With a name like Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig, we’d assumed that the Museum König (as it’s called for short) was a zoo. So, when we emerged from the U-bahn station and it was pelting down with rain, we decided to abort the mission and find another place to spend our afternoon. As it turned out though (we returned the next day), we were quite wrong — the exhibitions are all inside, and although there’s a small “vivarium” in the basement, featuring a few lizards and insects, most of this museum is housed with stuffed animals rather than live ones.
Most of the signs were in German only, so we asked for English information and were given brand-new audio guides. These had only been released the week before and had a limited number of texts on them, but we were very impressed. I thought some of the voice acting sounded a bit stilted, but the information was useful and interesting, and you could access it either by selecting the text from a list or by holding the guide up to a QR code on the information signs.
The audio guide was housed on an iPod Touch, which also had other features, such as a map of the building and the museum’s opening hours. It’s already good, but will be even better when it’s loaded with all the information the museum plans to add.
As for the exhibitions, they were well curated and interesting to stroll through. Each section deals with a different area of the earth, such as the savannah, rainforest, or central Europe, and I was pleased to see a couple of kiwis on display in the bird section. Though I’m not a big fan of stuffed animals, they were thoughtfully presented and allow people to learn about animals they’d otherwise never see. Most interesting for me, though, was the research display, which discussed the work that employees of the museum do behind the scenes — I particularly liked learning about bio bar codes.
Entrance to the museum costs €4.50, but this is covered by the Bonn Welcome Card. I think this is a reasonable price for what you get, and it’s a particularly good place to spend a wet afternoon.