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The Magic of Amsterdam with Kids – 17 Delightful Activities That Families Love

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Believe it or not, Amsterdam is one of the world’s most family-friendly places. We’ve visited Amsterdam with kids several times and loved it so much that we moved here with our now 3-year-old.

When visiting Amsterdam, kids will love the many parks, museums, and kid-friendly activities. Most tourist attractions have special exhibits just for families.

The Dutch food is also family friendly – french fries, flammkuchen (like flatbread), and kaastengels (fried cheese sticks) will keep the kids full of familiar tastes.

Before you go, we recommend getting the I Amsterdam City Card, which gives you access to most places on this list and more. When traveling with kids, purchasing tickets ahead and skipping the line is always a good idea. Read our full review if you’d like to learn more.

Below are our top picks for things to do in Amsterdam with your family.

1. Visit the Anne Frank House

Anne Frank House, Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Westermarkt 20, 1016 GV Amsterdam, Netherlands.

The Anne Frank House is a must-see on your Amsterdam family vacation. The museum honors Anne Frank, a Jewish teenager who hid from the Nazis during World War II.

It is located at Prinsengracht 263 at Anne Frank’s real house, including the secret annex where the Frank and Van Pelt families stayed for two years. The museum entrance is just around the corner.

Kids can learn through interactive tours, educational activities, and museum displays. Older kids can gain insight into the history of the Holocaust, the persecution of Jews during WWII, and the bravery of those who hid in the secret annex.

Kids love visiting the secret annex where the Frank family and several others hid for two years during World War II. After climbing the stairs to the top and walking through a bookcase that reveals the annex, the whole family can experience the full hidden apartment with its own kitchen, pantry, bathroom, and living area.

After wandering through the halls of the Anne Frank house and annex, you head back downstairs for other exhibits showing pictures of Anne Frank and her friends, as well as real pages from Anne Frank’s diary. The Anne Frank House also has a history exhibition with film clips and original items from that time.

While children may read Anne Frank’s diary in school, stepping foot into where she lived and was later forced to hide is a memorable experience that will leave a lasting impression. Book your tour of the Anne Frank House in advance with GetYourGuide. Tickets sell out fast.

See Related: The Awe-Inspiring Experience of the Anne Frank House

2. Learn at the NEMO Science Museum

Nemo Science Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Kyle Kroeger / Via Travelers

Address: Oosterdok 2, 1011 VX Amsterdam, Netherlands.

The NEMO Science Museum has five floors of exhibits for all ages and activities that even parents will enjoy. The museum can sell out, so it is important to get your tickets on GetYourGuide in advance. Tickets are also included in the I Amsterdam City Card.

The NEMO Science Museum is known for its interactive experiments and workshops. Kids can build a dam, see how a polder works, and travel to outer space. The museum even has a full floor called Humania, which is all about human life.

The museum also features an interactive exhibit called “Full of Energy,” where kids can capture energy using wind, light, and water. On the top floor is a laboratory for kids to conduct science experiments.

If you need a break from the science experiments, the rooftop has a cafeteria and outdoor space with water fountains to watch and play in, with incredible views of Amsterdam. It’s a great spot to spend a sunny summer afternoon!

The NEMO Science Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Mondays during the summer and on public holidays. If you want to learn more, check out our NEMO Science Museum Review.

See Related: These Are the Best Shops in Amsterdam

3. Explore a life-size Dutch ship at the National Maritime Museum

Maritime Museum, Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger/ Via Travelers

Address: Kattenburgerplein 1, 1018 KK Amsterdam, Netherlands.

One of our favorite places to take our child to is the National Maritime Museum. It is the perfect thing in Amsterdam for families to do because it isn’t crazy busy, and it has different activities for kids of all ages. You can purchase skip-the-line tickets at GetYourGuide.

The biggest highlight is the full-size model ship outside the museum. The ship has replica rooms to see what it was like for the Dutch sailors who sailed worldwide. The lowest level of the boat is like a big playground, complete with a stage and things to climb on.

After seeing the replica ship, you can head indoors. There is a wonderful museum inside with art and replica ships that older children would enjoy.

Most importantly, the National Maritime Museum has two dedicated play spaces for children. One space is for toddlers and younger and has a ship with a play kitchen, a lighthouse you can build, and a climbing/crawling area.

