Le Vaisseau, Strasbourg: "science while having fun" for 3 to 15 year olds


Any place whose mission statement is: "science while having fun" sounds like a great place to go on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Le Vaisseau (literally meaning the ship) is not a science museum. It is not an indoor playground. It is a bit of both. And you want to know the best thing about it, it is a proper multilingual place!

Le Vaisseau is an educational and recreational place for kids of all ages themed around all aspects of science. It is a vast building on the outskirts of Strasbourg, Eastern France. If you are not familiar with Strasbourg, you should know that it is (one of) the capital(s) of Europe and the European Union. The European Parliament is based there. It is about 5km away from the German border and is in Alsace, a region with a long and complicated multilingual history. It is also about an hour from our home in Germany.

The facility is divided in several areas according to themes:
- human beings (our bodies, breathing, etc)
- animals (being a kangaroo, how do ants live, etc)
- building (recycle, build your own house, etc)
- water (how to wash it, how to divert it, etc)
- sound and image (how  to make and change shadows, noises, etc)
- outdoor garden
- temporary exhibits and punctual events

multilingualism for parents and kids

Within each of these themes there are things to do and discover for all ages. Parents and older children can find instructions in 3 languages and staff and animations, presentations and events are in two language (French or German - pretty amazing, no?).
Our daughter's two favourite areas were the water play and, to our surprise, the building site.


water play

The water play allows kids to conduct their own little experiments with damns, tubes, spoons, boats and many other things in and around water. A lot the of the younger kids that day loved that area, of course but there were also some 12 year-olds trying to flood their own village.

building

The building site is just as its name suggests: a building site for kids (up to 10 years old if I remember correctly). Kids have to put on a helmet and a high visibility jacket and can play with foam bricks to build windows, load trains, drive a crane, etc. Only the promise of dirty and fast food managed to get LJ out of there!

Her third favourite was the animal world. She loves animals but was a little taken aback with sitting in a kangaroo pouch or under a turtle's shell. She loved watching the ants though.

Well worth a visit (or two). How can you not have fun in a place like this?

seeing the world differently @ Le Vaisseau

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Entrance fee (as of April 2013): €8 for adults and €7 for children. Discounts for groups and regular visitors.
Opening times: 10:00 to 18:00 - everyday but Mondays.
More information on: www.levaisseau.com

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