Today is a frigid, rainy day in Göteborg. After a week home sick, keeping my toddler in is simply not an option. What to do? Universeum? No… Universeum requires stamina. The building is huge and walking around keeps you busy for hours.
Next up in our tour of children’s activities in this exciting city is Alfons Åbergs Kulturhus!
Here are the nitty gritty details:
What: Alfons Åbergs Kulturhus
Where: Slussgatan 1, 411 08 Göteborg
Tram Stop: Centralstation
When: 10am to 4pm, 365 days of the year
How Much: Children under 1 are free. 1-16 cost 85 SEK per visit. Adults from 17 years old are 125 SEK per visit. Annual passes run 285 SEK for children and 375 SEK for adults. They also provide additional rates for multi visits, family groups, etc… You can find that information here.
Why Alfons Åbergs Kulturhus? Several reasons really…
– Easy access from the tram (it’s just next to Central Station)
– Relatively compact
– Lots of kids to distract mine
– Multitude activities
– Full cafe with drinks, lunch, and snacks
– Comfortable seating for weary parents
– Warm, cozy, and dry
This exciting play space is based on a series of Swedish children’s books written by Gunilla Bergstrom. As the Kulturhus website discusses, these books are available in many countries (in the US, look for Alfie Atkins) and is the first to highlight an affectionate dad. As you go from room to room, there are many opportunities for imagination play and exploring the environment around you.
Let’s start our exploration from just outside. When you approach the building, you will immediately notice the buggy parking just out front. Locks are highly recommended. If you do not have one, the staff inside will rent you a lock for 10 SEK. As you enter the building, the entrance splits into two rooms. Each room has cubby holes for shoes, hooks for jackets, and locking cabinets in case you have valuables. Each locking cabinet costs 10 SEK for use (non-refundable). I strongly recommend shedding as many belongings as possible. Shoes are not allowed, nor is outside food. I always keep my wallet available to use inside and a bottle of water. Directly ahead you will find the entrance desk. The opposite side of this desk is a snack and lunch counter. After you pay your entry fee or show your season pass, a world of play is at your fingertips.
The main floor has two toilet rooms, the cafe, a gift shop, a theater, a playroom with comfy living room furniture (the gold chair is my favorite), several pretend businesses, a functional wooden slat helicopter, a maze, and an overhead play area with slide. Whew…that was a mouthful. There is a ton of stuff in this place! Upstairs is also very exciting. In addition to another toilet, you will find crickets (yes, crickets—in a wall), a miniature area with magnifying glasses, lego play area, miniature village, seating, toys galore, a tool workshop, large floor puzzle, and a cozy reading nook complete with books in English and Svenska. We’ve now visited five or six times, and I can confidently say that I’ve found new things to explore each visit. The list above is by no means comprehensive. This place is a treasure trove of fun.
Ahh! I almost forgot a detail that the parent in me appreciates. Each of the bathrooms (toilets or WC for those in the UK) are fully stocked with changing tables, diapers, wipes, and diaper creams. How nice is that? Super convenient and reduces the amount of stuff you need to haul about.
Now that you know some of the activities available at Alfons, here are some of the quirks. The Kulturhus is decorated to look like the actual house from the books. How fun is that? Remember that gold chair I mentioned? This place is 70’s chic. There are so many fun decorations! Take a look at the photos to get a feel for it. I felt right at home 😃
In addition to the toys and decor, Kulturhus staff also perform plays daily for the children in attendance and have song time. We attended one play and I thought it was awesome (even though I don’t yet speak the language). My 3 year old did not agree. At one point, the staff member held up a cardboard mask and pretended to be a monster. It scared him and he wanted to leave. Unfortunately, parents were blocking the exit so we couldn’t leave easily. Keep this in mind when attending with younger children. Most of the children had a grand time, but they were also a bit older, maybe 4 or 5. The theater is just one small part of the play place, so there are plenty of other activities while the shows are in session.
After hours of play, it’s logical that you are probably getting hungry. My toddler had to be pried away from the toys to eat, but did eventually submit. Outside food is not allowed unless it is for babies. Thankfully, they have a very well-stocked cafe with delicious food. I recommend the Swedish style pancakes with jam, and the chocolate tort cake (not the exact name, but you will recognize it when you see it. Everything I’ve eaten at this place has been great.
Weekends are crazy here until around 2pm, but I find that during the week, it has a few lulls and can be pretty quiet. If you are in Göteborg or considering visiting with kids, definitely give this place a chance.
Until next time…