SCIENCE MUSEUMS, EVENTS & ACTIVITIES for families au Pays du Mont-Blanc (and beyond)

There are several 🧬 BIG SCIENCE EVENTS that occur regularly 🏔 au Pays du Mont-Blanc and beyond, and we have the annual đŸ§Ș La FĂȘte de la Science approaching fast!

  • đŸ§Ș La FĂȘte de la Science – from 1st ⇒ 11th October 2021 (annual);
  • đŸ§Ș La Nuit des Sciences – every two years in Geneva;
  • đŸ§Ș CERN Open Days – every few years, the CERN opens to the public;
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© FĂȘte de la Science 2021

This got me thinking about all of the 🧬 science events, activities, workshops, and museums that surround us 🏔 au Pays du Mont-Blanc!


Colour Code for listings

Pays du Mont-Blanc

Chamonix Valley (Chamonix, ArgentiĂšre, Les Houches, Servoz & environs) and Vallorcine

Passy & environs

Sallanches, Combloux, Cordon & Domancy

St Gervais, Le Fayet & environs

MegĂšve, Praz-sur-Arly & environs

Les Contamines & environs

đŸ‡«đŸ‡· Further France 

🇹🇭 Switzerland 

🇼đŸ‡č Italy 


A little history of science in our mountain valleys

What really put this little corner of the world (🏔 Chamonix Valley and the 🏔 Pays du Mont-Blanc) on the đŸ—ș world map, was the 📚 Romantic writers’ and artists’ 🏔 re-telling of mountains and glaciers in the 18th century (no longer were mountains seen as the work of the devil; but rather, as something to admire, visit, paint and write about!), which drew scientists (Dr Paccard, Saussure and more . . .), geologists, mountaineers and tourists to these once-remote mountain valleys! And 🧬 science also paved the way for all of these numerous different “. . . ologists ” to come and study the mountains: the advent of the 🚂 railway and then 🚙 roads, viaducts, tunnels and cars; all were made possible through scientific advances!

And đŸ§Ș SCIENCE is still everywhere we look, walk, climb, bike and ski 🏔 au Pays du Mont-Blanc: glaciology and receding glaciers, 🌳 botany, 🩌 zoology (the 🩅 gypaĂšte barbu reproduction centre, for example), the work of ASTERS and the RĂ©serves Nationales . . . 💎 the study of crystals . . .

26-grotte-1024x800
Bossons Glacier Source d’Aveyron © http://www.glaciers-climat.com/gp/mer-de-glace/26-grotte/

SCIENCE EVENTS au Pays du Mont-Blanc (and beyond)

FĂȘte de la Science 2021: « Eureka ! L’Ă©motion de la dĂ©couverte »

This year, we are celebrating 30 years of the FĂȘte de la Science, with the theme this year being: « Eureka ! L’Ă©motion de la dĂ©couverte » !

The aim of this science fair is to familiarise the public with science, in order to better understand our surrounding enviroment.

There are plenty of đŸ§Ș events and workshops scheduled in Haute-Savoie and Auvergne-RhĂŽne-Alpes (AURA) for the FĂȘte de la Science 2021: exhibitions, site visits, guided visits, workshops, spectacles, concerts . . .

⇒ more information: website and full AURA programme;

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© FĂȘte de la Science

Here, 🏔 au Pays du Mont-Blanc, we have several events planned (I shall add to this list when I hear of more events):

🏔 Une montagne de recherches (ChĂąteau des Rubins – Observatoire des Alpes & MĂ©diathĂšque Ange Abrate, SALLANCHES) – on Saturday 9th October, from 10h30 until 18h / ASTERS will be present, and you can meet the scientists working across the 9 nature reserves of Haute-Savoie! / see programme;

10952754
© ChĂąteau des Rubins – Observatoire des Alpes
© ChĂąteau des Rubins – Observatoire des Alpes

And in 🏔 the Arve Valley:

🕰 MusĂ©e de l’Horlogerie et du DĂ©colletage (Cluses) – this museum is dedicated to telling the 🕰 industrial and social history of the area, and it will have FREE events (inscriptions limited to 10 people!) over the weekend of 1st ⇒ 3rd October 2021 (Week-End FĂȘte de la Science au musĂ©e) / website / more information about the museum below:

