At the ZOOM Children’s Museum in the MuseumsQuartier children are free to explore, research and play to their heart’s desire. The majority of the attractions require no additional explanation, or can be worked out by watching other kids get stuck in: the ZOOM Ozean is a hands-on play area and experience zone for toddlers and preschoolers, while at the ZOOM Atelier kids have the chance to work with real-life artists and find out about new techniques and materials. A changing line-up of intuitive exhibitions is also there to enjoy, with many featuring English descriptions. The Schloss Schönbrunn Experience children’s museum gives visitors a fascinating insight into the everyday lives of the imperial household. Flyers in seven foreign languages (English, French, Italian, Spanish, Czech, Hungarian and Slovenian) provide background information. Children also have the chance to dress up as little princes and princesses at the end of their visit for a regal photo op! Mozart’s Magic Flute, Hansel and Gretel and children’s versions of Die Fledermaus and Aladdin and the Magic Lamp are the order of the day at the nearby Marionettentheater Schönbrunn. Programs are available in English, Russian, Spanish, French and Italian.
It’s always worth taking a tour of the magnificent exhibition rooms and dinosaur hall at the Museum of Natural History. An innovative morphing station transforms visitors into prehistoric humans and lets them e-mail their “old face” to their friends. Every Sunday at 3pm visitors aged 12 and over can join the English-language tour and go out onto the roof of the museum to enjoy the fantastic views over the city below. Impressive exhibits including steam trains, aeroplanes and a reconstructed mine turn any visit to the Museum of Technology into an unforgettable experience. Two- to six-year-olds will love the “mini” – a play area packed with highlights including a full-size fire truck, building site and screw cylinder.
After a guided tour (German language) of Friedensreich Hundertwasser’s Kunst Haus Wien, kids have the chance to come up with their very own brightly colored buildings in a creative workshop which has been specially designed for all children to enjoy – whatever their mother tongue. Greening the roof is another popular choice. After a 30-minute tour (German language) of the Leopold Museum, young art lovers are given the run of the Leo Kinderatelier where they can create their own works of art (language not important, registration recommended). At the mumok, children can explore everything that the museum has to offer with a kids’ art transporter containing a drawing and arts and crafts kit in tow. Although held in German, children who speak other languages are more than welcome to join in the workshops. Kids can explore the Belvedere and the Albertina at their own pace during an English-language treasure hunt. English audio guides at the Kunsthistorisches Museum help to keep children in the loop.
Every winter the Wien Museum stages a range of free play sessions and educational activities for two- to six-year-olds. The focus of the activities is always linked to the museum’s current exhibitions. The House of Music is famous for bringing music to life for all the senses. Installations such as the virtual conductor allowing children to lead the Vienna Philharmonic, the waltz dice game and the Namadeus name game where names are transformed into original Mozart pieces never fail to impress visitors, whatever their age.
The following museums offer free entry for visitors under the age of 19 (photo ID required): Albertina, Belvedere, Museum of Military History, Kunsthistorisches Museum, MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art, mumok, Museum of Natural History, Austrian National Library, Austrian Theater Museum, Museum of Technology, Wien Museum Karlsplatz, and ZOOM exhibition at the ZOOM Children's Museum. MUSA - Museum Start Galerie Artothek is free to all visitors, and on the first Sunday of the month there is free admission for all visitors to the Wien Museum Karlsplatz, Roman Museum, Collection of Clocks and Watches, Wien Museum Hermesvilla at Lainz Game Reserve, and the Museum of Military History.
- ZOOM Children’s Museum, MuseumsQuartier, Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna, www.kindermuseum.at
- Schönbrunn Palace Experience, children’s museum, Schönbrunner Schlossstrasse, 1130 Vienna, www.kaiserkinder.at
- Marionette Theater at Schönbrunn Palace, Schloss Schönbrunn, Hofratstrakt, 1130 Vienna, www.marionettentheater.at
- Museum of Natural History, Maria-Theresien-Platz, 1010 Vienna, www.nhm-wien.ac.at
- Museum of Technology, Mariahilferstrasse 212, 1140 Vienna, www.technischesmuseum.at
- Kunst Haus Wien, Museum Hundertwasser, Untere Weissgerberstrasse 13, 1030 Vienna, www.kunsthauswien.com
- Leopold Museum, MuseumsQuartier, Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna, www.leopoldmuseum.org
- mumok - Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, MuseumsQuartier, Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna, www.mumok.at
- Belvedere, Upper Belvedere, Prinz-Eugen-Strasse 27, 1030 Vienna, www.belvedere.at
- Albertina, Albertinaplatz 1, 1010 Vienna, www.albertina.at
- Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Maria-Theresien-Platz, 1010 Vienna, www.khm.at
- Wien Museum Karlsplatz, Karlsplatz, 1040 Vienna, www.wienmuseum.at
- House of Music, Seilerstätte 30, 1010 Vienna, www.hdm.at