Toys have a long tradition in Nuremberg: the first doll maker was mentioned in the city's tax books as early as 1,400. At that time, the so-called Docken, small figures made of plaster or alabaster, went on long journeys as "Nuremberg trinkets" along the trade routes of the free imperial city all over the world.
Discover historical and modern toys on four floors
Today, the docks, together with other historical toys such as pewter figures or traditional wooden toys from the 18th century, form the core collection of the Nuremberg Toy Museum. But there is also plenty for fans of Lego, Barbie and Co. to discover in the museum, a patrician house from the 16th century. On a total of four floors, visitors can immerse themselves in the world of toys and learn interesting, amusing and sometimes even thought-provoking facts about children's worlds of the past and future.
Historical model railway with 175 metres of track
A special highlight of the Nuremberg Toy Museum: the model railway layout on the third floor. It shows in detail the legendary "Omaha Union Station" of the 1940s in the US state of Nebraska as well as the rail network of the surrounding area. The railway layout, restored in 2016 as a hobby project entirely from leftovers, is typical of the homemade "emergency toys" of the post-war period. You can't get enough of the more than 300 wooden figures, individually carved by hand, and the lovingly painted locomotives made of plywood, which are almost indistinguishable from the metal trains from the construction kit and are powered by windscreen wiper motors. If you want to see the train in action on the 175 metres of miniature tracks, it's best to come by on the last Saturday of every month - or make an appointment with the museum for a special demonstration.
The permanent exhibition "In the beginning there was wood" presents the world and development history of toys on three floors: from dolls and play figures on the ground floor to technical innovations in the toy world in the context of industrialisation on the second floor to the assembly line-produced toy abundance after 1945 on the third floor. In addition, changing special exhibitions deal in particular with the culture of play. Why do we play? With whom? Where, when and how? And above all: where is the journey heading in the digital age?
After looking at so many toys, some people naturally get itchy fingers. Especially the children now want to play themselves! In the children's area "Kids on Top" on the top floor of the museum, children can therefore tinker and play to their heart's content, experiment with various construction kits or let off steam at the table football. From the beginning of April to the end of October, historical playground equipment from great-grandmother's time can be explored in the enclosed garden playground.
On warm days, the café in the Toy Museum is a great place to take a short break in the museum's secluded courtyard. With coffee and homemade cake, small delicacies and cool drinks in the shade of the museum building's historic dock gallery, you can watch the trains of the LGB garden railway layout making their miniature rounds here. For less warm or hungrier days, we recommend a visit to the Trödelstuben, just 150 metres from the Toy Museum. On the island by the Schleifersteg, enjoy Franconian and international cuisine by the warm tiled stove in the inn dating from 1890.
How to get there:
Take the train to Nuremberg main station, from here the Toy Museum is about 18 minutes away on foot. From Nuremberg station, walk about 60 metres north towards Bahnhofsstraße and then turn left over the Königstor onto Königstraße and walk along this for about seven minutes, past Hotel Drei Raben, Galeria Kaufhof and St. Lorenz Church towards Museumsbrücke. After 600 metres, turn left onto Kaiserstraße and immediately right again at the next opportunity to cross the Pegnitz over the Fleischerbrücke. On the northern bank of the river, turn left and immediately right again onto Winklerstraße. After 140 metres you reach the intersection with Augustinerstraße and turn left there. After another 100 metres turn right into Karlstraße. After just a few metres, the Toy Museum is on the left-hand side of the road.
Our extra tip for children
If you want to get a little spooky on your birthday and have great fun solving riddles, you can take part in the "Spook in the Museum" birthday package at the Nuremberg Toy Museum. Everyone has to work together to help a little ghost break out of an enchanted book and become a real toy. After some tricky puzzles, adventures passed and shadow ghosts defeated, each child then gets to take home their own homemade ghost. Ideal for all fans of ghosts and ghouls.
Nürnberg Hbf (Nuremberg main station)
Our tip: Please make sure to check your train connection and the expected capacity before you start your journey.