{Sweden} Hands-on Science at Universeum

April 26, 2016

Kids in Museums, Sweden

100 Museums Challenge: Museum No.21

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Continuing with our series of museums in Gothenburg, I wanted to tell you about Universeum. Which is actually a science centre, rather than a museum, but let’s not be too picky about definitions. In fact, it’s the largest science centre in the Nordic region, covering seven levels, from marine life to rainforest to outer space and everything in between.

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You start your visit by taking a diagonal lift up to ‘Water’s Way’ on Level 7, where you will meet some of the fish, birds, amphibians and reptiles, as well as plants, that you can find all over Sweden. There’s steps to climb, bridges to cross, caves to enter, cracks to squeeze through. And fully glass fronted tanks and aquariums let you see the animals both above and below water.

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I especially liked the design of this ‘seaside’ exhibit, with the little red Swedish huts, where you could see starfish and sea urchins up close. No idea what the egg was about, but the kids had fun with it!

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Continuing on from Water’s Way there’ the Ocean Zone and adjacent ‘Deadly Beauties’, where you can discover everything from sharks, rays and swordfish, to venomous snakes from all over the world. Also, my kids got eaten by a Megalodon! No biggie.

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Most of the Rainforest zone was closed for refurbishment during our visit (re-opening early June 2016), but we did get to take part in a ‘foods of the rainforest’ tasting session. We tried everything, bananas, papaya, pineapple, coconut…yes, even the mealworms and cockroaches!

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On the roof top (accessible at Level 4) there was a special exhibition about Ice Age mammoths. When #MuseumBoy saw these, he shouted “Look, mum, real mammoths!” Bless. The mammoths are showing until October 2016. Keep in mind that this exhibit is outdoors, so depending on the weather it can get a bit cold and windy (though there are some animal print blankets you can borrow to go outside with!)

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After all that natural science, we made our way to ‘Space’ on Level 3, where you can learn all about space, space travel and life in a space station. Highlights included watching a rocket launch (well, a video of one, but it was pretty cool) and trying out the astronauts’ space toilet and sleeping bags!

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On the same level, you can get crafty at ‘Teknoteket’. There were various ‘make and take’ tables – which apparently change regularly – with staff on hand to give you some assistance, as well as an area with massive building blocks. As you cans see from the photo below, some kids were really getting stuck in to it!


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On Level 2 there was a section all about health, where you could test your stamina, flexibility, strength etc. I think it was possibly a special exhibition (?) as I can’t find any current information about it on their website or online map, which is showing something different in its place. But the other half of Level 2 appears to be permanent, which is where you could do all kinds of experiments from reaction tests, to riding a horse simulator, or simply playing around with good old bubbles. Oh, and on Level 0 there was a play area for the really little ones, including a shop, boat, post office, jungle gym, and camp fire with log cabin to play in. I didn’t take any pictures, as there were kids literally everywhere, and taking photos of other people’s kids is a big no no.

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Overall, we spent almost five hours at Universeum, after arriving first thing in the morning when they opened. It was a little bit on the pricey side (around 13 Euros for kids age 3+ and around 19 Euros for adults, going by the current exchange rate), but for the time we spent there we got our money’s worth. We had lunch at the cafe – we went for an early lunch around noon to avoid the crowds, which was a good plan as it turned out – and the prices were reasonable and the food tasty. There was a little confusion over taking our stroller in – we were told we *had* to leave it in the (covered) stroller park outside, but later we saw lots of families with strollers inside the galleries. It wasn’t a problem, since we were able to borrow a lock for our stroller free of charge, but it was a long day for #MuseumBaby and he really could have done with a rest in his stroller about half way through. I’m putting it down to a ‘lost in translation’ communication problem.

Anyway, as far as science centres go, it was pretty good. If you have a good science centre near you at home, you may want to give this a miss if you’re on a budget, but if you can plan to spend a good chunk of time there you will, as I said, get your money’s worth. And it was pretty much the only indoor attraction open on a Monday, which is what sealed the deal for us in the first place since the weather wasn’t great for doing anything outside that day. You can find all the up to date details on opening times and admissions prices on the Universeum website.

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  1. Gothenburg With Kids – Our Top Tips! – The Bear & The Fox - April 6, 2017

    […] You can read a more detailed review of Universeum over at Museum Diary. […]

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