Happy Museum Monday! Today’s pick isn’t technically a museum, but it includes museum-like exhibits so I’m going to let it count. We visited the ‘Bisophäre Potsdam’ a couple years ago when we were living in Berlin. It’s located in the city of Potsdam, in the state of Brandenburg, which is right next door to Berlin.
The ‘Biosphäre Potsdam’ is like a miniature indoor tropical rainforest complete with a waterfall, a geyser which you can make to erupt at your whim, over 20,000 plants – from bamboo to vanilla (many of which you can smell at various interactive stations) – and many exotic animals.
While the arachnids and insects, reptiles and amphibians are safely behind glass in their terrariums, many of the colourful birds fly around the tropical hall and you will find fish and turtles swimming in the water.
If you step in to the butterfly house you are surrounded by over 20 different types of butterflies fluttering around you. It was one of my favourite parts of the day.
Entering the Aquasphere exhibition, we left the jungle trail and stepped in to a replica submarine, where we could call out to the deep sea echo, try on a diving bell, peer through a periscope and ‘steer’ the submarine. Through round windows, tanks full of brightly coloured tropical fish and anemones gave the impression that we really were travelling under the sea in a submarine.
After leaving the submarine, we stopped for a rest at the ‘Tropencamp’ Café. This was about 90 minutes through our visit – having gotten there at 11am, this meant we reached the café just in time for lunch. The Café is surrounded by yet more tropical plants and ponds full of fish, and the prices were fairly reasonable. It is also the perfect location for watching the hourly tropical storm complete with thunder, lightning and rain.
From there, we took the treetop trail and doubled back across the jungle below to the ‘airship’, which is basically a flyover video from the Biosphäre to the rainforest and back again, but you sit in a room that’s made to look like the interior of an airship, with moving seats and the creaking sound of ropes. The airship viewing is also hourly, at half past, and if you’ve been to watch the rainstorm on the hour it gives you just the right amount of time to get from one to the other.
Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our visit. It was a bit pricey (11.50 Euro for adults with concessions available for children), but we stayed for a good three hours and our eldest (who was 4 at the time) was still talking about it days later – apparently his favourite bits were the turtles, and making grandfather jump when we set of the geysir.
Potsdam is about an hour away from central Berlin. We went by car, but you can also reach it by public transport if you are visiting Berlin and looking for a day trip to do. It’s open all year round, and you can find details on opening times, admission prices and directions on how to get there, in English on their website.