Berlin Wall & More Museums
Museum fur Naturkunde (Museum of Natural History) - The Natural History Museum is a gem. As you walk into the main hall, a gigantic brachiosaurus skeleton soars high above your head. Find your way to the full-size dioramas where kids can see animals native to Europe. Check out the exhibits of wild boar (a personal favorite), moose, red deer (complete with sound effects), wolves, big horn sheep, bison, minks, lynx, etc. The free audio tour in English explains all the animals.
Deutsches Technikmuseum (German Museum of Technology) - The real name for this museum should be "the incredible railway museum." The museum is an old converted roundhouse, and in it you'll find steam trains from the 1840's, huge steam locomotives, early electric trains, the personal car of Kaiser Wilhelm II, WWII train cars. Also at the museum outdoors, Dutch-style windmills, a water wheel, and blacksmith shop where you can watch the blacksmith at work. Inside, there are exhibits of old-fashioned TV's, radios and computers, plus mechanized looms. There are plenty of hands on exhibits - things to push and pull.
Checkpoint Charlie Museum (Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie) - "You are leaving the American Sector." Checkpoint Charlie, the infamous crossing point between East and West Berlin, conjures up scenes of the Cold War. Today, all that's left is the East German watchtower, a stark concrete curiosity in the midst of the now unified city. The museum exhibits cover the history of the Berlin Wall, including stories and artifacts of those who tried to escape from East to West Berlin. Especially vivid is a small wooden cart used by 57 people to escape in a tunnel, or cars with secret compartments for escapees. Don't miss the drawings made by children when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 - touching images of a world without walls. Older kids will appreciate this museum.
To see the largest standing section of the Berlin Wall, go to Muhlenstrasse along the Spree River (near the Oberbaumbrucke). There the wall has been painted by over a hundred artists from 21 different countries, and is now called the East Side Gallery. When you look at the wall today, it doesn't seem all that tall, but it's not hard to imagine the guard dogs, electrical fences, trenches, watch towers, and machine guns that enforced the division of the city.

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