  • Friday 1st October 2021 visite guidĂ©e des collections: Visiter le musĂ©e, c’est se plonger dans l’histoire de la mesure du temps, l’évolution de l’horlogerie et la fabrication de petites piĂšces de  mĂ©canique. Laissez-vous conter la quĂȘte de la prĂ©cision Ă  travers les siĂšcles et les techniques. ” / at 15h / 10+ years;
  • Saturday 2nd October 2021Ma premiĂšre visite au musĂ©e (de 8 Ă  18 mois): Une visite sensorielle oĂč parents et enfants sont invitĂ©s Ă  dĂ©couvrir le monde de l’horlogerie. Un moment privilĂ©giĂ© pour partager en famille la premiĂšre expĂ©rience de bĂ©bĂ© au musĂ©e ! / FREE!
  • Saturday 2nd October 2021visite guidĂ©e des collections en LSF: avec Mathilde en collaboration avec l’association Passerells “;
  • Sunday 3rd October 2021 L’émotion des grandes dĂ©couvertes: Grande joie ou dĂ©ception, les savants connaissent eux aussi les ascenseurs Ă©motionnels au cours de leurs recherches. A travers nos collections, dĂ©couvrez les recherches de ces gĂ©nies et leurs impacts sur notre vie. ” / at 15h;

MĂ©diathĂšque de Cluses . . .

© MédiathÚque de Cluses

And in Haute-Savoie & Savoie, here are some more ideas:

  • đŸ§Ș La Turbine (Cran-Gevrier, near Annecy) – this innovative pedagogic centre equipped for families to learn about 🧬 science in an interactive way, serves as the headquarters for the AURA event! / there will be several events for the FĂȘte de la Science 2021 – see programme here / website;
  • MĂ©diathĂšque Reignier Essery – on 8th & 9th October 2021 / workshops on air and memory / see here;
  • Le SalĂšve – see here;
  • GĂ©oparc de Chablaisportes ouvertes at the MusĂ©e de la PrĂ©histoire et de la GĂ©ologie in Sciez, among other events / see here;
  • Micro-Folie (Faverges-Seythenex)workshops from 1st to 9th October / see here;
  • MusĂ©e de la PrĂ©histoire et de la GĂ©ologie (Sciez) on Saturday 9th October, portes ouvertes, 10h until 18h / website;
c885bfef9baa407392384a8c0ea85928.base_.image_
© Micro-Folie
La Nuit de la Science (MusĂ©e d’histoire des science & Parc de la Perle du Lac, Geneva)

🧬 La Nuit de la Science takes place every TWO years! / website and FB page;

© La Nuit de la Science
CERN Open Days

At the CERN, scientists work hard to recreate đŸ’« the Big Bang, to try to understand 🌏đŸȘ the origins of our universe and what came after the bang!

Every few years, the CERN opens its doors to the public for two special days, at the heart of one of the world’s largest particle-physics laboratories! The CERN Open Days have become a regular feature of the period that we call the “long shutdown” during which our accelerators stop for around two years, to benefit from upgrades and renovation work. We are now in Long Shutdown 2. The Open Days will give visitors the chance to discover our facilities, both underground and on the surface. With free admission to debates, film screenings, theatre performances, experimental workshops and dozens of visit points spread all over the site, we will take you to the heart of our Laboratory, in direct contact with the science of today and tomorrow.

good to know: you can also take a guided visit of the CERN, FREE of charge, Monday to Saturday (12+ years), anytime of the year! / see here;

also good to know: to learn more about the CERN and the universe, CERN has created đŸ’» CERN online and đŸ’» CERNLand, aimed at children 7 to 12 years / website;

address: CERN, esplanade des Particules 1, 1217, Meyrin, Switzerland;
CERN © montblancfamilyfun.com
CERN © montblancfamilyfun.com
© CERN

SCIENCE MUSEUMS & ACTIVITIES au Pays du Mont-Blanc

Musée Alpin (Chamonix)

[ note: from 20th September 2021, the Musée Alpin will shut its door for a long 4 year renovation project . . . the museum will be modernised and extended, and the new museum to open will be called the Musée du Mont-Blanc ! During its closure, the museum staff will continue to offer Hors les Murs sessions for the public / see website for more details ]

Housed in the magnificent old Chamonix Palace (one of the three original “palaces” in Chamonix), this lovely museum traces the history of the valley, from the very first tourists who came to admire the mountains and glaciers through to “Chamonix the centre of winter sports”.  There is a great collection of prints, photos and mountaineering objects to take you on this trajectory – plenty of science! / school holiday workshop programme for children / 🗓 opening hours: open every day, except Tuesday, from 14h to 18h; school holidays: open from 10h to 12h and from 14h to 18h / price: FREE for under 18s, adults 5,90€ / see here for more details;  

address: La Résidence, 89 avenue Michel Croz, 74400, Chamonix-Mont-Blanc / tel: +33 (0)4 50 53 25; 

parking: the nearest car park (paying) is the Parking du Mont-Blanc;
© Musée Alpin Chamonix
Espace Tairraz – MusĂ©e des Cristaux (Chamonix)

[ autumn 2021 – still being renovated! ]

