Day Trip: Food Museum in Vevey, Switzerland

It’s the Spring School Holidays now. So i thought i would highlight another little kid-friendly excursion we took. We went to the Alimentarium (Food Museum) in Vevey last October, during our Autumn School Holidays. It was a lovely autumn day, the sun was shining and the air was fresh; we could not have asked for a better day 🙂

i decided that we would really make it a full day out. So instead of just taking the train directly to Vevey and then a bus to the museum, we went the long way – we took the train to Lausanne and then the Metro to Ouchy. From there, a luxurious boat ride to Vevey.

Here's us on the boat from Ouchy to Vevey.

i packed a light lunch and we ate on the deck of the boat, enjoying the beautiful scenery. My photos hardly do justice to the real thing.

Above: View of Ouchy from the boat, you can see the Olympic Museum along the shoreline. Below: Passing hills covered with vineyards.

Tobias loved the boat ride!

Isn't this just the life? Lakeside teatime.

We got off at the Vevey jetty and stopped at the Kiosk there for “walk-along” ice cream. We took a lovely walk along the shore and came across this relaxing lakeside cafe.

Just a couple of minutes walk from this cafe is the Alimentarium. I love how museums in Switzerland are housed in buildings which deserve to be in museums themselves. This building was simple and regal, surrounded by a herb and vegetable garden; all part of the museum’s efforts to be an all-rounded education point.

Looks like a palace, doesn't it?

The first level of the museum is filled with stations where you can learn all about the different types of food we eat, the food pyramid, as well as food through the centuries. It was really interesting to learn about the different types of food people ate long ago, then click a switch, the panel turns and you have food from today. The stations were not boring information dumps but are fairly good interactive activities. See how engrossed my little guy was, learning the food pyramid. There was also a big card game you could play after you are done with computer activity (in the foreground of the photo below).

Headphones on and eyes glued to the animation about the food pyramid.

That was just half of the first floor. Then we went up to the second floor and this went further into what happens when food enters our bodies and how we view food, treat food and even about food shopping culture. There were real product boxes on shelves and in between there were again informative stations with great little animations.

Shopping Carts showing how food shopping has changed through the years.

There were also some stations which talked about transportation of food. But Tobias loved the one which showed him what happened to the food in his stomach; how bacteria broke down the food and the different enzymes.

Absorbed in learning about food absorption in our stomachs.

The second half of the second floor showed the link between exercise and food. There is even a big human-sized hamster wheel which you can try running in and know how much fat you burnt. There are also tasting stations which dispensed little tablets to test if you know can tell the difference between sweet and salty. We didn’t do too well – heheheee 😉

That floor also had a little quiz corner which allowed you to find out what type of eater you were, whether you were a  gourmet or just your everyday omnivore.

By this time, my 7-year-old was ready to call it a day. i don’t blame him. It was a lot to take in, especially for a little guy. i mean it was interesting, very hands-on and all but a little boy can only last that long and absorb that much information. So we gave the third floor a miss. The third floor housed a special exhibition about food in different countries. Singapore was mentioned for that one and i really wanted to see it but i settled for the special newspaper published just for the exhibition. This special exhibition changes all the time, currently the new exhibit is under construction and looks to be really interesting.

Anyhow, we decided a snack was in order. So we went to the little cafe in the museum, at the back of the first floor. They serve very simple pastries and sandwiches and were already half-shut for the day but the lady was so very nice and warmed a cheese sandwich for us, and we got tea and fruit juice to wash it down before we headed for home; the direct train route this time.

Cooking Class in French, anyone?

On the way out, we walked through an industrial sized kitchen and the bunch of students who were running around the museum with their class questionnaire before, were all standing around the bench, listening to a chef tell them about food preparation and cooking. It was all in French so i did not understand anything at all. i asked the information desk and was told that schools often bring kids here to learn about food and digestion which i think is a fantastic thing. However, the cooking class was only in french.

It was a lovely day out for us. So i hope this will help you plan another little outing with your kids. Just remember little ones do get tired to don’t expect too much from them 🙂