Maritime Museum Playroom in Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / Via Travelers

Across the way is a whale exhibit with a life-size whale where you can walk inside (like in the movie Finding Nemo) and learn all about whale conservation and whale hunting. The whale exhibit can be a little scary for younger kids, but for ages 5 and up, it is really fun!

The best part about the National Maritime Museum is that is a local favorite for Amsterdam parents, and it is not full of tourists or long lines. You can comfortably spend time here, even in the summer months. Get tickets at GetYourGuide and let us know what you think!

See Related: ​​Best Museums in Europe to Visit

4. Take a Canal Cruise

Canal Cruise with a 9 month old in Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / Via Travelers

A canal cruise is a fantastic way to explore Amsterdam with your family. The city, renowned for its intricate network of canals, makes it an ideal destination for a boat tour. There are a lot of canal cruises you can take when you visit Amsterdam, but we recommend the Private Canal Cruise.

It’s in the morning before the canals get busy, you don’t have to deal with many crowds and have your own space. It is more expensive than the mega-tours, but at around $150 total for the family, it is worth it.

The I Amsterdam City Card also has a canal cruise included. The canal cruise in the I Amsterdam City Card will be larger with more people, which is less ideal. But it will still take you to all the scenic places.

See Related: Best Canal Cruises in Amsterdam

5. Stroll through the Royal Palace Amsterdam

Royal Palace in Amsterdam, Netherlands
Kyle Kroeger / Via Travelers

Address: Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 147, 1012 RJ Amsterdam, Netherlands

A lot of people go to Dam Square when they visit Amsterdam, but few realize that the big building is actually a palace. The best part? The palace is free for everyone under the age of 18. This is a must in Amsterdam with kids!

The Royal Palace has a kid-friendly self-guided tour complete with a map and stickers. Our sister’s kids (ages 8 and 13) absolutely loved following the map and finding all the fun things around the palace. At the end, kids who complete the scavenger hunt get a prize.

The Royal Palace is an easy activity to fit in with kids and adults. The whole visit can take a half hour or two hours, depending on how long you want to stay. Kids are free, so if the kids want to explore the palace a bit and then run around Dam Square, there is no extra cost!

See Related: Best Hotels in Amsterdam, Netherlands

6. Step into Nature at Amsterdam Parks & Outdoor Places to Visit with Kids

Amsterdam is known for its beautiful parks. When we moved to Amsterdam, we couldn’t believe how great the parks were for kids and adults. Every park on this list has a little playground (or a big playground), a splash pad (kid’s pool), and a cafe.

Vondelpark

Groot Melkhuis, Vondelpark, Amsterdam
Groot Melkhuis, Vondelpark, Amsterdam

Vondelpark is the most popular park in Amsterdam. Spanning 120 acres, Vondelpark is an ideal spot for families to explore – with trees, ponds, and pathways that make it the perfect spot for a picnic or a stop at a cafe. You’ll find playgrounds, a wading pool, gardens, and cafés here.

The Blauwe Theehuis is a brewery with great beers (my favorite is the Blondie) and kid-friendly food like bitterballen, pizza, and cheese sticks. They also serve wine and have a good selection of ice cream.

If the kids need a playground, head over to Groot Melkhuis—the cafe with good beer and wine selections that are attached to a kid’s playground.

This is the biggest playground in Vondelpark. It includes swings, a climbing area, a sandbox, and an area with pay-per-use cars (like what you would see outside of a Kmart in the 1990s).

Another great spot is Vondeltuin, a cafe with good food and drinks attached to a giant sandbox and climbing area for kids to have fun. There is even a Montessori-style play area here.

See Related: Best Bridges in Amsterdam to See

Westerpark

Westerpark Amsterdam

Westerpark is the closest park to Amsterdam Central Station. It is a huge park that is a great place to visit with kids.

Westerpark has an entire area with restaurants, cafes, and even a brewery. If you venture further into the park, you can find the Boerderij (or farm), a great place to visit with kids. Kids can pet the animals and walk to the baby goats, sheep, and cows. It is free to visit and pet the animals!

Petting farm in Westerpark, Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / Via Travelers

Westerpark is also a great place to stay in Amsterdam with kids, with the Conscious Hotel at the entrance. You can book a room at the Conscious Hotel by using my link on Booking.com.

Westerpark is also home to the Fabrique des Lumières art center and Westergas, known for having many different festivals, many of which are family-friendly.

