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A visit to the zoology museum

March 27, 2018

Snakes, exotic birds, rare fish, raptors and even a shark: strange beasts inhabit Lausanne. At least they do at the Cantonal Museum of Zoology. Ready for a visit?

Between the old town and the historical centre, the Rumine Palace is hard to miss. All the more since it houses five museums and the university library. It’s the kind of building that is imposing through its size and style.

After enjoying a drink on a terrace, a meal in a restaurant or in a café and a snack in a tearoom, climbing the steps to reach the main entrance to the Zoology Museum might seem daunting. A compulsory short stop to get your ticket just after the door and have a look round the Rumine Palace museum shop (with five museums, there is plenty of choice). Then gather your courage to carry on the ascent by climbing the many steps up to the central room. Believe us, it’s well worth it.

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Once you reach the top floor, the visit can begin. Very quickly, it’s hard to know which way to look. All kinds of animals observe the museum visitors. Let’s start on our left with birds and ducks.

On visiting the web site, we learn that the permanent exhibition is “inspired by 19th– or even 18th-century museography, and possesses a quaint charm”. The visit begins with well-known species (roosters, for instance, next to the ducks) and carries on with more exotic birds (ibises, raptors). After birds, we discover a new habitat with tortoises, before coming nose to nose with the 16.4-foot (5.83-m) famous white shark. Next to it, the jaws of a sperm whale lean against the wall.

In this way, the entrance to the comparative anatomy room is well guarded. The room, that initially served as a place of study, now displays the anatomy of certain species. A short stop in the middle of the room to admire the giraffe’s skeleton, then, when we reach the end of the first wing, we turn round. We discover the tiger and the polar bear, and finally small multi-coloured birds before carrying on as directed by the signs.

Right at the end of the second alley, the temporary exhibition room also is well guarded. You’ll come face to face with a lion, a rhinoceros, a giraffe, a buffalo and a multitude of other horned animals.

The museum doors are about to close, it’s time to leave the Rumine Palace with your fill of picturesque memories. From the top floor, we take the footbridge that leads to the Cité, from where we can admire the sunset over the Rumine Palace’s roof.

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