1. National Park Nieuw Land
Nationaal Park Nieuw Land’s vast, magnificent fields, reed plains, rough grasslands and water courses make it the perfect place to explore on foot or by bike. A great way to discover more about the unique habitat is to take one of the guided nature tours with a ranger. Along the way you can see huge herds of cows grazing on the grasslands, groups of wild ponies roaming the landscape and hundreds of birds soaring in the skies (as well as the chance to spot some birds of prey – including rare sea eagles). It's worth noting that some parts of Nationaal Park Nieuw Land are only accessible on guided tours. There are also opportunities for fishing trips, lessons on how to survive in the wilderness and even some water sports.
For those who have always dreamed of becoming a pilot, here’s your chance. The flight simulator at the Aviodrome, an aviation museum in Lelystad, is a must-do for flight enthusiasts. Tour a real Boeing 757 jumbo jet (yes, even the cockpit!) and get behind the controls of a F-104 Starfighter simulator to get some real-life pilot training. Then, tour the museum to admire some of its most treasured objects, such as historic pilot and flight attendant uniforms, handbooks and more.
Once you’ve taken command of the skies at the Aviodrome, it’s time to conquer the sea at Batavialand! Climb aboard a replica of the famed Dutch East India Company ship, the Batavia, to get a feel for the water. Then, head to the wharf to learn some traditional seafaring trades such as sail making, knot tying and metal forging. Inside the museum, the kids can play and learn about water management at the interactive IJsselkogge exhibition, and learn about the dangers of the deep. Also, don’t miss the Flevowand, a 40-metre long, handwoven cloth tracing the history of the Zuiderzee from the Saalien ice age to the present day.
3. Outdoor Park SEC
Give your family the adventure of a lifetime at Outdoor Park SEC Survivals, where dozens of different challenges are waiting for you and the kids. Try the Family Survival package, which takes you through an obstacle course and over a jungle bridge, or try the Family Expedition Outdoor, where you can split your family in teams to compete against each other. With this outdoor park, you can finally discover which member of the family has the best survival skills.
4. Big Lake
If your kids love the water, a trip to New Land’s Big Lake, which encompasses the IJsselmeer, Markermeer and IJmeer, is the perfect destination. Older kids can take part in adrenaline-packed activities such as windsurfing and flyboarding, while the young ones can go canoeing, sailing, fishing and more. While the kids play in the water, the adults can lounge on the beach with a cool drink in hand.
And after a day of exploring New Land’s art and architecture, visit the small harbours and fishing villages along the coastline to enjoy fresh fish, local cuisine and picturesque views.
5. De Kemphaan
For a hands-on nature experience – and plenty for kids to do – head to De Kemphaan, where they can monkey around in the climbing forest, go on a safari or scavenger hunt, learn about organic farming in the city farm, or get up close and personal with exotic animals in the Almere Jungle.
De Kemphaan, Almere
6. Stichting AAP
Animal care organisation AAP provides shelter to abandoned or neglected animals, in particular all types of monkeys. The foundation strives to place the animals back into the wild after recovery. Take a look behind the scenes of the AAP foundation during a guided tour held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Rondje AAP tour also allows you to explore on your own. Watch the animals in the Monkey House, the quarantine and the chimpanzee building from a distance.
Stichting AAP, Almere
In the Zuigerplasbos, just north of Lelystad, you’ll find adventurous play forest Belevenissenbos. This large, freely accessible nature reserve lives up to its name – ‘experience forest’. These 40 hectares of forest offer exciting adventures for little explorers. There is a motocross track, sand bumps, storm courses, a course of more than 50 obstacles and much more. It’s suitable for children from 6 to 16 years old.
Imagine yourself in prehistoric times at Swifterkamp. The village, which is essentially an outdoor historic museum comprising two farms, a hunter-gatherer hut and three outdoor buildings, makes you feel like you’ve time-travelled to a bygone era. Families sometimes inhabit the area, living life as they would have in the New Stone Age; the time when hunter-gatherers gradually switched to farming life.
The Netherlands is full of theme parks, and though New Land is new, it has one too. Walibi Holland, one of the best theme parks in the entire country, boasts seven rollercoasters: Goliath, the fastest and highest rollercoaster in the country; Xpress, which takes you from 0 to 90 km/h in just three seconds; and Lost Gravity, the newest and most popular roller coaster. For younger families, take a tour of Merlin’s Magical Castle or take a spin in a bumper car.
10. Dolfinarium Harderwijk
Some kids just can’t get enough of the water – and in New Land, there’s plenty of it. Continue the aquatic theme of your family’s holiday with a visit to the Dolfinarium, a spectacular water park that’s home to dozens of dolphins, seals, sea lions and fish. Take a swim with a dolphin, snap a photo with a sea lion or take a dip in the water park – and if you haven’t had enough, you can even spend the night at the park. Take your sleeping bag and dream of life under the sea.