Zeppelin Museum

When my husband suggested the Friedrichshafen Zeppelin museum, I shrugged my shoulders and said, “Why not? Probably like you, I was only familiar with Zeppelins from the infamous Hindenburg shown exploding in the one of the photos below. I had no idea Zeppelins were so popular and ran so many routes so often. Apparently Friedrichshafen was the center of Zeppelin construction back in the early 1900s. The museum there has all sorts of zeppelin paraphernalia and parts to educate and amuse. I learned a lot. My seven year old learned a little and had fun pushing buttons and running around with this three year old brother. It’s a bit far but if you add a visit to the cute town of nearby Meersburg and a ferry ride, you’ve got a full day.

Location:   Eastern Germany
Address:
Car: ~2hr mins from Zurich
Train: ~2hr20 mins from Zurich, include ferry across lake
Open: daily 9:00 to 17:00, in winter closed Mondays and open at 10:00
Price (2016): Adult €9, Child €4, under 6 free.
Services: no cafe, no strollers, play area and cafes outside museum
More info: www.zeppelin-museum.de

Getting There

To get there, we drove to Romershorn on the Bodensee (about ~80mins) and took the 45 min car ferry across to Friedrichshafen.

The car ferry was expensive, about 40sfr with our Swiss Halbtax card. The ferry ride lasts 45 mins, during which you can lounge in the restaurant or sun yourself on the upper deck. The ferry drops you right in the middle of Friedrichshafen, where you can easily park in a parking garage and walk less than five minutes to the museum. The museum is in the pedestrian zone, so afterward you can walk around the small town or along the waterfront to fill the rest of your day.

Overview

The museum was reasonably kid friendly. In some rooms, there were kid-oriented touch-screen displays that had games and illustrated educational content. This kept the kids busy while we browsed the museum. There was a comfy reading corner with kids books about zeppelins. There were some hands-on displays like this one above where my son surprised us with his super strength by lifting the metal zeppelin frame with one finger. It looks heavy but it was made with a super light high-tech metal which made the air ship light enough to fly.


A small portion of a zeppelin (actual size) was reconstructed inside the museum. Look at how small we are in comparison. From another part of the museum, you get a cross-section view so you can see the skeleton that held the zeppelin together. Most of the museum was accompanied by multi-language informational touch-screens, so you could read all about the history and technical details in English.


Obviously disasters like the Hindenburg dramatically curbed the demand for Zeppelins and then they were replaced by commercial airlines. The museum was full of marketing material for Zeppelin travel, including a few board games where you could move little zeppelin game pieces around a map of Europe.


The reconstructed zeppelin included the passenger lounge and tight sleeping quarters. Here we are pretending to be fancy turn-of-the-century Europeans cruising over the Atlantic. One pic shows the beautiful woodcut menu and the china used for dinner service. This was high-end travel back in the day.


Just outside the museum, there was a small pizza cafe that had a funny self-serve popcorn machine. The popcorn wasn’t particularly good, but we all had a good laugh trying to make the machine work.

 

Instead of returning back the same way we came, we drove a bit up the Bodensee to Meersburg. We didn’t spend too much time here, just walked through the charming Unterstadt and got some ice cream. But as the sign above shows, it has enough there to warrant it’s own visit and post. Hopefully we’ll go back so I have more to share on this town. We took the ferry from Meersburg to Konstanz (about 13 euros), then drove home.

a bit more of Meersburg

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