You can work up a healthy appetite looking at Dodos and Diplodoci (is that the plural of Diplodocus?).
Fortunately, Vienna’s Natural History Museum has a rather nice café in the middle of the zoological floor. And a fine shop, should you wish to buy something more permanent.
- Sumptuous setting for the café beneath the main dome
- Large shop with many unusual items, too, as well as standard museum wares
- See also:
(The dome above the café; photo © NHM Wien, Kurt Kracher)
Consider taking a break here simply for the surrounds: it’s like drinking coffee inside a work of art.
The main museum dome forms the café’s roof, heavily decorated with scientific themes, angels, animals, sculpted columns, crowns, and generous helpings of marble, gold and stone.
So not quite like your average neighbourhood café.
I enjoyed a fine cappuccino, but the location offered a range of other coffees, teas, juices and alcoholic drinks, plus snacks and some meals to keep you going.
The cakes looked great. Unfortunately, an expanding midriff kept me away. The waiter was also friendly and fast: not always a given, especially in a busy café that has a lot of tourists.
Tip: the café can fill quickly, especially at mealtimes and weekends, so plan for that.
The Natural History Museum’s shop sits on the ground floor, to the left of the entrance after you go in.
The store is relatively new, quite large and airy, and full of the traditional wares of a museum emporium: books (some also in English), posters, postcards, jewellery, toys, etc.
If you want T-Rex socks – and who wouldn’t? – or a key ring with a miniature Venus of Willendorf attached, this is your place.
But that’s not all.
Among the more unusual items I found for sale on my last visit:
- Prehistoric relics and fossils (such as a tooth from a spinosaurus or cave bear)
- Minerals from around the world, including meteorite fragments
- Framed beetles and other animals, such as scorpions
Somewhere to pick up an alternative souvenir to Mozart balls and a fridge magnet of The Kiss, perhaps? After all, nothing says “I went to Vienna” quite as effectively as a nicely-framed prehistoric shark tooth.