Have you ever heard of a glacier mouse? No? I hadn’t heard of one either until our recent visit to the ice cave and glaciers installation – part of the new Wonders of Iceland exhibition at the new Perlan Museum in Reykjavik. The new attraction is housed in the gorgeous Pearl – a real head-turner of a building perched atop six giant geothermal hot water tanks with an ultra-modern design constructed of mirrored glass, and steel. With its superb observation platform offering the best panoramic views of the city, it’s always been a major attraction, but since the new museum opened there are now even more reasons to visit.
Life on the ice & glacier mice!
The ice cave, which is a replica of the real ice cave you can visit on the Into The Glacier tour, is impressively realistic, and, just like it’s archetype it’s freezing inside. During our short tour through the labyrinth of ice, we were told, by our guide, to watch out for glacier mice. Both amazed and horrified, we look desperately around to see if we can see anything scampering towards us. The guide, who was thrilled by our reaction then shows us something that looks like an elongated ball of moss. “Thank god it’s not alive,” I say with relief, but soon discover that they are in fact very much alive and host entire miniature ecosystems. It’s truly fascinating stuff!
Glaciers and global warming
Once you’re through the ice cave, you visit the glacier exhibition where you can learn all about the life of glaciers. The exhibition space is beautifully designed featuring gorgeous panoramic shots of Iceland and lots of fun interactive learning tools. One of the standouts is the timeline table which you can turn to see both the history and future of the Vatnajökull glacier and the impact of global warming. Using the handrail to turn the table you get a visual impression tracing the glacial mass and its dramatic retreat from the 1800s to it’s estimated disappearance by the year 2200.
If you don’t have time to visit the ice cave in Langjökull glacier (which can take anything up to 12 hours to get there and back, depending on the weather) this exhibition offers a fun and realistic alternative with the added bonus of the glacier museum. The building also houses a gift shop, a great coffee shop (Kaffi Tár- always superb coffee) and a restaurant, which looks promising – we’ve not tried it yet, but intend to do so very soon.
Good to know!
- Tours cost 2,900 ISK for adults, 1450 for kids and free for 5 years and under. Family tickets cost 5,800.
- There are now free shuttle buses to the Perlan museum from the Harpa Concert Hall every 30 minutes!
- Visits to the new Perlan Museum include access to the panoramic observation deck.
- The temperature in the ice cave is -10C (14F)
For more information visit the official website of the Perlan Museum.