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Fun Museum - Big Toys in the Town of Spires

Payload bay Buran Space Shuttle Technik Museum Speyer photoThe shuttle Atlantis has made its last flight, touching down into history. In the next years the American shuttles will be put on display in new facilities to be built, but you can already explore inside a space shuttle, in Germany. A Russian shuttle - the Buran. Along with the world’s largest propeller driven plane the gigantic Russian Antonov AN-22, along with a Boeing 747 and even a German Submarine, at the amazing Technik Museum in Speyer, near Mannheim, perhaps best known for its stunning cathedral (see Speyer Cathedral). Sure it's big boy toy stuff, but very entertaineing for the whole family.

Vintage Cars Rolls Royce Speyer Technik Museum photoThe Tecknik Museum is Speyer is the little cousin of the similar version in Sinsheim (see Sinsheim Auto & Technik Museum) which is about 35 miles away near Heidelberg. The Technik Museums, which feel more like giant playground toy boxes than a “museum” began when some private collectors joined together to find a location to display their interests in cars, planes, trains, military vehicles, and even mechanical organs. The first museum opened in Sinsheim in 1981, growing to an amazing wonderland of machines and cultural icons. In the early 1990s space was running short for all the stuff collecting like an over-stuffed attic and the former aircraft factory of the Pflaz Aircraft Works and its test airfield near downtown Speyer became available. The Technik Museum in Speyer opened in the historic 1919 Liller Industrial Hall. The collection at Speyer is not as extensive as Sinsheim, but has its own unique features.

Fokker Biplane at Spyere Technik Museum photoThe open air grounds of the Speyer location was ideal for displaying large size exhibits. The giant Antonov cargo plane and the 1960s era U-Boat submarine of the German Navy - the U9 were the first arrivals. The Lufthansa Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet found its pedestal in 2002. Aircraft you’ll find on display at Speyer among others, include a Messerschmitt BF-109 G-4, Dornier 24 Flying Boat, Junkers JU-52, Hawker Hunter, Rockwell Aero, Lockheed F-104 Starfighter and T-33, North American F-86, Mig 21 and 23, Fokker DR1, and a replica Wright Flyer. Among the Maritime exhibits are a Maybach Motorboat, mini submarines, Rescue Ship Essberger, and the world’s largest seaworthy operating ship model, the 1929 North Atlantic ocean liner Bremen IV.

Fast German War Locomotive  Speyer photoIndoors at Speyer are housed about 20 massive steam locomotives, some built during the war which saw service on the railways of East Germany and Eastern Europe up until the 1980s. The German war engine 52 series, built in 1944 by Berliner Maschinenbau- Bahnbedarfs found in Czechoslovakia after the end of WWII hauled passenger trains in the Ukiane until 1962. The war era steam freight locomotive 42 was one of the last engines built at the Esslingen Maschinenfabrik in 1944. This former military locomotive, ran on the Polish railway in Danzig from 1949 until 1987. The Borsig FastTrain was an East German GDR era train with lighter boiler and frame, which arrived at the Speyer Museum under steam and could still roll off the display track. Among the steam engines are vintage classic cars, motorcycles and historic fire engines.

U9 Submarine
U9 German Navy U-Boat Submarine photoThe non-nuclear U9 at Speyer was built by the Kieler Howaldtswerke, one of the 3rd generation of German modern era U-Boats, launched into service in 1967. The boat of the classification 205 weights 466 tons, is 46 meters long. It could dive to a standard depth of 100 meters and was armed with eight torpedo tubes at the bow. Inside the sub is mostly intact as it sailed, entered by climbing ladder up to the hatch and can be a bit of a tight fit to navigate for the less dexterously inclined.

Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle Hall Speyer Technik photoThe BURAN space shuttle at on display at Speyer was the result of the last space race gasp of the Soviet Union. As with many Soviet era projects was a virtual copy of the American design, 36 meters long, 16 meters high and weighing 80 tons. This was a prototype built in 1984 and used for reentry gliding and landing tests. With the collapse of the Soviet Union the Russian shuttle program was shut down in 1993. The space shuttle in Speyer is the only one which can be visited outside of Russia and the US and is housed in a display hall built just to hold it, though surrounded by other aviation and aerospace exhibits. Climb the ladder to feel the scale of its massive cargo bay.

Aside from the mighty machines on display, the Speyer Technic Museum has an IMAX Theater like its Sinsheim cousin, an operating model train and miniature kiddie race track among other entertainments, and the additional collection of mechanical music boxes, musical instruments clothing and furniture at Wilhelmsbau Museum in its own separate building (see Museum Wilhelmsbau).

Visiting the Speyer Technik Museum

Restored Messerschmitt BF 109 Technik Museum Speyer photoThe Technik Museum in Speyer is open 365 days a year from 9am to 6pm, and until 7pm on Saturday and Sunday. Admission for the museum with a combined ticket is €14 for adults (over 14), €12 for children 6 to 14, under 6 are free. A combined ticket including the IMAX Dome is €19, €15 and €7.50 respectively. The IMAX Theater films show every hour, but are in German. The Wilhelmsbau Museum is open from 11am to 6pm every day, included in the admission. The museum has a restaurant and gift shop. If you want to do both Speyer and Sinsheim, a combined ticket is available for €35 and €27.

The Technik Museum is located just next to the historic old town of Speyer, within walking distance from the cathedral and the history museum. It is easily reached from the main rail station by a city bus line which runs directly through the old town, or with a car, just follow the signs. There is a little hotel on the property, the Hotel Speyer am Technik Museum for overnight stays. © Bargain Travel Europe

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Technik Museum Speyer

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