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Welcome to the Swiss Ornithological Institute

Get to know Switzerland's birdlife in a whole new way. Become a bird yourself, let yourself be ringed and find out what bird you are – welcome to the visitor centre of the Swiss Ornithological Institute!

Logo EMYA

Sustainability
Winner 2017

The visitor centre throughout the seasons

In every season and whatever the weather, our visitor centre offers a unique and surprising experience.

© Marcel Burkhardt

Opening hours

Tuesday–Sunday 10.00–17.00
Monday closed
Last admission 16.00

Open today from 10.00 to 17.00

Allow about 2 hours for your visit.

The visitor centre is accessible by wheelchair.

Dogs are not permitted.

Ascension Day 09.05.2024 10.00 – 17.00
Whitsun 19.05.2024 10.00 – 17.00
Whit Monday 20.05.2024 10.00 – 17.00
Corpus Christi 30.05.2024 10.00 – 17.00
Swiss National Holiday 01.08.2024 10.00 – 17.00
Assumption Day 15.08.2024 10.00 – 17.00
All Saints’ Day 01.11.2024 10.00 – 17.00
Immaculate Conception 08.12.2024 10.00 – 17.00
Christmas Eve 24.12.2024 closed
Christmas 25.12.2024 closed
St. Stephen´s Day 26.12.2024 closed
New Year´s Eve 31.12.2024 closed
New Year´s Day 01.01.2025 closed
Saint Berchtold 02.01.2025 closed

Please step in!

Experience the world from a bird's point of view.

© Marcel Burkhardt

Admission

 
Adults
(aged 16 and over)
CHF 15.00
Children, school children,
apprentices, students, disabled
visitors (with disability card
CHF 10.00

Children under 16 accompanied
by their parents/grandparents
free
Friend of the Swiss Ornithological
Institute, 5.- CHF off admission,
10% discount in our shop
CHF 10.00

Groups

We look forward to your visit. To ensure the best visiting experience, groups of 20 or more are required to call in advance (+41 41 462 97 97). Advance booking is recommended for groups of 10 or more. Maximum group size: 70

Learn more

 

Many roads lead to Sempach.

The visitor centre can be easily reached by public transport.

© Alexander Jaquemet

Getting here

The Swiss Ornithological Institute lies in central Switzerland, north of Lucerne, near the town of Sempach on the shores of Lake Sempach.

By train and bus

  • By train on the Olten–Lucerne line to Sursee. From the station in Sursee by bus to Sempach; get off at "Vogelwarte".
  • Or by train on the Olten–Lucerne line to Sempach-Neuenkirch. By bus to "Vogelwarte".

Timetable & tickets

By car

  • Motorway A2 Basel–Lucerne
  • Exit Sempach
  • Follow the blue sign that says "Sempach".
  • By the city gate, follow the main road to the left, in direction of the lake.
  • Address: Luzernerstrasse 6, CH-6204 Sempach
Car parks:
  • "Seevogtey" outside of the old town of Sempach (approx. 10 minutes’ walk)
  • "Seebad" Sempach (approx. 5 minutes’ walk)

Go to route planner

Coaches

  • Drop-off area for coaches in front of the visitor centre. Coach parking on the "Seevogtey" car park.
  •  The visitor centre is accessible by wheelchair.
  •  Dogs are not permitted.

Interactive adventure.

Experience birdlife in a whole new way.

© Marcel Burkhardt

Attractions

Visit our main exhibition "Survival" and become a bird yourself. A unique ringing system generates your personal bird profile. The film "Bird Watch" takes you on a surprising journey through Switzerland, and "Singphony" invites you to delve into the world of birdsong.

Ueberleben-Icon Survival

Experience the world from a bird's perspective: Hatch from an egg, leave the nest, choose your food, encounter various threats, pick your plumage and decide on a migration strategy. The exhibitions's unique ringing system will tell you what kind of bird you are: a Bearded Vulture, a Mallard, or perhaps a Wren?

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Ueberleben-Icon Bird Watch

Follow birds on a surprising journey through Switzerland. The captivating scenes were filmed exclusively for the visitor centre by wildlife cinematographer Marc Tschudin. The film runs continuously, so you can start viewing any time.

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Ueberleben-Icon Singphony

"Singphony" introduces you to a bird's world of sound and communication. Listen in to the mysterious language of birds and learn the basics of birdsong.

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Ueberleben-Icon Garden and aviaries

The lakeside offers the opportunity to relax or to birdwatch. Wander through the Ornithological Institute's natural garden and look out for the birds inside and outside the aviaries.

The aviary in the lobby of the visitor centre is currently empty due to maintenance. You can admire the birds in the aviary by the lake and in our nature garden. Binoculars for bird watching can be borrowed for free at the checkout desk.

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Ueberleben-Icon Shop

Looking for an attractive gift or special souvenir to take home? Browse our range of t-shirts, games, soft toys and more, and find a gift for yourself or a loved one. A variety of brochures, books and CDs on birds are also on offer. Come and see for yourself!

