Prater Museum – The history of the theme park

The “Venice in Vienna” amusement park was one of the first theme parks in the world.

The Prater Museum exhibits the eerily wonderful history of Viennese entertainment culture. Visitors can look back on interesting forms of entertainment with objects such as the “Internationales Heiraths Vermittlungs Bureau” fortune teller machine, the legendary ventriloquist’s dummy Maxi, or a dragon from a grotto railway that has long since been torn down.

Außenansicht des Gebäudes beim Riesenrad
Pratermuseum – Foto: Hertha Hurnaus © Wien Museum

History of the Prater, “Venice in Vienna”

Hans Pemmer, a local historian from Vienna, compiled a considerable collection about the Wiener Prater in his home. In 1964, he donated the collection, and it was opened to the public as the Prater Museum in part of the Planetarium. The scenery within the Prater during the past is reflected by approx. 600 exhibition pieces.

Plakat der ehemaligen Wasserrutschbahn
Venice in Vienna – Gemeinfrei/Wikimedia Commons

Theme park, merry-go-round, and the exotic

In 1873, the Prater was a world fair location and in 1895, obtained the “Venice in Vienna” theme park, one of the first of its kind worldwide. Nevertheless, this only existed for 6 years. Here, visitors could feel like they were in Venice on an area of 50,000m², for example, by marvelling at replicas of the Palazzi or taking a romantic gondola ride on one of the artificial canals.

The Prater Museum not only displays pictures from this time, but also features illustrations of rollercoasters, fairs, and voyeuristic expositions.

Ausstellungsraum im Museum
Prater Museum – Foto: Hertha Hurnaus © Wien Museum

The merry-go-round in the Vienna Prater Museum

Visitors can marvel at many original objects from the entertainment facilities and show booths, including the Fortuna from the merry-go-round.

The merry-go-round was rather popular, as you can learn when visiting the museum. It was adapted to the respective fashion trend and initially operating by muscular power, before switching to steam engines and electricity.

Ausstellungsraum mit Menschen im Museum
Pratermuseum – Foto: Hertha Hurnaus © Wien Museum

How to reach the museum

Address: Oswald-Thomas-Platz 1, Planetarium, at the Ferris Wheel, 1020 Vienna

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Mehr Informationen

Further information on the museum’s opening hours.