Five Family-Friendly Museums

Inside the Swarovski Crystal Worlds. Photo: Swarovski Kristallwelten

Museums are booooooooooring? Think again! From medieval castles once inhabited by brave knights to glistening rooms full of crystal creations, Tirol is home to many family-friendly museums just waiting to be discovered. Many of them also offer special guided tours for children in the winter months, making them the perfect place for a fun and educational day out when the weather gods aren’t smiling on the region. Here are our five top family-friendly museums in Tirol.

1 Ehrenberg Castle

Built around 1290, Ehrenberg Castle has been home to numerous princes and kings. Today it is a museum complex open to the public with 14 rooms inviting visitors of all ages to embark on a journey back in time. Highlights at Ehrenberg Castle include a themed treasure hunt as well as a large outdoor playground. The castle ruins can be accessed either on foot or using a funicular railway. Just a stone’s throw from the ruins themselves is the Highline179, the longest hanging footbridge in Tirol.

Highline179 and Ehrenberg Castle. Photo: Rolf Marke

2 Schwaz Silver Mine

The “mother of all mines” was once the largest silver mine in the world and brought the small town of Schwaz huge riches. The mining of silver is no longer profitable today, but the mine has been kept open as a museum to give visitors the opportunity to travel underground into the tunnels and shafts. The adventure begins with a ride on the original lift 800 metres down into the ground. A fabulous day out for all the family. Tip! It’s a good idea to wear waterproof shoes.

Inside the Schwaz Silver Mine. Photo: Tirol Werbung / Bernhard Aichner

3 Swarovski Crystal Worlds

The Swarovski Crystal Worlds are a huge art and adventure complex in the town of Wattens, around 20 kilometres east of the regional capital Innsbruck. Built to celebrate Swarovski’s 100th anniversary, the Crystal Worlds are based on the chambers of wonder often found in castles and stately homes during the Renaissance and have attracted millions of visitors from around the world. The sparkling Chambers of Wonder, as the rooms are known, are regularly expanded and redesigned. Children will love the indoor play tower hidden away behind the water-spewing Giant guarding the entrance to the Crystal Worlds.

Inside the Swarovski Crystal Worlds. Photo: Swarovski Kristallwelten

4 Brenner Base Tunnel Info Centre

Deep under the Alps, work is currently underway on what will be the world’s longest railway tunnel – stretching an incredible 64 kilometres from Austria to Italy. The 800 m² Brenner Base Tunnel Info Centre invites visitors to find out more about this once-in-a-century project, including the technology, geology, ecology and history behind both the construction itself and the Brenner Pass connecting Austria and Italy. There is an adventure area for children. Guided tours into the tunnel are available on request.

Inside Brenner Base Tunnel Info Centre. Photo: BTT / Christiane Gappmaier

5 Kaunergrat Nature Park House

The Kaunergrat Nature Park House invites visitors young and old to embark on a journey of adventure from the lush green pastures of the valley floor all the way up to the world of eternal ice 3,000 metres above sea level. The nature park’s geology, flora, fauna and daily life are brought to life through a virtual interactive exhibition. Visitors can then step outside onto the Gacher Blick viewing platform and admire the truly spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The Nature Park House is a good starting point for a walk through the snow-covered Harber Wiesen meadows in winter.

The Kaunergrat Nature Park House in winter. Photo: TVB Oberland / Martin Lugger

5 Tips for Tirol

Having worked overseas for years, Klaus Brunner came back home to explore Tirol with camera and microphone in tow. Home is where your heart is.

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