In Amsterdam, it rains a lot. But who cares when there are so many lovely (and child-friendly) indoor things to do? Here are Emmy’s top ten rainy-day recommendations.
If you’re caught out in the rain you can do much worse than visit one of Amsterdam’s many child-friendly museums. If you are worrying that these could be costly adventures, given how frequently it rains here: never fear – just pick up a Museumkaart. You can find a list of our child-friendly favourites in the city here.
2. Canal Cruise
If the weather outside is frightful then you can still see the city in the warm and dry by hopping onto one of the many canal cruise options around town. Canal.nl are great if your little ones won’t last a whole cruise as you can hop on and hop off at various points around the city. For school age kids my favourite is the Freshwater Pirates cruise for kids by the Blue Boat Company which provides kids with their own audio tour in English or Dutch and a bag of pirate goodies including binoculars and a pirate’s log.
Ok, I am going to be honest, Tun Fun is not for the faint hearted. But if it is raining stair rods outside and your kids are going crazy, then Tun Fun is your destination. An underground soft-play cavern, they have free wifi for the parents and room to roam for the little ones. Bonus: it’s open every day.
♦Winner of the Best Soft Play/Indoor Playground in the Amsterdam Mamas Recommends Awards 2016 ♦
4. Cafés with Play Areas
Kids are welcome in café’s all over the city but there are some that are particularly suited to children. The Mamas recommend:
KinderKookkafe where your kids are the cooks.
Restaurant Vandaag for their all-you-can-eat menu and kids play area.
Radinoon on Sundays for their yummy pizzas and kids room staffed by nannies.
If you have a tiny Van Gogh on your hands let them explore their creative boundaries at one of the creative stores around town. Our favourite is Made By Me and, on Wednesday afternoons, we like to head to the Kids Art Club at Het Groot Melkhuis. If they want to watch others creating, then stop by PapaBubble to watch the sweet-makers at work.
The zoo? In the rain? Bear with me (pun intended, boom boom!)…Artis has a lot of interesting indoor spaces to explore when the weather is less than pleasant. Head into the planetarium for the light shows or over to the Aquarium to discover what really lies at the bottom of an Amsterdam canal. My favourite indoor spaces are the sea lion pool (the viewing gallery is in a tunnel so you can watch the underwater antics of the sea lions), which leads into the butterfly house: beautiful and warm.
♦Winner, Best Event for Families in Amsterdam, Amsterdam Mamas Recommends Awards 2016♦
7. Trampoline Halls
8. Pancake Boat
It doesn’t run every day and you definitely have to book, but if you are looking for an easy way to while away a couple of hours then this is it. All-you-can-eat pancakes and toppings (not gourmet but totally tasty). Drinks are available from the waitstaff and, once the kids have eaten, the captain lifts up the trapdoor to reveal a giant ball pit in the hold.
Amsterdam has invested heavily in their public libraries in recent years. Many of them are in new buildings with excellent facilities and most have an English children’s book section. Our family favourites are OBA (spacious and beautiful), OBA Olympischkwartier for their cosy reading nooks in the kid’s section and OBA de Hallen for their lovely book selection in multiple languages and the fabulous kid-friendly Bel Campo café with play area right next door.
I know we’ve covered museums already but really NEMO deserves a category all of its own. Amsterdam’s Science Museum for kids is a total blast. From the child-sized bubble-makers to the hands-on experiments and interactive workshops, there is something for everyone at NEMO – and you can use your museumkaart! You can spend an entire day here and still discover more things to do.
♦Winner, Best Museum for Families, Best Day Out (Indoors) for Families, Amsterdam Mamas Recommends Awards 2016♦
Emmy Coffey McCarthy
Emmy McCarthy was the Director of Stichting Amsterdam Mamas. She is a Mama, Entrepreneur and Connector on a never-ending quest for balance in her life.