sciencecenterNEMO-kleinAmsterdam is more than just bikes, coffee shops and the red light district. It’s numerous parks, museums and attractions make it a wonderful family-friendly destination.

1. The Science Center NEMO is the biggest science museum in the Netherlands. Housed in a ship-shaped building there are five floors of hands-on activities, in both English and Dutch.

2. Next to the Science Center NEMO the 18th century VOC (Dutch East India Company) ship Amsterdam. Learn about Amsterdam’s history at sea this replica of the original ship that sailed from the Netherlands to the Far East with cargo for the VOC settlements.

3. The 120-acre Vondelpark is the most popular park in Amsterdam and has multiple small play areas and one large playground. There is also an open-air theater that stages free children’s shows on Wednesday afternoon, a film museum that has performances for children on Wednesday and Sunday afternoon and the Snoephuise café, where you can enjoy a Dutch pannekoek.

4. A visit to Amsterdam wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the world famous museums, Rijksmusuem and Van Gogh Museum. A children’s audio tour is available at both museums and the Rijksmuseum has guided tours for children aged 6-9 and workshops on weekends and daily during the summer holidays (July 3 – August 22), while the Van Gough museum offers a scavenger hunt through the museum and weekend children’s sessions where children can create their own masterpiece.

5. Amsterdam is home to the Artis Royal Zoo, the oldest zoo in continental Europe. This is not your typical zoo since many of the animals are not separated by bars but by a moat. Artis also has an aquarium, botanical garden, planetarium and zoological and geological museums. After your children have fully examined those facilities there is a playground and an ateliers workshop and classes for children aged 6 and up.

Finish your trip to Amsterdam with a visit to the Oud-Hollandsche Snoep winkeltje (Old Holland Candy store). With the help of the knowledgeable clerk, try some typical Dutch candy known as “drop” (licorice), cinnamon and other Dutch favorites.

When visiting Amsterdam be sure to get the Iamsterdam Card for free entrance or discounts to a number of Amsterdam’s other venues, attractions and restaurants.