Whether you’ve been living in Düsseldorf for the last couple years, or you’ve just arrived, you’ve probably heard of the Neanderthal Museum. You also probably added it to your bucket list of things to do in the city and then completely forgot to act on it.
If you’re anything like me, you might have typed into Google “what to do on a rainy day in Düsseldorf” and came up with a post similar to “10 Things to Do on Rainy Days in Düsseldorf”. Of course, the Neanderthal Museum is on that list, why wouldn’t it be?
Whether you’re a kid or just a kid at heart, the Neanderthal Museum is an incredible and interactive museum that takes you through the history of human evolution. Entrance tickets cost 9 Euro (of course, always subject to change) and you’ll spend a good portion of your day exploring the numerous levels of exhibitions.
While I could go into detail about the fascinating stories of human evolution, you don’t want to read about it. It’s one thing to read a blog about human evolution, it’s another thing to dive into the history and immerse yourself in it – I’m talking life size replicas of Neanderthal’s dating back millions of years and interactive audio guides that tell the tale like a bedtime story.
So instead, I’ll give you a few reasons why it might be worth visiting the Neanderthal Museum.
160 years ago, the first recognized Neanderthal was found exactly where the museum stands today
When I had originally heard about the Neanderthal Museum, I thought “cool, I’ll definitely have to check it out one day”. However, when I found out that the exact location where the museum stands today was where they found the first recognized Neanderthal 160 years ago… that was next level cool.
Known as the Neanderthal 1, the findings of these 40,000-year-old fossils were discovered in a small cave in the Neanderthal Valley in August of 1856. Two Italian workers were mining limestone in the valley when they discovered the bones of what the cave owner had said to have been the bones of a bear. On September 4, 1856, the real findings of human bones were published in the Barmer local Journal and the Elberfeld newspaper.
It’s a 16-minute train ride from Düsseldorf HBF to the Neanderthal Museum
It’s actually faster to take the train than it is to drive your car. The Neanderthal Museum is in the heart of nature, yet is still just a short 16-minute ride by train from Düsseldorf’s Main Train Station.
Don’t let the distance on the map deceive you, hop on the S28, get off at Stadtwald S. It is a 6-minute walk by foot to the main entrance of the Neanderthal Museum.
The forests surrounding the Neanderthal Museum are incredible
The last few years I’ve been exploring Grafenberg and Aaper Wald as far and wide as possible to find some magic in the Düsseldorf forests. To my surprise, the Neanderthal Valley is so close that I’ve now planned a few trips back just to hike the trails around the museum.
The Neanderthal Museum has actually incorporated part of the exhibition into the forest so that visitors can explore the discovery site on their own. While the cave where the remains were discovered has been destroyed due to quarry work, the Neanderthal Museum has created an interactive audio guide that will take you through the history of the valley and allow you to paint a picture of what the Feldhofer Cave might have looked like back then.
It’s a cheap and affordable option to exploring Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf isn’t the cheapest city to explore. If you spend a day hanging out in the Altstadt, drinking expensive cocktails by the Kasematten, embracing the panoramic views of the Rheinturm and hopping on a boat tour of the Medienhafen, it can all add up rather quickly. However, if you spend a few Euro on a train and 9 Euro on an entrance ticket to the Neanderthal Museum, you’ll have an entire day filled with excitement and discovery.
It’s all in English!
Oh yeah, how could I forget? The Neanderthal Museum offers audio guides in German and English. They have also translated all German text into English on the information boards throughout the museum.
What do you think? Have I convinced you to head out of the city center and explore more of what this wonderful city has to offer?
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