Sunday, May 10, 2015

Miniatur Wunderland, Hamburg, Germany

Warning: This post contains mostly Pictures.

In July 2014, on our way up to Kiel we stopped off in Hamburg to check out the Minitaur Wunderland. Before we headed off to Germany, Drew's dad, Alan, did some research and told us all about this place in Hamburg that had the world' 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 July 2014, when we were leaving on a Baltic Cruise out of Kiel (Which is less than an hour away from Hamburg and decided that we should stop off).
The Minitur Wunderland is on a 1,300 m² large layout, far more than a thousand trains, aircrafts, cars and ships move about. A wonder of the world in miniature.
Getting up to Hamburg was an easy drive, there were construction, traffic jams, and accidents which made a 5 hour drive turn into a 8 hour one. We had to readjust our plans and decided that we could only see one of the two things we had planned and decided that we would go and see the Minitaur Wunderland. It didn't disappoint.

This is the same video we watched before heading to Germany!

Miniatur Wunderland (German for miniature wonderland) is a model railway attraction in Hamburg, Germany, and one of the largest of its kind in the world, built by the twins Gerrit and Frederik Braun. In January 2011 the railway consisted of 12,000 metres (39,370 ft) 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 metres (68,889 sq ft) of floorspace, the model takes 1,150 m2 (12,378 sq ft) Their websites suggest buying your tickets online to save time on wait lines, but we weren't sure what time/ day 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's located on the second floor of this old building.

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. It switches from day to night every 30 minutes so you get to experience the daily life. The very first room in the exhibit featured small table sized "snapshots" of moments in German history, from early civilization to modern times.
A scene from WWII. You can see some of the other "snapshots" in the background.

A glimpse of the Berlin Wall.

The detail was incredible! There were "hidden" scenes all over the place, begging to be found.

The detail even included putting WORKING lights in nearly all of the vehicles and buildings across the entire Wunderland. 

This was under-construction, they were in the process of making something in ITALY!

Swiss Alps

Neuschwanstein Castle!!

Another view of Neuschwanstein castle

The famous "Mini Hamburg Airport". It was very impressive, and included so much detail!

Ocean Blvd, Miami!

The UFO facility "hidden" under Area 51! 

A very cool festival with working/running rides.

Can't remember for sure, but I think this is supposed to be the Würzburg Residenz palace.

As the "sun" begins to set, the lights start turning on.

The Airport runway.

The "America" exhibition's "Wild West".

Grand Canyon

Viva Las Vegas!


The detail was what made everything so cool. In this scene, the lights of the "fire" in the building would glow and dim, making it look surprisingly realistic.

A scene from "Roswell, New Mexico".

Titusville, Florida

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 m2 (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 any where 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.