This NEWLY renovated museum will offer you “ une immersion dans la minĂ©ralogie des Alpes, de la France et du Monde.  Il invite Ă  dĂ©couvrir la tradition sĂ©culaire de la rĂ©colte de quartz dans le massif du Mont-Blanc, encore vivace aujourd’hui. Parmi les piĂšces majeures, vous pourrez retrouver la collection exceptionnelle de fluorites roses et rouges du Mont-Blanc, trĂ©sor alpin unique au monde. Ainsi que toute la riche variĂ©tĂ© de minĂ©raux de l’Arc Alpin, faisant de cette exposition dĂ©diĂ©e un point d’excellence de niveau international. Le musĂ©e invite ensuite Ă  explorer l’extraordinaire diversitĂ© minĂ©ralogique de la France, son passĂ© minier et ses sites majeurs, suivi d’un grand tour du monde colorĂ© des minĂ©raux des cinq continents. Ce nouveau musĂ©e des Cristaux, agrandi et rĂ©amĂ©nagĂ©, se classe dĂ©sormais parmi les plus beaux musĂ©es minĂ©ralogiques nationaux.

A new section will also be inaugurated :  le TrĂ©sor – ” oĂč seront prĂ©sentĂ©s gemmes, pierres taillĂ©es et mĂ©taux natifs (or, argent, cuivre). Sur une surface d’exposition de 700 mÂČ, prĂšs de 1400 spĂ©cimens Ă©merveilleront passionnĂ©s et curieux de tous Ăąges.

⇒ see FB page for more details about re-opening / website;

address: 615 allée du Recteur Payot, 74400, Chamonix-Mont-Blanc / tel: +33 (0)4 50 55 53 93 ;

parking: the paying car park of St-Michel is very convenient as you can take the lift straight to the entrance of the museum (great for a rainy day!);
© L’Espace Tairraz
Chalet de la RĂ©serve des Aiguille Rouges (Col des Montets, ArgentiĂšre)

Discover the flora, fauna, minerals and rocks of the mountains / on site: ” un sentier botanique, des observations au microscope, des expositions permanentes, des projections et des confĂ©rence.” – Chamonix Tourisme;

As well as the chalet, it is lovely to wander around the annotated sentier botanique just next to it (especially in autumn!);

address: Col des Montets,  74400, ArgentiÚre;
La Maison de la RĂ©serve Naturelle de Passy (Plaine-Joux)

Facing the 🏔 Massif du Mont-Blanc, covering 1800 ha, and located between 1300m and 2900m altitude, la RĂ©serve Naturelle de Passy dominates the Arve Valley and links the RĂ©serve de Sixt-Fer-Ă -Cheval and the RĂ©serve des Aiguilles Rouges. The Maison de la RĂ©serve explains: the Fiz cliffs, les moutonnements du vieux Pormenaz, the growth of the Alps, minerals, fauna, flora and more, via displays / đŸŒČ workshops for children doing the school holidays!

address: Maison de la Réserve Naturelle, 321 chemin des Parchets, 74190, Passy;
La Maison de la Réserve Naturelle Plaine Joux © montblancfamilyfun.com
RĂ©serve Naturelle Nationale des Contamines-Montjoie

Founded in 1979, La RĂ©serve naturelle des Contamines-Montjoie is a protected area extending over 5500 ha, and from 1100m up to 3892m (Aiguille nord de TrĂ© la TĂȘte) in altitude – therefore the highest nature reserve in France, with a huge dĂ©nivelĂ© (2800m).

You’ll find plenty of events and workshops planned over the school holidays, as well as a nature centre at the Tourist Office.
Réserve Naturelle Les Contamines-Montjoie © Teddy Bracard
Centre de la Nature Montagnarde (CNM, Sallanches)

No longer located withing the ChĂąteau des Rubins, since the recent re-opening of the museum, this association offers lots of workshops for children and talks for adults . . . see website for more information;

ChĂąteau des Rubins – Observatoire des Alpes (Sallanches)

The 🏰 ChĂąteau des Rubins – Observatoire des Alpes, recently renovated and re-opened as a very modern museum, is set in the historic 14th century 🏰 ChĂąteau des Rubins ( just behind the Eglise St Jacques). Set across 5 floors, the museum is dedicated to 🏔 the Alps and mountains in general, and an interactive journey will take you from glaciology and geology, to some close encounters with the đŸ» resident taxidermy (a wolf, a lynx and a bear, among others!) / as well as panels explaining the different exhibits, there are đŸŽ„ films to watch, interactive screens and games – a visit to the museum is a full sensory and tactile journey! / good to know: the renovated museum is now fully accessible to buggies and wheelchairs! / 🗓 opening hours: Wednesday and Friday to Sunday, 10h to 18h (SHUT Monday, Tuesday, Thursday) / price: 7€ and children 4,50€, under 6 years FREE / website;

