Whilst on holiday it’s great to go and see landmarks of course, and also to really get into the culture of the place you’re visiting, but sometimes it’s also nice to relax and just go to a more conventional attraction, such as a museum or amusement park. On my trip to Cologne, aside from the churches and spectacular historical sights, there were two fun day trips that really stood out, and were perhaps more relaxed. While it might have been possible to find similar attractions at home, these two days actually thoroughly impressed me, much more than I was expecting.
On arriving in the city, we headed towards the Cologne Chocolate Museum, and as soon as we walked in were greeted with a view of various exquisite chocolate cakes, really getting you in the mood for the day ahead. Entering the museum, we were then given a little square of chocolate each with our tickets, which was a nice touch. There were various exhibits, like any museum, about the growing, making and history of chocolate, but what was best were the interactive exhibits which included games on touchscreens, and a walkthrough rainforest room which featured some of the tropical plants used in the making of chocolate products. The real triumph of the museum though, was the central room, which featured a collection of machines used in the making of chocolate, some of which were working so that you could see the process in action, and it was a fun insight into where our chocolate products all come from. At the end of this room there was even a woman handing out tasters of chocolate fondue, for those like me who couldn’t handle watching the chocolate being made and not having any to eat! On the way out of the museum, the gift shop did not disappoint, with hundreds of brands of chocolate, including the biggest selection of Lindt chocolate I’ve ever seen, with flavours and products I never knew existed.
Later on my trip, we decided to spend a day at Cologne Zoo, which I’d heard in the past was supposed to be very good, and it certainly lived up to its reputation. There was a very wide range of animals around the park, which was quite big, though it has a surprisingly underwhelming appearance from the outside, including such exotic animals as anteaters and orang-utans, as well as traditional farm animals. What really impressed me most though, was the design of the enclosures. Unlike many zoos, particularly those in the UK, the enclosures were designed so as to not restrict the guest’s view of the animals. Rather than just building fences up around the animals’ enclosures, there were cleverly placed platforms which allowed you to look over from above, and troughs forming a moat around the enclosures so that lower fences could be used. This meant that as a guest you felt closer to the animals and more like you were seeing them in their natural habitat. The zoo also offered a wide variety of shows and feeding times, including a Hippo feeding which I’d never heard done before, so that guests can get as much out of that day as possible.
Both of these attractions are bound to make an impact and are just so well put together, so if you’re in Cologne any time soon, don’t forget to save some time for these great days out, as they are as fun and enjoyable as the Cathedral is spectacular and should certainly not be missed.
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