Need something to do on a Sunday? May I suggest Stuttgart's kitschiest museum? It's a place utterly dedicated to the pig and the largest pig museum in the world, the Stuttgart Schweine Museum.
I don't remember where I first heard about this place. I want to say it was mentioned in a local Facebook group. I know I also saw it highlighted in an online magazine article about quirky museums. What can I say? My people are originally from the same area where Foamhenge existed for years (it has since been moved to a new location). I'm a sucker for the surreal.
I suggested a trip to the pig museum last weekend, but Bill and I were sidetracked by beer and wine tastings. I thought we might go yesterday, but then we decided to go to Herrenberg today. We thought about postponing our trip for another week when I realized how beautiful the weather is today. I thought maybe the Schweine Museum might be better on a rainy day. After some discussion, Bill and I decided we'd go... and then maybe drop by Killesberg Park for awhile. Little did we know how absolutely HORRIBLE traffic was going to be.
At this point, we were very close to the museum... it still took about ten minutes to get there. I think there was a game going on, which also made parking difficult.
Bill made me laugh pretty hard as we drove through one of Stuttgart's many tunnels. The GPS told him to make a U-turn and he said, "What? I'm not making a U-turn! Screw you!" He gets pretty funny when he converses with computerized objects. Thanks to the traffic going to a football game and the neverending road projects going on in the big city, it was kind of a challenge to get to the museum. Once we got there, we had to find parking, which wasn't so easy since a lot of people going to the game were availing themselves of parking at the pig museum. Fortunately, we drove my Mini Cooper...
Props to Bill for his parking job. He managed to squeeze into a tight spot.
Pigs are everywhere at the Schweine Museum.
The Schweine Museum has a very nice biergarten in the front and back. There's also a nice restaurant (called the Schlachthof Restaurant) on the first floor of the museum. My guess is that many people come there for the food. We saw plenty of people who were obviously in the area for football having lunch at the biergarten. It was pretty full when we arrived, but had emptied out somewhat after we finished lunch. It's worthwhile, by the way, to stop in for food at the museum. They had some great stuff, naturally inspired by pork. For those who aren't pork eaters, there are other selections available. Vegetarians and vegans might be a bit challenged, though.
Come on in... sit down and have a beer and a cigarette, if you want. Smoking is allowed.
Someone (not me) obviously got bored while waiting for their order... I have to admit being impressed. It never would have occurred to me to add these features to the beer coasters. I decided to be a good Samaritan and take these with me, lest any innocent children see them.
Bill laughs when I show him the adulterated coasters.
For lunch, Bill chose the barbecue pork burger, which came with onion rings, potato wedges, and kraut. I had bratwurst, which also came with potato wedges and barbecue sauce. Bill and I were delighted with the quality of the food. I noticed that the company providing the food is the same one that owns Ampulle Dry Gin and Beef Club in Stuttgart. We visited that restaurant last July and enjoyed it. I'm glad to see they know what to do with pork, too. Edited to add: My German friend, Susanne, says the museum was founded by Erika Wilhelmer, who is the grandmother in the family that owns the Wilhelmer Gastronomie Company. Wilhelmer Gastronomie is the force behind several food oriented outlets in the Stuttgart area.
The usual beer...
My fancy bratwurst. It was very fresh, although the BBQ sauce reminded me of what they put on currywurst, minus the curry.
Bill's pork burger. It was a hit!
Other choices included everything from salmon filet to pork t-bones to beef. They also had salads and soups, as well as a kid's menu. Our lunch was about 36 euros before the tip. Service was a little slow, but the servers were working hard. It was a beautiful day and they were very busy.
After we ate and visited the loo, we went into the restaurant to find out how to visit the museum. They lady running the museum had stepped out for a minute, so we ended up waiting for a few minutes. After she sold us our tickets, a guy came in and started asking about the restaurant, at which point she pitched the museum to him. I don't know if she was the owner, but I would not be surprised if she was. I read that the museum was moved to Stuttgart from Bad Wimpfen, a location near Heilbronn, just a few years ago. The museum was housed in much smaller quarters in those days, but still made the Guinness Book of World Records for being the largest swine museum in the world.
The swine museum itself is on two floors. I didn't see any elevators, so I would guess this attraction would not be suitable for mobility challenged people or those with strollers. I wouldn't swear to this, though, so if this post makes you want to visit and you have mobility challenges, you might want to call ahead. It costs 5,90 per adult to see the museum and that is the most you'll pay for an hour or two of kitschy pig related fun! Below are some pictures I took while browsing the exhibits, almost all of which had English translations of what we were looking at.
Pigs like this one are everywhere!
Outside, in front of the museum, there's a lot to see.
Artwork near where you buy your tickets. Looks like they had private dining rooms in that area, too.
The two pictures above show who eats the most pork out of 75 of the 196 countries in the world. Austria is #1. USA is #21. Not surprisingly, several countries heavily populated by Muslims come in last.
A pig inspired barbecue.
These helpful signs are translated in English, so you won't wander from room to room learning by osmosis.
I would actually love to have this table. I love this kind of stuff.
Today, I learned that pigs are rumored to have 30 minute orgasms!
X-rated pig stuff. This is just one picture of several I could have taken.
Although most of the exhibits in the pig museum are good clean fun, I will caution those who are sensitive about sexually explicit exhibits. There is one room, easily identified because it's red, where there are some items that may not be suitable for children or uptight adults. However, this room is easy to skip and you have to look closely to find the sexually explicit pig figurines. I almost missed them myself, until Bill pointed them out to me.
For Lego lovers!
Kids play area!
Someone should have given us this for our wedding...
All in all, Bill and I really enjoyed our visit to the Schweine Museum. It's an inexpensive and fun place to visit, the food is great, and you will learn some surprising facts about pigs. They have exhibits about everything from where pigs come from, to their intelligence level, to what it takes to hunt them. I had no idea, for instance, that male boars in the wild are so cunning and dangerous. There are also some interesting exhibits about where certain pig related sayings come from, such as "Casting one's pearls before swine" and "Even a blind pig can find an acorn sometimes." I'm proud to report that I know more about pigs today than I did yesterday. I would recommend this museum to anyone else who likes a little porking.
When pigs fly?
We also tried to visit Killesburg Park today, but there were way too many people there and it was impossible to find parking. Maybe next time, we'll take the U-Bahn and get there earlier in the day.