Friday, 18 November 2011

Speyer Technik Museum

It was a quick, "Let's head down to Speyer this weekend?" and just like that, we packed some bags into the car and headed south towards Speyer. I just returned from a business trip to Gothenburg, Sweden yesterday, and now I am heading to Speyer.

Apart from the nice historical centre of Speyer, there is another reason for heading to Speyer. Planes, trains and automobils. The Speyer Technik Museum was mentioned to us by a friend about 9 months ago, and after reading about it on the internet, it was one of the place for us to go.

The drive from Cologne was about 3 hours, with some stops here and there. When we arrived, we were a bit taken back by a full size Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet that is up in the sky. It was literally put on some pylons and is about 15meters up in the air.

Our two kids eyes became bigger and bigger as we got close to the museum. We found a car park and entered the museum. Once we are in, the whole place is packed with old cars, planes, old steam locomotives, planes, old motor bikes, and oh, did I mentioned planes. 

Many of the planes on display were either suspended over our heads by steel cables (inside display) or placed upon pylons (outside display). The planes that were displayed outside are usually the larger planes. A stair well usually is available for the inside of the planes to be entered. However, most of the interiors of the planes were gutted, and only the shell remain. The cockpit is also locked behind the original door, or a fenced off via a large piece of perspex.

The planes were from various dates, most of them were post second world war. There were also several replicas of flight instruments from the Leonardo da Vinci days.

The other main attraction at this museum is the real space shuttle on display. Well, it is the Russian version, the Buran. I am not sure if it actually made it into space, Wikipedia mentioned that Buran was only in space for 3 hours.

Did I mentioned that this museum also has a maritime section? Well, there is a great collection of boats, rescue boats, tugs, hydrofoils and an old soviet submarine. Yep, an old submarine from the Soviets. It was quite eerie to climb down the hatch for a look inside the submarine. It was my first time inside a submarine. I was not claustrophobic, but I could imagine some submariners going insane being cramped up for weeks upon weeks. Life can't be easy for those folks.

The kids also climbed into the submarine. This is the only item on display where the insides did not suffer much renovations. There were buttons, switches, taps, dials, lights, doors and gizmos for the kids (and me) to push, turn, shout into and to stomp on. It was quite an amazing experience.

The museum also has a IMAX 3D theatre. We did not go for this as our children were a little too young for it.

If you are planning to go there as well, one word of warning. We did not see many little girls around the museum compound as we walked around. It was mostly boys and their parents, running around, looking at all the different planes, trains and automobils. It is very much a place for boys to get amount the machinery. Definitely, toys for the boys (big and small).

This the updated museum. The original Technik Museum is in Sinsheim, which is still exhibiting. This Sinsheim museum have the two versions on the Concorde (the Aeroflot version and the British Airways/Air France version), a large display of F1 cars and planes.

We will have to get the original museum one day. 

1 comment:

ian in hamburg said...

I love museums like that. The Speyer looks like it's worth more than one visit - like the Smithsonian space museum in Washington. Could have spent days in there.