German museum wants visitors to interact and move while visiting
December 16, 2015
My children are very well-behaved, except when they’re not. But even when they are on their best behavior, they have not completely adjusted to a “German” volume since moving here from the U.S. a couple of months ago.
We really enjoy taking in the sights Germany has to offer, but I always cringe a little as we go from the low din of a market, to a hushed side street, to the deafening silence in a small museum. Somehow they can’t help drawing the attention of strangers. On our last outing, I felt no such trepidation.
About 30 minutes south of Kaiserslautern, in Pirmasens, is just the place I’ve been looking for. It’s Dynamikum, a 40,000-square-foot science center with 160 exhibits that encourage you to touch, not just look. It’s a museum, but one that focuses on science, fun and learning, without the worry of being shushed in the process.
The theme, according to Dynamikum’s website, is “movement.” My kids had plenty of it, as they jumped, ran, kicked and slid from one exhibit to the next. They learned about gyroscopes, centrifugal force and how their run times compared to various animals.
Although geared mainly toward children, the science center, housed in a former shoe factory, offers something for all ages. During our visit I saw several adults in deep concentration at the puzzle table, and a couple sharing a laugh on the swing set that explains pendulum movement.
The exhibits encourage family interaction, too. I felt like a science superstar explaining and demonstrating some of the more complicated concepts to my youngest. The English-language sections on each activity’s sign helped.
There are two floors for visitors to explore — ideal for a rainy-day visit. There are also 13 outdoor exhibits and a 12-hole disc golf course.
Our visit took close to three hours, and there were still things left for us to do. I will keep Dynamikum in mind for the next time the kids need to stretch their legs — or their minds.
From Kaiserslautern, take the A6 toward Saarbruecken, get on the A62 toward Pirmasens. Take exit 15-Pirmasens and take the B10 toward Pirmasens. Once in the city, follow the brown signs to Dynamikum. There is a parking garage directly behind the museum.
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Open Saturdays, Sundays and German holidays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Admission is 9 euros (about $10) for adults and 8 euros for children 6 and up.
There is a cafeteria in the museum.
Visit dynamikum.de. Information available in English.