So Amsterdam isn’t exactly known for being the most child-friendly city in the world. We here at Lilly Likes feel it might be time for this to change. There are loads of fun things to do in the city if you take the little ones along with you. You don’t need to take them out for a smoke in the same way you wouldn’t take them to a bar back home…
So instead, turn to these pages and we will give you some inspiration of what to do with the kids when you are on holiday in Amsterdam. There is loads of fun to be had whether you have a boatload of cash or whether you are on a budget. Amsterdam is there to be explored… so hop to it!
As an aside though, we regularly go through events, places, and eateries in Amsterdam that are actually child-friendly, just by nature. Take the Keukenhof Gardens and the tulip festival, for example. Around the same time of year (spring and early summer) you can find the floating flower market, too. You don’t need to pay for that one, you can just have a wander and let the kids enjoy the sensory stimulation of the bright colours and fresh floral smells.
Let’s delve into some of the additional things you can do with kids when visiting Amsterdam. We promise there’s some serious wholesome family goodness to be had, in spite of all the… colourful lights. Just avoid those.
Kid’s Favourite Things to do in the Dam
Without further ado, let’s look at the best bits the city has to offer for younger visitors.
1 – Tun Fun
One word: underground! This play park is underneath the city, where the makers have created a whole adventure playground, safely tucked away from all the lights and smoke. It’s set inside an old traffic tunnel which is an absolutely exemplary use of space – that never fails to amaze parents and kids alike. And us. We’re pretty impressed with this place, too.
There are all sorts of adventures to be had here. They have:
- Mini Land (for the littlest of little ones)
- Midi Land (for the medium little ones)
- Maxi’s (for the ten year old age range)
- Trampolines – for everyone except the smallest
- The Panna Pit – we genuinely have no idea but are imagining a pit full of pannacottas. It’s probably not that.
- The Bounce House – for the ones too small for the trampolines.
- Eating and drinking at their on-site, under-the-ground café
Enjoy some snacks and coffees while the kids have a tun of fun. Hah.
2 – Amsterdam Zoo
Attention! Attention! If you are in Amsterdam with a child under 2, they will get free entry into the zoo. They are expecting an elephant any day now… What child isn’t enthralled by an elephant? It’s bang, slap, in the middle of Amsterdam and normal ticket price is around the 24 € mark. It’s only 20 € for the under 9’s. A final word on price: it’s 2 Euro cheaper if you order tickets online before you go.
What can you expect at Amsterdam Zoo? If you want to, you can join in one of the tours of the park that leave regularly from the gates. They are included in the ticket price and show you a plethora of animals. There are lemurs that are just walking around the park so beware of that. There were lions and tigers and butterflies and oh my! You need a good three hours just to see it all.
The animals have spacious enclosures and are on a daily schedule. It’s not one of those zoos that makes you feel bad. Go along and let them enjoy it. They might never get to see another ostrich, zebra, or giraffe, again.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not is a museum, of sorts. It’s part fun-house, part natural, scientific human oddity collection, and part play area. The whole thing comes together to make an eclectic mix of things that really do make you say, “believe it or not…”. We guess that is sort of the whole point though.
The whole place was founded by the adventurer and explorer Robert Ripley, who was a jolly fun guy by the sounds of things. They have the jaw bones of a Megalodon Shark, a life-size replica of the tallest man who ever lived, and even some shrunken heads (we don’t think they’re really, but we can’t make any promises). Um. Yeah. The kids like it?
This place is awesome. It has four or five floors of weird science for kids, all of which provides fascination, wonder, and great fun. There’s stuff in there that will fascinate you as an adult, although you won’t get to jump in and play with just as much abandon as the kiddies do. People will look at you funny if you jump in the ball pit.
While past exhibits include lessons on thermo dynamics, astrology, physics, and all sorts of madly interesting things to stimulate the imagination and learning centres of tiny brains; this latest exhibit is a bit ‘body Worlds’ in nature. It’s the kid-friendly version of how your body works. They also look at other mammals, but humans are the focus.
The top floor sports a pretty good café and some nice outdoor space beside the river if you feel you want to chill out. This is another attraction in Amsterdam for kids that will need a good few hours of exploration, so be prepared to get comfortable. NEMO is definitely a must-see though, kids or not…
5 – The Amsterdam Dungeons!
Amsterdam has its very own dungeons! That’s right, hovering ominously below the streets of the city there are dark, dank, haunted tunnels that stretch for miles in every direction… OK we’re lying, this is a children-focused article. That being said, it’s kind of scary so maybe keep it for older kids.
The Amsterdam Dungeons feature a show that recounts Amsterdam during the black death – the plague that killed up to 50% of Europe. There are various other trips back in time under there. A court and judge sit in state here, with a gallows field to cross through. This place comes alive at Halloween but is absolutely packed out. There are a total of eleven shows to choose from. One of them features a torture chamber, another is a magic show. We advise that you curate what your child is exposed to in this instance. However, the Amsterdam Dungeons are a great, unforgettable experience. You will have an adventure if your children know it isn’t real. If not? Prepare for nightmares and buy the R.L. Stine books in advance
Where to Eat in Amsterdam (with Kids)?
We have covered a few child-friendly places to eat in the past. You might take them to the Foodhallen, for example, for an experience of world foods and marketplaces. Vegan? Try the Vegan Junk Food Bar (who have blue burgers!). If that’s not great eating for kiddies, then we don’t know what is!
We also recommend the Hard Rock Café in Amsterdam who reportedly have a great kids menu. Nothing will beat the Het Groot Melkhuis in Vondlepark though. Asides from having access to the whole park on their doorstep, they threw in an outdoor play park area. You could spend all day here drinking coffee and letting them tire themselves out. We give that a double thumbs up!
Free things to do in Amsterdam with Kids
We wouldn’t be Amsterdam experts if we didn’t know that it’s an expensive city. If you have more than one child? Those costs soon add up. In light of this, here are a few free things you can do in Amsterdam with the little ones. Enjoy!
- Take a ferry trip – the ferries in Amsterdam will take you across the river and back for free. You will find them tucked in behind Centraal Station. Go explore!
- Visit the Vondelpark – on sunny spring and summer days this park in the heart of the city fills up with picnickers. Be there early for a good spot!
- The Cat Boat – is a real thing! Someone has a houseboat filled with rescued cats and entrance is free. Donate though, it all goes towards the cats! You will find it on the Singel canal.
- While you are on the Singel, you can see the narrowest house in the city. Try and spot it along the canal – it’s only a single window thick!
- Play in the Rijksmuseum Gardens – you only need to pay if you go inside and there are some spectacular sculptures out there.
You can do plenty in Amsterdam with kids for free. Don’t let a lack of finances stop you making memories!
Lilly Likes – Do You?
If you enjoyed this article and want more Amster-Inspiration (yea, that one could be better) then head to Lilly Likes HQ for some all-you-can-eat good fun. Pancake cruises and pizza cruises are both fine for kiddies too… Ice Cream Buffet. Just saying. See you soon!