[ ⇒ read more about MBFF’s summer visit to the 🏰 ChĂąteau des Rubins – Observatoire des Alpes here ]

address: Chùteau des Rubins - Observatoire des Alpes, 105 montée des Rubins, 74700, Sallanches / tel: +33 (0)4 50 58 32 13; 
ChĂąteau des Rubins – Observatoire des Alpes © montblancfamilyfun.com
La Maison Forte Hautetour (Saint-Gervais-Mont-Blanc)

Looking down majestically upon Saint-Gervais-les-Bains, 🏰 La Maison Forte de Hautetour (13th century) was one of the several fortified manor houses of the region . . . in 2012, it was renovated, and today it houses an exhibition detailing the history of the 🏔 Compagnie des Guides de Saint-Gervais, as well as hosting đŸ–ŒÂ temporary art exhibitions and artists-in-residence / 🎹 during the school holidays there are workshops for children & families here, so check the Saint-Gervais website agenda! / 🗓 opening hours: open Tuesday, Saturday, Sunday 14h to 18h and Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 10h to 12h30 and 14h to 18h; SHUT on Mondays and all of November, 1st January, 1st May and 25th December / price: 5€ and children (5 to 18 years) 3,50€;

address: Maison Forte de Hautetour, 114 passage Montjoux, 74170 Saint-Gervais-les-Bains, 74170, Saint-Gervais-les-Bains / tel: 04 50 47 79 80; 
La Maison Forte de Hautetour © saintgervais.com

SCIENCE MUSEUMS & ACTIVITIES in Further France

Science workshops Moulin à Étincelles

MBFF has encountered the đŸ§Ș Moulin Ă  Etincelles workshops at the Sallanches summer festival 🌈 Les Enfants d’Abord / run by two ladies with a science background, they say that they ” can’t promise you the moon, but they can promise that you’ll understand the Earth! ” / see website for more details;

© Moulin à Etincelles
MusĂ©e de l’Horlogerie et du DĂ©colletage (Cluses)

This museum is dedicated to telling the 🕰 industrial and social history of the area (the history of clock-makers and dĂ©colletage in the area), is located in the Espace Carpano & Pons, the old industrial site next to the river in Cluses / there are regular guided visits, films and workshops; see here for more details / 🗓 opening hours: from June until September, every day from 10h to 12h and from 14h to 18h; school holidays, every day from 14h to 18h, October until May, Wednesday to Saturdy, 14h to 18h / price: adults 5€, children/students (12 to 25 years) 3€, FREE for under 12s / good to know: the museum is FREE on each first Sunday of the month, 14h to 18h! (with a guided visit sometimes scheduled at 15h) / website;

address: Espace Carpano & Pons, 100 place du 11 Novembre, 74300, Cluses / tel: 04 50 96 43 00;
La Maison du SalÚve (Présilly)

A visit to La Maison du SalÚve makes for a wonderful family day out, preferably on a fair weather day as the gardens are lovely and there are walks to enjoy en famille nearby . . . originally an 18th century farm from the Chartreuse de Pomier, La Ferme de Mikerne has been renovated to host a cultural centre recounting the history of the SalÚve mountain and its environs;

đŸ–ŒÂ current temporary exhibition: 🩡 ” La forĂȘt, maison des animaux “;

[ more information ⇒ MBFF article / website ]

address: 775 route de Mikerne, 74160, Présilly;
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© Maison du SalÚve
La Turbine (Le Centre de Culture Scientifique Technique et Industrielle de Haute-Savoie), in Cran Gévrier, ANNECY

đŸ§Ș La Turbine is an innovative pedagogic centre equipped for families to learn about 🧬 science in an interactive way / there are regular exhibitions, events & workshops for children of different ages, so do check the website for current ones! / 🗓 opening hours: from Tuesday to Sunday, 14h to 18h / price: adults 5,50€, children 3€ (and +65 ans), FREE for children under 6 years and family price 14€ / website;

đŸ§Ș current exhibitions: « Mission Corps Humain » , for children 8+ years;

address: place Chorus, Cran-Gevrier, 74960, Annecy / tel: 04 50 08 17 00;
batiment
© La Turbine
ChĂąteau d’Annecy (ANNECY)

Once the residence of the counts of Geneva in the 13th and 14th centuries, 🏰 the castle has been classified as a historical monument since 1959 / today, the castle houses đŸ–ŒÂ temporary exhibitions, as well as a permanent collection of art of cultural importance, and 💩 objects associated with Lac d’Annecy / there are special family visits organised for temporary exhibitions at the 🏰 ChĂąteau d’Annecy, with a special FREE carnet de dĂ©couverte for children / good to know: Mercredi en Famille (guided visits for families, children 6+ years, on Wednesdays at 14h30, 6€) and it is FREE to visit the ChĂąteau d’Annecy and its temporary exhibition on the FIRST Sunday of each month between October and May / 🗓 opening hours: from 10h to midday and from 14h to 17h, every day except Tuesday (open Tuesdays during the summer holidays, and every day from 10h30 to 18h) / price: 5,50€ / website;

address: place du ChĂąteau, 74000, Annecy / tel: 04 50 33 87 30;
ChĂąteau d’Annecy © montblancfamilyfun.com
Micro Folie musée numérique (Faverges-Seythenex)

