So glad we finally visited the FIFA Museum in Zurich. What a beautiful modern museum filled with fun interactive elements for our kids. My boys loved seeing their favorite teams and players showcased in the museum. They got a big kick out of trying to announce a game and call plays like a ref. The children’s activity book helped my kids engage with the history and fun facts. Of course, the football “Pinball” games were a big hit with everyone. Even as a non-fan, I found lots to like, especially the personal stories of non-stars for whom football has played a big role in their lives. Thanks FIFA for hosting our visit and showing us a great time. Can’t wait to go back!
|Car:||no parking on site, parking at Hafen Enge (7 min walk, Mythenquai 21, 8002 Zürich)|
|Train:||~10 mins from Zurich HB, tram 6 or 7 at Bahnhof Zurich Enge|
|Open:||Tues – Sat 10:00 to 19:00, Sun 9:00 to 18:00, Closed Mondays.|
|Price:||Adult CHF 24, Child 6 to 16 CHF 14, children under 6 free
Family ticket CHF 64, 20% discount with ZurichCARD
|Services:||cafe, no picnics, lockers available, strollers not allowed in museum but child carriers are provided, wheelchair accessible, changing tables in WC|
The FIFA Museum is about all things football, which is great for football fans like my kids, who have their favorite players, collect the Panini stickers, watch lots of matches and play the game often with friend. I was a little worried for myself, because I’m not a soccer fan and I imagine other moms reading this post might be thinking the same thing. I was pretty sure my family would have a great time, but I had low expectations for myself. But I ended up really enjoying the cultural, historical and design aspects of football highlighted throughout the museum, particularly elements focused on football culture for regular people rather than the big stars.
The museum is divided into three floors, which you’ll visit in the following order. The ground floor, aka “Planet Football,” focuses on the history of the game, particularly the rules and formation of FIFA. The lower floor, aka “FIFA World Cup Gallery,” has of memorabilia for all the world cup games and lots of interactive info panels and games, like testing your referee skills. After viewing a short movie, you take an elevator to the second floor, aka “Fields of Play,” which focuses on football culture around the world and has the super fun “pinball” football games and art corner. Make sure you plan time for the games, at least an hour. We only had 40 mins at the games before the museum closed and my kids felt that wasn’t enough.
Tip: Remember to hold on to your tickets. You’ll need them to play the Pinball games later in the museum and to exit the museum at the end.
Children’s Activity Book
When you buy tickets, children are given an activity book (free, in English), on a string so it can hang around their neck instead of you carrying it. The book including activities and questions corresponding to stations throughout the museum, encouraging them to learn a bit from the displays instead of just running from game to game. For example, at one station, kids find their countries football jersey in the rainbow then write down the countries displayed on the left and right. At another, they match stickers in the book to the correct world cup competition. The activity book is best for kids that can read, but younger kids can enjoy it too with the help of an adult.
I must say this is the best museum activity book we’ve ever used. It’s not too easy or too hard to find the answers, it really encouraged my kids to learn few things along the way, and it had a lot of variety (word search, match, puzzles). The only downside was that we spent so much time playing throughout the museum that ran out of time and couldn’t finish it before the museum closed. We should have gone earlier in the day so we had more time.
Free Phone App
The museum offers a free phone app (in English, bring your own phone and headphones), which includes a guide of the museum with text, audio and video associated with many exhibits throughout the museum. The museum offers free Wi-fi so you can download and use the app during your visit. You can rent a phone and headphones if you don’t have your own. The app also includes a treasure hunt, where you answer seven questions throughout your visit.
We all used the app during our visit and found the info helpful and interesting, particularly the video clips. But there is so much to see and do in the museum, that we didn’t use the app as much during the second half of our visit.
You start your visit at the “rainbow” of football jerseys. It was fun to see them all arranged by color, noticing the differences between them and all the little details in the patches and designs. My kids liked finding their favorite teams. The activity book asks the kids to draw their own jersey.
Next, this wall shows the history of FIFA, how the rules have changed over the years, and important milestones in football history. The activity book has the kids search for some info on the wall.
Here the kids draw what the football pitch used to look like back in 1901. While they drew, I browsed the history, like the Telestar satellite, which enabled people all over world to view the 1970 World Cup and also lent it’s name to the now classic black and white football used it that game. Each World Cup has a different design, but this design is what people most associate with football.
More exhibits are down these stairs, which were designed to look like you were entering a stadium. The activity book asks kids to look and listen for football words on this wall in whatever languages they understand. The theme is clear: football is a world sport, bringing together people from different cultures together.
World Cup Gallery
Before the FIFA museum opened, the FIFA World Cup trophy was never displayed in public. They are only brought out for the World Cup final game, where the winners get to hold it. Then the winners take home a replica and the original is locked up. But now you can see these golden trophies in the museum and take some selfies. On the right, the FIFA Women’s World Cup trophy.
