Amsterdam in the morning — Photo courtesy of Digital InternetMany see Amsterdam just as a city filled with coffee shops and prostitutes. The city has so much more to offer, though, especially for children.
Start your day with a nutritious breakfast at @7. The cozy café opens at 7:00 am during the week, perfect for the early-riser. Wake up with a warm cup of coffee while your kids play in the toy corner. @7 even has a special children’s menu, where you can have a slice of bread with your choice of topping: peanut butter, jam, honey, sprinkles, apple syrup, cheese, chocolate spread or meat. They also offer a fresh fruit salad.
Make your way to the Albert Cuypmarkt. It's one of the largest open-air markets in Europe and is a sight to see. It provides numerous shopping and food-tasting opportunities. The kids will love looking at all the stalls. If you want or need to make a pit stop along the way, drop by Kinderboerderij de Pijp. It’s a children’s petting zoo located in the middle of the city that provides creative animal-related activities.
Hortus Botanicus — Photo courtesy of Os RúpiasThen, walk north along the Amstel River. Admire the beautiful bridges. You’ll pass by two famous bridges: Magere Brug (the Skinny Bridge) and Blauwbrug. When you reach the Blauwbrug, 'the Blue Bridge' in English, head east.
Spend the rest of the morning and first part of the afternoon at the Artis, the Amsterdam zoo. Escape into a world of animals. The zoo is home to more than 900 species and nice 19th-century architecture. The Hortus Botanicus will also promise some fun. The kids will feel like they're in a jungle as they walk between the bamboo stalks and in the greenhouses.
After, head toward the IJ River for a late lunch. The pannenkoekenboot (pancake boat) is the perfect combination of food and fun. The company offers several different cruises, all of which sail along the IJ River and serve pancakes; they're a Dutch favorite.
On board, children can decorate and eat pancakes, and there are plenty of opportunities for the kids to play in the ball pen or color. If you’re still full from breakfast, or you snacked along the way, the other option is to take the public ferry across the IJ. It’s completely free and provides a beautiful view of the city.
Try Moeders for dinner, a restaurant that honors mothers everywhere. It’s a charming little place that serves traditional Dutch cuisine. In addition, they have an extensive and tasty children’s menu featuring tomato soup, stew, spare ribs and chicken nuggets. The dishes can be served with potatoes or vegetables.
Vondelpark — Photo courtesy of Swimmerguy269Get any extra energy out in the Vondelpark. This large green space is a great place to stretch your legs and let loose. Share an ice cream or climb on the play structures. The winding pathways are great for walking or biking.
If it rains, the museums in Amsterdam are children-friendly and provide a plethora of activities. For instance, NEMO is a hands-on science museum that can entertain for hours, while the Tropenmuseum offers an interactive exhibit focusing on non-Western cultures. The Van Gogh Museum enables children to explore their creative side through art. The Central Library, which has a ground floor especially for kids, also offers lots of activities. Plus, the top floor has a great view of the city.
Whatever you decide to do, both you and your kids will be absolutely exhausted and ready for bed by the end of the day.