Naturhistorisches Museum Bern, Ausstellung Picas Nest, Plakat Tiere im Wald

Pica’s Nest — a forest experience for the whole family

Permanent exhibition

Pica’s Nest – an entirely new museum experience. This forest experience is an innovative new museum concept for the whole family. It’s perfect for discovering, playing, reading, drinking coffee and relaxing. Children can learn all about the forest habitat in a playful and relaxed way.

The NMBE is very much a family museum. It already offers a wide range of events and experiences that children and families can explore on their own. And now, the institution, which is owned by the municipality of Bern, is expanding its range of experiences to include a place that many parents, grandparents, godparents and other supervising adults have probably dreamed of: a sanctuary for families. Here, you can do whatever makes you happy: children can enjoy unstructured play with their parents, other children or on their own; touch objects; give free rein to their urge to move around; and perhaps make a bit more noise than usual – all in a way in which everyone feels safe and comfortable.

60 animals in a giant beech tree

Pica’s Nest is an innovative new museum concept. It is a children’s exhibition tailored to the needs of our small visitors. However, it’s also a retreat for families, where accompanying adults can play with the children or enjoy a moment of peace and quiet with a coffee and a newspaper. It’s named after Pica, the cheeky magpie who is the mascot for the Natural History Museum’s educational programme.

At the heart of Pica’s Nest is a huge beech tree, with around 60 woodland animals hiding in its roots, trunk and leafy canopy. Some of the taxidermised animals are hidden in the tree, while others sit prominently on the branches. On the walls, you can spot loveable creatures created by the renowned children’s book illustrator Kathrin Schärer.

An exhibition without any exhibition text

The Pica’s Nest concept is designed so that children are not overwhelmed with information; the exhibition does not aim to be educationally intense. Instead, children gather knowledge in a fun way: as they play, they discover more about the biodiversity of the forest. Children decide for themselves which animals they want to know more about. The objects have no labels – Pica’s Nest does not feature any exhibition texts. For those whose curiosity is piqued, however, there is a book filled with short, entertaining texts about all the animal species – children can read it themselves or have it read aloud to them. Thanks to the fun short texts, they’ll learn that the brimstone butterfly can freeze itself in winter or that the male robin knows up to 275 song melodies.

The beech tree, which once towered at 35 metres, comes from eastern Switzerland. It had to be felled for safety reasons. Transporting and drying the tree proved to be a major challenge for the creators of Pica’s Nest. Due to its immense size and weight, the tree had to be sawn into several pieces, though these still boast impressive dimensions – for example, the root is more than two metres tall.

The book tree house: a place of retreat

The name says it all: Pica’s Nest also offers spaces where visitors can retreat and find a bit of peace and quiet. In the book tree house, there are around 150 illustrated books on nature, suitable for all ages. And even our older Nest guests are sure to enjoy themselves. Next to the benches, you’ll find a coffee machine and magazines. Picnics are also allowed. Prams and pushchairs can be parked right in front of Pica’s Nest in our newly built parking spaces.

Who created Pica’s Nest?

This forest experience was designed by the Natural History Museum’s education and design team in collaboration with the Swiss branch of the German company Kukuk, which builds unique play and activity spaces throughout Europe; Kukuk is also behind the popular playground in the Elfenau Park in Bern, among others.

  • Pica’s Nest is not supervised by staff. It is not a crèche. Parents or accompanying adults must not leave their child alone and must fulfil their duty of supervision as an accompanying adult. 
  • For safety reasons, please do not bring prams into the Nest.
  • Preschools and schools are very welcome. However, Pica’s Nest is primarily aimed at visitors – for reasons of space, it is not suitable for school purposes. Schools and other institutions can reserve other rooms that suit their requirements free of charge on our website. 
Exhibition credit

Exhibition credit

Eine gemeinsame Ausstellung von/ Une exposition commune de

Naturhistorisches Museum Bern (NMBE)


KuKuk Freiflug und KuKuk Schweiz (KuKuk)

Projektverantwortung/ Responsable de projet

Christoph Beer

Ausstellungskonzept/ Conception d’exposition

NMBE: Jürg Nigg, Andrea Röhrig


KuKuk: Bernhard Hanel, Leander Dreissig

Projektgruppe/ Groupe de projet

NMBE: Beatrice Baeriswyl, Christian Bähler, Christian Kropf, Constantin Latt, Jürg Nigg, Andrea Röhrig (Projektleitung), Stephan Schlup, Erich Stettler


KuKuk: Monika Göbel, Alexandra Komarovskaya, Vincent Wagner, Thomas Weber, 

Wissenschaftliche Begleitung/ Encadrement scientifique

NMBE: Christian Kropf, Hans-Peter Wymann, Manuel Schweizer

Illustrationen/ Illustrations

Kathrin Schärer

Szenografie, Realisation/ Scénographie, réalisation

NMBE: Jürg Nigg, Andrea Röhrig


KuKuk: Leander Dreissig, Thomas Weber, Vincent Wagner

Bauleitung/ Direction des travaux

NMBE: Jürg Nigg, Andrea Röhrig


KuKuk: Leander Dreissig, Thomas Weber, Vincent Wagner

Bauteam/ Equipe de construction

NMBE: Markus Holzer, Stephan Schlup, Christian Wüthrich


KuKuk: Kay Börsch, Seraphin Egli, Florian Heugel, Pascal McGechan, Felix Rassmann, Hannes Rühler, Volker Stock, Silvio Tscharner

Lichtplanung/ Conception des éclairages

NMBE: Christian Bähler

Präparate/ Préparation des spécimens

NMBE: Fabian Neisskenwirth, Constantin Latt, Martin Troxler

Texte/ Textes

NMBE: Andrea Röhrig, Martin Ryser


Korrektorat/ Correction

NMBE: Regula Markwalder

Textlayout/ Maquette du texte

NMBE: Thea Sonderegger

Öffentlichkeitsarbeit/ Relations publiques

NMBE: Sonja Delz, Simon Jäggi

Fotos/ Photo

NMBE: Hannes Baur (Insekten und Spinnen), Lisa Schäublin

Mit freundlicher Unterstützung/ Avec l’aimable soutien de
  • Verein des Naturhistorischen Museums Bern
  • Sophie und Karl Binding Stiftung
  • Paul Schiller Stiftung
  • Ursula Wirz Stiftung
  • DC Bank
  • Coop
  • Ebenfalls danken wir allen privaten Spenderinnen und Spendern
Partner/ Partenaires

Wood and Art

Walo Sportbeläge

Trägerschaft/ Institution responsable

Burgergemeinde Bern

Wir danken!/ Avec nos remerciements à

Forstbetrieb Burgergemeinde Bern, Mischa Hiltensperger, Stefan Hertwig, Katharina Lienhard, Fredy Reusser, Forstbetrieb, Christine Studer, Marcel Studer,Tagesstätte Bern West, Daniela Vacas, Marlis Zaugg