Efteling: a magical place

The Efteling is famous here in the Netherlands! It started as a ‘Fairytale Forest’ in 1952, and over the years the Efteling grew out into a large-scale theme park with roller-coasters and restaurants, most of them still inspired by fairy tale themes such as Sinbad the Sailor or Fata Morgana. But my favourite part is still theFairytale Forest, where you can find the Sleeping Beauty sleeping in her castle, the scary Dragon watching over his treasure, Snow White in her coffin made of glass, the candy house with Hansel and Gretel, singing mushrooms and much, much more to explore.

Visiting the Efteling is truly a joyful experience for the entire family. As soon as they can walk, little children will love the Fairytale Forest, and bigger kids will not want to skip this part either, although they will probably also want to go for a ride in one of the many other great attractions. A visit to the Efteling may take a day, but we usually spend two days where one day we hang out mostly in the Fairytale Forest and the other we explore the rest of the park. You can stay the night in the Efteling Hotel, where the experience goes on with theme rooms (we once stayed in the ‘Flying Dutchman‘ room) and dinners with real fairytale characters — cheesy, maybe, but the kids love it (and so do I).

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Macrobiotic goat farm Ridammerhoeve

goat farm1

On the southern outskirts of Amsterdam is a huge park/woodland called the ‘Amsterdamse Bos’ (Amsterdam Forest). It offers great activities for kids, like swimming pools, playgrounds, a theater, a pancakes restaurant, and one of our family’s absolute favourite outdoor activities in Amsterdam: the macrobiotic goat farm ‘Ridammerhoeve‘.

The beauty of this goat farm is that it is really, in all reality, a goat farm! So besides it being a city farm, with the mere purpose of giving city kids the opportunity to get closer to animals and to teach them ‘where the milk is coming from’, the main purpose of this farm is to produce (organic) goat’s milk and make it into cheeses, yogurt, ice cream etc., all for sale at the little café, where you can also get a nice goats’ cappuccino! (more…)

Airport fun…

rijksmuseum expoFlying with children is always a challenge. But it helps if the airport you’re flying from has really good facilities around — you want to keep the kids entertained, as you want them to sleep ON the flight, not beforehand!

Did you know that ‘Schiphol‘, Amsterdam’s airport, is the first airport in the world to have a museum in its terminal? And not any museum — it is an annexe of the famous Rijksmuseum! So while waiting for your flight, you can show your kids ten works by famous Dutch masters (like Jan Steen, or Rembrandt)!

Or, visit the ‘Babycare Lounge’, where parents can take care of their babies in private — bathe them, feed them and/or let them sleep in one of the seven bed cabins, which include comfortable seats for the parents. Sounds good, no? (Well, I guess they could have thought of a bed for parents too)! (more…)

Praq

Praq car tableLast weekend the weather in Amsterdam was nice for a change, so on Saturday we loaded all the children on the bikes, and off we went to our favourite kid-friendly restaurant: Praq.

Praq is located along the Amstel river in the beautiful little village of Oudekerk aan de Amstel — not very far from Amsterdam at all (I would say about a 40 minute, very scenic bike-ride). We love this restaurant so much because not only do they serve great food, they also have a complete section reserved just for kids (and their parents). All this is done in a really tasteful way – no Donald Duck in sight! Parents, children, even business people feel comfortable here! (more…)

Miffy’s House

Nijntje

Who doesn’t love Miffy? My daughter surely adores her! Dick Bruna created this little rabbit in 1955 and by now her stories have been translated to more than 40 languages! Did you know Miffy has her own website?
Last weekend we decided to treat our children to a little trip to ‘Miffy’s House’ (a.k.a. the Dick Bruna House).
The house is located in Utrecht, a beautiful city about a half-an-hour drive or train ride from Amsterdam. It was brilliant! My 2 1/2-year-old had the time of her life exploring the museum. There’s a real (kid’s scale) house where children can sit at Miffy’s table, try her bed, test her clothes, etc. There are interactive computer games, videos to watch, books to read, big elements to play with, and more.
My 10-month-old loved crawling through the tunnel (with real windows and curtains) and checking out the displays of Dick Bruna’s characters. There is also a workshop where they can make Miffy masks, ears and dolls. I liked seeing Dick Bruna’s other graphic work (posters and book covers), by which I was very impressed! The shop has a fantastic selection of Miffy books and toys, and ships internationally!

xxx Esther (more…)