Swiss Miniatur Museum
A tour of Switzerland in only 1 Hour?
Are you and/or your guests only in Switzerland for a short period of time? Would you like to give the kids something to enjoy while learning something, too? Then stop by the Swiss Miniatur Museum in Melida in Ticino, in the Italian part of Switzerland.
Nestled between the Mountains and Lake Lugano, the open-air museum Swiss Miniatur, has been a part of the Swiss tourism landscape for the past 57 years.
Long ago, Pierre Vuigner, a Swiss municipal clerk and grocery store owner, had an idea that he just couldn’t shake: creating a park of miniature versions of famous Swiss landmarks. He found the perfect location in Melide on the lake of Lugano and created it. Since 1959 Swiss Miniatur has been providing visitors virtual tours of Switzerland. Today you can view more than 120 models (scaled at 1:25) set in 14’000 m2 of beautifully manicured park—and take a trip around Switzerland in only one hour!
Swiss Miniatur appeals to all ages which works well with my family’s wide age range. Our older two love to identify places they have already visited like San Salvatore, as well as plan future trips like to the Bundeshaus (Parliament Building) while wandering amongst the models.
They also enjoy guessing the actual location of each model-sized landmark, and it’s a great place to test your knowledge of the of the Swiss Cantonal flags along the way (there are 26). Our youngest loves running after the model trains, and spotting the different animals and people. The price of admission also includes a ride on a train for the kids, which is a highlight for little Z.
A short drive from the center of Lugano, the town of Melide is easily reached by car, train or even boat in the warmer months. There is plenty of parking (for a small fee), or it’s only a short walk from the Melide train station or boat station. Make sure you check the SBB Railaway promotions before your visit to see if there are any special offers.
When we visited, we took the train from Lugano there and on our return we took the boat. It was a lovely to be on the water and enjoy the beautiful views. The boats run during the warmer months and you can get packages including entry or you can just purchase a one-way ticket on board. Check out their website for the timetable and more information, including pricing.
Feeding the kids:
A small restaurant on site offers meals and snacks, however we found a Coop supermarket only a short walk away to stock up on fresh local produce to take to the playground across the road for a picnic. Another idea would be to visit a local restaurant or to enjoy a picnic on the banks of Lake Lugano.
What to watch out for:
There are your typical coin operated rides here, but they are off to one side and we managed to avoid them. A small souvenir shop also exists, but unlike many other parks, you don't have to go through the shop in order to exit! That makes this minimalist mum super happy to avoid having to deal with nagging from the kids to buy something.
Opening hours vary in the off-season so check online before you visit . They do their maintenance during this period, and it seems that they offer a 50% discount on entry during this time as well. Try using the coupon code winter16 if buying your tickets online.
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