Although the interactive sailing history exhibition in Balatonfüred was only in test mode at the time of the press visit, the managers promised everything would be smooth in a few weeks. On the one hand, test mode is great, since you get to visit the exhibition free; on the other hand, however, you don't have the opportunity to try the very thing that will make it one of the best exhibitions around Lake Balaton. Here is what we saw.
The choice of venue is a conscious one in the case of the Vitorlázeum: in 1884, the Stefánia Yacht Club (known for raising several European champion sailors) was founded in a club house standing right where today the protected monument building of the Vitorlás Restaurant stands. Somewhat earlier, in 1867, Balatonfüred witnessed the foundation of the first sailing club under the guidance of Ödön Batthyány.
The interactive exhibition introduces the 150 years of Hungarian sailing in detail through model boats, short films and archive photographs. Although the museum still had a few technological glitches at the opening, and the outdoor installations were still under construction, it was clear that once all the pieces fall into place, the exhibition will be quite exciting and entertaining. According to the plans, visitors will be given life jackets with a QR code, which will automatically start the short films when they stand facing the players. The footages include rare gems, like the one on the 150 years of sailing fashion or the piece on the history of Balaton's shipbuilding.
Beyond old sailing equipment, aged shipping documents and archive photos, the exhibition has an active side as well. The storm simulator allows you to experience the feeling of sailing a stormy Balaton; elsewhere you can try your hand at tying sailing knots; while the soon-to-be-finished outdoor patio will let you (and your kids) balance on surfboards, swing on a sailboat swing, and race paper boats in a fun pool.
You can access the exhibition via the outdoor stairs from the side of Vitorlás Restaurant. For a few weeks - until everything is finished -, the museum is free to visit. Afterwards tickets for adults will cost 900 HUF, while students and pensioners will have to pay 450 HUF. Currently, the museum is open from Wednesdays to Sundays from 10 to 18 o'clock; in the summer, the place will only be closed on Mondays. Pair this experience with a visit to the Bodorka Aquarium (opened last year on the Tagore Promenade), where you can check out all the fish species living in Lake Balaton.