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Kids canoeing in nature park De Kemphaan.
Image from Jorn van Eck

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 at Zandvoort

Family cycling through the dunes of Heemskerk Beach
Image from Heemskerk - Zee van tijd

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

Image from Linnaeushof

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 Keukenhof Castle or, if you come during spring, its blossoming gardens of tulips.

Visit a real fortress on Pampus Island

with boats
Image from Tony Perez

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

Mother and daughter bathing at Zandvoort beach.
Image from koen smilde

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 IJmuiden 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.

Try climbing in Haarlem

Climbing room inside of Mountain network
Image from Ines Maudire

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.

Go ape at De Kemphaan

For an adventurous day out, head to De Kemphaan, close to Almere, where kids will delight in tackling the high ropes and zip lines of Klimbos Fun Forest Almere or observing the rescued monkeys at Stichting AAP. The unmissable Almere Jungle offers exotic animal surprises, a tropical cafe and exceptional play areas. This amusing wildlife park, staffed by passionate volunteers, has lashings of humour, imagination and care in how the enclosures are constructed. Take a break at one of the local restaurants or even spend the night in one of the estate’s camping pitches or tipi tents on the nature campsite.

Become a pilot for the day at Aviodrome

Kids playing at Aviodrome Lelystad
Image from Aviodrome

Covering 6,000 m2, Lelystad’s Aviodrome museum traces the history of aeroplanes 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 peek into areas of the plane that are usually off-limits. There’s also an aeroplane 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.

Jump around at Avontura

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 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

Image from 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.

Dolfinarium, Harderwijk

Plunge into medieval life at Castle Muiderslot

Image from Mike Bink fotografie

You won’t find a better playground for the whole family than the 700-year-old moated Castle Muiderslot in Muiden, 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 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.

Learn how chocolate is made at Zaanse Schans

Image from Mike Bink

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 and Verkade Experience 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

The historic weigh house of Monnickendam.
Image from koen smilde

Venture into Monnikendam for a look inside its clock tower, the Waterlandsmuseum de Speeltoren, featuring a complicated system of pulleys and gears all working in concert to produce the loveliest 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 nearby? Don’t miss the Monnikendam harbour, Volendams Museum and the Fort bij Edam.