Amsterdam Forest (Amsterdam Bos)

Meerzicht Farm in the Amsterdam Bos
Kyle Kroeger / Via Travelers

The Amsterdam Forest, known as the Amsterdam Bos to the locals, is a great spot to visit Amsterdam with kids. This giant forest has boat rentals, horseback riding, petting zoos, farms, a fun forest, and a flower park. You can easily spend a whole day here.

Our daughter loves going to Meerzicht Farm, which has a talking tree, a big playground, and sugary pancakes. It does get very crowded on weekends at Meerzicht Farm, so be prepared. Another option inside the forest is the Goat Farm Ridammerhoeve, where kids can feed and pet baby goats.

Kimbos Fun Forest is a great activity for older kids. Here, you climb a course up in the trees with some obstacles and have a lot of fun! This is a very different thing to do in Amsterdam!

In the spring, you can see the cherry blossoms at the Bloesompark. It gets crowded during that time, so go early in the morning!

There are many other things to do in the Amsterdam forest. You need to go and check it out! The easiest way to get there is by bike, about 20 minutes south of the city. You can also take the tram or bus.

See Related: Things to Do in Amsterdam in December

Amstel Park

Cow in front of De Riekermolen, Amstelpark, Netherlands
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Looking for an amusement park without all the annoying parts of an amusement park? Then Amstel Park is your place. Located about 5-10 minutes outside the city, this is an easy thing to do in Amsterdam with kids.

In terms of family-friendly Amsterdam things to do, Amstel Park meets all the requirements. There is a boerderij (farm/petting zoo) with a lot of different types of animals, including llamas.

The “amusement” part of the park has small rides for kids of all ages. You can buy tokens and try the rides, which makes it easier than trying to find coins at the bottom of the backpack.

Amstelpark in Amsterdam, Netherlands
Kyle Kroeger / Via Travelers

Of course, there are several playgrounds in Amstel Park. Some are for big kids, others for small kids. But overall, the kids absolutely loved visiting this park in Amsterdam!

If you’re on bikes, you can also see an old windmill – De Riekermolen which was built in the 17th century. It is at the very south of the park, so it can be a long walk.

Beatrixpark

Bridge over river. Princess Beatrice Park.
Stanislavs/ Adobe Stock

We always recommend Beatrixpark to our friends who visit Amsterdam with kids because it is a truly local experience. The park is small but beautiful.

You pass rose gardens as you walk to the playground, which also has a wading pool and a cafe. The park is never overcrowded. And outside the playground, the park is so quiet and beautiful that you never want to leave!

See Related: Best Bridges in Amsterdam to See

Rembrandt Park

Aerial View of Rembrandtpark Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Rembrandt Park is another small, local park. It has a stream and pond right through the middle, with picture-worthy bridges and tall trees. A great escape from the bustling city center!

7. Paint at the Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam, Netherlands.

The Rijksmuseum is the national museum of the Netherlands that is kid-friendly. You can bring all your children along at no extra cost – kids under 18 are free. Tickets are also included with the iAmsterdam City Card.

The museum showcases 800 years of Dutch history, focusing on the Golden Age. Our daughter’s favorite parts of the Rijksmuseum include the special exhibition rooms filled with old film cards, model ships, and the Petronella Oortman Doll House.

The museum also offers a “Family Quest” to explore world-famous masterworks from artists like Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Van Gogh while unraveling a mystery. The Rijksmuseum also has child-friendly tours (check their schedule for the ones in English) hosted by Miffy or a puppet of a famous painter.

Kids over 4 can take a painting class at the Rijksmuseum. The painting classes follow famous Dutch painters such as Vermeer and Van Gogh. You can check the schedule on their website to see what they offer that week.

You need to book your ticket in advance, especially in the high season of the summer months. But remember, kids under 18 are free. We recommend going early as the museum gets very crowded around lunch.

See Related: Best Airbnbs and Vacation Rentals in Amsterdam

8. Go to the Van Gogh Museum

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Museumplein 6, 1071 DJ Amsterdam, Netherlands.

The Van Gogh Museum is a must-do in Amsterdam with kids, and it is also free for kids under the age of 18. But you must book your tickets in advance here, it will sell out.

Van Gogh painted so many fun scenes that kids will enjoy seeing. Kids love doing the Van Gogh Museum Treasure Hunt and Checklist, where they get to run around the museum and find fun things about the painter’s life and history.

