Our older son wished to visit this museum. His teacher told the class how friendly the museum is and what they can see here. I was amazed that anything else besides sports had taken his interest (I was starting to get worried about him: he´s an absolute sports freak! :O )
So we headed to Solothurn on one rainy November Sunday. Dear readers, I won´t beat around the bush for a long time and put right away that what surprised us at Naturmuseum: was the fact that such a great exposition is absolutely free! And now, a few weeks after our visit, we shake our heads in disbelief and remember how much we liked it here.
Updated: August 2023
The museum is located on Klosterplatz Square, about 10 minutes walk from the train station. We came here by car, which we parked in the parking lot “Baseltor” (about 5 minutes walk).
The museum is open daily except for Mondays. From Tuesday to Saturday, from 2 pm to 5 pm, and on Sundays from 10 am (for extraordinary opening hours, such as during the Christmas holidays) check the museum’s website.
Free (yes, you read well 🙂 ).
However, if you want a guided tour of the museum, it is possible to order it in advance, and it costs 150 francs. And if you enjoyed the time, no one would prevent you from throwing a few coins into a raven´s hat just behind the museum door.
While you’re still hanging your coats on the hangers in the closet in the lobby, your kids will undoubtedly explore the aquarium inhabitants in its immediate vicinity.
The pace of the tour is up to you. On the ground floor, there are forest animals (of course, their stuffed models :)), a collection of butterflies, and plenty of interesting information to learn either from labels or from headphones.
Perhaps few children have ever imagined how big a bear is. And I dare say that few saw the mole eating the earthworm.
Preschoolers can indeed assign leaves to the well-known deciduous trees, and the littlest will have fun sticking them on the magnetic board.
The littlest will be surely excited by the marble run. The older ones soon recognize that it is also educational. 🙂 Anyway, I was afraid for a moment that we wouldn´t move further from here.
The exposure on this floor (showing reptiles, insects, or birds) was renewed at the time of our visit (but it is an impulse to revisit the Naturmuseum soon in the future :))
The exhibition on this floor shows history from practically the Big Bang, through the Ice Age and dinosaurs, to the present times.
Children can become geologists here: they can examine crystals under the microscope, try to engrave the hardness of the rocks (can you still remember the Mohs scale of mineral hardness? 😉 ), or scan the rock and see where it comes from.
The area of Solothurn was under the sea level in the Mesozoic era (this fact we also learned about our hiking trip to Grenchenberg), and many artifacts have been discovered, including fossils of sea stars or turtle shells, and traces of dinosaurs. Thanks to that, I know we have to follow in their footsteps in nearby Lommiswil.
If children want to relax for a while, they can leaf through or read themed books.
Temporary exhibition “Apples”
In cooperation with Naturmuseum Thurgau, until April 22, 2018, an exhibition called “Äpfel”, i.e. apples, is prepared for visitors in the museum’s basement. You will learn everything about the apple literally from Adam (er, I suppose you know this story;) ). The apple is found in stories (already mentioned in the Bible, or even in Wilhelm Tell, regarding the fact we are in Switzerland :)), and in songs, there are countless kinds and shapes. Apple flavor or scent can also be found in many products.
Children can listen to some of the songs or stories here and color a paper apple, cut it out, and pin it on the apple tree.
Back in the lobby, we were at a cup of coffee (our boys immediately noticed a coffee machine from Jura, that we visited recently :)) absorbing our impressions of the visit and watching the rain outside the window.
- The museum is wheelchair accessible, suitable for both wheelchair users and strollers – by the main entrance, there is a ramp, and within the museum, you can reach the upper floors by elevator.
- Strollers can be parked inside in the lobby. On the third floor, there is a changing corner on the toilets.
- Although the names of animals are also in English, more detailed labels are only in German (sometimes in French).
- We were delighted that the museum’s exposition is not “over-tuned,” as it has been a habit, but it is still full of exciting incentives for even the most minor children (just for over one year). Audiovisual interpretations (such as the breaking of Earth´s plates or the creation of the Jura Mountains) are nicely explained and easily understood.
- The Naturmuseum Solothurn is the perfect choice to spend a rainy afternoon.
Have you ever been to this museum? Tell me about your experience!