a VirtualTourist member from Boston
Any thoughts about taking a 3-year-old to Ballenberg? Minifrosch has a pretty good attention span for his age and likes to do a lot of walking (though we'd bring a small stroller just in case). Also, is it practical to walk to the museum entrance from the Brienzweiler train station, or is it best to take the bus from Brienz? Thanks for the help!
The Ballenberg museum is surely doable with a 3 year old. It is a live museum where you will find a working kitchen like setting, houses, different implements of olden days, wood sculptors etc.. I am not sure how far the entrance is from the Brienzweiler train station. But I do know that inside you can walk around a bit and also use the stroller. Take a look at my pages for some pictures.
I would recommend the bus from Brienz. Its probably best buying a special ticket with SBB (Railaway) which will include Train,Bus and entrance. You will walk enough in the park. Some areas are quite far apart if you want to see it all. There is a carousel in the Zentralschweiz area for the kid and there are animals everywhere. Our kids always liked it and they are good walkers but i recommend bringing the stroller.
or of course the Brunig Trainstation if you come from the Lucerne area.
Thanks for the information. I was considering doing it as a day-trip from Kandersteg, and you can get to/from Brienzweiler almost an hour faster than you can get to/from the Ballenberg museum stops. Google says it's a 20-minute walk from Brienzweiler to the east entrance, but obviously they're not always accurate (especially when telling you about uphill portions). It's still doable with the bus, though a full day and a long time on trains and waiting for awkward connections. Perhaps we could take the boat from Brienz to Interlaken on the way back to break up the monotony a bit. The Railaway is a good idea, though we have Swisspass, which covers rail, bus, and museum (and boat if we choose).
Just take into account that the distances are very big, there's lots and lots of walking inside, and all beautiful. I did it 2 years ago alone and at the fastest pace I was able to, which is fast, still I managed to see less than half during the full time it's open, and with very little resting (and about a 10' stop for lunch). I loved it so much and regretted so much the little time, that I'm planning a 2nd trip to Switzerland just to be there again.
It's perfectly doable with a stroller, but I wouldn't plan any additional activities for that day or any more walking. It requires all your strengths for that day, and there's everything inside that you don't need more that day.
A word of caution: the path takes you from one entrance to the other, but the bus leaves from the first entrance where it dropped you off, so you have to walk all the way back and calculate the time carefully so you don't miss the bus - I almost missed the last bus (and my intercontinental flight!) because I didn't know this. The staff tried to help me but there was no way to get any kind of transport to the first entrance.
I had to wait about an hour for the bus in Brienz, which I thought would be a downer, but less than 100m from the bus stop is the amazing lake Brienz shore, with the beautiful views and the ducks all coming to me for a snack, and it turned out to be an (unplanned) highlight of my trip. When the bus arrived, I was sad to leave! You'd have to bring a bag with bread crumbs, I guess. :-)
Another word of caution: if you like taking photos of romantic settings, bring lots of batteries, because you'll need to take many photos inside the stunning dark wooden houses (flash).
Tip: if you can get hold of the map beforehand to plan what you want to see and what you're going to leave out, it's a good idea, because there's no way you can see all in 1 day (not even in 2 if you want to relax a bit and enjoy the beautiful nature too). Since many of the clusters of houses are up or down a tiny elevation, you may want to plan ahead so you know which are worth the little climb with the stroller.
All this is if you're a huge fan of this kind of places, of course. If you just want to spend a half day seeing a few things - it's perfectly suitable too. :-)
Hi. I think all of you would love it. There are animals all over the place and in the spring, there are lots of baby animals. We're seniors and we had no trouble walking through the whole thing. We took a picnic and used their picnic area and when we got to the end, we took the bus back to the entrance where we had parked. The bus stopped at both places so no problem there. If you don't want to walk, you can take a horse and carriage ride. We enjoyed the walk and loved watching the docents with the little kid. They were great.
Have great time. The views at Ballenberg are just gorgeous.
Well I would say 20 minutes is not off. But it is going to be uphill.
Regarding the bus, it states on their web site, "Ballenberg can be reached by Zentralbahn railway either from Interlaken or Lucerne straight to Brienz or to Brünig. There is a regular bus from the railway stations at Brienz and Brünig to Ballenberg West or Ballenberg East"
These are the two entrances and the bus takes you right there, no long hikes. We didn't go from the train station, but after walking through, it was getting late so we took the bus back to where we had parked at the other entrance.