Family and kids in De Plantage
There aren’t many other districts in Amsterdam which boast such an array of family-friendly attractions and cultural centres within such a walkable area. Where else can you explore one of Europe’s finest zoos, peek at organisms under the microscope and see fairytales brought to life at the ballet all in one day? Several museums have exhibits catered towards children with opportunities for education and play.
You could easily spend a full day exploring the many enclosures, ponds and paddocks at Artis, one of Amsterdam’s biggest family attractions. The zoo takes care of a menagerie of critters (over 750 species to be exact) ranging in size from fully-grown giraffes to exotic reptiles that could fit in your palm. It's worth timing your visit to coincide with feeding times for some splashy spectacles (the penguins are a must-see). Little ones can burn off steam in the fantastic play area and parents can call time out at the cafe where the large terrace overlooks the flamingo enclosure.
Recommended for children aged 8 and above, a visit to this weird and wonderful museum dedicated to the minuscule lifeforms which shape our world is a truly unique experience. The dark exhibition space is packed with interactive exhibits, live laboratory demonstrations and microscopes you can peer into to see how living organisms move, eat and reproduce. From growing mould to the useful bacterias that live inside our bodies, microbes are the smallest but most powerful things on our planet. Adults will undoubtedly walk away from Micropia discovering just as much as the kids.
Resistance Museum Junior
For anyone who found the story of Anne Frank truly engaging, a visit to the Resistance Museum Junior should be the next stop on your WWII history tour of Amsterdam. Aimed at visitors aged 9-14 years old, the exhibition centres around the eye-witness accounts of four children to reveal their experiences of life during wartime. You can read true stories and see authentic objects that were part of the children’s lives during the occupation. The display builds upon themes of persecution, resistance and everyday life in terms that are inspiring and accessible for all.
Dutch National Ballet
There couldn’t be anything more entrancing than watching an ancient fairy tale brought to life on stage. Every season, the Dutch National Ballet puts on a new performance with costumes, sets and music that will take the whole family’s breath away. Time-honoured stories like Cinderella or the Nutcracker are reinvigorated with a contemporary twist to enchant and charm all generations. In December, the Christmas Gala gives dance a heavy sprinkle of magic and wintry snowflakes making it an unmissable festive spectacle.
The Kindermuseum section of the Jewish Museum contains a treasure trove of child-friendly interactive exhibits in the form of an imaginatively decorated Jewish home. Each room offers a new way to engage with Jewish culture and traditions through educational play. Find out about kosher food in the kitchen, learn about the Torah in the study, and test your musical skills on instruments used for particular Jewish holidays in the music room.