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10 Best Free Museums and Parks in Zurich

Last Updated on December 7, 2023 by Admin

Did you know that you can visit museums and parks in Zurich for free? Well, here is a list of museums and parks in Zurich that are free to visit. Most of the museums offer free admission every day, except for one museum that allows free admission on a limited basis each week. If you would like to discover more about animals, plants, and more without spending much money, then you’ve come to the right place.

In no particular order, here is a list of all of Zurich’s free museums and parks and the surrounding areas. Enjoy this list!

1.Zoological Museumof the University of Zurich

Image of Animals inside the Zoological Museum of the University of Zurich by TouringSwitzerland.com

One can understand why the Zoological Museum of the University of Zurich is one of the most frequently visited museums in the city. The museum is not only home to more than 1,500 animals, but it is also free to visit. By discovering and educating ourselves more about our natural world, we are able to appreciate it more. 

The Zoological Museum was founded in 1833, the same year as the University of Zurich. It is maintained by some 30 employees, and it receives about 140,000 visitors a year.

You can see native animals on the ground floor. On the basement level, you will find animals from all over the world.  There are some marine saurians and fishes from Monte San Giorgio, a fossil and reconstruction of a Swiss dinosaur.

If you would like to read more about the Zoological Museum, you can check out this article: A Free Visit to the Zoological Museum Zurich.

The museum also features two to three temporary exhibits a year. Workshops and guided tours (in German) are available every Sunday. 

You can reach Zoological Museumby taking tram lines 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 to ETH/Universitätsspital.


2. Paleontological Museum of the University of Zurich

Image of the Paleontological Museum of the University of Zurich by TouringSwitzerland.com

Close to the University of Zurich and the University Hospital of Zürich is the Paleontological MuseumAdmission is always free, except for Mondays when it’s closed. Guided group tours are also available, but this one does not come for free.

A collection of marine reptiles and fish from the middle Triassic period is housed at the Paleontological Museum of the University of Zurich. The Triassic period was approximately 235 to 245 million years ago. 

The museum’s core collection consists of both these ancient fossils, as well as fossils discovered on Monte San Giorgio in the Lugano Prealps. In 2003, UNESCO designated Monte San Giorgio as a World Heritage Site because it contains the best-known records of marine life in the Middle Triassic period, along with evidence of fossil invertebrates and dinosaurs. 

If you would like to read more about the Paleontological Museum, you can check out this article: A Free Visit to the Paleontological Museum Zurich.

Moreover, the Paleontological Museum houses the fossil collection of Johann Jakob Scheuchzer, a national scientist from Zurich.

You can reach the Paleontological Museum of Zurich by taking tram lines 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 to ETH/Universitätsspital.


3. Anthropological Museumof the University of Zurich

Image of the Homo neanderthalensis from Wikimedia

An interesting museum that you can visit in Zurich for free is the Anthropological Museum. “Traces of Our Ancestors” displays various human species from the past 3.5 million years – our modern-day ancestors. Among them are the Australopithecus afarensis, Australopithecus sediba, the Homo erectus, and the Homo neanderthalensis. 

The museum is open daily from noon until 5:00 PM. The entrance is free.

You can reach theAnthropological Museum by taking tram lines 5, 6, 8, 9, 10 to Universität Irchel. It is a 4 to 5-minute walk from there through Irchel Park.


4.Langenberg Wildlife Park

Image of Bears at Wildnispark Zurich Langenberg by TouringSwitzerland.com

Though not entirely within Zurich city limits, the Wildnispark Zurich Langenberg is worth visiting. Admission is free at Wildnispark Zurich Langenberg. The eastern part of the animal park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The western section of the park is open from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

If you would like to read more about Wildnispark Zurich Langenberg, you can check out Wildnispark Zürich Langenberg: What’s It Like?

Wild animals at Langenberg Wildlife Park are kept in enclosures that closely resemble their natural habitat so they can live as close as possible to their natural environment. Langenberg is home to 19 mammals, including the European brown bear, the European moose, the Eurasian lynx, the Red fox, the Alpine marmot, the Fallow deer, and more. 

