“That wasn’t a museum. That was an adventure,” were my friend’s first words when we left. And it really was an adventure. Gondwana — Das Prähistorium, which is located in Schiffweiler, is an immersive experience that sums up the history of the world in an action-packed and educational day trip that visitors of all ages will never forget. In a way, it’s like taking a trip around the world, except all inhabitants are, well, extinct.
More theme park than museum
The museum is basically a 10,000-square meter indoor theme park that invites you to dive into an experience you won’t find anywhere else. The circular tour is separated, to put it simply and un-scientifically, into three different eras: pre-dinosaurs, dinosaurs and post-dinosaurs.
Each section contains a 3D or 4D movie, and you will be astounded by their elaborate set decorations: you’ll be plunged into a cave, an animated aquarium, a canyon, an actual waterfall, a tropical rainforest, a snowy winter wonderland, a desert and so much more. It was so incredible that now, I can’t remember my life PTT (Pre Time Travel). During non-COVID times, English audio guides are available to translate every show and poster.
Dinosaurs brought (almost) to life…and death
Once you’ve made it to what I’d like to call a real-life Jurassic Park, you may need to have The Talk with your children. You know, the one where you reassure them that dinosaurs are actually dead because the life-sized animatronic figures look so creepily real. I’ll be honest: the great T-Rex’s roar triggered a few tears from little adventurers around us. A spectacular 4D movie concludes the gigantic creatures’ astounding lives and unfortunate end.
“The world’s biggest dino show” will have you on the edge of your tree trunk seat when a life-sized T-Rex confronts his enemy, which happens to be three times as big, trying to protect his little ones. Who will win? There’s only one way to find out!
Amazing journey through time
The journey through time is my personal favorite. Thanks to a special time traveling device, visitors can get a glimpse at the complete history of humans. You start in a spaceship in 2005, make your way to an industrially revolutionized England, continue to South America around 1540, go on to witness medieval German misery, discover old Egyptian pharaohs, marvel at life during the early bronze age, encounter a frosty mammoth and walk all the way to when we still looked more like monkeys than humans, circa 47 million years B.C.
Every hall is designed with attention to detail. Educational posters give more information on the respective time zone in which you’re standing, and photo ops make sure this trip does not remain undocumented in your family album.
Fun for all ages
We had no idea what to expect when we showed up – two adults in a kids’ museum? But we absolutely loved it. There is much to learn and even more to discover. We would have probably spent the whole day there if we had tried to see every beautiful detail.
The recommended age is 6+. While you may have younger children who love dinosaurs and history, be forewarned: it is rather dark in the museum and the sound effects are quite realistic (and occasionally terrifying, in a good way). While there are a number of ‘Achtung’ signs upon entering each theme, all of which should be respected, I was happy to find that no actors jump out at you unannounced because I tend to scream very loudly and inconvenience my fellow visitors that way.
Still, if you don’t know if you should spend your rainy/ sunny/ windy/ hot/ cold day at the zoo, museum, movie theatre, playground or across the globe, remember that Godwana’s got it all, regardless of the weather.
After your safari you can enjoy a cup of coffee or tea and a variety of snacks at their café. Under ordinary circumstances, those who still crave more action can visit an indoor adventure playground: however, the playground is currently closed due to COVID restrictions.
Getting there and access information
The museum is in Schiffweiler, which is less than a 40-minute drive from the KMC, approximately 1.5 hours from Wiesbaden and 2.5 hours from Stuttgart.
Admission costs €23 per adult, including all 3 movies. Kids between 5 and 17 cost €17. Children under 4 get in for free. It’s not cheap but definitely worth it given the broad variety of media used to make history as interesting and touchable as possible.
Military ID holders receive a 10% discount on all tickets. Every first Friday of the month, there’s a 20% discount on family tickets for military personnel families.
Free parking is available on site.
Gondwana — Das Prähis-torium is open every day of the week almost all through the year. Please check their official website for more details.
For U.S. government employees, including service members, remember to always follow command regulations, which may be different than host nation policies.
Author’s profile: Leonie is a poetry-loving literature student with a passion for small towns, road trips, and breakfast food that’s being served at all hours of the day. When she isn’t hopping from one bargain flight to the next, she is making sure you’re hanging with the locals and staying updated on events in your area.