There are loads of fun things to do in Amsterdam with kids. Just sightseeing around the city can be fun, with a choice of exploring by boat, bike, tram or on foot. Then there’s world-class museums with specific kids’ programs, a fantastic zoo, beautiful parks with playgrounds – and even Europe’s highest swing for thrill seekers.
Read on for all the best things to do in Amsterdam for families.
Amsterdam is all about the canals so you can’t miss the opportunity to see the city by boat. Taking a river cruise is the ideal way to check out Amsterdam’s historical centre. There are loads of different canal cruises to choose from but with kids we particularly like the evening pizza cruise, which comes served with unlimited drinks for adults and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for the kids.
The A’dam lookout observation deck offers unparalleled 360° views over Amsterdam, and an interactive exhibition about Amsterdam’s history and culture. But what’s really fun here is the ‘Over the Edge’ swing, Europe’s highest swing, where thrill seekers can swing 100m above the ground, with Amsterdam below their feet. For children over 130cm only.
Guided Bike Tour
Do as the Dutch do, and explore Amsterdam by bike. With over 400km of cycle paths, Amsterdam is one of the easiest and safest cities to explore by bike with kids. The tour will take you along canals and past some of the most famous historical sights of Amsterdam, while a guide gives you insider information about the city’s history and culture.
NEMO Science Museum
The five floors of NEMO Amsterdam provide an exciting learning experience in the world of science and technology for kids of all ages. The continuously updated exhibitions include interactive machines, science lab experiments, films, workshops and demonstrations. Finish your visit with a trip to the fabulous roof terrace, complete with bar, café and views of Amsterdam.
Countryside and Windmills Tour
Anyone visiting Amsterdam should take the opportunity to get out of the city for a few hours and experience the Dutch countryside. This tour is fun for the whole family, giving you the opportunity to snap postcard-perfect windmill shots, try Dutch Edam at the cheese factory, check out a fishing village and discover how traditional wooden clogs are made.
Efteling Theme Park
The magical fairy tale-themed amusement park is a guaranteed fun day out for the whole family. Expect elves, trolls, fairies and talking trees throughout the four themed lands, which draw inspiration from ancient myths, folklore, fairy tales and legends. There are plenty of rides to suit the very young, as well as rollercoasters for older daredevils. Fun!
Van Gogh Museum
The Van Gogh Museum has the world’s largest collection of works by Vincent Van Gogh. There is a special audio tour for kids, as well as family guided tours on offer. To help the kids get really engaged, there is also a free treasure hunt sheet and various fun ‘assignments’ available from the information desk. There are also painting workshops for kids aged 6-12 at weekends.
ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo
The ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo in the heart of Amsterdam is so much more than just a zoo. In addition to housing over 700 animals, there’s also a planetarium, an aquarium and a botanical gardens featuring more than 200 tree varieties. One thing’s for sure – a day here is guaranteed fun for the family.
Amsterdam’s most famous park is a kids paradise. There are several fantastic playgrounds to choose from, in addition to sandpits, paddling pools, open-air theatres, cycle paths and plenty of space to run around. Enjoy lunch at the Groot Melkhuis, with its kids menu and famous playground, or the kids can have a go at making their own meals at Kinderkookcafe.
Anne Frank House
Visiting the Anne Frank House is an educational and amazing learning experience for older children, but probably not really suitable for younger children. Many older children and teenagers will have read Anne Frank’s diary but preparing children before going about the history and nature of the museum is advised. Children under 10 are free.
Anne Frank tours of the surrounding area are also available.
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