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Spielzeug Welten (Toy Worlds) Museum Basel Review

Last Updated on April 4, 2024 by Admin

The Toy Worlds Museum Basel, also known as Spielzeug Welten Museum in German, is in the heart of Basel, close to Barfüsserplatz and the city’s shopping areas. It’s among the biggest toy museums in Europe, with four different floors showcasing teddy bears, dollhouses, miniatures, playhouses, and lots more.

Image of the Bears in Spielwelten Museum Basel by TouringSwitzerland.com

We’ve visited here twice, and our second time was way better than the first, thanks to the changes they’ve made in the meantime. The following is an overview and my honest review of the Spielzeug Welten Museum Basel, trying to be as objective as possible. 

Overview of Spielzeug Welten Museum Basel

The Spielzeug Welten Museum is situated in a multi-story, unassuming pale yellow building in the city center. Stepping inside feels like entering a massive toy store, where you’ll find toys from centuries past, including thousands of teddy bears and detailed dollhouses, all expertly showcased.

MY TIP: For the best time at the Spielzeug Welten Museum Basel, especially if you’re bringing young kids, make sure to request the tablet. You can have a blast with the virtual reality interactions with the toys using the given tablet.


Spielzeug Welten Museum Highlights

Virtual Toyland

Image of the Tablet in Spielwelten Museum Basel by TouringSwitzerland.com

At the entrance, the museum staff can give you a tablet to carry around. It comes with a lanyard to keep it secure on your body, so it won’t fall off.

With this tablet, children can point to different parts of the museum and make the teddy bears come to life and start talking or the Zeppelin flying. It’s a fantastic way to blend the fun of virtual reality with toys.

Using the tablet while walking around Spielzeug Welten is an enjoyable activity for kids as young as 3 years old, and even up to secondary school age. Just be aware that the tablets can be a bit heavy. It would be nice if they could replace them later with something lighter.

Spielzeug Welten Museum’s Permanent Exhibit

Image of the Permanent Exhibit, Spielwelten Museum Basel by TouringSwitzerland.com

The museum has lots of toys, especially dollhouses that are well-made. While young kids might not get how special they are, grown-ups can see the hard work put into making them. I found the small details in the dollhouses pretty neat. I bet anyone who enjoyed playing with dollhouses as a kid would think so too.

  • Teddy Bears: The museum has lots of teddy bears, especially from the famous brand Steiff. Some of these teddy bears seem to come alive when you point a tablet at them.
  • Carnival: Protected behind glass is an animated carnival display that you can set in motion by pressing a button.
  • Dollhouses: These tiny houses grabbed my attention at the museum. They’re so well-made, with little people and lots of details. I noticed they show scenes from old European towns with busy markets and shops. If you look closely at the market, you’ll see tiny shoppers and sellers, plus tiny food like cheese, sausages, and fruits. There are even small dogs and people of all ages.

Carnival in Motion

Image of the Carnival in Motion, Spielwelten Museum Basel by TouringSwitzerland.com

This interactive and fun animated carnival protected by glass is fun to watch. All you need to do is to press a button. After pressing the button, the carnival rides come to life, moving up, down, and around. It’s fascinating and well-crafted.

Temporary Exhibit

The museum has a special area for temporary exhibits that last for several months. When we visited last month, they were getting ready for the new one about women in the toy industry. Previous exhibits include Globi (a famous cartoon character), Santa, and Steiff toys.

If you want to find out about the exhibitions they offer, just check out their website: https://www.spielzeug-welten-museum-basel.ch/en/exhibitions.html.


Our Experience – An Honest Review

Image of a Dollhouse, Spielwelten Museum Basel by TouringSwitzerland.com

The best part for my children was using the tablet and watching the animations. For me, I truly enjoyed seeing all the tiny details in the dollhouses, like the ones in the picture above.

I have visited this museum twice, and I liked it enough both times. Especially the first time, it felt more like looking at an art museum than a toy museum because you can mostly only observe instead of interact and touch and play. However, with the addition of the virtual reality tablet, you can at least interact more with the displays and watch animations instead of just simply looking.

I also really liked the intricate details of all the dollhouses and miniature shops and shopkeepers and produce, but it does remind me of an art exhibit showing vintage work instead of a toy museum.

What I did not like was how it was not as interactive as other museums such as Technorama where almost all exhibits have an interactive element, and you can spend the whole day there. Even other natural history museums and Verkehrshaus have more items to interact with for children (quizzes, things to touch and play with).

But I do believe it’s worth a visit. The displays and the effort put into making all these toys, dollhouses, and even the carnival are truly fascinating and delightful to see.


Spielzeug Welten Museum Information

Image of the Bears in Spielwelten Museum Basel by TouringSwitzerland.com
Opening Hours– Tuesday to Sunday: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
– Open daily in December except December 25 and December 26
– Closed on January 1 (New Year), Labor Day (May 1), and August 1 (National Day)
Guided Tours– 60-minute guided tour available during the first Saturday of the month at 2:00 PM. It is available at no extra cost on top of the entrance fee.
Ticket Prices– Adults – CHF 7
– Children until 16 years old – Free
– Discounts for seniors and persons with disabilities – CHF 5
– Free entrance with Museumspass and Raiffeisen MemberPlus

How to Get to Spielzeug Welten Museum

The address of Spielzeug Welten Museum is:

Steinenvorstadt 1

4051 Basel

Traveling By Car

These are the following parking lots available near the museum:

Parking GarageAddressWalking Time to Museum
Elisabethen ParkingSteinentorberg 5, 4051 Basel6 minutes
Steinen ParkingSteinenschanze 5, 4051 Basel6 minutes
Centralbahn ParkingGartenstrasse 150, 4052 Basel15 minutes

Traveling By Tram / Bus

Traveling by Tram or Bus to Spielzeug Welten Museum is easy. You will have several options:

Tram:Basel, Barfüsserplatz – Trams 1, 3, 6, 8, 11, 16
Train:Basel SBB (12-minute walk)

Final Thoughts: Spielzeug Welten Museum

Overall, I had a good time during each visit to the Spielzeug Welten Museum. Although the virtual reality tablet made it more interactive, I still think that it’s more about looking than touching. Still, the beautiful dollhouses and fluffy teddy bears are always nice to look at.

Even though it’s not super interactive like Technorama or Verkehrshaus, I find the museum is still fantastic. You can expect to spend about 1.5 to 2.5 hours here, depending on how fast you go. It’s fun for everyone, and if you’re into toys and history, you’ll love it.

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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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