Your purchase supports the Swiss Ornithological Institute's work for the benefit of birds.

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Ueberleben-Icon Cafeteria

Enjoy a drink or an ice cream in our coffee corner with delightful views.

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Ueberleben-Icon The building

An airy lobby made from local wood joins the two compact units with loam walls that make up the visitor centre. The construction is a pioneering achievement in sustainable building. It meets the Minergie P standard of low energy consumption as well as the Minergie Eco standard requiring the use of environmentally friendly materials.

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Survival

Experience the world from a bird's perspective: Hatch from an egg, leave the nest, choose your food, encounter various threats, pick your plumage and decide on a migration strategy. The exhibitions's unique ringing system will tell you what kind of bird you are: a Bearded Vulture, a Mallard, or perhaps a Wren?

Visiting time
approx. 1 hour

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Bird Watch

Follow birds on a surprising journey through Switzerland. The captivating scenes were filmed exclusively for the visitor centre by wildlife cinematographer Marc Tschudin. The film runs continuously, so you can start viewing any time.

Visiting time
approx. 30 minutes

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Singphony

"Singphony" introduces you to a bird's world of sound and communication. Listen in to the mysterious language of birds and learn the basics of birdsong.

Visiting time
approx. 20 minutes

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Garden and aviaries

The lakeside offers the opportunity to relax or to birdwatch. Wander through the Ornithological Institute's natural garden and look out for the birds inside and outside the aviaries.

The aviary in the lobby of the visitor centre is currently empty due to maintenance. You can admire the birds in the aviary by the lake and in our nature garden. Binoculars for bird watching can be borrowed for free at the checkout desk.

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Shop

Looking for an attractive gift or special souvenir to take home? Browse our range of t-shirts, games, soft toys and more, and find a gift for yourself or a loved one. A variety of brochures, books and CDs on birds are also on offer. Come and see for yourself!

Your purchase supports the Swiss Ornithological Institute's work for the benefit of birds.

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Cafeteria

Enjoy a drink or an ice cream in our coffee corner with delightful views.

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©
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The building

An airy lobby made from local wood joins the two compact units with loam walls that make up the visitor centre. The construction is a pioneering achievement in sustainable building. It meets the Minergie P standard of low energy consumption as well as the Minergie Eco standard requiring the use of environmentally friendly materials.

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Destination Sempach.

Combine your visit to the Swiss Ornithological Institute with a dip in the lake or a tour of the historical town of Sempach.

© Lynn Hodel

Lake Sempach region

Home to the Swiss Ornithological Institute and many other attractions – Sempach and its surroundings have a lot to offer!

Lake Sempach tourist information ›

Enjoy your stay in the Lake Sempach region.

Photo © Luzern Tourismus / Beat Brechbühl
Seebad Sempach ›

The bathing area next to the Swiss Ornithological Institute has a sandy beach, a floating platform, a water playground, a beach volleyball field, a diving tower and a restaurant.

Photo © Archiv Korporation

Sempach Town Hall Museum ›

Multimedia exhibition on local history.

Photo © Sempach Town Hall Museum

TCS campsite Sempach ›

Camping site on the lake next to the Seebad.

Photo © TCS campsite Sempach

Restaurant Seeland Sempach ›

Self-service restaurant right next to the Seebad in Sempach.

Photo © Seeland Sempach

Bierhaus Sempach ›

Historic beer inn with traditional cuisine since 1785.

Photo © bierhaus-1785.ch

Restaurant & Pizzeria Türmli ›

Restaurant in Sempach's picturesque old town of Sempach right next to the city gate.

Photo © AO Gastro AG

Restaurant Adler Sempach ›

Enjoy select seasonal dishes in a laid-back ambience.

Photo © Restaurant Adler Sempach

Restaurant Una Storia ›

Elegant Italian ristorante, welcoming tavern, stylish wine bar and leafy beer garden.

Photo © Remimag AG

La Torreta Mexican Restaurant & Bar ›

Restaurant with Tex-Mex specialities in Sempach's old town right by the city gate.

Photo © AO Gastro AG

Gasthaus Krone ›

Traditional restaurant in the historical centre with local fish specialities.

Restaurant Wirtschaft zur Schlacht ›

Restaurant with views of the Central and Bernese Alps and Lake Sempach.

Photo © Restaurant Wirtschaft zur Schlacht

sempacherhof ›

Culinary delights - at lunchtime with the daily menus and in the evening with a varied à la carte menu.

Photo © Sempacherhof Gastro AG

Caribbean Village ›

Caribbean ambience with palm trees, sun, colourful cabins in the beach bar in Nottwil on Lake Sempach.

Photo © Andy Hänggi

See you soon at the Swiss Ornithological Institute!

We look forward to welcoming you at the visitor centre of the Swiss Ornithological Institute.

Contact us if you have any questions!

+41 41 462 97 97

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