Jump on bus number 2 at Slussen and take the kids to the Toy Museum (Leksaksmuseet) on Södermalm island. Here we’re talking Meccano (remember it), Lego, Barbie (and maybe even Ken), Playmobil, a children’s theatre, the Mickey Mouseum, steam engines, model railways and more. You might just enjoy this more than the kids.
Next door, but sharing the same entrance is the Stockholm Transport Museum (Spårvägsmuseet). Here you can explore Stockholm’s public transport system past, present and future, drive an underground train, ride an old tram, be a train guard (for the kids that is) and experience all things trains, trams, underground trains and buses.
The Swedish Museum of Natural History houses the worlds’ only stuffed blue whale. You ask why. We say bring the kids to this monumental baroque-style building out by Stockholm University and see it and all the other stuffed and unstuffed wonders. Also book your tickets for Cosmonova, a giant dome-shaped screen where you can experience digital 3-D film titles such as Sea Monsters, Born to be Wild and Discover the Universe. The exhibitions here are immersive and hands-on; look out for ‘Marvels of the human body’, ‘Climate Earth’ and ‘Swedish Nature’.
Skansen on the island of Djurgården is the world’s largest open-air museum and over 150 buildings were brought here from all over Sweden to bring it to life. It is a living, working, functional Sweden of yesteryear with glass foundries, a bakery, farms, a Sami village, a town centre, shops etc. It also has a zoo, an aquarium, a children’s zoo and old-style amusement park. Skansen is worth a day of your time. We think your kids will agree.
Also on the island of Djurgården is the unbeatable Vasa Museum, home to the world’s only complete 17th century ship. Next door to the Vasa is Junibacken, not a museum, but enjoyable homage to the characters of Astrid Lindgrens’s books. For Viking history visit Birka on the island of Björkö. Back in town, at Södermalmstorg visit Stockholm Stadsmuseum for its Torget the ‘Square’ exhibition for children.
Universeum at Södra Vägen in Gothenburg is a blast. This science/learning centre spreads out across seven floors and seven exhibitions: Dangerous Beauties, Job Land, the Rain Forest, the Ocean Zone, Water's way, Kaleido and Explora. The exhibitions are hands-on and the kids get to experiment, climb inside a spaceship and immerse themselves in the zones. For the ‘wow’ factor visit the Ocean Zone, the Rainforest and Water's way first. For a stonking day out and answers to questions like ‘Mum, Dad, what’s the difference between a frog and a toad,’ visit Universeum with your kids.
For ‘ship ahoy’ fun and learning go to the Gothenburg Maritime Adventure Centre at Packhuskajen (quay). This is an armada of 20 museum vessels including a U-boat, destroyers, minelayers and fireboats. Plenty of interactive and other maritime activities here.
Other children’s museums in Gothenburg include; Aeroseum, Museum of World Culture, the Gothenburg Natural History Museum and Göteborg City Museum.
Malmöhus Castle (Malmöhus Slott) houses several of the city’s big museums, including the Art Museum, the City Museum and the Natural History Museum. All housed in a ‘citadel’ like set of buildings, complete with moat. The umbrella organization Malmö’s Museums also incorporates the ‘Technology and Maritime House’ and several other museums dotted in and around the city.
Of all the museums here the Museum of Natural History is the most child-friendly and here you are presented with a collection of life-like stuffed animals, birds and geological specimens (not stuffed). The highlight of a visit here for kids would be the ‘nocturnal’ with exotic amphibians for example, and the brilliant aquarium with coral reefs and tropical fish.
Check the museum web sites mentioned here for opening times and entrance fees.