Some kid friendly activities: Luxlait Vitarium and Indyland Indoor Playroom
I thought i’d do a post about a couple of kids’ activities we’ve done recently. Both came via recommendations from the girls at my upholstery course (thanks ladies, you are full of good ideas). Another non-kid related suggestion was the Metz flea market – i’m told it’s absolutely great. Metz is south of us, in France, 40 mins drive from Lux. Opening times between 7am-12pm only. It’s on the list of ‘to do’s’ but I think the kids have already had their fill of markets this April.
First up is Luxlait Vitarium. I’m not gonna dress this one up, it’s a milk museum. It’s the kind of thing you read and go “ummmm, okaaaaaaaay, hmmmm, well maybe if we’re really bored”. And then the next day when the kids are going ballistic and you can’t face another playroom you think “ahhh, the Milk Museum! That sounds like FUN”.
And you know what? It was fun. It’s just out to the north of Mersch, at Roost. It’s the manufacturing site where they process the milk, situated in countryside. The Vitarium itself is housed in a very groovy, architect designed building as an adjunct to the factory. There’s a play area outside, a nice restaurant and seating area upstairs, and a shop (of course). The main part consists of about 45 ‘hands-on’ stations where kids can press things, pull stuff, jump, run, balance and, sometimes, read the instructions and learn something. It’s absolutely great. My kids had a fantastic time. Each station has instructions in Luxembourgish, French, German and English, but as they can’t really read anything, I interpreted for their level and they mostly just had a ball pressing stuff.
It takes me back to a contrasting visit to the Museum of Natural History in the Grund, which is full of glass cases of stuffed animals. There’s a couple of exhibits which are not cased and, of course, Henry had to touch. We were lambasted by the officious guy who was standing around doing very little, because there was no one else in there, bar a handful of bored schoolchildren. I realise there is a place for this kind of ‘old school’ approach to museum design, but the museum reopened with a facelift not that long ago and it seems madness that they failed to incorporate more interactive exhibits, that engage kids who are used to being more active participants these days. Then they won’t feel bad for doing what comes naturally, i.e. want to get involved and touch. I also find it baffling that major city museums in any country go to the trouble of providing descriptions in French, Luxembourgish and German, but pointedly avoid an English interpretation. It’s no wonder it was empty and unfortunately got a big ‘fail’ from us.
So back to the Vitarium. We were unable to do the tour of the milk processing plant because it was only in Luxembourgish the day we visited, which is a huge shame, but we will return on a day when it’s in English because, although the entrance fee is a little steep (€18 for Henry and I, as Oscar was free, but it would be more if we’d been able to do the tour), we spent a good few hours there. So, if you go for lunch, and the weather is good and the kids can have a play outside, then you’re looking at hours of fun. You also get to sample some of the Luxlait products as part of the entrance fee (I opted for a yoghurt, the kids had chocolate milk). Yes it does feel a tad like one big commercial for Luxlait, but for city kids like mine, it was a really fun way to learn about something we drink every day, and it meant Mummy got a break from being Entertainments Officer for a while.
This last image comes from one of the exhibits – I can’t for the life of me remember what you had to do but it takes a shot of you while you do it, and you can then go online later to find it (Click on the image to go to the gallery page and remember to blow your nose before you try this exhibit):
Finally I’d like to show you evidence of the second recommendation, and one which borders on genius. I can’t believe that I hadn’t heard about it before and mildly peeved because we’ve just spent the longest winter ever stuck indoors and this might have saved my sanity on more than one occasion. Ladies and gentleman, I present Indyland situated next to the bowling alley and just behind Cora down in Foetz:
Doesn’t look very inspiring from the outside but inside is huge and filled with tons of bouncy castles, stuff to climb, slide down and bounce on. It’s completely brilliant and I urge you to take your kids. What’s really great about it is that they’ve really thought about it properly. The entrance fee is reasonable (€8.50 for Henry, and €5 for Oscar for two hours- we pay €22 euros for the same at another well known indoor soft play in Bertange, and it’s way smaller). There are even a handful of little peddle operated go carts and the kids adored razzing around on them. These are free to use, and a really welcome change from feeling obliged to fork out €2 a pop for motorised karts at the other well known playroom over at Howald. And where they really trump both these other playrooms is that they’ve judged the food just right.
I know I’m not going to win any prizes for saying this, but I believe that most parents with young kids don’t want an expensive, three course meal at places like this, they want snacks and kid-friendly food such as French Fries, pizza etc. When you visit a playroom, you aren’t ‘channeling’ the gods of healthy eating, you just want an hour or two of peace while your kids go mental and run off some steam. Or at least I do. I want low priced, snack-y grub which my kids can run back and forth to pick at. I want decent coffee and free wifi (all the playrooms in Lux offer that thank goodness). I just feel that the costs can spiral upwards easily at some, particularly if you go over the two hour threshold, and so I am thrilled to have found Indyland (please excuse terrible phone pics):