Explore Perlan, the Interactive Nature Museum in Iceland

  • by Yanshu
  • Reykjavik
  • 22 Jun 2023

Discover the magic of Reykjavik's Perlan Museum in Iceland, where science and nature come alive. Dive into hands-on exhibits, gaze at the stars in the planetarium, and enjoy stunning views of Iceland's unique landscapes from the observation deck. Immerse yourself in the wonders of the natural world at Perlan.

Sunset hours at Perlan, Reykjavik. [Photo credit to Yanshu Li]
Sunset hours at Perlan, Reykjavik. [Photo credit to Yanshu Li]

The Perlan Museum is a unique attraction in Reykjavik that offers immersive experiences into Iceland’s natural wonders. Situated on Öskjuhlíð hill, this distinctive glass dome gets you some awesome panoramic views of the capital and beyond.

Wonders of Iceland

At the Wonders of Iceland exhibit, you will witness the incredible forces of nature that shaped this volcanic island. From geothermal wonders to the rich biodiversity, get ready to be enthralled by the natural beauty and ecological significance of Iceland.

Ice Cave

One of Perlan’s highlights is the Ice Cave, a striking feat of engineering that emulates walking through a real glacial ice cave. The carefully constructed 100-meter long structure recreates the temperature and acoustics, offering an authentic and educational glacier experience.

Glacier Exhibit

Prepare to be captivated by the Glacier Exhibit, where you can learn about the science and the stories of these dynamic frozen giants. Understand the glaciers‘ crucial role in Iceland’s landscape, and observe detailed presentations on how they are affected by climate change.

As you journey through the Perlan Museum, the combination of scientific information and interactive displays ensures a rich educational experience that brings Iceland’s dramatic geography to life.

Volcano Show

The Volcano Show simulates a volcanic eruption, allowing you to safely observe and learn. You’ll see molten lava flowing in a controlled environment, giving you an up-close look at this powerful Earth process. Understand the role of magma and the forces that drive eruptions, all while feeling the heat radiate from the lava before your eyes.

Iceland’s unique landscape is shaped by the active geology of volcanos. Here, you’ll dive into the island’s formation, with exhibits on volcanoes and geology. Learn about the tectonic plates that make Iceland a hotbed for volcanic activity. Discover the science of earthquakes that frequently accompany volcanic events. It’s a comprehensive look at the forces that not only formed Iceland but continue to shape it every day.

Látrabjarg cliff

Látrabjarg, located at Iceland’s westernmost point, stands as one of Europe’s largest seabird cliffs, stretching 14 kilometers and soaring nearly 450 meters above the ocean. Perlan offers a remarkable reconstruction, allowing visitors a rare perspective, as if standing at the cliff’s base and gazing upward, capturing the awe-inspiring essence of this natural wonder.

Northern Lights Planetarium

Immerse yourself in the ethereal beauty of the aurora borealis at the Northern Lights Planetarium in Reykjavík, where state-of-the-art displays and informative exhibits bring the Icelandic nature and cosmic phenomena to life.

Áróra – Northern Lights Planetarium

Discover the magic of the aurora borealis without awaiting nightfall at the Áróra Northern Lights Planetarium. This state-of-the-art planetarium features a one-of-a-kind planetarium film that weaves captivating stories with stunning visuals of the northern lights. 

It is an immersive experience where you can learn about this natural phenomenon in a cozy environment, regardless of weather conditions outside.

Northern Lights dancing above Perlan museum, Reykajvik. [Photo credit to Yanshu Li]

Aurora Reykjavik and Northern Lights Exhibition

End your visit at the comprehensive Aurora Exhibition at Aurora Reykjavík. This center is dedicated to educating and amazing visitors with detailed educational material about the northern lights, or aurora borealis, and offers first-hand experiences that simulate this extraordinary natural phenomenon.

Exhibition of Icelandic Nature

Your journey continues through the diverse landscapes of Iceland expertly replicated within the Planetarium. Connect with Icelandic nature as you explore interactive exhibits featuring the country’s unique geology, including volcanic activity and the impressive glaciers that shape this Nordic island.

