Overview: As a resident of Amsterdam, and a father of two children younger than 8, I wanted to create a guide to assist travelers visiting... more »
As a resident of Amsterdam, and a father of two children younger than 8, I wanted to create a guide to assist travelers visiting... more » Amsterdam with children. I've included a mixture of indoor and outdoor activities, information about where to find decent food and toilets, and just a little bit of education and culture thrown in for good measure.
Amsterdam is a family-friendly city—you just need to know where to go. less «
I would suggest doing this tour by bicycle. The GPS location at the start of the tour is just outside the MacBike rental shop at... more » Central Station. Depending on the age of your kids you can rent bikes with kids seats on them, bikes that the kids can ride themselves (I would only recommend this if they are at least 10 years old and good cyclists) or a bakfiets (a long bicycle with a box on the front where the children can sit). This MacBike location is open daily 9am-5:45pm. See pricing at http://www.macbike.nl/
You also can walk this tour, but walking will take much of the day so you will want to have strollers for the younger kids. If you do walk I recommend taking Tram No. 1 from the last point of interest back to Central Station (instructions on doing so are in the guide).
Finally, I suggest packing layers for the kids no matter what the weather looks like. The weather in Amsterdam can change from sunny to windy to wet in no time. Enjoy! less «
We are using Amsterdam Central Station as a starting point for this family-friendly tour of Amsterdam. The GPS starting point is outside MacBike's Central Station office if you want to rent bicycles, which is the recommended mode of transportation.
On the short ride from Central Station to the next stop, NEMO, you will pass the under-construction... More Oosterdokseiland. This area is recently reclaimed from the harbor to create an interesting mix of public and private buildings (including POI No. 3, the Amsterdam Public Library).Less
Science Center NEMO is the largest science center in the Netherlands and is designed specifically for children between the ages of 5-16. The exhibits promote hands-on learning of science and technology. The first thing you notice about NEMO is the unusual building itself, which resembles the prow of a large, green sinking ship. The building was... More designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano and completed in 1997.
Most, but not all, of the exhibits offer English explanations. There are child-friendly toilets on each floor. On sunny days the roof of NEMO doubles as a sun terrace and there are fun activities to keep the kids engaged there too. I suggest passing on the NEMO cafe, as the food options are not inspiring. You can grab a delicious and fresh lunch at the next stop, the Amsterdam Public Library.
Oosterdok 2, 1011 VX Amsterdam, Netherlands
4 and older 12.50 Euro
Also open Monday
This new public library opened in 2007 and is the largest public library building in Europe with more than 28,000 square meters of space; it includes a theater, restaurant and an entire floor dedicated to children.
I suggest allowing some time for the kids to explore the lowest level, which has books and videos in many languages, child-friendly ... Morecomputers and computer games, and a "castle" in which children can snuggle up and read their chosen books.
Then take the elevator to the seventh floor restaurant La Place. In addition to the fresh, made-to-order options like pizza, burgers with fries and salmon, there is also a plentiful salad bar and an array of desert options. It is good, fresh, fast and relatively inexpensive. You can also enjoy the best view of Amsterdam from the adjoining terrace.
There are toilets on the children's level, and on the seventh floor near the restaurant. Toilets cost 20 cents per use.
Amsterdam's Artis Zoo (short for "Natura Artis Magistra" or "Nature is the Teacher of Art") was originally opened in 1838. The zoo offers several play areas for kids, two cafeterias, a planetarium, an aquarium, a butterfly pavilion and, of course, lots and lots of animals. There are several free, child-friendly toilets... More throughout the grounds.
Natura Artis Magistra, Plantage Kerklann 38-40
Kids 3-9 15.50 Euro
Guests 10-64 18.95 Euro
Seniors 65+ 17.50 Euro
The short ride from Artis to the next stop, TunFun, will take you through a small part of Amsterdam's Jewish Quarter. TunFun is next to the Portuguese Synagogue, which is where the great Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza worshipped in the 17th century.Less
TunFun is a fine example of urban recycling. It is a cavernous indoor playground that used to be an auto underpass. Spacious soft-play constructions provide endless joy for kids younger than 12 with choices ranging from ball pools and small climbing structures for toddlers to huge jungle gyms for older kids. Free toilets are located at the far end... More of the playground (follow signs). There is a small cafeteria that serves uninspiring food and coffee.
While the appeal will wear off on parents after a couple hours, you'll have to bribe your kids to leave.
Mr. Visserplein 7
Kids 1-12 7.50 Euro
The trip from TunFun to our next point-of-interest in Vondelpark will take you through some interesting and beautiful neighborhoods. As you leave TunFun you are traveling through part of the old Jewish Quarter, then along the Amstel River and across the "Skinny Bridge"--the most iconic of Amsterdam's 1,500 bridges.
The path then takes you along a beautiful stretch of Prinsengracht (Prince's Canal) with well-maintained canal houses rising on either side and boathouses gently bobbing on the canal.
When you turn off Prinsengracht and onto Nieuwe Spiegelstraat you will see the Rijksmuseum (opened in 1885) rising in front of you. A short trip along the busy Stadhouderskade will bring you to the main entrance of Vondelpark.Less
Vondelpark is the most central and most crowded of several large parks that ring Amsterdam's center. Opened in 1865, the park is named after 17th century author Joost van den Vondel. You will find a statue of Vondel near the first large pond you come to after entering the park. On nice days Vondelpark's 120 acres are a hub of social activity, and ... Morein the mornings (regardless of weather) it is pleasantly crowded with bicycle commuters crisscrossing the city.
Follow the GPS route to the Groot Melkhuis (Large Milkhouse), which is a perfect place to relax with your kids. They can play in the play area while you enjoy a coffee, Belgian beer or glass of wine. There are also snacks such as fries, soup, and hot and cold sandwiches. The play area is geared more to the younger than 10 crowd. There are bathrooms, which will cost you 30 cents to use.
After you're done at the Groot Melkhuis it is only a five-minute walk to the final point-of-interest, the Kinderkook Cafe.
Vondelpark 2, 1071 AA Amsterdam
Opens daily 10amLess
As the name suggests, this is a cafe where children can bake and cook for their parents. Everything is built to child height and there are hats and aprons to fit all sizes. The staff helps the kids prepare and cook/bake. Kids can make cakes, cookies, pizzas and use fresh vegetables. When the cooking and cleaning are done the kids can play in the... More outdoor play area.
The cost depends on what the child makes. Items cost anywhere from 1.50 to 4.50 Euro. I can vouch for the fact that the results are--usually--surprisingly good.
From the Kinderkook Cafe the GPS map will take you along the quickest and safest route back to Amsterdam Central Station. However, if you are walking I recommend following the GPS map to Overtoom (a one-minute walk from Kinderkook Cafe) and catch Tram No. 1 to Central Station.
NOTE: Make sure you catch Tram 1 heading back toward the city center, the front of the tram will show Central Station as the destination.Less