Top things to do with kids in the Amsterdam Area
If you're looking for something exciting to do with the whole family, consider taking the trip out of Amsterdam and into the surrounding region. From adventuring across the magnificent Dutch countryside to discovering fishing villages and outdoor museums, here are some of our picks for the perfect family day out in the Amsterdam Area.
Cycle to the beach
The seaside is just a short bike ride from Haarlem, and the journey will see you whizz through kilometres of wild dunes, wildlife and stunning scenery. There’s even the chance to spot some highland cattle as you pedal along the winding cycle paths. In the spring and summer months, there are plenty of places with delicious food and drink in Zandvoort. While there, don’t miss the chance to see some unearthed treasures found buried in the sand at the Jutters Mu-ZEE-um.
Let loose at Europe’s biggest playground
More than 350 playgrounds and attractions await at Linnaeushof! From mazes to the Pirates’ Island, obstacle courses and even cable cars, the whole family is guaranteed to have a ton of fun. Separated into various areas based on age, the playgrounds are perfect for smaller and older kids alike. For more to do in the Flowers of Amsterdam region, explore the Keukenhof Castle or, if you come during spring, its blossoming gardens of tulips.
Visit a real fort on Pampus Island
Seen across the water, the small island of Pampus looks like any other island. But adventurers who take the chance to explore this unique location will discover that it’s not a natural land mass at all, but a submerged sea fort built in the 1890s to protect Amsterdam from enemies. After a restoration in 2007, you can now visit Fort Pampus by boat and explore its secret tunnels - and it’s also a popular location for events.
Make sandcastles at Amsterdam Beach
Fine white sands and sun are in abundance in the Netherlands (at least during the summer months), so a trip to the beach with the kids is a must-do if you’re visiting Amsterdam during this time. The towns of Zandvoort and Bloemendaal buzz with throngs of sun-worshippers and families looking to have some fun in the surf during the summer, while older kids can even enjoy the chance to take part in water sports, including surfing, stand-up paddle boarding and kitesurfing. But of course, no trip to the beach would be complete without crafting a sandcastle or two.
Go to Climbing Wall Haarlem
The perfect place for little daredevils to scale to new heights, Klimmuur (Climbing Wall) Haarlem was the first climbing wall to open in the Netherlands and offers a range of activities for children. As well as training courses for kids, the centre hosts special days where they can have a go to see if they like climbing if they haven't done it before, check out the youth club or join bouldering sessions. And after you’ve had your fill of adventure, there should be plenty of time to explore authentic Haarlem.
Get back to nature at Nationaal Park Nieuw Land
A unique nature reserve located in New Land, Nationaal Park Nieuw Land is 56 km2 of protected marshlands and fields where you can spot an abundance of wildlife – including wild varieties of deer, cattle, foxes, hare, Konik ponies and many species of bird. Youngsters will love exploring these vast, magnificent fields, reed plains, rough grasslands and water courses, and if you want to really impress, why not book a tour with one of the park’s rangers? You can start (or end) the journey with a visit to Oostvaardersplassen’s visitors centre or its observation centre, which offer awe-inspiring views of the land in panorama rooms with telescopes and binoculars to use and a place to fill up on something tasty. On weekends, the centre also hosts nature activities, lectures, musical performances and workshops.
Become a pilot for the day
Covering 6,000 m2, Lelystad’s Aviodrome museum traces the history of airplanes and the development of flight – all the way from the Wright Brothers’ first successful aircraft up to the enormous Boeing 747. The most spectacular exhibit is the museum’s own 747, which allows your young cadets to take a peek into areas of the plane that are usually off-limits. There’s also an airplane laboratory and a 4D cinema where you can watch a film about aviation on the country’s largest film screen! The perfect way to keep the kids happy. Don’t forget to look out for special programmes during the school holidays.
Go bananas at Avontura jungle play centre
If your children are behaving like little monkeys, then why not let them loose in the climbing jungle centre at Avontura in Aalsmeer? Kids will be in their element at this play centre, whether they’re jumping in the ball pit, on the trampolines, climbing, disco dancing and more. Avontura also helps celebrate children's parties in its special party room, and for parents, there are places to relax, read and enjoy free WiFi. If that wasn’t enough, the venue is next door to Jump XL Trampoline Park and the glow-in-the-dark Glowgolf miniature golf course.
Voyage beneath the ocean at the Dolfinarium
Take a journey under the sea at the Dolfinarium, where dolphins, fish, seals and sea lions all live together in ‘the lagoon’. This 15 million-litre closed saltwater ecosystem lets little biologists see what life is like beneath the waters of the world’s oceans. After a visit to the Lagoon, why not take the opportunity to touch and feed the stingrays at the Ray Reef, walk through the Seal Wetlands, visit the modern rescue and research centre for sick or injured dolphins and see the walrus and seal shows. And if the sun is shining, you can even sunbathe, swim or ride in a paddle boat at the Park Beach.
Plunge into a medieval lifestyle at Castle Muiderslot
You won’t find a better playground for the whole family than the 700-year-old moated Muiderslot castle on the outskirts of Amsterdam. Follow the Tower route tour through the decorated halls and discover how the castle was defended in case of danger. For extra fun, try the children’s quest tailored for children from 6 to 11. There are many fun assignments and riddles to complete across the castle and its gardens! Once you’ve had your fill of medieval fun, don’t hesitate to make a stop in Muiden for a meal and a walk along the canals. Keep an eye out on the Muiderslot calendar for special activities, markets and masterclasses.
Explore the fisherman lifestyle in the Zuiderzee museum
Step into the open-air Zuiderzee museum for a first-hand peek into the way locals lived in the region throughout the ages. Discover the traditional costumes, the fishing trades and crafts and all the elements that kept the village up and running. The museum is perfect for young and old. Play old Dutch games, go aboard a fishing boat or dress up in historical garb - the choice is yours.
Learn how chocolate is made in the Verkade Experience at Zaanse Schans
Explore the early 20th-century Verkade chocolate and biscuit factory to learn how the tastiest treats have been created. Located just next to the Zaanse Schans heritage village, a visit to the Zaans Museum can easily be combined with a day trip to the iconic green windmills dotting the landscape. Venture into clog and cheese-making workshops or see the inner workings of a windmill for added fun.
Ring the bells in the Speeltoren
Venture into Monnikendam for a look inside its clock tower museum, featuring a complicated system of pulleys and gears all working in concert to produce the nicest sound. This museum offers the chance to play an organ, ring the bells and find out how the angel on top of the tower blows its trumpet. With plenty of enchanting artefacts from the area, this is the perfect place to start a day trip through the towns of Monnikendam and Edam. Our tips? Don’t miss the Monnikendam harbour, Volendams Museum and the Fort near Edam.