L’art et la culture pour tous . . . inspired by đŸ§Ș the Folies du Parc de La Villette, and supported by the ChĂąteau de Versailles, le Centre Pompidou, le Louvre, le MusĂ©e national Picasso, le musĂ©e du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac, la Philharmonie de Paris, la RMN-Grand Palais, Universcience, le Festival d’Avignon, l’Institut du Monde Arabe, l’OpĂ©ra National de Paris et le MusĂ©e d’Orsay), the public can now enjoy the treasures of the nation, through the digital projection of the works of these great establishments!

address: Tiers-lieu culturel La Forge, 130 rue Maurice Bourgeois, 74210, Faverges;
ChĂąteau de Voltaire (Ferney-Voltaire)

This 🏰 castle and its gardens were once occupied by great thinker and writer Voltaire – a scientist of thought! / FB page and website;

address: allée du Chùteau, Ferney-Voltaire / tel: 04 50 40 53 21;
Chùteau de Voltaire © Pays de Gex
Musée de Préhistoire & Géologie (Sciez)

This is a museum dedicated to prehistory (you’ll find a collection explaining local and French prehistory, the evolution of man, with lots of objects to touch, reconstitutions, videos . . . ) and geology (with exhibition: Aventure de la Terre, formation des Alpes et zoom sur le Chablais) – more information here / lots of workshops over the school holidays / website and FB page / price: adults 4€ and children 3€ / parking: same car park as for Les Aigles du LĂ©man;

address: Musée de Préhistoire et Géologie, 207 route du Moulin de la GlaciÚre, 74140, Sciez;
Musée du Chablais (Thonon-les-Bains)

This museum was founded in 1863, with the helps of the brothers James and Louis Revon, naturalist in Geneva and conservateur du musĂ©e d’Annecy. Located originally in the l’hĂŽtel de ville, in 1953 the collection moved to the basement of the ChĂąteau de Sonnaz; you’ll find varied exhibitis: ” minĂ©raux, animaux naturalisĂ©s et objets archĂ©ologiques provenant des fouilles du port. ” / opening hours: 14h30 to 18h (SHUT Mondays and Tuesdays) / price: 2,55€ and free for under 11s (FREE first Sunday of the month) / website;

address: Musée du Chablais, 2 rue Michaud, Chùteau de Sonnaz, 74200, Thonon-les-Bains;
téléchargement
Musée du Chablais © Thonon-les-Bains
Géoparc du Chablais 

Named GĂ©opark mondial UNESCO in 2015 for its geology, exceptional scenery and patrimoines naturels et culturels / nearby you’ll find: MusĂ©e de PrĂ©histoire et GĂ©ologie, l’Abbaye Abondance and the Abbaye Aulps / website;

2019_carte_touristique_FR-2

© Géopark du Chablais
Galerie EurĂȘka (ChambĂ©ry)

At this family-friendly museum in Chambéry, there is a permanent exhibition, and also temporary ones! / FB page and website;

đŸ–ŒÂ current exhibitions:

  • đŸ–Œ Espace Montagne – this is the permanent exhibition / ” est un lieu ludique de dĂ©couvertes scientifiques. GrĂące Ă  de nombreuses expĂ©riences, manipulations, quiz, maquettes interactives et jeux, les visiteurs dĂ©couvrent le monde des sciences et des technologies dans un laboratoire naturel, la montagne. “;
  • đŸ–Œ EurĂȘka, la laboratoire d’ArchimĂšde – – a temporary exhibition, until 17th October 2021 / for children 7+ years / ” Dans le labo d’ArchimĂšde, de nombreux phĂ©nomĂšnes scientifiques sont Ă  dĂ©couvrir par l’expĂ©rimentation ! Tout comme des chercheurs, les visiteurs adoptent une dĂ©marche scientifique pour comprendre des phĂ©nomĂšnes du quotidien. Observer, avancer des hypothĂšses, tester pour tirer des conclusions ! GrĂące Ă  des maquettes ludiques et interactives, l’Ă©nergie, les forces et la lumiĂšre n’auront plus de secrets !  “
address: 50 rue de la République, 73000, Chambéry / tel: 04 79 60 04 25;

. . . and upcoming exhibitions:

