Levendula ház can teach a lot to every kid about the flora, fauna and geography of Tihanyi-félsziget. Plus, this museum is interactive, straight to the point, so you won't bore your kids with the eating and procreating habits of different birds. While the kids are having fun, mom can buy lavender cosmetics and dad can enjoy a refreshing glass of lavender juice instead of a beer. It is more than recommended for families who love nature.
When we first heard the name of Levendula Ház (meaning Lavender House), the scene of a Disney movie popped into our mind automatically: a poor girl must be locked inside a building covered with lavender bushes. The whole thing must be purple and girly at least. Levendula Ház proved us wrong on many levels though. It is located only a few minutes away from the city center in Major Street, parallel to Tihany's main street right on the shore of Belső-tó.
There is no princess here, the building is snow white and we didn't have to cut through he bushes with a machete either.
Luckily, the lavender plants for sale made sure that we came to the right place. The museum smells like a teenage girl's room who threw out her stuffed toys to make room for her makeup set, but she kept a few David Beckham posters on the wall. No wonder: the interior of a house full of lavenders has to be purple and white.
The exhibition consists of a screening room and a big room with an even bigger headroom. The huge room is divided into two parts: the first is about the geography and biology of Balaton-felvidék and the second is about the history of Tihany's lavender fields. Lavender is originally a Mediterranean plant, right? Then what does Hungary have to do with lavender?
Master and lavender
Marianna Küsz, the manager of Levendula Ház told us the lavender was brought here from the enormous lavender fields of France. She said, that the Hungarian lavender is considered nowadays as good as the French mass product from Provence. It sounds like another story when the young Anakin Skywalker grows up to Lord Vader and defeats his old master, Obi-Wan Kenobi.
In the planning phase of Levendula ház the managers went to visit the French version of the museum. Instead of collecting ideas it was a trip when everyone could see which the wrong direction was. The French exhibition proved to be boring, as only ancient tools and methods of lavender growing were shown to the dbo. It can't really catch people's attention in a world where we are surrounded by Youtube clips and cooler than cool apps.
The good thing about this museum in Tihany is that it doesn't get stuck on the lavender field, but it gives a detailed image about Balaton-felvidék's natural attributes. So if you were sick when the topic was "snowball earth" or the stromatolites in geography class, it's about time to fill the gaps.
No wonder Tihany is the nature lovers' Mecca, because this environment is really comforting. The bureaucrats of Brussels noticed this unique green area, too. In 2003 the European Union awarded the European Diploma of Protected Areas to Tihanyi-félsziget. It means Tihany is equally valuable as the Maritine Alps or the Peak District National Park in the UK - the scene of many British movies.
Basically the European Diploma was the reason for building Levendula Ház. The eight pending years between the diploma and the opening of the museum shows a good example of Hungarian pace, but the quality of the exhibition is quite impressive.
Unlike in the old-fashioned French museum, anyone can find fun activities here. You have to find the animals' home in the forest - which sounds easy, but once you get started, you realize how hard it is -, you can cross a simulated swamp on a gym mattress, or you can observe the dry aquarium under our feet. At least it will turn out what kind of fishes are swimming around us when we're hitting the waves with the hydrocumbent paddle boat.
Levendula Ház plays an important role in the students' education as well since this place is a member of the Forest School program. It gives clear answers to urban legends, whether Balaton was the remain of the Pannonian Sea, and are volcanic eruptions expected in Hungary in the near future? After spending some time in this museum/playground, the kids might recognize a kingfisher, a water frog or a western marsh harrier. There's a good chance for that if they take a walk on the pier on the shore of Belső-tó, because the picture of each protected animal is exhibited there.
You will only miss Richard Attenborough here, because sometimes it feels like he is the one behind this whole exhibition.
Dad and the lavender
The parents can have fun here as well, not just their kids. Mom can buy tons of lavender cosmetics: soap, oil, bath salt, whatever she likes. Dad can enjoy a refreshing lavender juice. Yes, it sounds surprising, but one time a guy walked in and asked for a beer. The residents said that they don't have any beer to offer, but they gave him a glass of lavender syrup. He was hesitant to try it, but in the end he gave the drink a shot. When he left, he asked where can he buy it in Budapest.
Good news for every father, who wants to mix alcohol with lavender: Kredenc Wine Bistro in Balatonfüred has the first alcoholic lavender beverage to offer: Tamás Lavender Cider. Dad should drop by to check this one out!