We visited the museum of one of the largest lakes in Western Europe! Boats, aquariums, fishing...but also Tsunami and Submarines : 1'000 meter squares full of discoveries.
We woke up to pouring rain and strong winds yesterday morning and were at a bit of a loss as to how we should fill the day. We did our usual Saturday chores of filling the fridge and collecting Elio’s prescriptions then impulsively decided we would try the Museum of Lake Léman in Nyon which we had passed many times on our Sunday strolls.
You could easily pass by this place without really noticing it but for the colourful panels that adorn the outside. We parked at the handicapped space not far from the museum and made a dash for it with Elio screaming as the wind and rain hit his face.
As an aside, you would be amazed at how many people come storming up to us when they see Jean and I, both able bodied, getting out of the car, to complain (often unpleasantly) that we shouldn’t be parking there before we show them Elio’s parking card and explain it’s for our son. Despite his card and the fact that we need extra space to get Elio out of the car, I never feel qualified to use the handicapped places and Jean only does so if there is no alternative but it’s a good reminder to us all to check for a badge before you say something as disability is not always obvious..rant over.
Back to the museum and we met Lionel at the reception who was a ray of sunshine on a wet day and gave us all a warm welcome.
I hadn’t read anything about the visit before we went so it was a really a revelation as we stepped into the first room and learned about the history of the museum which was founded in 1954.
We loved the second part which, although a touch old fashioned in style, taught us about the life of a fisherman and the kinds of fish we might find in the lake. The children loved the chopping board part (you have to visit to see what I mean) and from there we moved to the next room where we learned more about the boating activities and vessels which sailed on the waters over the years before we went through the aquarium area. In usual fashion, Alba was puckering up for kisses as the fish approached the glass and Elio was mesmerised (shall we get some fish Jean?). We then discovered more about the life guards who work so hard to keep people safe and Jude enjoyed the boat driving experience with us all as his passengers.
We went up to the top floor from there which is a lovely rooftop space complete with a great room which could be privatised. It was set up for a children’s birthday party when we arrived so we had to move along swiftly before Alba started unwrapping presents and dismantling the cake. This area is really interesting as it gives lots of information about the make up of the lake, the substance, the clarity of the water and the wildlife we can find. More soberingly there was a panel explaining the amount of rubbish collected from the lake each year and the effects our actions have on wildlife. Like many others, as a family, we are very respectful of our surroundings but it was a good moment to reinforce the subject with the children. There are lots of cosy places to sit with little ones and plenty for them to look at, listen to, and explore.
We finished with the middle floor which was home to an exhibition about a possible tsunami on lake Léman on 563. It's fascinating reading and we loved the video at the end. The rest of this floor is full of interesting information too and we learned about the changing attitudes towards bathing on the beaches and there is a nice gentle film to watch in the cinema area which gave us tired parents a moment to relax in comfortable seats as the children were absorbed.
On this floor you can also find a nice, bright place to eat a picnic and a Nespresso coffee machine (take some coins) along with toilets and changing area for children.
This discovery has served to remind us that we really are surrounded by amazing things to do with the children and there is always something to keep us busy on a rainy day so it’s worth checking out local museums and exhibitions.
Parking : Yes
Toilets : Yes
Baby Change Facilities : Yes
Accessibility : Possible for pushchairs or wheelchairs
April to October: 10am - 5pm
November to March: 2pm - 5pm
Adults: CHF 8.- / Disabled persons (AI), students, Seniors (AVS): CHF 6.-
Children (up to 16 years of age): Free