Skansen is a huge open-air museum (but I really see it more like a theme park) and zoo located in Stockholm which showcases the everyday life of olden day Sweden by replicating historical buildings, residences, retail stores and even exact environments that are complete with Skansen’s staff that are dressed in period clothing and actually working (or pretending to work) in all these places and interacting with visitors. I think it’s a really interesting way for visitors and the future generation to learn about history through real life replication instead of just passively via books or the TV.
Located on the island of Djurgården which is just a short distance away from central Stockholm, Skansen covers a huge area with both lowlands and some hilly areas where you could catch some nice views of central Stockholm.
The main sections of Skansen are historical Sweden and the Skansen Zoo. It’s amazing how much effort the staff puts into making sure the place look as realistic as possible. Try walking into the shops and you’ll see that they are fully functioning – expect freshly baked bread – all done while dressed in period clothing! For non-retail shops, you could simply walk in, have a chat and enquire about the history or story. It’s really interactive!
The staff is really enthusiastic too (or at least they look like they are). You could be walking into a 16th-century house and finding ladies (completely in character) making matchsticks and matchboxes from scratch, knitting, weaving and what not. I’m guessing that’s where the goods for the in-house souvenir store comes from. Pretty cool if they are indeed all handmade.
There is also a glass store where you could stand on the viewing platform and see the entire glassblowing process.
As a part of the Skansen Zoo, you’ll see up to 75 different types of Scandinavian Animals including bears, lynx, wolves, elks, seals, wolverines (didn’t know they are real animals).
Branching out from “traditional Sweden”, there are also completely made-up farmsteads environments that are filled with farm animals. I had a ball of a time walking around, seeing pigs take naps, hearing baby lambs call out to their parents and following them around. It’s a really open environment where you could see some animals walking alongside or chilling on the grass.
The name tells it all. Within little Skansen, there’s a playground for kids (and resting areas for parents), an indoor children’s zoo that includes amphibians, insects, fishes, rodents, cats and more.
My biggest interest here is watching the adorable kids running around and the baby goats!
All in all, Skansen is a place for the whole family, for tourists and even locals to learn more about the pre-industrial Sweden and is basically a really fun place for everyone, even if you are not a fan of literally being a part of history.
If you’re planning to visit Skansen, you may like to schedule a whole afternoon because there’s a lot to see. It’s also a very relaxing place and great for a picnic. Make sure to pick a day where the weather is good as most of Skansen is open-air!
115 21 Stockholm
Nearest Tram Stop: Stockholm Skansenslingan