If you’ve ever laid down a model train track, you’ve felt that urge to expand it with another set…and then another…and then another. Miniatur Wunderland is what happens when your parents aren’t around to say, “stop.”
Located in the historic port of Hamburg, Germany (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Miniatur Wunderland is the largest model railroad in the world, occupying 6800 square meters of space over several floors, and incorporating 15,400 meters of track. But it’s beyond a model railroad: it’s a parallel dimension.
As you weave through the building, you’re transported across nations, beginning with scaled versions of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (including a replica of the Matterhorn rising two stories). You travel through Scandinavia and Italy, and finally cross the pond to a dreamy version of America where Las Vegas and Mt. Rushmore are steps away from each other and the Space Shuttle still launches regularly from Cape Canaveral.
You’re also transported through time, with exhibits featuring historic castles and torch-wielding villagers. And you’re transported to other planes of existence as you notice model ghosts haunting model ruins. There are miniature sporting events and miniature parades and a miniature music festival…a miniature fire brigade regularly puts out a miniature fire…a miniature luxury cruise liner sails through a miniature harbor…miniature planes even depart from a sprawling miniature airport.
The best part, though, is the plethora of “easter eggs.” If you look closely, you’ll see aliens hiding beneath the Nevada desert. You’ll spot dinosaurs chasing people through their backyards. And you’ll see lots and lots of surreptitious naked people. It’s hard to say whether these were placed there to keep visitors on their toes, or whether they’re simply a natural outgrowth of the demented type of mind that would build a place like this in the first place.
You could spend several days in Miniatur Wunderland and still not notice every painstaking and surreal detail. Hundreds of robotic animations occur in different places at scattered times. There are 150 action sequences that you can trigger yourself by pushing various buttons. And the entire landscape changes every 15 minutes with a simulated “sunrise” and “sunset” and over 250,000 LED lights sparkling through the “night.”
And they’re not even done building it. There are plans to expand Miniatur Wonderland to nearly double its size and scope over the next decade. Models of several other European nations are first on the agenda, but eventually Asia, Africa, and the Middle East will be constructed as well.
But clearly it won’t stop there. What began in a Hamburg warehouse will soon take over other buildings, and, gradually, the entire city. Miniatur Wunderland’s model train tracks will then devour all of Germany, and spread their tentacles across neighboring countries. It’s only a matter of time until Mother Earth is swallowed completely, at which point the endgame of interstellar conquest will begin.
Visit Miniatur Wonderland today, and witness the dawn of the Model Railroad Singularity!