For a few months, it has been rumbling and grumbling from under the ground. The sound grows each day and sometimes, we can even feel the floor shaking slightly under our house.
What sounds like an earthquake is actually a historic construction project, the building of the Brenner Base Tunnel, a planned 55-kilometer long railway tunnel through the base of the Eastern Alps beneath the Brenner Pass—and beneath our home. Completion date is in the year 2026.
My boys are going through a “why, where, what and how” phase, which means we have to respond to all kinds of questions: Where is the tunnel? Where will it lead to? What will it look like inside? How do they blast through the mountains? Why is it that loud? Will they destroy the mountains?
I am going through an “additional work” phase, which means I have to deal with my offspring’s curiosity: Like explorers (or voles) they continue to dig holes in our garden to reach the Brenner Base Tunnel underneath (or lava, depending on how they feel that day.).
Thus I had been looking forward to the opening of the Tunnel Worlds in Steinach am Brenner for months and I was not left disappointed. It is an amazing adventure and provides a world of knowledge for young and old alike, along with an array of fun hands-on experiences.
A first highlight waits at the entrance: the blast simulation. An outsized screen, an exploder button and off you go! Visitors can set off a volley here and it is really hard to drag the kids away from it!
Spreading over 800 square meters, the exhibition shows how exciting and multi-faceted tunnel construction can be. On the upper story, the boys are captivated again. A giant blower makes balls defy gravity and then they have to be transported along conveyor belts. We adults take a look around to learn—and to be able to answer all those questions arising in the future.
After all that fun in the adventure zone, the many unusual objects on display, having to do with the history, geology and topography of the Alps, invite little ones to touch, play and learn.
The Tunnel Cave is a place to rest and relax, while listening to storytelling. The boys love it :-)
We were surprised at how much fun the Tunnel Worlds are – for kids of all ages. We grown-ups have explored and learned a lot, too. Visiting the Tunnel Worlds is strongly recommended and we will definitely be back.
The Tunnel Worlds are wheelchair accessible, which makes them easy to get around with baby strollers and prams. Food and drink are available at the adjacent JUFA Wipptal (where you can sit back and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee while having an eye on your little ones through the window).
Admission to the Tunnel Worlds is free.
Take a look behind the scenes of the tunnel with guided tours of the Brenner Base Tunnel construction site. Refer to www.wipptal.at for more information.
Photo Credits: BBT SE/Christiane Gappmaier