I am up to my eyeballs in toddler ‘tude lately. Nothing I do seems right or helpful. If I give him apple slices, he won’t eat them, because he wants the apple whole. If I tell him not to stick his hands in the toilet because it’s GROSS, you’d think I’d just cut off his big toe from his reaction. With these kind of shenanigans going on at a constant rate paired up with Vienna’s typical rainy April, a mom can lose her mind.
So we went to Zoom Kindermuseum and it did not disappoint. The museum, located in Vienna’s MuseumsQuartier (Museum Quarter), is divided into 4 different age-based programs. Elliott’s age group (8mo-6yr) goes to ZOOM Ozean which was perfect for him since he’s a big lover of water and fish right now. Also ducks, but we have to go to the park for those.
What To Know (ZOOM Ozean only):
We weren’t aware of this ahead of time and simply showed up when we wanted. The lady at the desk took pity on our ignorance and let us in anyway, but what the good people at ZOOM recommend and encourage is to make a reservation ahead of time to ensure you have a spot upon arrival. This is a popular field trip spot for kindergartens both in and out of the city, so making a reservation isn’t a bad idea. I went through the motions later and the process is incredibly easy. A calendar is provided for you so you can choose the day and time in a snap.
Make a reservation here
Cost is awesome
Since the majority of my own museum experiences have resulted in me coughing up way too much money to look at a painting or stare at a rock, I was afraid a themed play museum would cost us Elliott’s stroller. Alas! It was the opposite! For ZOOM Ozean, kids are only 4 euro, and the accompanying adult is free. If there is a second accompanying adult, then you’ll need an additional 5 euro. But still, awesome right?
The “program” isn’t really a program but they still call it that
When we got to the museum, the receptionist told us we did something else wrong: we were late. She said the “program” had already begun but she’d let us in since we were only 10 minutes late, which meant we had a remaining 50 minutes of playtime. Because she referred to Ozean as a program, I thought we were going to get a show. But there was no show or structure of any kind, just 60 minutes of straight up playtime and exploration. Still, there is a specific division of time for the kids to play, so check the “program” times when making your reservation.
Double-check the age range, day & time
ZOOM Ozean allows for 8mo-6yr which is a pretty large age range. Of course along with us not making a reservation and not showing up on time, we were the only ones there with a toddler. There were lots of other kids in the room with him, only they were an out of town school group made up of 6 year olds. The kids were sweet to him, but he was definitely cramping their energetic style. I kept thinking, “Man this place would be perfect if it wasn’t for this drastic age range. He needs to be with other little friends.” TURNS OUT there are days and times for you to take your 8mo-3yr to play big-kid free at the museum. Brilliant. So I’ll be doing that next time.
(There are also specific days and times where older siblings are allowed to tag along with baby/toddler brother or sister.)
As is usual Austrian style, shoes aren’t allowed. Bring socks for your kid(s) and yourself.
There’s a lot to do
Elliott was 100% visually stimulated the moment he toddled into the room. Going with the ocean theme, the room is designed to look like it’s underwater. The cushioned walls are a deep blue with funky-shaped, colorful seaweed flowing from one end to the next. The ground floor has a variety of texture-enhancing toys to let the kids feel what a sea anemone is like, for example. There are glowing tunnels, a place to play dress-up, padded leaves and fish to throw or fall on. And there’s a nice, huge sitting area for the parents so A++++. Going up, there’s a slippery ramp that leads to the ship “Famosa”, which appears to have landed near a rainforest. The kids can steer the ship, fish for those padded fish I mentioned earlier, talk to each other through tubes, press buttons without parents needing to say “No that’s the stove! Hot-ouch!” a hundred times (Elliott’s favorite). Then they can play in the rainforest, slide down padded slides that look like ocean waves, and even hang out in a submarine.
After 60 minutes, an unenthused college student will announce it’s time to leave ZOOM Ozean via magic snake or something (we just used the door), escort the kids out and send you on your way. You can feel good about a well spent 4 euro, and your toddler will sleep soundly for nap time, leaving your house in a less destroyed condition.
If you’re a ZOOM Ozean regular, do you have any additional must-knows to add to the list?
(Is going at 9am worth it, or will your baby still be trampled by school kids?)