CONTRIBUTED BY TEANNA SIDLES
On our way up to Kiel we took a pit-stop off in Hamburg to check out the Minitaur Wunderland. Before we headed off to Germany, my father-in-law did some research and told us all about this place in Hamburg that had the world’s largest model railroad.
He showed us a video and said that if we ever got the chance, we should go and see it and tell him all about it. Hamburg is 5 hours away from where we live in Germany. We always talked about heading up there but never got the chance until we were leaving on a Baltic Cruise out of Kiel. Hamburg is less than an hour from Kiel and make for a nice stop-off.
Miniatur Wunderland (German for miniature wonderland) is a model railway attraction built by the twins Gerrit and Frederik Braun in Hamburg, and it is one of the largest of its kind in the world. In January 2011 the railway consisted of 12,000 meters of track in HO scale, divided into seven sections: Harz, the fictitious city of Knuffingen, the Alps and Austria, Hamburg, America, Scandinavia, and Switzerland.
Of the 6,400 square meters of floor space, the model takes 1,150 square meters. Their websites suggest buying your tickets online to save time on wait lines, but we weren’t sure what day and time we would even make it to Hamburg and decided to play it by ear. The GPS address that the sites give you is pretty accurate, but they don’t have parking right in front of the old building. They do have parking within walking distance, just look for the “P.”
It costs us 13 euros a person to enter. At the time I thought it was pretty pricey, usually we don’t pay more than 5 to enter an attraction, but we figured since we were already there we should check it out. Looking back on it, it was a very cool site to see and I can understand why it’s Hamburg’s largest attraction, but 13 euros is still pretty pricey.
We had a great time checking everything out. There are little buttons that will make the models move. and it switches from day to night every 30 minutes so you get to experience the daily routines of each miniature place. The very first room in the exhibit featured small table sized “snapshots” of moments in German history, from early civilization to modern times. The level of detail even included putting WORKING lights in nearly all of the vehicles and buildings across the entire Wunderland.
By 2020, the exhibit is expected to have reached its final construction phase, including at least a total of ten new sections in a model area of over 2,300 square meters (24,757 sq ft). The section covering an airport opened in May 2011. The exhibit includes 890 trains made up of over 11,000 carriages, 300,000 lights, 215,000 trees, and 200,000 human figurines. The creators will work on models of Italy and France now that the airport section is completed. The airport is named Knuffingen International Airport and is modeled after Hamburg International Airport. Possible future additions include Africa, England, or a futuristic landscape.
I think we got lucky, we went on July 4th (Although it is an important day for us Americans, to the rest of the world it’s just another day), and the lines were non-existent.
If you’re ever in or passing through Hamburg I would check it out, make sure you budget your time wisely, if we didn’t have anywhere to be we probably would’ve spent the entire day there. It was just a shame that the traffic en route to Hamburg delayed us, and cut our time in Hamburg short. We would have love to explore a little more of what Hamburg has to offer.
Note: Teanna originally posted this article on her website and then also graciously shared it with Germany Ja!
Tips For Your Trip:
Miniatur Wunderland is open 365 days a year
Monday, Wednesday – Friday: 0930-1800
Tuesday & Saturday: 0930-2100
Sunday & Holidays: 0830-2000
Children under 3 feet tall: Free
Children under 16: €6.50
Group rates and special discounts are offered see the Miniature Wunderland website
53° 32′ 38″ N / 9° 59′ 21″ E