Back in March we headed down to Geneva to attend the very large and popular Geneva Auto Show. We decided to stay slightly out of town, since the auto show is so popular and a lot of the hotels were booked and it was bound to be crowded! Instead we stayed in Lausanne, which is just around the lake from Geneva, and is quite a nice city on it’s own. I was very excited when I found out that Lausanne is the home of the International Olympic Committee as well as the Olympic Museum!
I have always loved watching the Olympics from the opening ceremonies to the games themselves, and learning about the history of the games from ancient times. I was even lucky enough to attend the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996 with my family, where we saw gymnastics (twice!), horse jumping, track and field and a few other events. My husband thinks it’s cheesy, but I just love watching the opening ceremonies to see what they come up with and smiling like crazy when the athletes march in carrying their country flags! Needless to say, when I found out we were staying within walking distance to the museum, I just knew we had to go!
If you enter from the front you are greeted with a majestic fountain and green gardens. This is the lake side of the building so you also have a great view of the lake while strolling through the sculpture garden that leads up to the museum. If you enter from the back, like we did (oops), you will walk down a drive that looks like a track, with Olympic themed signs along the way and gardens as well, but without the lake view.
The sculpture garden is a really nice addition to the museum and gives you something to do if you arrive too early, or it’s a nice day out and you just want to stroll! After, head into the museum on the first floor and buy your tickets.
The museum is organized so you start at the top and work your way down. The top floor is all about the history of the games, starting with the ancient Greeks and going through time to the re-establishment of the games in modern times. There’s some really interesting tidbits of history in here, if you like history!
One really cool section in this area is the line up of Olympic torches through the years! You can see how they changed over time, and read about the ceremony and pageantry that goes into lighting the Olympic flame.
They also have a section about the opening ceremonies, with videos from past ceremonies and actual costumes worn during them!
Even if your kid isn’t “into” the Olympics, there are plenty of hands on activities to keep them interested in the museum. Especially if you have a younger kid who likes pushing buttons! Pictured here is the interactive history exhibit. There was also a “what would you do” quiz area on the next floor to test your knowledge on the rules of the Olympics.
On the next floor you can try your hand at various activities to challenge your abilities like an Olympian! You can try the coordination game, test your reflexes and try your hand at (video game) archery.
You can also test out your balancing skills!
In a third section of the museum you will learn about the Olympians and individual sports themselves, including paraphernalia from past games! They had many different sports represented such as this water polo game ball, Kerri Strug’s leotard, skis worn by competitors and much more!
Last but not least, you can check out all the medal designs from the games over the years and then pose on the winner’s podium at the exit! I forgot to mention before, but be sure to check out the special exhibit on the top floor before going into the main section of the museum, otherwise you will have to go back up after you exit! The current special exhibit is about Brazil. There is also a cafe with a view of the lake, although we didn’t eat there so I’m not sure if it’s good or not!
The Olympic Museum is open from 9am-6pm (May 1 – Oct 14) and 10am-6pm (Oct 15 – April 30). Cost: CHF 18/Adults and CHF 10/kids (under 6 free!) More information can be found on their website.