The Van Gogh Museum offers kid-friendly tours focused on children of all ages. The whole family can learn about Vincent Van Gogh and the paintings he made.

Check the Van Gogh Museum website for kid-friendly events. And make sure to book your tickets at least two weeks in advance, tickets sell out fast! You can get skip-the-line tickets through GetYourGuide here.

9. Bike through the Dutch Countryside

Biking in Amsterdam with kids
Kyle Kroeger / Via Travelers

The city has a lot to do, but you can’t truly experience Dutch culture without biking. I know what you’re thinking – biking through Amsterdam with kids sounds complicated.

But once you leave the city center of Amsterdam, the biking is easy (and flat). You can rent bikes through GetYourGuide here or use bikes included with the iAmsterdam City Card.

Some popular routes are the Zeeland Delta Route to the Veluwe National Park Route and the Six-castle Route in Friesland. If you don’t want to venture too far, you can bike to the Amsterdam Bos (or rent bikes there).

We highly recommend at least trying biking while visiting Amsterdam and the Dutch countryside is a great place to do it! Trust us, all the children and adults will love it!

See Related: Best Bike Tours In Amsterdam

10. See Elephants at Artis Zoo

ARTIS Zoo, Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / Via Travelers

Address: Plantage Kerklaan 38-40, 1018 CZ Amsterdam, Netherlands.

One of our favorite family-friendly things to do in Amsterdam is the ARTIS Royal Zoo. The ARTIS Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in Europe and has a lot of interesting animals to see. Tickets are included with the iAmsterdam City Card.

You can see over 700 types of animals, such as elephants, giraffes, tigers, hippos, and monkeys. The ARTIS Zoo is unlike any zoo you’ve seen in the US. The animals cohabitate, and the displays are incredible. In one area, you walk under a waterfall. And one other area has lemurs out in the open, so you can get close.

We highly recommend getting your tickets to the ARTIS Zoo through GetYourGuide (here) in advance. The lines are long, and it can sell out, especially on weekends. If you can’t go to the zoo for a full day, you can always take a boat tour and see the giraffes and elephants from the canal!

11. Smell Flowers at the Botanical Gardens

Hortus Botanicus - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Hortus Botanicus – Amsterdam, Netherlands

Address: Plantage Middenlaan 2a, 1018 DD Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Another must-do in Amsterdam with kids is the Hortus Botanicus botanical gardens. The gardens are open year-round and right next to the ARTIS Zoo, which makes an easy stop.

While visiting the gardens, ensure the family sees the glass room and snippendaal garden used for medicinal purposes in the 17th century. Many of the plants are still there today, which makes for a fun visit.

Kids will have fun spotting the carnivorous plants and cooling down under a palm tree. You will completely forget that you are in the city!

The gardens are included on the I Amsterdam City Card and are free for kids under 5. Kids between 5 and 17 get half-price tickets.

See Related: Beautiful Gardens in Europe to Visit

12. Immerse Yourself at Moco Museum

Moco Museum immersive art in Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / Via Travelers

Address: Honthorststraat 20, 1071 DE Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Parents and children who are interested in interactive exhibits and modern art should make a visit to the Moco Museum. You can even get a ticket that comes with a canal cruise. Tickets to the Moco Museum are included with the I Amsterdam City Card, or you can get them through GetYourGuide.

Located in the Museum Quarter, the Moco Museum is known for its Banky, Warhol, Damien Hirst, and Kusama collections. They have NFTs and other digital art exhibitions that are out of this world!

The Moco Museum also has an outdoor garden with sculptures that kids can climb and discover. It is a smaller museum with an immersive art experience at the end that makes the whole visit worth it for the kids!

13. Go on top of a Skyscraper at A’DAM Lookout

A'DAM Lookout, Amsterdam Noord
Kyle Kroeger / Via Travelers

Address: Overhoeksplein 5, 1031 KS Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Across the IJ river from Centraal Station is the lesser-known Noord neighborhood that is filled with interesting places to discover on your Amsterdam family vacation. The A’DAM Lookout is definitely the most popular attraction and for good reason.

Here, you can book tickets for a giant swing at the top of the building. Thrill-seeking kids and adults can swing over the edge of the building and take in the sights of the city. If the swing isn’t your thing, you can enjoy the views from the rooftop with a horse statute you can sit on and a bar. You can also do a virtual reality ride.

