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Exploring Sustainability: A Family Adventure at the Umwelt Arena

Interactive exhibition hall dedicated to sustainability in production, consumption, transportation, work and living. Canton of Aargau | near Zürich | Switzerland.

The "it" factor

Happyland Cherokee

What makes it special:

Things to consider:

  • Information boards and family flyer available in German only

Don't feel like reading? Watch a video instead!

The fun factor

The Umwelt Arena is dedicated to sustainable resource use, offering an expansive and unique hall filled with 45 booths, where kids (and adults!) can learn hands-on about sustainability in production, consumption and daily life. It's a great destination because it addresses an important topic whilst providing a fun family outing.

And for an extra dose of excitement, little ones aged 5 and up (and adults) can hop on the 300-meter long indoor track for some eco-friendly test drives.

Just heads up - with booths sponsored by over 100 companies like Coop, ABB, and Ikea, it has a slightly commercial feel. We did not mind it at all as we appreciated learning not only how individuals can live eco-friendly but also how businesses drive sustainability in their work.

Note that instructions are in German only, but with a Google Translate app, language barriers are easily overcome—simply snap a photo, and you're good to go!

Tip: The majority of interactive exhibits, games, and opportunities for pretend play are located on floors EG and 1. On these floors, you'll find a dynamic and engaging atmosphere where kids can explore and learn through hands-on experiences. Meanwhile, floors 2 and 3 offer a more traditional tradeshow booth setup, providing a different vibe and showcasing additional aspects of sustainability in a different format.

So here are our top six Fun Factors of the Environment Arena (Umwelt Arena):

1. Learn bout sustainability through interactive stations

Floors EG and 1 of Umwelt Arena is all about interactive experiences. With hands-on exhibits, kids can explore the captivating realm of sustainability, delving into concepts like renewable energy, waste reduction, and conservation.

From pedaling bicycles to generate electricity, simulating eco-friendly transportation methods, testing their balance on a platform, to creating movement with light and wind and more, there's something for every curious mind. With levers to pull and push at many stations, children engage in active learning while having fun. Through these interactive experiences, they not only learn about sustainability but also develop a deeper appreciation for our planet in an enjoyable and engaging way.

2. Experience sustainability through games

Throughout Umwelt Arena, there are booths featuring a range of games, both digital and analog. On floors EG and 1, kids can immerse themselves in digital experiences, from sorting rubbish into the right container to cutting wood, kicking a ball or trying out an electric car simulator. They can also enjoy classic analog games like hopscotch. However, it was on floor 2 where our 4-year-old found a game she couldn't get enough of - solar Tetris, a delightful eco-friendly adaptation of the beloved classic.

3. Act sustainably through pretend play

Some booths are perfectly set up for pretend play, offering a fun and immersive experience for kids. One of our favorites was the coop-sponsored supermarket, complete with a cash point, electric car loading station, and even an elevator! (Because let's face it, which kid doesn't love pressing elevator buttons?) These setups provide a fantastic opportunity for children to act out scenes from daily life while simultaneously exploring alternative ways of acting.

4. Explore Sustainable Food Choices

One booth that left a lasting impression on us, and particularly our 4-year-old, was "The World of Food." Situated on EG, it's hard to miss with its entrance shaped like a huge open mouth. We were personally intrigued by the focus on sustainable consumption and the impact of our food choices on the environment. However, what truly captivated our little one was the walk-through experience... of a colon. While it was fascinating from an educational perspective, it's worth noting that it might be a bit unsettling for some kids (or even adults!).

5. Slide Into Sustainability - the Kids' Corner

In addition to the interactive elements spread across floors EG and 1, there's a dedicated kids' corner on floor 1. Here, children can enjoy a ball rolling station and a star attraction: a large slide where they slide down on a bag to generate electricity and "pretend charge" a phone. It may take quite a few slides just to charge 1% and even the most enthusiastic sliders may not reach it. Nevertheless, it's an incredibly enjoyable experience for kids!

Right next to it lies a picnic area and a play corner designed specifically for the youngest children.

5. Hit the eco-friendly race track (from 5 years old)

The -1 floor is a haven for all fans of small and large vehicles. It features an eco-friendly 300-meter-long indoor race track where kids from 5 years old can try out pedal-karts, trottinettes, and various other fun vehicles, while adults can experience electric cars, E-Bikes, Segways, a rickshaw, a high wheel, a (parallel) tandem, and more. It looked amazing, but since our child is still a bit too young for it, we had to skip it. However, there was still plenty to enjoy without it, and we're looking forward to the opportunity to come back!

Just a heads up: you cannot book in advance; you can only reserve rides at the Umwelt Arena on the day of your visit. During holidays and weekends, the rides might be fully booked, so if this is the highlight of your visit, consider arriving early.

6. Stroll through sustainability

While most booths on floors 0 and EG offer interactive experiences, the majority of booths on Floors 2 and 3 have a more traditional trade show vibe. These areas feature walkthroughs of booths from various companies like ABB, IKEA, and smaller ones, showcasing their sustainability efforts. Despite being less interactive, our 4-year-old found them amusing as she explored random items like washing machines, toilets, fake gardens, beds, pipes, and plates scattered around.

You can also organize birthday parties for kids, which sounds like a fun idea!

The food factor

There are two picnic spots available - one on EG and the second on the 1st floor. Although the one on the first floor is smaller, it is conveniently located next to the kids' play corner. We truly appreciated having these spots scattered throughout the museum, as exploring all the exhibitions can be quite tiring for kids. These picnic areas offer a great opportunity to take a break and refresh.

Additionally, there's a self-service restaurant called KLIMA, which is open to both visitors and non-visitors alike. They offer a variety of classic options such as burgers, fries, pastas, salads, and some seasonal dishes. You can view their menu here.

The value factor

Ravensburger Spieleland

Adults: CHF 21.00

Children 6 - 15 years old: 16 CHF

Children below 6 years: Free

Test rides are included in the ticket price.

Family Tickets and annual passes available

Umwelt Arena Practical Info

  • Opening hours: Wed- Sun 10 am - 5 pm | Note that opening hours for the race track differ

  • Address: Türliackerstrasse 4, 8957 Spreitenbach

  • Arrival by car: Follow the Umwelt Arena signs. Underground parking (paid) available

  • Arrival by public transport: Take the Limmattalbahn #20 from Zürich Altstetten to “Umwelt Arena”, Spreitenbach stop

  • There is a special flyer listing all family-friendly exhibitions (available in German only). However, we found that most of the exhibitions on floors EG and 1 had something to offer, so we decided to visit them all without using the flyer.

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