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Explore Focus Terra Museum – for Free!

Last Updated on September 21, 2023 by Darla Uhl

A discovery center of ETH Zurich, Focus Terra focuses on earth and science. In the heart of Zurich, this contemporary science museum is operated by ETH’s Department of Earth Sciences (Departement Erdwissenschaften in German). Located near Zurich’s universities and schools, it is easily accessible from Zurich’s train station. 

Image of Focus Terra by

A huge advantage of this museum is that it is free and open to everyone. There are several interactive exhibits here that will keep you busy for several hours, depending on how much fun you have or how much information you desire.

Focus Terra: What to Expect

Through Focus Terra, we can see our natural environment and our man-made environment.

In a similar way to other natural history museums or Technorama, the museum is designed to educate adults as well as children. It aims to help visitors understand the Earth and the natural sciences, how to build a prosperous future, and the need for a healthy planet. 

It was a fascinating place to learn about the earth, the natural environment, man-made waste, and volcanoes. An excellent mineral collection can be found at this free museum. A temporary exhibit was also on display on the ground floor.

A simulator for earthquakes is available. In spite of not having the chance to try it, it seems very intriguing. If you’re really interested in trying out the earthquake simulator, you should know about the schedule before you visit. Furthermore, in order to see the earthquake simulator, you must participate in a one-hour guided tour. If you would like more information, you can visit the website.

Temporary Exhibits at Focus Terra

Image of the Wave Temporary Exhibit by

The museum also has temporary exhibits. During our visit, they had a wave exhibit with several interactive stations that taught us about water waves, sound waves, light waves, and more. 

Whether Focus Terra will be very interesting or just mildly interesting depends on the temporary exhibit. As it turned out, we spent almost 75% of our time in the temporary exhibit rather than the permanent one. As our kids were extremely interested in waves, we happily spent the whole morning there.

How to Get to Focus Terra

AddressSonneggstrasse 5
8006 Zürich
TramETH/Universitätsspital (2-minute walk)
BusHaldenbach (5-minute walk)
FunicularPolyterrasse ETH (3-minute walk)

Final Thoughts: Visiting Focus Terra

Focus Terra is free and fun, so I highly recommend you check it out if you are in the area. Even though the materials are in German, you will be able to understand what they mean. Furthermore, you’ll gain a lot of knowledge along the way.

Also, Focus Terra is a worthwhile excursion for kids of all ages. Despite the fact that lots of university students come here to study, getting in is never a problem. It is also a convenient option for rainy days or inclement weather.

I truly think Focus Terra is worth a visit as a free museum in Zurich.

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Darla Uhl is the owner of 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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