From toddlers to teenagers, Amsterdam offers plenty of family-friendly activities. There are modern, interactive museums carefully designed to appeal to youngsters; canal trips; trams to ride; and bikes to rent. With playgrounds in all the parks, kids’ shows in several theaters, and pancakes on almost every menu, there’s always something to do when youngsters get fractious or it pours with rain (which it often does). However, as anyone with toddlers will tell you, pushing baby strollers across all those cobbles isn’t much fun.
Best options for a happy family day out include canal cruises; if you don’t think they’ll last an hour without getting bored, you might like to blackmail them into behaving by promising a lunchtime treat aboard the Pannenkoekenboot (Pancake Boat) for unlimited pancakes with sweet or savory fillings. There are parent-child tandem bikes and kids bikes from MacBike. Even riding the trams can be quite a novelty.
And as for museums, there are plenty to choose from. The Tropenmuseum is full of color and noise while teaching about culture and race in an unpreachy manner, and the hands-on NEMO Science Museum cleverly unravels the mysteries of science. All kids will fall in love with the sea lions and penguins at Artis Royal Zoo, while older kids will dig the weird world of microorganisms at Micropia. The tales of piratical derring-do aboard the good ship Amsterdam at Het Scheepvaartmuseum (National Maritime Museum) will enthrall most kids, too.
The heartache of Anne Frank Huis will challenge and interest children 9 and older but can confuse younger kids, and it is not stroller-friendly. Madame Tussauds (Dam 20; www.madametussauds.nl; tel. 020/522-1010) is perennially popular with older kids for its waxwork models of Johnny Depp, pop stars Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga, and tennis ace Rafael Nadal; costs 24.50€ adults, 20€ children 5 to 15, and free for children 4 and under. Its open daily 10am to 9:30pm. Although the Amsterdam Dungeon (Rokin 78; www.thedungeons.com/amsterdam; tel. 020/530-8500) may well terrify youngsters, teens will adore it for the gory interpretations of the Spanish Inquisition and burning witches at the stake. Admission is 24€ adults, 20€ children 5 to 15, and free for children 4 and under. It’s open daily 11am to 6pm (Fri and Sat till 7pm). The views from the A’dam Lookout will amaze older kids, as will the cool light and sound effects in the elevator ride up, and little daredevils over 4 feet tall can get strapped in for a ride on Europe’s highest swing.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.