The learning experience already starts, as you approach the museum via the tree-lined path leading up to it. Each of the different types of tree carries a label with its German and Latin names as well as it’s country of origin.

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The museum itself – which also offers ‘forest school’ sessions for groups – is located in three rooms on the ground floor of an adorable little house.

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The first rooms focuses mostly on plants and things that grow in the forest. Here you can touch and feel a variety of natural materials – from rocks and pine cones, to wood discs and tree bark – and different activities, games, puzzles and books invite you to discover, examine, identify, match and find out about the forest environment. Some of these #MuseumBaby was still a little too young for, but he loved exploring the different materials, examining things with a magnifying glass, and trying his hand at some of the puzzles made from discs of tree trunks.

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The other two rooms focus mostly on the animals that live in the forest. One of these is dominated by two large forest dioramas. You can pick up one of the paper trails available, which challenges you to spot certain animals in the dioramas. Since the trails included both the names and pictures of the animals we had to look for, #MuseumBaby was able to take quite an active part in this and we made a game of it to see who could spot the various animals first.

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Other activities in this room included feely boxes, and an activity where you had to match different plants and animals up to which level of the forest ecosystem they belonged to – from the undergrowth up to the tree tops – by pegging them to washing lines strung up at different heights. #MuseumBaby needed a little help with identifying what went where, but was very enthusiastic about pinning up the pictures.

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Whereas this room focused more on the animals as an ensemble within the forest ecosystem, the final room took a closer look at some of the individual animals and the evidence they leave behind in the forest, with everything from small animal skulls to a wasp’s nest on display. Our favourite activity here, was the bird sound activity – the idea was that you had to try and identify the different birds which may be a bit tricky for younger kids or those raised in the city, even I had difficulty with that. But #MuseumBaby really enjoyed listening to the different bird calls and pointing out the differences e.g. ones that sounded louder, quieter, higher or lower.

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The final part of our visit, was the garden behind the museum, where the forest learning experience continues. Here you can examine an ‘bee hotel’ up close, measure your wing span or how far you can jump compared to local forest animals, or walk along a sensory path.

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All in all, despite the museum being fairly small we spent over an hour there. #MuseumBaby really enjoyed himself, though I would say that an older child (he was 3.5 at the time of our visit) would definitely get more out of their visit as quite a few of the activities require reading and writing. But the admission is only  couple of Euros and the location is so beautiful, it’s worth making the trip out there just to go for a walk in the woods afterwards. Although it doesn’t look the easiest of places to get to (we actually went there by car), the museum is located just 500m away from the S-Bahnhof Grunewald. From the station, follow Schmetterlingsplatz, Schildhornweg, then at the  ‘Revierförsterei Eichkamp’ turn left through the woods until you see a gate next to sign for the museum and the path beyond (as in the photos at the beginning of this post). There’s a wee map too on the museum’s website. The museum is open Tuesdays to Fridays from 10am to 3pm, and Sundays from 1pm to 4pm. The website is in German, but information is also available in English via the Museumsportal Berlin.

 

 

 

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  1. {Discovering Berlin} The Forest Museum | The Ex-Expat - December 4, 2014

    […] Winter may not seem like the best time to go exploring the forest itself, but the majority of the museum is indoors and they are open throughout the year, with some special winter activities even taking place. We really enjoyed out visit there. You can read a full review and see further photographs from our visit over on my other blog, Museum Diary. […]

  2. {Berlin} The Forest Museum | The Ex-Expat - January 21, 2016

    […] Winter may not seem like the best time to go exploring the forest itself, but the majority of the museum is indoors and they are open throughout the year, with some special winter activities even taking place. We really enjoyed out visit there. You can read a full review and see further photographs from our visit over on my other blog, Museum Diary. […]

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