Amsterdam isn’t just about the red light district, raucous sex shows and cafes serving hash brownies, there’s a whole host of family friendly activities to immerse yourself in! Check out our top five below.
1. The Amsterdam Dungeon. Discover Amsterdam’s dark past with a trip to the Amsterdam Dungeons. In groups of no more than 30, visitors will walk through 11 live shows with seven trained actors telling gory tales from over the past 500 years, such as the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition through the Dungeon’s own court of law, the burning of witches at the stake and the deadly plague that swept Europe. At the end of the tour, there’s even a roller coaster for anyone after a few extra thrills! The dungeon provides a fun and educational day out for the whole family, with a balanced mixture of comedy and horror.
2. Artis Royal Zoo.
Animal lovers and families with young children should definitely include a trip to the zoo during their stay. Located in the centre of the city, the zoo is home to over 900 species of animals including giraffes, elephants and lions. The zoo is also celebrated for its beautiful gardens, containing over 200 species of trees, and the 19th century Aquarium. There are also daily zookeeper talks and feeds, including the sea lion show and penguin feed. Younger children will also love the designated play areas here and with many interactive displays, they can learn more about the conservation and protection of some of the worlds rarest and exotic animals.
3. Explore the city by bike or boat.
Due to the flat landscape, characteristic of the Netherlands, cycling your way through the city is easy and safe for the whole family. You can hire bikes from companies such as MacBike and Amsterbike. Alternatively, a canal cruise is a unique way to see the city, as you meander through the 165 canals. Tour operators such as Blue Boat and Holland International offer an array of packages, including evening dinner cruises. If you’re visiting with little ones however, look no further than the Pannenkoekenboot (the pancake boat). Whilst you cruise around the city, you’ll be able to indulge in all you can eat pancakes with a selection of tasty toppings-delicious!
4. Vondelpark. This 19th century park spreads over 120 acres, and is the largest park in Amsterdam. Whether you’ve decided to hire bikes or not, there’s plenty to explore in this tranquil haven. In the summer, an open-air theatre hosts a variety of events, some of which are free, whilst the landscaped gardens and lakes provide a stunning backdrop for a picnic. There are also plenty of play areas for little ones as well as cafes and restaurants dotted about. Before you leave be sure to check out The Fish sculpture by Picasso.
5. Van Gogh Museum. Housing the works of Vincent Van Gogh and his contemporaries, this must visit museum is amongst the top most visited in the world. As the largest collection of Van Gogh paintings on the planet, there are many well-known works such as Sunflowers and The Potato Eaters. Other highlights include works by Monet and Toulous-Lautrec. And don’t worry if you’re visiting with younger children, they can get involved too with the Van Gogh treasure hunt. Pick up a free copy of the treasure hunt at the information desk and children between 6 and 12 can see if they can find all the answers in order to win a prize at the end!
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