You can reach the Wildnispark Zurich Langenberg by taking the bus line 240 to Langnau a.A., Schwerzi Wildpark.


5. Ethnographic Museum of the University of Zurich

Image of the Ethnographic Museum from Wikimedia

Near Talstrasse and Pelikanstrasse in the Old Botanical Garden, you will find the Ethnographic Museum. The museum offers a fascinating look at how people lived in the past and around the world through free exhibits of ethnographic objects. Museum admission is free every day except for Mondays when it is closed.

Studying ethnography is studying anthropology and culture. Thus, you will consider cultural and social phenomena, materials, behavior, as well as technical skills. Cultural heritage is preserved and explored in the museum. 

The museum’s collections include Indian cult objects from the Americas, ceramics from China and Japan, sculptures from the polar regions, Balinese and Sumatran collections, religious objects from the Himalayas, and many more.

You can reach the Ethnographic Museum of the University of Zurich by taking tram lines 2 or 9 to Sihlstrasse.


6. focusTerra – Earth and Science Discovery Center of ETH Zurich

Image of Focus Terra by TouringSwitzerland.com

Another free museum to visit in Zurich is the Earth and Science Discovery Center of the ETH Zurich. This museum, also referred to as focusTerra, focuses on the geology of the planet. It shows, for instance, how earthquakes are triggered, what volcanoes are, and how the Alps were formed. Period archives complement various media sources.

If you want to read more about focusTerra, you can check out our article Explore Focus Terra Museum – for Free!

The permanent exhibitions include:

  • Archives of the earth – rocks, glaciations, river deposits, fossils, climate changes, landscape of Zurich
  • Treasures of the earth – crystals, minerals, gemstones
  • Dynamics of the earth – solar system, earth, moon, meteorites, plate tectonics, volcanoes, mountains
  • Reliefs
  • Media Stations – climate change, earthquakes, energy sources, mineral sources

You can reach focusTerra by taking tram lines 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 to ETH/Universitätsspital.


7.Zurich Succulent Plant Collection

Image of Zurich Succulent Plants by TouringSwitzerland.com

TheZurich Succulent Plant Collection or Sukkulenten-Sammlung Zurich is open to the public for free and fascinating to see, despite its size. You will find theZurich Succulent Plant Collection, one of Switzerland’s finest succulent collections, along the Mythenquai near the lake of Zurich.

If you would like to read more about the Zurich Succulent Plant Collection, you can check out Here’s a look at the Zurich Succulent Plant Collection.

Zurich Succulent Plant Collection contains more than 4,500 species from 78 plant families. These plants are native to dry areas and are able to store water for a long time. Besides cacti, it also includes agaves, aloes, and thick-leaf plants. Since 1931, it has been one of the largest and most important succulent collections in Switzerland. 

You can reach theZurich Succulent Plant Collection by taking bus lines 161 or 165 to Sukkulentensammlung.


8. Kunsthaus Zurich

Image of a Claude Monet Painting, Kunsthaus Zurich by TouringSwitzerland.com

Unlike all the other museums and parks on this list, Kunsthaus Zurich is not always free. Free admission only takes place every Wednesday for everyone. Otherwise, children until 16 years old can come for free, as well as selected students, ICOM, and KulturLegi members.

Kunsthaus Zurich is Switzerland’s largest art museum. In my opinion, it is also the best one in the country.

If you would like to learn more about Kunsthaus Zurich, you can check out Kunsthaus Zurich – Is It Worth Visiting?

The art museum in the heart of Zurich features works by well-known artists. You can see works by Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, and Andy Warhol at this art museum. You can also find temporary exhibits and children’s workshops here. 

You can reach Kunsthaus Zurich by taking tram lines 3, 5, 8, 9, and 11 or bus lines 31 and 33 to Kunsthaus.


9. Botanical Garden Zurich

Image of the Botanical Garden from Wikipedia

The Botanical Garden is another free activity you can do in Zurich. The 5.6 hectares of gardens here showcase the Mediterranean and Alpine plants. The grounds feature large trees, meadows, greenhouses, ponds, a herb garden, a crop garden, and a shaded terrace. It’s an excellent activity in Zurich. The best part is that it is completely free.

