David’s aunt Kati is a teacher and for years she has taken her class on a field trip to this awesome museum called Skanzen not far north of Budapest in Szentendre. It is an open air ethnographic museum examining village and farm life from the 18th to early 20th centuries. It is so much more than your standard brick and mortar museum. They currently have close to 400 reconstructed buildings (they actually take the buildings from villages and reassemble them at the museum just as they had been in the village) and several hands on activities for kids. The boys had a wonderful time learning how to tool leather and how to making key chains.
Skanzen has a large restaurant by the main entrance and a few places where you can buy refreshments, but you have to be on the lookout because several exhibits have small bites that you can sample (we tried both a traditional Hungarian bread and a gingerbread). The boys decided that their favorite area was the Great Plains exhibit. I’m pretty sure this was thanks in large part to the working bakery that sells traditional Hungarian pastries. I can assure you that we purchased and consumed more than our fair share of baked goods that day!
The museum paints a clear picture of what it would have been like living in the villages more than 100 years ago. You get to see how homes were laid out and decorated and volunteers help explain how a family would have lived depending on what part of Hungary they were from and what sort of job they had within the community. We were even encouraged to sample fruits growing on the fruit trees. It was cherry season, so David was in Heaven!
The museum is huge and can easily tie up a whole day but if you’re in Budapest with kids or if you like history this might be the perfect place for you. In addition to their permanent exhibits, they also have great temporary exhibits, a cool shop with souvenirs that you won’t find anywhere else and festivals throughout the year.