  • đŸ–Œ Risque, osez l’expo ! – from 2nd October 2021 until 26th February 2022 / ” Quel est le point commun entre un enfant qui marche pour la premiĂšre fois, un amoureux qui dĂ©clare sa flamme et une entreprise qui innove ? C’est la prise de risque ! Mais attention, si la situation est mal Ă©valuĂ©e, les consĂ©quences peuvent ĂȘtre dommageables, pour soi ou pour les autres. Dans cette exposition, familiarisez-vous Ă  la culture du risque pour mieux vous laisser aller Ă  l’audace !
  • đŸ–Œ Petits monts & merveilles – from 23rd October 2021 until 26th February 2022 / ” T’es-tu dĂ©jĂ  promenĂ© en montagne ? Connais-tu des animaux et des plantes qui y vivent ? Peux-tu citer des mĂ©tiers exercĂ©s en montagne ? Sais-tu qu’il faut la protĂ©ger ? En route pour les cimes petit scientifique en herbe ! AprĂšs un voyage avec le « bus-EurĂȘka », explore, expĂ©rimente, et questionne-toi pour percer les secrets de la montagne et de ses habitants. “;
Aqualis – l’Ă©xperience lac (Aix-les-Bains)
Opened in 2019, Aqualis allows you to discover the Lac du Bourget in a modern museum, with workshops on offer, an escape game, guided visits, talks and more / FB page and website;
address: 52 esplanade Jean Murguet, Aix-les-Bains;
© Aqualis
Musée des Ours de la Caverne (Entremont-le-Vieux)

“ Le MusĂ©e de l’Ours des Cavernes invite le visiteur Ă  un voyage dans le temps, Ă  la dĂ©couverte d’un site, la Balme Ă  Collomb et d’une espĂšce disparue, l’ours des cavernes. Plongez dans une aventure scientifique et humaine hors du commun. Il y a plus de 25.000 ans, dans les entrailles calcaires du Granier, une grotte, connue aujourd’hui Ă  Entremont-le-Vieux sous le nom de “Balme Ă  Collomb”, accueillait d’étranges occupants de la prĂ©histoire
 Ursus Spelaeus ou les Ours des Cavernes. Aujourd’hui, grĂące Ă  la curiositĂ© de passionnĂ©s de spĂ©lĂ©ologie et la tĂ©nacitĂ© de spĂ©cialistes en palĂ©ontologie, la Chartreuse et la Savoie peuvent s’enorgueillir de possĂ©der l’un des plus grands et plus riches gisements d’ours des cavernes jamais dĂ©couvert ! ” / holiday workshops and events for children; see here / website and FB page;

address: MusĂ©e de l’Ours des Cavernes, Epernay, 73670, Entremont-le-Vieux; 
tel:  04 79 26 29 87;
© Musée des Ours des Cavernes
ESPACE ALU – MusĂ©e des Aluminium dans les Alpes (Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne)

A museum dedicated to telling the story of aluminium in the Alps . . . / website & FB page;

address: ESPACE ALU, Place de l'Eglise, 73140, Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne / tel: 04 79 56 69 59;
Musée des Confluences (Lyon)

Located at t🌊 confluence of the RhĂŽne and SaĂŽne rivers (and hence the name of the museum!), đŸ–Œ Le MusĂ©e des Confluences is immediately striking for its audacious modern architecture and its location on a presqu’üle (river peninsula)! The permanent exhibition in the museum tells the story of mankind and looks at the origin of man, different cultures and the future of mankind too (exhibits from the first telephones to Egyptian mummies), and looks at the sciences of: anthropology, paleontology, minerology, ethnography and more!

And then, there are also đŸ–Œ temporary exhibitions too:

đŸ–Œ temporary exhibitions:

  • đŸ–Œ « L’oiseau rare, de l’hirondelle au kakapo »;
  • đŸ–Œ « La Terre en hĂ©ritage, du NĂ©olithique Ă  nous »;
  • đŸ–Œ « Jusqu’au bout du monde, regards missionnaires »;
  • đŸ–Œ « Sur la piste des Sioux »;

[ ⇒ full list of exhibitions here ]

Planétarium de Vaulx en Velin (Vaulx en Velin, near LYON)

Built in 1995, the PlanĂ©tarium de Vaulx en Velin is dedicated to the study of astronomy and sciences of the universe / it is now the 9th most visited cultural establishment in the Lyon area! / FB page and website / price: 10€ and 8€ for children under 12 years/ good to know: FREE on the first Saturday of the month! / also good to know: near Mini-World Lyon and WeRide indoor bike circuit;

address: Place de la Nation, Vaulx-en-Velin (near Lyon);

SCIENCE MUSEUMS & ACTIVITIES in Switzerland

Musée des Sciences de la Terre: La Fondation TissiÚres (Martigny)

