When we visited Göteborg to get a feel for the city and decide if we wanted to live here; I spent quite a bit of time researching toddler friendly activities within the city. There were so many available that I actually had to narrow down my list in order to not overwhelm the toddler and exhaust myself. Universeum was the top place I wanted to visit. How would I describe it? It’s not quite a zoo, not quite a museum, not quite an aquarium, and not quite a play area. It’s all of those things rolled into one compact package! This place should be on everyone’s list. Even more so because it is open 365 days a year from 10am to 6pm. Very little chance that you won’t be able to come on an open day. 😉
Our first visit, Drake’s admission was waived because he was two. According to the website, the winter fee is SEK 120 (Swedish Krona) for children 3-16 and SEK 175 for everyone else. Prices go up slightly in the summer. The U.S dollar is worth roughly 8 SEK. Two day tickets, family, and group tickets are also available. This is no more expensive than visiting the local zoo where I grew up. However, if you are around for a while like we will be; the yearly pass really pays off. A yearly pass is SEK 345 for children 3-16 and SEK 495 for adults. So, for the cost of less than 3 visits; you can go as many times as you want. We’ve been here less than one week and have already been to Universeum twice. The hubs plans on making it a weekend playdate with Drake and I plan on going weekly since it is very close to our new apartment (more on that in another post).
So, why do I love this place? Have you seen the pictures in this blog?? There is so much to do.
Today, they had a bit of construction going on in the rainforest, so we only saw a few animals; but the piranhas, sloths, and ibis were all so fun to check out. This is an open environment for the most part, so there is no barrier between you and most of the wildlife.
In addition to the rainforest, today we also visited the underwater tanks, space exploration, and the crafts area. Drake loves the tanks because there is a giant sawfish. He also really loves the stingrays in the smaller tank you can look down into.
After visiting the rainforest and the sea animals (twice), we headed to the space exhibit. There we launched into space in a shuttle, used pressure to launch our own, observed gravity, played space ship games, and checked our weight on all the planets. This is by no means a comprehensive list of activities, it’s just some of the ones we accomplished today.
From there, we headed over to build with the giant blocks; but wait! A distraction had us heading over to the guided crafts area where a wonderful Universeum employee let us help build arches and then two other employees helped us make our own musical instruments. All of the employees speak flawless English and are understanding of my own attempts to bumble through my few words in svenska (Swedish language).
Finally, my guy was hungry, so we headed down to grab our packed lunch from a locker. There may have been one short toalett (toilet) stop. Thankfully, this place is designed around kids and has toaletts on every floor. The lockers are downstairs and cost SEK 10 to use. If you don’t have exact change, they do have a coin machine. If you just don’t want to spend the money, they also have pegs on the wall for hanging your coats. Did you read that clearly? They have pegs on the wall for hanging your coats. Let’s be gut wrenchingly honest here; how many of us from the United States are 100% confident leaving coats hanging in a public place, fully in view of everyone, with no worry that they will walk away? This is one of the culture shocks I experienced when we moved to Guildford and it continues in here. In general, people are honest. That paranoia we have that everyone is dishonest is manufactured. I’ve lost my wallet on the bus in Guildford and it was returned. Likewise, I’ve lost my wallet in Costco in the United States and it was returned. So, why do we always suspect the worst of everyone? I’m not saying that people will not commit crimes of opportunity, but I do think we are a bit more paranoid about it in the States than people are in some other countries.
After lunch, Drake was ready to play some more, even though nap time was rapidly approaching. So, we headed to the Jobbis area and he was able to work in a supermarket, build with blocks, steer a boat, and even have a pretend snack before I finally dragged him away.
Thank goodness for my toddler carrier! That boy was asleep almost before we made it back to the tram stop. Also, thank goodness for a city with comprehensive public transportation that is reasonably priced.
Each day that passes in this new city, I enjoy myself a little bit more. Yay for new beginnings!
Until next time…