There are various info touch screens throughout the museum. My kids spent a lot of time on this one that projected the image on the wall as well. It showed various stats by country, world cup records, how many games played, how much FIFA spends supporting football in each country, etc.
This room has a display for each men’s and women’s World Cup tournament, with facts and memorabilia. There are video screen showing highlights, info screens about elements like uniforms and stadiums, and a variety of activities.
Below my son practiced announcing a game and learned how hard that really is. Another screen let you try to referee a game, seeing if you can make the right call for various fouls and whatnot. My boys were overconfident going in, then quickly realized what a difficult job the refs have. The info screen on the right let you browse jerseys and footballs and get more info about how the design came about, like the 2014 World Cup multi-colored ball, where the design reflects the Brazilian wish bracelets.
We laughed and laughed as we tried to copy the victory dances of different teams, like this Zombie Shuffle. The game takes a video you trying to follow the dance steps, then you can watch yourself afterwards.
Most of the museum is best for kids about 7 and over. But if you have younger kids in tow, there are few things specifically for little ones, like the displays of mini mascots shown below. At several stations, you can put your hand in and feel a mascot and try to guess which one it is. There was also this mix-n-match uniform spinner.
At the end of this lower room, you enter a room to watch a 5 minute film with football highlights. Then you exit into elevators that take you up to the second floor. You can’t come back down so make sure your group is together and that you’ve seen all you want to see down there before entering the movie room.
Fields of Play
The elevator takes you to the second floor which is filled with colorful displays focused on football around the world with “regular” people. There are several large video displays like the one shown below that tell personal stories. My favorite was about the man who loved football, but lost his eyesight as a boy. He learned how to play relying on his other sense and eventually joined a blind football league. So inspiring!
I loved this display of handmade footballs from around the world from communities where people can’t afford to buy pre-made footballs. It’s beautiful and humbling.
A close up of a few of my favorites.
There’s a Foosball table and FIFA Playstation in one corner and a comic reading nook in another corner.
Now for the best part! My kids freaked out when they saw these Pinball games and demanded to know why we hadn’t come straight to this part of the museum. So good thing they didn’t know about it beforehand, because they really enjoyed the rest of the museum before we got to this part. It was perfect timing because my kids had just reached “museum fatigue” and were ready for some action.
When you enter the Pinball area, you first register by scanning your ticket at this machine. It gives you a footballer’s name, which appears on the scoreboard as you collect points at each station. You will also scan your ticket at each station to play the game. If you try to play twice in a row and other people are waiting, the system will require to you to wait a couple minutes before playing the game again. This kept people moving from game to game instead of hogging them. There were also a few staff members in this area helping and fixing the games when problems arose. It was very well run.
Try to kick the ball into the center loop, harder than you think.
Corner kick – try to kick on ball into each goal by bouncing the ball off different places on the wall.
Target practice on the left and ball control on the right.
The actual Pinball station is the last one, where you can use extra balls you earned during the other games. You can play all the games as many times as you like.
The “Lab” – Arts & Crafts Corner
Next to the Pinball games, you’ll find a large arts and crafts area with projects from other visitors displayed, like football jerseys, flags, football players, coloring pages, etc.
There are lots of art supplies, sample projects and coloring pages. During busy times, a staff member usually roams this area to help with the projects.
The museum is located at Tessinerplatz in Zurich Enge, best accessed by public transportation because there isn’t a car park next to the museum.
By public transport: Take a train or tram to Bahnhof Zurich Enge. The museum is directly across from the train station.
By car: If you must drive, there are metered spots on Grütilistrasse above the Zurich Enge train station. There is also a longer term parking lot at Hafen Enge (7 min walk, Mythenquai 21, 8002 Zürich, about CHF 2 for 4 hours). More info about parking lots in Zurich.
A family ticket for 2 adults, 2 kids costs CHF 64 (children under 6 free). It seemed a bit high at first but I realized that the FIFA museum is similarly priced or less than other interactive museums including Kindercity, Technorama, and Luzern Transportation Museum. Also, unlike other museums, there are no extra fees; the activity book, special pinball games and art corner are included. So it’s still a special treat, but I don’t mind adding it to the mix of museums we rotate through during school holidays.
Strollers and large bags are not allowed in the museum for security purposes. Cameras and small purses are allowed inside. Downstairs below the entrance, you’ll find lockers (CHF 1 deposit) and the WC. Each locker has the name of a football star and I laughed at how long my boys debated which locker they wanted to use. They eventually chose Carli Lloyd (USA Women’s), which made me happy because they didn’t let gender limit their choices.
Upon exiting the museum area, there is a cafe with a children’s corner and downstairs a sports bar. There is no picnic area in the museum, but you can picnic outside at the big plaza across the street. You’ll find a Migros grocery at the Bahnhof Enge train station and a few cafes in the neighborhood.
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