Is Amsterdam really kid-friendly? You may be asking yourself this very question, as the city is known for its Red Light District and marijuana-selling coffee shops. However, Amsterdam offers a plethora of fun activities suitable for the entire family.
Canal cruise on the Prinsengracht — Photo courtesy of Cha già JoséOne of the best ways to see the city is to hop on a canal cruise. Explore Amsterdam from the waterways. There are companies that offer tours, from informational cruises to those that serve pancakes, or you can rent a boat of your own. If you hire your own, bring a little extra bread so you can feed the ducks along the way. You can also tour the city by bike. You have a couple different options with children. If the kids are old enough, you can each rent your own or you can rent a two-person tandem bike. If you really want to be Dutch and fit in, get a bakfiets. A bakfiets has a little seating area on the front of the bike (it almost looks like a wheelbarrow or box), so young kids can ride up front.Bakfiets — Photo courtesy of Todd Fahrner
If you have any football (soccer) fans in the family, you’ll definitely want to visit the Ajax Experience. The Ajax is the Amsterdam football team, and the Ajax Experience enables visitors to interactively learn about the team’s history, philosophy and major highlights. The Artis Zoo also promises a good time. From tropical fish in the Aquarium to delicate creatures in the Butterfly House, the zoo is home to over 900 species. Later, if you want to get a nice view of the city, climb the Westertoren. This is not recommended if you or someone in your family is afraid of heights.Male lion watching the females eat in the Artis Zoo — Photo courtesy of Jelle
Vondelpark — Photo courtesy of Radio Nederland WereldomroepIf you want to sprawl out, head to the Vondelpark. The Vondelpark has plenty of space to run around and play. The park has winding pathways perfect for biking, running or rollerblading and even has a few play structures. Plus, if you walk from Centraal Station, you’ll see several highlights along the way, including the Royal Palace, the National Monument and one of the main nightlife centers, Leidseplein. You will even cross several of the city's most beautiful canals: Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht. When it's time to eat, visit the Pancake Bakery or Pannenkoekenhuis Upstairs. Everyone at the table will love the food: pancakes.
Science museum NEMO, with replica of VOC ship and Scheepvaartmuseum — Photo courtesy of S SeppIf it is raining or you want to take a break from the sun, visit NEMO. Although some children may not think science is fun, this hands-on museum near Centraal Station will make them think otherwise. From playing with bubbles to seeing how they will look when they’re 80, NEMO is entertaining for all ages. Lovers Powerzone, on the other hand, offers laser gaming and bowling. The Amsterdam Dungeon, which is part theatrical performance, part ride, is filled with scary thrills and laughs. If your kids love bright colors and art, the Electric Ladyland museum is the only museum dedicated to florescent art. At the Van Gogh Museum, children can create their own artwork or set off on a treasure hunt to learn more about Vincent Van Gogh. For those that are a bit older, visit the Anne Frank House. The museum shares the story of a 15-year-old girl that wrote a diary about her experience in hiding during World War II.