Saturday, 10 August 2013

Fun for families in Amsterdam

Family holidays in Amsterdam

With 110 acres of gardens, woods and fields, Vondelpark is a wonderful part of Amsterdam for families to visit. On a good weather day, you can enjoy time to walk, bike, hike, play and picnic in this lovely park, the biggest in the city. It’s not only a beautiful green space, but filled with cultural opportunities.

In the summer months, there are plenty of family-friendly entertainments in the park. Vondelpark is located in Amsterdam’s museum district, so once you’ve had your fill of outdoor time, or when the weather’s not cooperating, you and the family can head to one of the city’s excellent museums. A great choice is the recently renovated Rijksmuseum, which houses a huge collection of Dutch Master paintings, including masterpieces by Vermeer and Rembrandt. They provide children’s guides for kids. Not far from there, you can also visit the Van Gogh Museum. With over a million annual visitors, it houses the biggest collection of Van Gogh’s art in the world along with paintings and sculptures from other artists from his time.

Other Amsterdam museums that children will especially enjoy include Science Center NEMO, the Royal Palace, the Botanical Gardens and Madame Tussauds. A must-visit is the Artis Zoo in the Plantage area of the city. Families can enjoy viewing hundreds of animal species in natural looking habitats, separated from visitors by a canal rather than traditional cages. A planetarium, Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion are other features that children will delight in, along with their parents. The restaurants and restrooms are all completely child-friendly.

Amsterdam has many family-friendly dining options. One of the most fun is the Kinderkookkafe, not far from Vondelpark. Kids aged 5-12 not only get to eat there, but can enjoy participating in the life of the restaurant as cooks, learn to wait on tables, and even do the clean-up. If you’re going to be in town for a while, you could sign your kids up for a special cooking class there.

Other family-friendly eateries include Bazar Amsterdam, Cafe Giraf, Groot Melkhuis and De Bakkerswinkel. Bazar Amsterdam is a unique cultural experience for the whole family, with Middle Eastern and North African foods. Cafe Giraf has play areas the kids can enjoy while parents and older siblings enjoy great coffee. There’s even a special milk drink, called babyccino, for the kids to enjoy while the older folks sip. Groot Melkhuis is located in Vondelpark and provides a casual menu as well as a playground and summer arts and crafts. De Bakkerswinkel is particularly delightful if you have a sweet tooth. Their sweets are served alongside baked goods, sandwiches and tea.

Playgrounds and parks are plentiful all over Amsterdam. Families can rent bikes any number of places. Mini-golf and indoor and outdoor climbing parks are also popular. Knijn Bowling is the biggest bowling alley in the city, and often accommodates kids’ parties. Of course, one of the city’s most unique family activities is boating on the beautiful canals. You can join a canal cruise or rent a pedal boat. Either way is sure to provide a great view of the city and a wonderful memory to take home.

There are plenty of family friendly hotels in Amsterdam. Once you’ve found your family’s headquarters, you can relax and head out to enjoy the historic sights and outdoor fun the city offers.

Itinerary written by Carlos, a travel writer for Hostelbookers.

Thanks to James Byrum for the image off Flickr. Please note, at time of publication all images were suitable for use according to the Creative Commons license.

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