The Botanical Garden is home to more than 7,000 species of plants. 

You can reach the Botanical Garden of Zurich by taking the bus line 77 to Botanischer Garten.


10. Graphics Collection Museum of ETH Zurich

Image of the Graphics Collection Museum from Wikimedia

Within the main building of ETH is theGraphics Collection Museum, which has been around since 1867. You can visit it for free every day from 10:00 AM to 4:45 PM. Though it was initially intended for students, it is now available to the general public. 

Over the years, the collection has grown steadily in size. Currently, around 160,000 artworks on paper from the 15th century to the present can be found inside. View works by Rembrandt, Francisco de Goya, and Andy Warhol, as well as other national artists here.

You can reach Graphics Collectionby taking tram lines 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 to ETH/Universitätsspital.


Summary: 10 Best Free Museums and Parks in Zurich

We hope you enjoyed our list of free museums and parks in Zurich. As a quick recap, here is the list:

  1. Zoological Museum of the University of Zurich
  2. Paleontological Museum of the University of Zurich
  3. Anthropological Museum of the University of Zurich
  4. Langenberg Wildlife Park
  5. Ethnographic Museum of the University of Zurich
  6. focusTerra – Earth and Science Discovery Center of ETH Zurich
  7. Zurich Succulent Plant Collection
  8. Kunsthaus Zurich (Wednesdays only!)
  9. Botanical Garden Zurich
  10. Graphics Collection Museum of ETH Zurich

More Free Museums in Zurich

Listed below are some more free museums in Zurich that have not been mentioned above.

MuseumDescriptionAddress
Atelier Hermann HallerAtelier of the sculptor Hermann HallerHöschgasse 8a
8008 Zürich
Atelier Righini FriesExhibits and events presenting the artistic and written legacy of the Righini-Fries artist dynasty, in particular Sigismund Righini (1870–1937), Willy Fries (1881–1965), and Hanny Fries (1918–2009).Klosbachstrasse 150
8032 Zürich
Ethnographic Museum at the University of ZurichChanging exhibitions about different cultures from around the world in a social anthropology science museumPelikanstrasse 40
8001 Zürich
FCZ MuseumMuseum about the FCZ Football (Soccer) Club. Donations are welcome.Werdstrasse 21
8004 Zürich
Friedhof ForumA non-denominational information center that offers a contemporary discussion regarding a person’s last journeyAemtlerstrasse 149
8003 Zürich
HelmhausContemporary works mainly by Swiss artists or artists who lived in SwitzerlandLimmatquai 31
8001 Zürich
Kunsthalle Zürich*International contemporary art. Free only on Thursdays starting at 5:00 PM.Limmatstrasse 270
8005 Zürich
Luma WestbauLuma Foundation exhibitions of contemporary international art.Limmatstrasse 270
8005 Zürich
Money MuseumMuseum to help develop a deeper understanding of money and increase public awareness of economic and social trendsHadlaubstrasse 106
8006 Zürich
MoulagenmuseumA teaching collection for medical studentsHaldenbachstrasse 14
8091 Zürich
Science Pavilion UZHUZH’s Science Pavilion has a variety of exhibits and projects related to science, nature, and researchUniversität Zürich Campus Irchel
Winterthurerstrasse 190
8057 Zürich
Thomas Mann ArchiveArchives about the life of the German writer and 1929 Nobel Prize in Literature laureate Thomas MannETH Zürich
Rämistrasse 101
8092 Zürich
University of Zurich – Archaeological CollectionAntique art and sculpture from the Mediterranean and the Far EastRämistrasse 73
8006 Zürich
List of Free Museums in Zurich

It is free to enter all museums except Kunsthalle Zürich, which is only free on Thursdays starting at 5:00 PM.

We hope that you found our article useful and that you were able to find a free museum in Zurich that interests you. As always, please verify the website’s opening hours before your visit. Have a wonderful time visiting the museums!

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Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.

Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.

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