Daniëlle, who has two small children, gives comments on places she has visited personally and recommends other places she has heard good reports about.
THEME PARKS AND CHILDREN'S FARMS
Sprookjeswonderland in Enkhuizen (Noord-Holland)
This is great fun for small children. I went with my son Jasper at 1.5 years (he was a bit too young) but my 3-year old Lisa couldn't get enough, especially of all the "mushroom" houses with dwarves. She loved the boats. This was definitely worth the drive. Tip: go early.
Kabouterland, Exloo (Drenthe)
Aged 2 Lisa wasn't so interested in the "cave", which she thought it was a bit ‘scary’, but she loved the outdoor part.
Boerderij 't Geertje in Zoeterwoude (Zuid-Holland)
Feeding time was a big hit. For instance, you can by bottles of milk at 70 euro cents and feed to the lambs. At 3.5 years old, Lisa gave it a good try, but riding horseback was a step too far for her.
Speelboerderij de Hooiberg in Bladel (Noord-Brabant)
www.speelboerderij.nl (Type in "speelboerderij" in Google, and you will find many more.)
(Read Expatica article The world's greatest, smallest city)
Familiepark Drievliet in Den Haag (Zuid-Holland)
Speeltuin Groenendaal, Heemstede (Noord-Holland)
This is the best EUR 2.20 per person you'll ever spend, as it includes either a drink or ice-cream. Don't forget to get your hand stamped upon entering, as this will allow you to leave and re-enter (the toilets are outside the playground.)
Koningin Juliana Toren in Apeldoorn
Linnaeushof in Heemstede (Noord-Holland)
Enormous playground for all ages with a water-park as well. Not cheap, but worth your money.
BillyBird Park Hemelrijk in Volkel (Noord-Brabant)
Deltapark Neeltje Jans in Vrouwenpolder (Zeeland)
Familiepark DippieDoe in Best (Noord-Brabant)
Het Land van Jan Klaassen in Braamt
Speelpark Oud Valkeveen in Naarden (Noord-Holland)
Don't forget your swimming costume and towel on a sunny days, as there is a beach attached. It is not cheap, but you can spend the entire day here. You can eat pancakes at the restaurant next door, but don't forget to get a stamp so that can re-enter afterwards. Alternatively, get the usual fried stuff or do the Dutch thing; bring your own food.
Themapark Sprookjesbos in Valkenburg a/d Geul (Limburg)
Attractiepark Duinrell and Tropisch Tikibad in Wassenaar (Zuid-Holland) - www.duinrell.nl
De Efteling in Kaatsheuvel (Noord-Brabant)
Familiepark Plaswijckpark in Rotterdam (Zuid-Holland) - www.plaswijckpark.nl
Diergaarde Blijdorp in Rotterdam (Zuid-Holland)
Although we live all in Haarlem, we bought a season ticket for our first visit. This zoo is immense and beautifully set up. You can even get married here! The aquarium is spectacular.
DierenPark Amersfoort in Amersfoort (Utrecht)
This may not be one of the bigger names, but it can definitely compete with them.
Artis in Amsterdam (Noord-Holland)
Being a city zoo, Artis is much smaller than Diergaarde Blijdorp, but they are working on modernising it.
Dierenpark Emmen in Emmen (Drenthe)
Apenheul in Apeldoorn
Wonderfully designed park which allows children to walk amongst the apes, monkeys and lemurs. This place is a must vist for animal lovers!
View this photo blog of snapshorts of the local population of wild primates.
Spotting beavers in the wild
Biesbosch national park
Take a 'fluister' boat and go on one of the organised beaver spotting boat trips in Dutch national park De Biesbosch. The kids will love it, not only because you'll be going on a boat down remote waterways surrounded by beautiful nature and wildlife, but because it's at night (most trips are from 7pm to around 10pm) as Beaver's are nocturnal animals!
Burgers' Zoo in Arnhem (Gelderland)
San Marco in Amersfoort (Utrecht) - www.ijssalonsanmarco.nl
I did and will drive a few extra kilometres for this one. Addictive.
Garonne in Haarlem (Noord-Holland)
To taste is to like. Lisa at 3 knows exactly where it is located; at 35, so does her mummy.
Capri in Rotterdam (Zuid-Holland) - (My summer hotspot as a student.)
For our full list of the best ice-cream parlours in the Netherlands click here.
Vooges in Zandvoort (Noord-Holland) - www.vooges.nl
This beach pavilion is very child-friendly, but busy. On sunny days, make sure to be there before 11am.
Parnassia aan Zee in Bloemendaal aan Zee (Noord-Holland)
This beach pavilion is quieter than Vooges. They are not located on the beach, but above it. This means you go up to eat and drink and then go back down to your towel.
Bosbad Amersfoort in Amersfoort (Utrecht)
Henschotermeer in Woudenberg (Utrecht)
MUSEUMS (INCLUDING OPEN AIR)
Naturalis in Leiden (Zuid-Holland) - www.naturalis.nl
Omniversum in Den Haag (Zuid-Holland) - www.omniversum.nl
SPORTY AND ACTIVE
Mini-golf in Lage Vuursche (Noord-Holland) - www.lagevuursche.com www.midgetgolftuinen.nl
Lage Vuursche is situated the middle of a forest. Due to all the (pancake) restaurants and the mini golf expect a lot of is tourists.
HaarlemNightSkate in Haarlem (Noord-Holland)
Always about 20 km, starts at 20:00. Start and finish always at Kunstijsbaan Kennemerland. Cancelled when rainy or wet roads.
Friday Night Skate in Amsterdam (Noord-Holland) - www.fridaynightskate.com
DINNER WITH KIDS
Praq in Ouderkerk aan de Amstel (Noord-Holland) and Amersfoort (Utrecht)
Restaurant 't Pannenhuys in Luyksgestel (Noord-Brabant)
De Afrika Savanne in Luyksgestel (Noord-Brabant)
De Lachende Zeerover in Zandvoort (Noord-Holland) www.de-lachende-zeerover.nl
For pancake restaurants throughout the Netherlands, check out: www.pannenkoekenbakkers.nl.
For more ideas, check out:
www.wegmetdekids.nl (only in Dutch)
www.kinderuitje.nl (only in Dutch)
Daniëlle de Groot is Expatica's Manager Special Projects and mother of two very special projects indeed: Lisa and Jasper.
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