12 things to do in Amsterdam with kids

Ties Lagraauw

written by
Ties Lagraauw

updated 16.05.2024

With its canals, narrow cobbled alleys and trams, the novelty value of Amsterdam can prove entertaining enough for many kids. There’s also a whole host of attractions specifically aimed at young children, ranging from circuses and puppet theatres to urban farms and one of the best zoos in Europe. Here's our list of the best things to do in Amsterdam with kids. 

1. Take a walk in the woods

The woodlands of Amsterdamse Bos offer playgrounds, outdoor theatre, lakes and cycle paths. You can also rent canoes and pedalos to explore the Bosbaan Canal, and visit the Ridammerhoeve goat farm, which makes its own ice cream and cheese

2. Spend an afternoon at a petting zoo

Situated next to a playground, the Amstelpark Petting Zoo has chickens, rabbits, goats and donkeys, while the De Pijp Petting Zoo’s variety of farm animals also includes sheep, ponies, pigs, guinea pigs and salamanders. Both are free to enter.

3. Take a canal trip

For older children, a good introduction to Amsterdam might be one of the canal trips that start from Centraal Station or Damrak, or for 5- to 12-year-olds try the Blue Boat Company’s pirate-themed audio guide. 

While parents are enjoying a standard cruise, the audio guide helps kids to spot animals using binoculars and to listen out for water sounds. At the end of the journey, your kids will receive a certificate proving their qualification as a freshwater pirate.

Canal boats in Amsterdam

Canal boats in Amsterdam © Shutterstock

4. Get some fresh air in Vondelpark

There are also plenty of free opportunities for play – practically all of the city’s parks and most patches of greenery have some form of a playground.

The city’s most central park, the leafy and lawned Vondelpark has an excellent playground, as well as sandpits, paddling pools and a couple of cafés where you can take a break. In summertime, the open-air theatre, Openluchttheater, usually puts on some free entertainment for kids – mime, puppets, acrobats and the like.

5. See a puppet show

The intimate Amsterdam Marionette Theatre, housed in a former blacksmith’s, puts on traditional marionette performances. 

Plays are set to classical music so there is no  language confusion, and the costumes are fabulous. You could also try permanent children’s theatre De Krakeling, which runs theatre, puppet and dance shows for youngsters up to the age of 17, often with an emphasis on full-scale audience participation.

6. Enter the Amsterdam Dungeon

This popular sight is housed in a former church. Tours last for around an hour, during which you’re handed from one ham actor to another. You'll spend your time here making believe you have been sentenced by the inquisition, press-ganged onto the high seas, chased by witches and surrounded by plague victims – until you’re finally swept around the interior of the church on a short roller coaster ride.

7. Go to the zoo

Artis Royal Zoo also known simply as Artis, is the oldest zoo in the Netherlands. It was founded in 1838, making it over 180 years old. It is a fun day out with the kids and is situated in the heart of the city. In addition to its animal exhibits, Artis features a beautiful botanical garden with a wide variety of plant species.

Artis is actively involved in conservation efforts to protect endangered species and their habitats. Through various initiatives, such as breeding programs and research projects, the zoo contributes to global conservation efforts.

Lion London Zoo

Spend a day at the zoo with the kids © Shutterstock

8. Take a history lesson

A free audio guide (in English) leads children aged nine and upwards around the Dutch Resistance Museum Junior, a new add-on to the main Dutch Resistance Museum. This interactive museum was designed specifically for children aged 9 to 14.  It explains World War II from a child’s perspective using true stories and authentic items.

9. Learn about Judaism

At the JHM Children’s Museum, children aged 6–12 can learn about the Jewish faith and traditions on a tour that leads them through the house of the Jewish Hollander family. Here they will learn about kosher food in the kitchen, and Jewish music from around the world, among other topics.

10. Visit Madame Tussaud’s

The large waxworks collection has the usual smattering of famous people and rock stars, as well as Dutch celebrities and the royal family, plus a few Amsterdam peasants and merchants thrown in for local colour. Throughout the year, Madame Tussaud's may host special events or temporary exhibits featuring new wax figures or interactive experiences. 

11. Hire a canal bike

A fun water-based activity is a ride on a pedalo-style canal bike. This can get tiring, but jetties where the bikes can be picked up and dropped off are numerous, and it’s quite safe.

12. Hit the playground

TunFun in the old Jewish Quarter is a large underground playground with slides, trampolines and climbing apparatus, for children aged 1–12. Activities include gymnastics, bowling and indoor football, and there’s plenty of equipment to clamber into, under and over.


Paddle boat canal ride, Amsterdam © Luciano Joaquim/Shutterstock

How to get around

Amsterdam is famously known as the "City of Bikes," and cycling is a way of life here. Renting bikes for your family is easy, with numerous rental shops scattered throughout the city. Many of them offer child-sized bikes, trailers, or seats, making it convenient for families with kids of all ages.

Opt for kid-friendly cycling routes that avoid heavy traffic areas. Vondelpark, Amsterdam's largest park, is a perfect starting point with its wide paths and playgrounds. 

Trams are amazing to young children – you might find it's the highlight of a trip to Amsterdam with kids! 

Amsterdam's public transportation system, including trains, trams, and buses, is efficient and family-friendly. Children under a certain age often travel for free or at reduced fares. Many train stations in and around Amsterdam feature interactive exhibits or child-friendly amenities. 

Where to stay in Amsterdam with kids

We all know the stress of travelling with kids and extra luggage. Choosing the perfect place to stay in Amsterdam can make all the difference for your family adventure.


This area is known for its cobblestone streets, leafy parks, and a vibe that's both posh and welcoming. Nestled away from the city's buzz, it's the ideal spot for families looking to unwind after a day of exploring. Plus, with Vondelpark nearby, you've got the ultimate playground for your little adventurers. 

Explore family friendly accommodation in Oud Zuid.


Tucked away to the east of the city center, this residential haven offers plenty of green spaces and a tight-knit community feel. It's the kind of place where you can stroll along quiet streets with the kids or spend a lazy afternoon in one of its spacious parks. Plus, attractions like the Science Center NEMO and the Artis Royal Zoo just are just a stone's throw away.

Find places to stay in Watergraafsmeer.


Want the best of both worlds? Look no further than Amstelveen. Just a hop, skip, and a jump south of Amsterdam's bustling center, this modern neighborhood offers all the comforts of suburbia with easy access to the city and beyond. If you are hoping to for a hotel stay for your family trip, this is a great choice. 

Explore accommodation in Amstelveen.


Old Center Amsterdam Canal  © Shutterstock

Skip the hassle of planning and booking

With our tailor made trip service, you can skip the hours of research required for your family vacation, and have more time to just enjoy your trip. Let us handle the details of planning and booking. 

Our journeys are meticulously designed by local travel experts and can be entirely adapted to your family's preferences. Plus, while on your trip, you'll have support from us 24/7.  See our existing Amsterdam itineraries for inspiration.

Ties Lagraauw

written by
Ties Lagraauw

updated 16.05.2024

Ties is a true world explorer - whether it be for work or leisure! As Content Manager at RoughGuides, and the owner of Dutch travel platform Reis-Expert.nl, Ties is constantly on the move, always looking for new destinations to discover.

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