Minatur Wunderland ist Wunderbar!

Minatur Wunderland ist Wunderbar!

In 2009, I swept across Germany, traveling by train and car from Dresden to Berlin, Berlin to Munich, Munich into the Austrian Tirol, across southern Germany into France’s Alsace, and finally back over the Rhine to the spa town of Baden-Baden.

Hamburg Ship
(HerrHermann.net Flickr Photo)

Although my journey took me through a wunderland of cultural and scenic delights, if I had only traveled a bit farther north to the port city of Hamburg I could have visited one of the country’s most amazing places: “Minatur Wunderland.”

When I was a kid, my grandmother’s husband, Duncan, built a model train “town” for me on a 4’ x 8’ sheet of plywood. He painted grassy fields and gray roads on the areas between the oval track on which my Lionel train ran. It had a station house, and a platform for loading milk cans into a refrigeration car.

While it was a lot of fun to play with, it paled in comparison with similar, but much larger “train towns” that would pop up each Christmas in window displays and toy departments of Seattle’s two large department stores, The Bon Marche and Frederick & Nelson.

Christmas Train
(Theogeo Flickr Photo)

But neither of those would be a match for Hamburg’s “Minatur Wunderland,” a veritable “train town planet” that is the world’s largest model railway and features not only that city and its port, but eight sections including “America,” “Scandinavia,” and “Switzerland.” And there are plans to add sections covering parts of France and Italy to the model, too.

Minatur Wunderland

Work on the model is expected to continue until the year 2020. But thus far, it encompasses 1,300 square meters, has over 900 trains running across it, 3,000-plus buildings and bridges, 8,850 cars, more than a quarter millions trees, and over 200,000 figurines. It is run by a staff of more than 200 and 46 computers, and took a half-million plus hours to construct at a cost of 12 million Euros.

Scandinavia

This YouTube video shows the Minatur Wunderland in operation.

httpvh://youtu.be/ACkmg3Y64_s
Minatur Wunderland is open 365 days a year and tickets may be purchased in advance online so you can avoid waiting in line to enter the exhibit. Admission prices range from free (children less than 3’ tall accompanied by a parent) to 12€ for adults.

For more information, visit the Minatur Wunderland Website:  http://www.miniatur-wunderland.com. For more photos of Minatur Wunderland, read this story on travel writer Cathy Sweeney’s blog, Traveling with Sweeney.

 

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