Archived Responses: 

July 2002

We're traveling to the Netherlands and Belguim in late August and I'm hoping for suggestions about places to go, things to do with a 3 1/2 year old. Anyone have recommendations? Jill

There are obviously a lot of great places in the Netherlands to go in general. But specifically for young children I would recommend -

Madurodam (www.madurodam.nl) - Madurodam is a park with miniature versions of many of the landmarks of the Netherlands. Kids tend to love it, and its pretty entertaining for grownups as well.

Keukenhof (www.keukenhof.nl) - This is a bulb market, with beautiful gardens surrounding. I've only been there in the Spring, so I can't vouch for how ''in bloom'' it will be. In any case, it's a beautiful place for kids to run around.

Finally, there's always the beaches. Katwijk and Scheveningen are both nice and I'm sure there are others (but in general, the beaches in the Netherlands are not for the prudish! I've never seen anything inappropriate, but topless and some nude sunbathing is fairly common).

Hope you have a great trip. Peter

We spent a month in Amsterdam when my daughter was 4 -- places she liked were Mudorodam (spelling???) which is a kind of very well done park of miniature towns in the Hague, and these huge low wading pools that are in several of the parks in Amsterdam. The natural history/anthropology museum in Amsterdam is also wonderful with several rooms where you can walk through of other countries. There's a large zoo/aquarium in amsterdam which has a decent cafeteria with food from many countries. We managed a number of art museums as well which seems to have had benefits that carried over to her willingness to spend time in art museums at home. There are small climbing structures in most of the parks which were fun and we got to talk to Dutch parents who mostly have very good conversational English. Other kids don't speak English, however, which was confusing for our daughter. It's been two years, and she still talks about the trip, especially Mudorodam. Have a great time! Carol

For Trisha, who is looking for place to stay in Europe. My parents live 20 minutes driving from Amsterdam, in a small beach town called Noordwijk. They rent out rooms in the summer, and breakfast is included. It is a great place for children because the beach is only minutes away. I can give you more specifics if you are interested.