Located just off the main square in Martigny, this museum has some permanent exhibitions ( 💎 alpine minerals, crystals & geology; a reconstructed mine; marble from Valais – see here), as well as đŸ–ŒÂ temporary ones (current exhibition, extended until 13th October: đŸ“·Â SĂ©bastien Albert Monochrome rĂ©trospective) / website / 🗓 opening hours: Tuesday, Thursday and weekends 13h30 until 17h / price: adults CHF6, 11 to 18 year olds CHF3 and under 10s FREE!

address: avenue de la Gare 6, 1920, Martigny (same building as Office de Tourisme);
MusĂ©e d’Histoire des Sciences (Geneva)

This museum is located within the 🌳 Parc du Perle du Lac, next to Lac LĂ©man, and opposite the Botanical Gardens. It occupies the beautiful Neo-Classical Villa Bartholoni (from the 1830s), and hosts a collection of đŸ§«Â scientific apparatus belonging to scientists and researchers from the 17th to 19th centuries / good to know: ask for the đŸ—ș orienteering parcours leaflet for the park at the reception, and go explore! / 🗓 opening hours: 10h to 17h (shut Tuesday) / website / every two years, đŸ’«Â La Nuit de la Science takes place here;

address: Parc de La Perle du Lac, 128 rue de Lausanne 1202, Geneva, Switzerland / tel: 41 22 418 50 60;
© MusĂ©e d’Histoire des Sciences

🧬 current temporary exhibition: « Ecoute Voir », until 27th February 2022 / information about carnets de jeux and workshops here;

RTEmagicC_ecoutevoir980.jpg

Mercredis des Sciences workshops – Wednesdays at 15h / see here;

© MusĂ©e d’Histoire des Sciences
Muséum de GenÚve (Natural History Museum)

The fabulous 🩁 MusĂ©um de GenĂšve (Natural History Museum) is still one of our go-to rainy day options! / 🗓 opening hours: 10h to 17h every day (except Monday) / website / 🗓 good to know: on the first Sunday of the month, this museum’s temporary exhibitions are FREE! (next FREE Sunday will be Sunday 4th October, 2020!);

[ ⇒ see MBFF article for more details about the museum ]

address: 1 route de Malagnou, 1208, Geneva, Switzerland / tel: +41 (0) 22 418 63 00;
© Ville de GenÚve / Muséum GenÚve

đŸ–Œ current & upcoming exhibitions:

  • đŸ–Œ « Bouteille Ă  la mer 2120 – Te Ao MĂŁori » – until 23rd January 2022 / MBFF loved this exhibition and we highly recommend it;
  • đŸ–Œ « TrĂ©sors, 200 ans d’histoire naturelle Ă  GenĂšve »;
  • đŸ–Œ 2021’s NEW temporary exhibition: « Tout contre la Terre » – from 14th October 2021 ⇒ 6th November 2022 / ” une exposition qui aborde, sous l’angle des Ă©motions, le dĂ©rĂšglement climatique et l’Ă©rosion de la biodiversitĂ©. ” / more information here;

« Bouteille Ă  la mer 2120 – Te Ao MĂŁori » © Ville de GenĂšve / MusĂ©um GenĂšve
© Muséum GenÚve
Exploracentre (Geneva)

[ update 2021 – sadly, this super centre was affected by Covid, and it now only opens for private parties! A real shame, as we really enjoyed our visit there! ]

A new 🧬 children’s exhibition & interactive centre in Geneva, where the only rule is that it is “ FORBIDDEN to NOT TOUCH ”! / informative, “ludique”, for the whole family / 🌍 to learn about the world, science, how things work! / NEW EXHIBITION ” Fabriq’Expo “ / 🗓 opening hours: Wednesday to Saturday 10h to 18h, Sunday’s 13h to 18h / price: adults (+16 years): 15CHF; children (3 to 15 years): 10CHF and combination prices;

new address: chemin de la Graviùre 6, 1227, Geneva / website;​
Exploracentre © montblancfamilyfun.com
Musée du Léman & Aquarium (Nyon)

A museum dedicated to the history of Lac LĂ©man and an aquarium too! / đŸ–Œ new permanent exhibition: « Petite Nature? » (36 questions to decode the the secrets of the lake!) / 🗓 opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, April until October, 10h to 17h and November to March 14h to 17h / price: CHF8 and free for children under 16 years / CHF 7 per child (museum entrance free) / 🌈 super playground right next door and picnic spot! / website;

[ 🗓 good to know – FREE every first Sunday of the month; 1 x entrance = free access to the 🏛 MusĂ©e Romain and the 🏰 ChĂąteau de Nyon (valid 12 months) / 🎹 l’atelier CrĂ©a’lac – every 3rd Sunday of month, a workshop for children at 15h30 ]

address: quai Louis-Bonnard 8, 1260, Nyon, Switzerland / tel: +41 (0) 22 316 42 50;

