The "Haus am Checkpoint Charlie" is located at the point where my mother and I used to cross from West to East when visiting relatives before the wall came down in 1989.
I remember being very impressed with the replica hiding spots under the engines of cars, and in specially made suitcases; my barrage of questions must have driven my mother nuts when we went to visit the museum so many years ago. But at least I had some schema; I had stood at the wall with my mother's friends from West Berlin, and had crossed the border both ways when visiting family in the former East Germany... my own boys know only the stories.
I'm glad I got to share this museum visit with Alex and Simon -- although they don't really understand everything, it was neat to see them so engaged, eyes full of wonder as the wheels turned upstairs, and they asked questions to fill in the many gaps that were forming as quickly as new connections and understandings were being made!
After lunch, it was off to the Berliner Zoo.
I am no zoo expert, but it seemed to me that the enclosures were rather small, and as there were few pavilions, many animals were outside or off display. The zoo itself was lovely to walk through as a visitor, but as an animal, I think I'd choose the Toronto Zoo any day!
I will say this, though, the Berlin zoo has some pretty neat animals: In the short time we were there, we saw three species of procupine, some pink flamingos and even few giraffes.
The aquarium was also pretty neat; sharks, stingrays and all manner of fish.