Brno Family: Inspire Your Kids at the Technology Museum
There are several floors of fascinating exhibits at the Technical Museum of Brno, including many hands-on activities for kids. Photo Credit: Technické muzeum v Brně.
On a recent winter afternoon, our family split into stereotypical roles: mother and daughter had tickets to the ballet, so father and son had to find something to do. We went to Brno Museum of Technology.
After hearing about
all of the fun we had, the girl wants to go to the museum now. The
boy has since started ballet.
It’s great when
gender stereotypes are proved false.
* * *
Most people think of
Vida! Science Center when they think of local science-oriented
activities for kids. There are definitely many reasons to visit Vida!
My children spent five hours exploring it last summer, and we will
definitely visit again and again as they grow older and appreciate
the information to greater degrees.
But, it is important
to know that there is an older and more historically based technology
museum in this city that also has many hands-on activities for
The Brno Technology
Museum in Kralove Pole has several floors and many exhibit spaces
that are packed with interesting aspects of technology.
The main hall is an
impressive space that enables visitors to get perspective. Huge
machines are on the ground floor. Planes and a helicopter hang from
the ceiling. Clocks line the walls. Everything has a purpose and an
An exhibits space
has a history of cars that were produced locally during the heyday of
the first republic. Another room has motorcycles and shows the
influence that Brno and its annual race have had. You can sit — or
place your kid — on one of the motorcycles and, with an array of
fans, recreate the experience of speeding down a road.
Some parts of the
museum are not necessarily as interesting for kids as they are for
parents. Entire rooms are devoted to warfare and soldiers, including
barbed wire and lookout towers. A replica of old stores and
businesses show how technology enabled commerce in the past. An
overview of cameras and audio machines are on display. Clocks, with
their gears and mechanisms, are everywhere.
The best part for
kids is the top floor. It is packed with kid-friendly activities so
that they can touch and feel and hear and see science and technology.
Be prepared to spend a lot of time on that floor.
Here are some tips
for visiting the Technical Museum of Brno with a child:
• Be ready to
Parents are experts
in the eyes of their children (that is, until the kids grow old
enough to know better). In a park, it is okay to answer the “Why is
the sky blue?” question with vague answers. Being in a technical
museum, however, requires more detail. You might want to flip through
a Physics textbook, I mean surf Wikipedia, to refresh your memory.
To wit. Me: “Well,
you see, son, this ball is being pulled away from the center because
of centripetal force, er, I mean centrifugal force, er, I mean a
force that acts upon the ball with an outward motion, which . . .
Look at the old car over there!”
• You may have
There are many
friendly docents in the museum. They keep a respectful distance so as
not to unnecessarily intrude, but all of them say hello as you enter
the exhibit spaces. (Pro tip: turn this into practice for saying
“dobrý den” to adults.)
Beware: the docents
speak English! That’s good news and bad news. The good news is that
they are helpful and they can explain some concepts. The bad news is
that, depending on the number of people around, they can often
overhear your pathetic attempts at scientific explanations.
• Make sure to
ask for demonstrations.
Given that the
docents speak English, ask them to turn on the machines. See it all
in action. The huge steam engine on the ground floor is impressive.
Watching it move, with the pistons and the gears, literally, brings
technology to life.
Also make sure to
see the influential Kaplan Turbines working. Viktor Kaplan, who was a
professor at the Brno University of Technology, made a huge
contribution to the use of water for energy.
• Be prepared
for the “Where are the dinosaurs?” question.
This might be a
personal problem. I don’t know why or how my son connected a
technical museum to dinosaurs (my guess is because of a picture book
from the library) but this was a constant question. Me: “We’re
going to the DinoPark in Vyškov as soon as the weather is nicer, I
• Have patience
at the pendulum hands-on exhibit.
exhibit is useful, but for different-than-expected reasons. For
example, sand pouring from a funnel nicely shows the design created
by the oscillations of a pendulum, according to angle, speed, gravity
and length; however, the more interesting aspect might be sweeping
the sand into a pile, scooping it up and pouring it back into the
• Be prepared
for subsequent at-home experimentation, by which I mean
post-experimentation clean up.
Not long after our
trip, the boy turned a long cardboard box that had included a tube of
Christmas-gift maps for dad into a tunnel and an experiment: when an
end was propped upon a chair, the toy car rolled through it easily;
the juice bottle slid down at half the speed; and the plastic
velociraptor toy barely moved at all, unless the angle of the tube
was increased significantly.
It was a nice little
project that he came up with all by himself — and which the girl
enhanced when she showed up.
Soon enough, though,
the velociraptor got hungry and left pieces of cardboard everywhere.
* * *
The Technical Museum
of Brno (Technické muzeum v Brně) is at Purkyňova 105 in Královo
Pole. It has its own stop on the No 12 tram.
There is parking on
site. According to the museum website: Visitors of the Technical
Museum can park their cars on the secured parking lot. Entry to
the area is controlled by the security personnel on the premises. To
obtain access, use the button on the orange gatepost on the left to
call. We kindly ask visitors to observe all road signs and
markings. Please note that parking spaces are limited.
A regular ticket is
130 CZK. Children aged 6-15 are 70 CZK. A family ticket for two
adults and one to three children (ages 6 to 15) is 320 CZK.