đŸ–Œ temporary exhibitions: 

  • 🌊 Un Tsunami sur le LĂ©man – until 2022;
  • 🩱 Le lac du cygne : histoire d’un oiseau blanc sur le LĂ©man – until September 2022 / ” C’est l’histoire d’un oiseau blanc. Son Ă©lĂ©gance et sa beautĂ© font le bon plaisir des monarques et des artistes depuis des siĂšcles en Angleterre, en Allemagne ou en France. Du cĂŽtĂ© du LĂ©man, son passĂ© est plus rĂ©cent. C’est au dĂ©but du XIXe siĂšcle seulement qu’il fait son entrĂ©e Ă  GenĂšve. Mais en un rien de temps, il devient emblĂšme et ambassadeur de ce lac oĂč on l’aime tant. Avec ce mĂ©lange de rigueur scientifique et de fantaisie qui fait son succĂšs, le MusĂ©e du LĂ©man raconte l’histoire amoureuse et intime du cygne et de son lac. Il revient sur sa gloire, ses quelques dĂ©boires, les lois qui l’ont protĂ©gĂ©, les artistes qui l’ont cĂ©lĂ©brĂ©. Il compile les anecdotes, les souvenirs, les faits divers, tous ces fragments de son destin extraordinaire. “
Espace des Inventions (Lausanne)

This is a space for families and children to experience and experiment with science, technology and art, through its exhibitions / 🗓 opening hours: Wednesday to Saturday, 14h to 18h and Sunday and bank holidays, 10h to 18h / price: children CHF5, adults CHF7 / website;

đŸ–Œ current exhibition: « Tic-tac tectonique » – until Februarly 2022 / ” interactive, vibrant and stimulating . . . En attendant que la terre tremble . . . Quand la terre tremble, fascination et inquiĂ©tude surgissent de concert. Aussi imprĂ©dictibles que destructeurs, les tremblements de terre mĂ©ritent qu’on s’y intĂ©resse. Si on ne peut en effet empĂȘcher la survenue d’un sĂ©isme, on peut considĂ©rablement limiter les dĂ©gĂąts qu’il provoque en comprenant les mĂ©canismes en jeu et en construisant de façon adaptĂ©e. Dans un cheminement ludique qui suit une faille imaginaire, cette exposition vous propose ainsi de dĂ©mĂȘler les secrets de ces impressionnants Ă©vĂšnements d’origine gĂ©ologiques. ” – for 7+ years / FREE entry on first Saturday of month! / workshops for children . . . 

address: Vallée de la Jeunesse 1, 1007, Lausanne, Switzerland / tel: +41 (0)21 315 68 80 
© Espace des Inventions, Lausanne
Aquatis Aquarium & Vivarium in Lausanne 

We’ve not visited yet, but the new 🐟 Aquatis Aquarium & Vivarium in Lausanne has been open to the public since October 2017 / đŸ„— restaurant on-site: Piranha, with a view on the piranha pool! / 🗓 opening hours: November until March 10h to 18h, every day; April until October 9h to 19h, every day / price: CHF29, children (5 to 15) CHF19, under 5s FREE / see website for more details;

address: AQUATIS Aquarium-Vivarium,route de Berne 144, 1010, Lausanne, Switzerland / tel: +41 (0)21 654 23 23; 
© Aquarium Vivarium Aquatis Lausanne

[ ⇒ for more ideas for aquariums, see separate MBFF article Animal Parks & Aquariums au Pays du Mont-Blanc (and beyond) here ]


SCIENCE MUSEUMS & ACTIVITIES in ITALY

Forte di Bard: The Museum of the Alps & Children’s Museum – Le Alpi dei Ragazzi (Aosta Valley)

This 🏰 impressive fortess, which you may have driven past if heading up or down the Aosta Valley, was entirely renovated a few years back to accommodateđŸ–ŒÂ a cultural complex: temporary exhibition spaces, museums, accommodation and hospitality all together! The 🏰 Forte di Bard opened to visitors in 2006, and you can now make your way to the exhibitions and museums at the top of the fortress by way of a series of funiculaires; not only do you get art and culture, but adventure en-route! The views from the top are amazing and there is a lovely cafĂ©/restaurant. Among the other museums and temorary exhibitions in the complex, you have :

As well as regular, changing art exhibitions, every year the 🏰 Forte di Bard hosts the fabulousÂ đŸŠđŸ“·Â Wildlife Photographer of the Year from February until June / ⇒ see MBFF article for more information;

[ ⇒ for more details about the wonderful 🏰 Forte di Bard, or to plan a family visit, please see MBFF article or website ]

address: Forte di Bard, 1020, Bard (AO), Valle d’Aosta, Italy;
RTEmagicC_wildlife980.jpg
Wildlife Photographer of the Year © Muséum GenÚve

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