A unique tropical garden under the roof – that is the Tropenhaus in Frutigen. We have many times driven past during our skiing trips to our favorite resort and I always wanted to visit it. Tropenhaus is a great place to escape from bad weather for the afternoon, soak up the atmosphere of exotic holidays and learn something interesting.
Post updated on 2. 2. 2020
How to get there
The Tropenhaus is a 40-minute drive from Bern via the A6 motorway, in the direction of Kandersteg.
Adults: 18CHF, children aged 6-16: 9CHF. Holders of the Coop Hello Family Club receive a 33% discount on a family ticket, which normally costs 45CHF (more information here). If you are staying in the Kandersteg/Adelboden area and have the so-called Gästekarte (visitor card), you have a 10% discount on admission.
Together with the ticket, you will get an audio guide. The individual stations are marked with a yellow card with a picture of the marmot, which not only “welcomes” you here in the first room but accompanies the exhibition. If you´d like a guided tour, you can book it. The price then varies depending on the number of people and the choice of circuit or a combination of them – more information here.
Exhibition: “How the fish came to the mountain”
The fish is a sturgeon. At Tropenhaus you will find not only the tropical forest under the roof but a large sturgeon farm. Sturgeon is a million years old fish and produce eggs, known as caviar- one of the most exclusive delicacies in the world.
During the tour, you will learn about caviar production (the whole process before sturgeon caviar gets into the can, it takes only 20 minutes!), but also how good quality caviar should taste.
Part of the interactive exhibition is also devoted to water and geothermal energy. The water that comes from the Lötschberg glacier is warm (18 degrees) and is used not only in the huge sturgeon tanks but also for the entire tropical plant irrigation system in Tropenhaus as well as for its heating.
I personally liked the 3D model of the Alps, which showed where the water comes from. One can see where exactly the individual peaks – that you see when e.g. traveling by car – are.
Through the windows, you can see huge sturgeon breeding tanks. When you go out of this part of the exposition, you can go and see the inner tanks.
Before you get to the tropical garden, you can take a look at the giant aquarium, where various kinds of sturgeon (such as Russian sturgeon, Siberian, Atlantic, white, shortnose, shovelnose, beluga – phew, see what all I learn writing the blog ? 😉 ), perch, mullets, and others.
Fishing in Switzerland
Directly opposite the aquariums, you will find a small exhibition offering a view of fishing in Switzerland. For example, you will learn how it is organized and what fish species are found in Switzerland.
When you enter the tropical garden, you will be hit in the nose by a nice coffee smell. I’m not sure if the kids are interested in all the information about coffee, but for the time being, they can get fun by playing a game that shows the history of coffee (a man-sized version of snakes and ladders with coffee beans as playing figures 🙂 )
While your children are playing, you can find out about coffee varieties, where on the world is coffee being grown, you can smell it or grind it manually to different graininess.
It is certainly interesting to learn how the coffee is processed and how it changes its strength, color, and flavor at different roasting times.
When you walk through the tropical garden, you will find known and unknown fruit (I confess: I identified only the lemon, bananas and chili peppers with certainty :)) and the children will definitely enjoy watching the turtles (btw. this animal lives the highest age).
In the tropical garden, different types of herbs and spices are grown. You can try to smell and guess what it is.
As I wrote – I have been able to identify bananas with certainty, but I have no idea how many of their species exist and how quickly banana palms grow. You can find out all this and much more interesting information in the last part.
Of course, in the menu of the local restaurant, you can find caviar and dishes made from local sturgeon or tropical fruit grown here. We tried spice-flavored popcorn and although the staff warned us to be too spicy, our children managed to eat it without hesitation.
In addition to souvenirs (caps, water bottles), you can buy a variety of grown-ups from the local tropical garden (spiced oils, tropical fruit jams, dried fruit), but also coffee and, of course, you should not miss fillets of sturgeon and caviar 🙂
- The whole area is barrier-free, so do not worry about taking the stroller. In the toilets opposite the shop, you will find a changing corner for babies.
- Although I have Tropenhaus classified under the “Indoor activities” category, you have to go through the outdoor area around the breeding tanks to get from the first part of the exhibition to the others. However, you do not have to worry about bad weather – there are umbrellas for these cases that you can use and return them while entering the tropical garden. Well thought out, huh? And I believe there haven´t been any umbrellas missing because, in Switzerland, things are not stolen, only moved.
- In front of the restaurant entrance, there is also a small children’s corner with a slide.
I think the Tropenhaus in Frutigen is a great alternative to how to spending free time if the weather doesn´t allow hiking trips in the surrounding mountains. And what about you? Have you ever visited the Tropenhaus? What did you enjoy most here? Send me your comments! And do not forget to save this post on Pinterest!
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