During the past Easter holiday I decided to take the kids to the Swiss Transport Museum in Lucerne, which is one of the most famous museums in Switzerland. We had been 3 years before, but I was sure that visiting it now (the kids are now 7) would have been quite a different experience… and so it was.
We traveled by train from Lugano and in just 1 hour and 26 minutes we reached Art Goldau. From there you can take a local train that delivers you right in front of the museum (23 minutes later). The stop is called Verkehrsmuseum.
We got off the train, it was cold and it was snowing, too – but we did not let this fact prevent us from going. We took the underpass and found a long queue of people waiting to get in. Noooooo! Luckily, I had bought the tickets online and printed them at home! Yeeeeeeeah!
With this “little trick” we were spared the 2-hours-long or so queue. We took the escalator leading to the Planetarium (to the right of the main entrance), followed the corridor with the “Museum” sign, and through a “hidden” door we found ourselves in the aviation pavilion, without wasting precious time.
While we were waiting for our friends from Zurich to join us, we learned to write our names using the Morse code; at the beginning it was simply our names, then the kids moved on to random words and at the end it was swear words…and well, we had fun!
The museum is divided in many sections: the aviation pavilion is dedicated to all that flies. You can step into (real) planes, pretend you are the pilot, and there is even a parachute simulator (it gave me motion sickness, but my kids loved it). There are model planes and helicopters, interactive panels which tell you all about “flying” science (dynamics, gravitation, and so on) and many games.
The second pavilion is dedicated to water and all that floats, so you find boats to climb onto, panels to learn how to make sailor knots, many games and model boats and submarines.
The third pavilion is all about road transport, and contains an endless collection of means of transport (there is also a car theatre). Then there’s a crash-test presentation, interactive panels teaching you the basics of physics and reactions (for older kids), many toys and games for the younger ones (little cars, a garage, a car-themed memory game, magnets and a mirror maze.
The forth pavilion is about railroads, so trains are the protagonists. You can see carriages and trains, which you are allowed to climb aboard and drive, as well as model trains and (of course) interactive panels. My daughter enjoyed managing the train traffic thanks to a computer. Upstairs there’s a large pinball which needs 10 simultaneous players to activate (it’s to show the importance of working together).
At the center of the museum there is an outdoor plaza with a miniature construction site yard, which is always a hit with kids (male or female, regardless of their age) children will love. You will find bulldozers, diggers, wheelbarrows, shovels, stones, buckets and everything you need to identify with the real work in a construction site. Children can choose to wear special helmets and jackets to play in this space. All this digging, moving stones and collaborating with other children, was a hit and it turned out to be very difficult to take them away ….
The same concept applies to the cargo area: kids can move, pile up, stock and load small wooden cubes. There’s also pedal-operated karting track, as well as push scooters and other toy transports.
What else? Inside the museums there’s a planetarium and a new section devoted to chocolate (an extra fee applies, here). We could only visit the chocolate area, called Swiss Chocolate Adventure, a unique experience for kids. At the entrance we were given an audio guide, then we boarded a carriage (with room for 6 people) and were taken inside the world of chocolate. The smell of chocolate is something to write home, and it makes you hungry straight away.
The wagon passed through well-presented rooms to admire the process of cocoa processing, from seed to finished product, followed by its distribution and on to the history of Swiss chocolate. All was very interesting and well done, and the explanation were accurate but easy, so that kids could understand them fully. What my kids most liked was the final part of the visit, where real Lindor chocolates are offered (well, included in the price of the ticket, actually!) I recommend this visit to children over 6 years old.
Unfortunately, we did not manage to see the entire museum in a single day, because it really offers a lot to see and do; moreover it is suitable to all ages (adults included). Well, at least we have an excuse to go back another time …