More than 15.000 meters of tracks, over 260.000 little figures and nearly 400.000 colorful lights that change every couple of minutes illuminating the exhibition to resemble night or day, all of it divided into 9 incredibly detailed, miniature realms: Central Germany, Hamburg, Austria, Switzerland, USA, Scandinavia, Italy and the imaginary land of Knuffingen with a large airport filled with plane replicas. If this wasn’t enough, the miniature cities and their inhabitants aren’t just dull imitations of reality – there’s plenty of hidden easter eggs, funny scenes and live action, as well as special, holiday season decorations.
It’s time to embrace your inner child!
Initially, we thought that Miniatur Wunderland will just be a pretty cool place to pass the afternoon, a nice way to get a short break from your regular sightseeing and not so favorable weather. We stood corrected within a couple of minutes – and got lost in the exhibition for hours, resulting in us nearly running through the last displays, as we were shocked to hear the closing announcement so quickly (and to realise that we’d spent more than 4 hours immersed in this miniature world).
If there’s an embodiment of fun, it’s this place – and you’re hearing it from people who aren’t usually that excited about museums and displays. There’s something for people of all ages, it’s surprisingly interactive and, despite what the statistics indicate, you might find yourself needing a whole day to see the entire exhibition. Why?
First of all, the miniatures are incredibly detailed. Every little figure, human or animal, can have something unique about them. There are everyday life scenes (well, not only – you can also find aliens playing basketball) and it’s actually possible to peek through the windows to check what’s going on inside the houses. Every building or construction is different, and the closer you look, the more you see. You can even climb a bit higher up on the barrier and gaze behind the foreground – no place is left empty or neglected.
And the best part of it is – among all this chaos and colors, there’s plenty of funny or surprising scenes and figures popping up. Even the flyer-guide encourages you to play an observation game, showing 20 pictures of different easter eggs to find as you move along (bring a pen to tick them off!). Plus, there are also many other hidden jokes not shown in the leaflet – you can take hours looking for new ones.
The museum is also highly interactive, as there’s plenty of buttons for the guests to press in every part of the display – each of them causing a different thing to happen inside the exhibition. Some of them turn on the lights, some of them cause parts of the installation to move, others can send rockets into space or make a shark hunt a poor diver.
On top of that, you can also witness a volcano eruption (together with the sounds and floating lava), a philharmonic concert and a fire, accompanied by tons of smoke and rushing firefighter trucks. There’s always something going on!
And there’s much more than that – hidden caves, a chocolate factory that gives out actual chocolates, a live concert that’s so realistic that it even has the camera flashes lighting up in the crowd… Miniatur Wunderland made us feel like we were 10 again and evoked in us a weird need to buy a model railway. It’s impressive and definitely worth visiting if you’re passing by Hamburg, especially since the price isn’t very high. You can also eat on the spot in a museum bistro (with a pretty broad menu – no problem finding vegan or vegetarian food) and do some shopping in the merchandise store inside. It’s one of Germany’s most popular attractions for a reason, and if you have a chance to visit – it would be a shame to let it pass you by!
The exhibition is open 365 days a year, and while the opening hours vary, the shortest working day is from 9:30 to 18:00 (longer on Tuesdays, Saturdays, Sundays & during holidays). In the season, you might encounter significant queues, so be sure you get the ticket and make an online reservation for a certain time window (eg. 13:30-14:30, 9:00-10:00).
The admission fee is 13 eur for adults and 6,50 eur for children under 16 yo.
Miniatur Wunderland is within a walkable distance from the city center, but if you’re getting there from somewhere further away, you can always take the U3 U-Bahn to Baumwall.