When I first heard about ANOHA Berlin – the Jewish Museum’s brand new kids’ museum in Berlin – I jumped at the chance to take my daughters. A year later, I finally managed to snag us some tickets.
From the moment I heard that the children’s world ANOHA was opening as part of the Jüdisches Museum Berlin, I was keen to get my hands on some tickets. This did not prove easy. In fact, it took a year. But we were in no rush. Well, except on the day itself…
In their usual exuberant style, my four and eight-year-old daughters made it a little hard for us to get to the museum on time – there were too many leaves and bottle tops to pick up and examine carefully along the way. Right near the museum is Besselpark, a green oasis with smooth concrete pathways carved with pictures of constellations and other astronomical icons – all in tribute to the astronomer and mathematician Friedrich Bessel. I gritted my teeth as I tried to hurry them along with promises that we would come back later (this never happened… Rabenmutter!) – there’s a 15-minute window to show up at ANOHA before you forfeit your visit. Luckily, we bustled up with mere minutes to spare and were ushered through security.
Of course, we forgot our “Stoppersocken” (non-slip socks – Rabenmutter strikes again!) but not to worry, they had them in ample supply for adults and children alike. The exhibition is to be enjoyed without street shoes, so BYO slippers or socks if you’re not a fan of shared undergarments.
The first 20 minutes of the allotted tour time was spent in an attractive waiting area, taken up with finding a locker, going to the toilet, putting on said non-slip socks and waiting for the previous group to finish up. I’m sure Corona has not made it easy for ANOHA to operate. Finally, it was time to enter the exhibition and I could barely hold the girls back.
Once inside, there was much to see and do. Using the story of Noah and his Ark as a basis for the exhibition, the staff led us gently from one bit to the next, filling in bits of the story as time marched forward. When I say time marched forward, I am mainly referring to the 90-minute tour time, which seemed to be slipping through our fingers at the speed of sand.
There was a raging storm, followed by a winding river for testing a wide range of experimental boats made with different materials under intense weather conditions. We were then led to a giant giraffe slide and a climbing paradise – the Ark itself. At every junction, delightful animals crafted from a wide range of curious bits and bobs greeted us. There were plenty of layers and floors for climbing and surprises all along the way. Adults were encouraged to join in the fun – nothing was so precious that it couldn’t be touched, climbed on or rattled.
The staff members clapped, cajoled and shepherded us onwards every 10 minutes or so, so we’d have time to experience everything. This was appreciated by some visitors and not by others.
The touching finale was a vibrant wall of wishes and answers to questions about the world, scattered on a white wall in the shape of a rainbow by visiting children and adults. My daughters contributed enthusiastically, though they weren’t very strict with colour allocation, and it’s possible that a yellow sticky note ended up in the purple section.
Many parents can attest to 90 minutes being the ideal time to spend with small children in a kids’ museum. Although I felt rushed and like we wanted to stay longer, I must admit, 90 minutes is perfect for encouraging us to come back again, which is exactly what we’re going to do. Regardless of your religious persuasion, ANOHA is a sensational place to bring your kids for 90 minutes, and at least for now, a visit is totally free. Just don’t try to show up without having booked a slot online – there will be tears, we saw it first-hand. And bring “Stoppersocken” for young and old.
All in all, we had a ball! The only thing we needed more of was time. A time slot tour runs for 90 minutes and that’s barely long enough for delighted little faces to take it all in.
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