Well-known for its narrow cobbled streets and picturesque canals, Amsterdam is one of the most fun cities in Europe. I know that the capital of the Netherlands is famous for its vibrant nightlife and attracts large crowds of young people, but the city is also a family-oriented destination with plenty of activities and attractions to keep the little ones entertained.
Whether you wish to visit some of the most popular child-friendly museums in the world, interact with cute animals in a petting zoo, or take your kid to one of Amsterdam’s beautiful parks, there is no shortage of fun things to do with children here in Amsterdam.
There are even fun day trips to do from Amsterdam such as a visit to Pampus island.
To help you figure out where to go and what to do, I’ve put together a list of my favorite places to visit with kids in Amsterdam.
Things to do in Amsterdam (with kids!)
One of the best green spaces in Amsterdam is the fabulous Vondelpark. From a huge playground to wooden tree huts and a lovely paddling pool, there is plenty to look forward to when visiting Vondelpark with children. There is also the wonderful Kinderkookcafé where the little ones can prepare their own dishes, while parents are having a cup of coffee or tea. During the summer season, an open-air theatre offers children’s programs right here in Vondelpark.
2 Canal Boat Tour
There is no shortage of fun things to do in Amsterdam and going on a canal boat tour is definitely one of them. It is an ideal way to experience the city from a different perspective while traveling with children. Of course, there are dozens of canal boat tours to choose from ranging from glass boat tours and museum canal tours with audio guides to pizza canal boat tours. My favorite tour is definitely the Blue Boat Company’s pirate-themed canal ride where kids get a freshwater pirate certificate.
The largest science center in the country, NEMO boasts five floors packed with everything from exhibitions and demonstrations to workshops and interactive displays. The kids love the magnificent science lab where they get to wear lab coats and conduct science experiments. You can also check out various displays and interactive exhibits on genetics, creativity, and engineering here at Nemo. When your children get tired, visit the science center’s rooftop terrace and enjoy the fabulous views of Amsterdam.
4 Artis Zoo
Located on the east side of the city, Artis Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in Europe. With more than 6000 animals and 700 species, this lovely zoo will keep your kids entertained for a couple of hours. There is an aquarium on-site, as well as two small museums devoted to geology and zoology and a planetarium. Don’t forget to stop by the zoo’s botanical gardens and check out the fantastic outdoor playground for kids.
The city center of Amsterdam gets quite busy on the weekends and to escape the large crowds of tourists, I usually go to the lovely Amstelpark with my kids. The park is located just a short drive from the city center and offers a variety of attractions and activities to choose from. Whether you wish let your kids play at a gigantic playground, hop on a train that circles the park, or enjoy bumper boats and race cars, there are many options to keep the whole family entertained for the day. You can even bring a picnic blanket and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere of this charming park.
6 Geitenboerderij De Ridammerhoeve
Geitenboerderij De Ridammerhoeve is a lovely goat farm located in Amsterdamse Bos. Here, you can see many goats, cows, horses, and chickens and even participate in workshops. There is also a Farmer’s Market on Saturday when you can try different products. From learning how a goat is milked to tasting cheese, Geitenboerderij De Ridammerhoeve is definitely a place worth visiting with kids.
7 Madame Tussauds
No visit to Amsterdam with kids is complete without checking out the fabulous Madame Tussauds and its wax museum celebrities and historical figures. The museum is spread across three floors and includes spaces such as the Music Zone, Golden Age, Sport Gallery, and TV Studio Backstage. Your kids can pose with ET on a bike and take a photo next to Barack Obama. Besides wax museum celebrities, the museum offers an interactive experience which allows children to test their soccer skills.
8 Pancakes in Amsterdam
After all the sightseeing in Amsterdam, it’s time to grab something to eat. Since many kids are crazy about pancakes, I decided to make a list of my favorite pancake joints in the city. Pancakes Amsterdam is definitely one of the most famous eateries here and they specialize in both flat Dutch Pancakes and American varieties which are thicker. You can choose from a variety of toppings including ham, cheese, maple syrup, and blueberry sauce. For something more unconventional, pay a visit to the Japanese Pancake World to find Japanese crispy pancakes topped with ingredients such as potato puree, cabbage, and cheese. Other pancake restaurants worth mentioning include Mr.Stacks and Bakers and Roasters.