The A’DAM Lookout is included in the Amsterdam GoCity Pass. Otherwise, you can book online here. You’ll want to book your visit in advance; the swing gets popular, and wait times can be up to 5 hours.

See Related: Essential Travel Tips for Visiting the Netherlands

14. Check out Street Art at the STRAAT Museum

Outside of the STRAAT Museum in Amsterdam-Noord

Address: NDSM-Plein 1, 1033 WC Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Looking for a museum that is big enough for energy-filled kids to run around? This is it. The STRAAT Museum translates to “Street Museum” and is filled with street artists’ works. The museum is big. It is really big and open makes it a great thing to do in Amsterdam with kids.

Kids get their maps to discover hidden pictures in the street art around the museum. If they complete the map, they get a prize.

There are also interactive exhibits where kids and adults can enter the art. This is a hidden gem in the city! You can book your tickets online through GetYourGuide.

15. Pet Cats at The Cat Boat (Poezenboot)

De Poezenboot (The Cat Boat)
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

De Poezenboot: The Catboat is a houseboat in the Amsterdam city center that doubles as a home for stray and abandoned cats. Parents and kids can visit after reserving a time on the website.

The purpose of the Cat Boat is to help cats find a new home, but they still like visitors! It’s a fun story and experience on a boat in Amsterdam!

See Related: Ouderkerk aan de Amstel

16. Try Living the Dutch Way at the Houseboat Museum

Houseboat Museum Amsterdam

Address: Prinsengracht 296K, 1016 HW Amsterdam, Netherlands.

The Houseboat Museum is another fun thing to do in Amsterdam with kids. Right in Amsterdam’s Nine Streets, the museum is built inside a former cargo ship that was built in the early 1900s. You can go inside the houseboat and learn all about the story.

They also offer a houseboat walking tour so you can see different boats around the city and learn how Amsterdam’s locals live. Kids will enjoy learning the story behind houseboats and seeing what is like to live in a boat on the water!

17. Try Dutch Cuisine

Bitterballen with Dutch Flag and a Beer
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Did you know that Dutch kids are considered the happiest children in the world? It is true, and we think the food has something to do with it.

Poffertjes are a popular breakfast and snack. They are mini pancakes cooked in butter and covered with powdered sugar. You can get these at most street markets. The tastiest are at Albert Cuyp, and cafes. The best cafe for poffertjes is the Papeneiland Café.

Hagelslag is probably the most famous dish for kids. It is buttered bread topped with chocolate sprinkles – a lot of chocolate sprinkles. Local children have hagelslag for breakfast at home. So head to the grocery store (Albert Heijn is great but is cash-only for internationals) and pick up some white bread and De Ruijter chocolate sprinkles to make it at home.

The bar snacks are our personal favorite. Our toddler loves the bitterballen (fried balls of mashed potatoes, gravy, and veal/beef served with mustard) and kaasstengels (fried cheese sticks). Kaassoufflé is another popular one, just a deep-fried cheese snack!

For adventurous people, try a plate of raw herring served with diced onions and pickles – a classic Dutch specialty that is good for your health. You can find this at most of the street markets.

If you’re craving something savory, try stamppot – a mash made from potatoes, vegetables, and sausage. Restaurants like Moeders and The Pantry have incredible traditional meals, but make a reservation! These restaurants are very popular among the locals, ourselves included.

See Related: Best Places to Ski in the Netherlands

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Amsterdam suitable for families?

Yes, Amsterdam has family-specific tours and exhibits throughout the city. Plus, there are a lot of activities like zoos, parks, museums, and galleries. Amsterdam will surely be an enjoyable and fulfilling experience for the whole family.

Where can I take my kids in Amsterdam?

ViaTravelers has plenty of great suggestions if you’re looking for a family-friendly day out in Amsterdam. From educational museums to exciting theme parks, you’ll find something your kids will love!

How many days in Amsterdam is enough?

Three to four days in Amsterdam is a great time to discover the city’s unique charm. You’ll be able to explore its iconic canals, museums, and quirky neighborhoods while taking in some of the city’s cultural highlights.

Is Amsterdam a cheap city?

Amsterdam is expensive for hotels and lodging, but restaurants and groceries are relatively inexpensive. It is easy to pull together a picnic for under 20 euros!

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