It’s hard enough trying to find places that the entire family will want to visit. Add in your little toddler and you will definitely have your hands full, with your little ones yawning away at all the fancy grown-up places.
You know the Euromast and Erasmus will not catch their eye. So, what are five fun places to take your toddler when you visit Rotterdam?
Perhaps you are not looking for sightseeing location. Rather, you want a cozy little playground where your little ones can run, scream and play with other little ones? After all, you’ve seen all the quiet grown-up sights and now it’s time for a bit of fun and games for the kids. Well, that’s where Ballorig comes in.
Ballorig is an indoor play area designed for kids up to 12 years. It seems like just the kind of colorful playground that attracts the little ones – extra little space to run about in their own little carefree manner, a ballpark to jump about in and of course, let’s not forget the fun slides. Do keep in mind that Ballorig Rotterdam is probably smaller than the ones in other areas but it is still a great spot for kids to dash about and release the bundles of extra energy.
You could join them in the play area or if you are simply hoping to unwind, there is a small cafe where parents can sit back and relax while kids have their fun.
Address: Ballorig Rotterdam Ommoord , Ommoordsehof 3, 3056 JR Rotterdam
2.& 3. The great outdoors: Het Park and Kralingse Bos
Those of you who wish to soak up a bit of sun while taking in the natural surrounds, these two choices are the ones for you. After all, a casual stroll in a lush green park followed by a delicious lunch is a great way to sum up a lazy Saturday with the kids.
First, there is Het Park (i.e. The Park). This is a beautiful little park located right next to the Euromast. Stretching out to over 6 hectares of land, this place boasts delightful little ponds, meandering pathways and towering trees. And it will be quite a treat for nature lovers when they see the ducks and geese splashing about in the pond. Don’t be surprised if one or more ducks walk up to you expectantly and wait patiently for some bread crumbs.
Address: Calandstraat 41, 3016 Rotterdam
Then there is Kralingse Bos. This expansive forest area is less urban than Het Park but worth a visit for those who love every bit of nature’s wonders. It is said to be around 200 hectares so a trip to this spot is a day trip all in itself. Boasting a wonderful mix of trees, grassy area and lake, this place is definitely worth the visit. Other noteworthy attractions within this place includes the deer park, smaller windmill, restaurants and of course, the pancake house. The pancake house is a quaint little eatery that has a warm, homely feel to it. And of course, here you get to try out every type of pancake imaginable! Do note, the place can be chilly in winter season and thus, the ideal time period to check it out is the spring/summer months.
Address: Langepad 71, 3062 Rotterdam
4. Blijdorp Zoo
This is another must for the little ones – the Blijdorp Zoo or DierGaarde Blijdorp. It’s one of those magical instances that will bring out that look of wonder on your little one’s face. Well, Blijdorp is one of the oldest Dutch zoos and it offers plenty of nature’s wild and wonderful creatures. From colorful little insects to towering giraffes, this place has plenty of fun for everyone. It is quite an impressive zoo indeed, with a variety of animals from all corners of the earth (e.g. tigers, polar bears, penguins, gorillas and so much more).
Returning visitors take note; looks like the stork has recently visited the elephant family. That’s right, the zoo is happily celebrating the birth of a new baby elephant who has since been named Tonya.
Rotterdam Zoo/Diergaarde Blijdorp,
Blijdorplaan 8, 3041 JE Rotterdam
5. Maritime Museum
Being a port city, is it any wonder that this museum has much to offer the eager traveler? For one thing, it is a fascinating treasure trove of information about the Dutch past. Now add to that, fun little educational segments that describe the way of life in the good old sea-faring days. Most of the attractions will appeal to young ones between 4 – 12 years of age.
There are two noteworthy sections for traveling families. One is Professor Plons, a colorful interactive segment that aims to teach the little ones about life at sea. Here, they will catch a glimpse of the past as they learn the inner workings of ships. The second one is Museum Ship Buffel. This is a more in-depth look at daily life on a ship where kids and adults alike will take a peek at the steam engine and work out the little cogs and wheels that ensure everything is in ship-shape. Other interesting spots here include the prison, the laundry and of course, the ‘long room’.
Address: Leuvehaven 1, 3011EA, Rotterdam centre
Photo of children at Blijdorp Zoo, Rotterdam, by Biepmiep