Before I visited this place, I’ve heard many opinions that one should actually avoid it with toddlers or small children and so I did.
Apparently there’s nothing interesting for them there….
Because of these comments we just never thought of going there when it came to planning our free time together with Little Man. Luckily, we had some guests in Wrocław recently and they decided they’d like to go to Hydropolis so I took Little Man with me and off we went to Na Grobli Street. We got there by car and parked nearby as the museum doesn’t have a dedicated car-park right at the entrance. Once we reached the museum, I told our guests that I’d just wait outside with Little Man for them but they insisted on us coming with.
And thanks God they did !
It was one of the best experiences we had together with Little Man!
As you walk in there’s a cloakroom where you can leave your coats and jackets etc. Next, you receive a short introduction from a staff member of what you will see, how to walk around the place, what to be aware of, what to do and what not to. (English speaking staff and introduction available for visitors). You’re then sent off for wandering round the place…
The first room you enter has a big pool in it with the globe hanging above and this is where a movie is screened about water on Earth – history, facts etc. The movie is in Polish but there are English subtitles for foreigners to read. You can pick a spot to sit and listen/read, you can walk round or run round 😉 Little Man did all – sat, ran round, touched the water, looked at the globe hanging above and looked at its mirror reflection in the water. He was excited and I was comfortable with his safety and the safety of the museum itself (;
As you move on you can choose which way to go, just remember to follow the “river” which guarantees you will have seen everything before you leave Hydropolis.
We went to the right and entered a room with plenty of different deep-ocean creatures. They were stunning. The museum prepared some real size 3D exhibits of some of these species and on a number of different screens you can see videos and pictures of them too, including facts and figures related. There’s a few multimedial screens where one can pick which animal they want to screen next. Little Man liked the pictures and movies of the creatures of course. He kept asking what everything was and of course he loved picking creatures on the multimedia display and watching them appear 😉
Short parent note – as you get a bit further into the room the creatures seem to be more and more scary rather than funny so once we saw the first part of the room I quickly moved on with Little Man to the next room not to scare him. The first part was enough for him by that time anyway so he wasn’t that curious anymore when we quickly walked pass the scary bit which didn’t catch his attention anymore at all. That’s called perfect timing!
The next room was Little Man’s favourite! Moss all around!!! He’s a definite nature-lover and so he was enchanted by all the moss on the walls, he kept touching it softly and I couldn’t get him out of there. I didn’t feel like leaving that place either because that’s where you can actually lie down and listen to some relaxing music along with the sound of waves while looking at a beach and moon….so calm, so nice!
As you move on with the exhibition, you get to discover more and more interesting things, experiments, displays and phenomena related to water . There’s also a few “caves” where you can walk in and listen to a movie on a certain subject or using multimedia displays, find out even more on the topic of water and water-life.
I highly recommend this museum to everyone living in Wrocław as well as tourists planning to visit our town, regardless of age. Our English-speaking guests enjoyed it a lot too and in my opinion, the museum did a great job in having everything translated so well for foreign visitors. Moreover the exhibition is just right in its length – not too long, not too short, not overloaded with information and another great thing is that you choose what you want to see, listen or read about more, you choose what you want to experience and what not. For example, you don’t have to listen to stories and facts about all sea-animals, you can just pick one if you wish. You can walk into all the educational “caves” but it’s not that you have to.
Well done for organizing the museum so well and thank you Hydropolis for making our time so enjoyable!
The exit and entrance to the museum is a big hall with the mentioned cloak-room, toilets, a café and a little shop with souvenirs and toys ( info for parents – beware!!!). The museum itself is disabled and pram/pushchair/stroller-friendly, with a lift and no stairs within the exhibition itself. All information in both Polish and English, on how to get there, where to park, ticket prices etc. to be found here:
At the end I’d like to add a few comments on visiting Hydropolis with children. It’s a great place for them and don’t be afraid to go there with your toddler unless you’re 100% sure he or she will destroy the place in no time 😉 I was worried I’d just be running round the place after my Little Man asking him not to touch anything but reality showed that there was nothing to be afraid of. You will see that most of what cannot be touched is above the reach of little touchy hands and everything that is in their reach is basically child – proof. Of course, I still had to remind Little Man that moss should be touched gently or that he has to take turns with others in using multimedia displays but nothing out of what he is normally reminded of in everyday life. The structure of the exhibition – division into rooms- actually helped me out in keeping Little Man within the reach of my sight. While I was watching something interesting I could still see Little Man most of the time no matter how far away he got away from me in a given room. He was safe, the displays were safe and everyone was happy ❤
Little Man’s interest in the exhibition (3 y.o.) exceeded my expectations way beyond limit. Of course each child is different and you’re the parent and you’ll know best but I personally underestimated Little Man’s need for knowledge despite knowing what he likes. I’ve learnt that I should give him a chance to discover things more often than I think he should. And of course I am not saying that he started reading things on his own there, that he sat and watched the whole movie about water or that he suddenly asked me for private lessons in physics or biology. By saying this I mean that Little Man actually caught at least a glimpse of each display, he asked me what something was a number of times, he said WOW a few times, he loved the moss and we actually talked about Earth when he was looking at the hanging globe and he didn’t run off while I was explaining to him what something was whenever he asked….I think that’s enough for a 3 year old having in mind how short attention span is at that age! Little Man kind of tripled it within the one hour we spent there.
Moreover, we’ll take him there again in a year’s time and another few times over the next few years because I know that with time, each visit to Hydropolis will make him discover something new and interesting in a new way.
See you in Hydropolis!