Fortunately, the Natural History Museum has a rather nice cafe in the middle of the zoological floor.
It’s worth going here simply for the surrounds: it’s like drinking coffee in a work of art. The roof is the main dome, heavily decorated with scientific themes, angels, animals, sculpted columns, crowns, and generous helpings of marble, gold and stone. It is not like your average Starbucks.
I enjoyed a fine cappuccino, but there were a range of other coffees, teas, juices and alcoholic drinks, plus snacks and other food to keep you going (it’s not a full-blown restaurant, though you can get a hot meal like goulash).
The cakes looked great. Unfortunately, an expanding midriff kept me away. The waiter was also friendly and fast – not a given in Vienna, especially in a busy cafe.
Tip: the cafe can get full quickly, especially at mealtimes and weekends, so plan for that.
The museum shop is on the ground floor, through the exit. If that sounds like you have to leave the actual museum to go to the shop, don’t worry – we thought the same.
We told the the doorman at the museum entrance we were returning after a shop visit and had no problem getting in again by showing our used ticket. The entrance and exit are just a few metres apart, so it’s no great inconvenience.
This also means you can visit the shop without going into the museum – handy if you want to pick up something later without paying the entrance fee.
The store is relatively new, quite large and airy, and stuffed with the traditional wares of a museum emporium: mainly books (also in English), posters, postcards, jewellery, fossils and toys.
If you want a replica T-Rex tooth – and who wouldn’t? – or a key ring with a miniature Venus of Willendorf attached, this is your place.
(Photo credit: © BillionPhotos.com / Fotolia)