Science and Learning Experience

The Northern Lights Planetarium in Reykjavik offers an immersive educational journey where you can experience the wonders of geology, space, and Icelandic nature through science. This multi-sensory experience is designed to engage your curiosity and deepen your understanding of Earth’s phenomena.

Aerial view of the 360° Observation Deck at Perlan, Reykjavik.

Interactive Exhibition

At the Interactive Exhibition, you’re invited to engage with hands-on displays that explain the science behind the aurora borealis. You’ll discover how solar particles collide with atmospheric gases to create the stunning lights in the night sky. The exhibit fuses science with technology to create an interactive space that demonstrates the effects of space weather on Earth.

The entrance to Perlan, wonders of Iceland.

360° Observation Deck

The 360° Observation Deck at Perlan presents an unobstructed view of the sky, allowing you to immerse yourself in panoramic views of Reykjavik and beyond. You can take in the entire horizon, which is particularly beneficial for nights when the Northern Lights are shining, ensuring you don’t miss a moment of the display.

While Perlan’s 360 Panorama View Deck offers incredible panoramic views and is perfect for spotting the Northern Lights, Keep in mind, though, that the experience depends on the weather, and visibility might vary.

Attractions in The Surrounding Area

While Perlan offers a captivating glimpse into glacial wonders, the surrounding areas of Reykjavík and beyond are rich in both natural and man-made landmarks. Whether you have an interest in dramatic landscapes, diverse wildlife, or iconic cultural sites, you’ll find a variety of nearby attractions that enhance your visit.

Reykjavík Landmarks and Nature

Reykjavík is not just the capital of Iceland; it’s a hub for experiencing the country’s unique blend of city and nature. Just a short distance from Perlan, you can immerse yourself in mesmerizing landscapes and nature. Do capture picturesque moments with photography at the renowned Hallgrímskirkja church, an architectural marvel and one of Reykjavík’s most prominent landmarks.

  • Landmarks: Immerse in history at Harpa Concert Hall with its stunning glass facade reflecting the vibrant city life.
  • Nature & Wildlife: Stroll along the scenic waterfront paths where the landscape merges seamlessly with the cityscape.
Harpa Concert Hall at Reykjavik Harbor.

Frequently Asked Questions About Perlan

In this section, you’ll find detailed answers to some of the most common questions related to visiting the Northern Lights Planetarium in Reykjavik.

Tickets for the Northern Lights Planetarium in Reykjavik?

You can secure your tickets to the Northern Lights Planetarium by either booking online or purchasing them at Perlan once you arrive. It’s advisable to book in advance to ensure your spot as shows may fill up quickly.

The current admission cost can vary depending on age groups and any special rates for students or seniors. For the most accurate pricing, it’s best to check the official Perlan website before planning your visit.

What is the duration of the Northern Lights show at Perlan?

The Northern Lights show at the Perlan Planetarium is designed to be an immersive experience, typically lasting around 25 minutes. This allows you to experience the beauty of the auroras in a comfortable, state-of-the-art setting.

What should I expect in terms of temperature inside the Perlan Ice Cave?

Inside the Perlan Ice Cave, temperatures are maintained just below freezing, similar to the conditions of natural ice caves. Dressing warmly is recommended, including wearing a coat, gloves, and a hat to stay comfortable during your visit.

Are guided tours available for visitors to the Perlan Ice Cave?

Visitors have the opportunity to explore the cave either on a self-guided visit or through guided tours, which can provide a more in-depth understanding of the ice cave and the scientific phenomena it represents.

How does the Perlan Ice Cave compare to natural ice caves in Iceland?

The Perlan Ice Cave is a man-made structure designed to mimic the features of Iceland’s natural ice caves, offering accessibility and safety without the need for specialized equipment or travel to remote glacier locations. The experience provides insight into the beauty and science of these natural wonders.

Perlan has a great view for Reykjavik, and night sky filled with dancing Northern Lights. [Photo credit to Yanshu Li]
About the author
A journalist and photographer, Yanshu is driven by a deep passion for Iceland. She's on a mission to share her love for authentic travel experiences and exciting adventures with fellow explorers. Armed with her camera, she sets off on hikes, delving into Iceland's intricacies while mastering the art of Icelandic language whenever possible.

You might like these articles