fun things to do with kids waterfront dam square amsterdam - family travel    Travel for Kids
The Netherlands
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Amsterdam - Waterfront and Dam Square

Dutch East Indiaman

The Scheepvaart Museum (National Maritime Museum) Stand on the prow, gaze out over the water and imagine your sailing ship is about to dock in the Spice Islands. Outside the Scheepvaart Museum is a full size replica of a "East Indiaman" ship, the Amsterdam. Kids can climb into the captain's cabin (low ceilings, perfect for kids), try out a hammock in the sailor's quarters, explore the cargo hold, and take the helm on the upper deck.

      Inside the museum, experience 500 years of sailing the seas – in the 17th century, the Dutch had more ships than any other country. Experience a sea battle or a raging storm in a multimedia exhibit Voyage at Sea, plus explore galleries of ships models, globes and ship's figureheads. Learn about whales in interactive Whale of a Tale interactive exhibit. In the museum shop, take the wheel and sail around with a ship simulator.
      One of our favorite museums in Amsterdam, this is not to be missed.
Science Center Nemo
  NEMO Science Museum – This is a really terrific hands-on science museum, with a Dutch twist. You can't miss the distinctive building on the Amsterdam waterfront, and once inside, prepare for your kids to charge right in. The exhibits are multilingual and some are topical to the Netherlands, technology with a cultural slant. There are things to do for toddlers (bubble fun, magnetic games, large piece dominos) as well as a full-fledged chemistry lab for older kids. While my boys spent hours in the museum, I sat in the café on the upper floor with a spectacular view of the Amsterdam skyline. Also on the rooftop, in the warm weather, is a water play area.
    Canal cruise – If you don’t want to pedal your way around the canals, take a canal cruise. When you take the canal boats at night, you’re in for a real treat. The bridges over the canals and Amstel river are lit up with hundreds of lights.
      Take the one hour cruise (rather than the longer dinner or "candlelight" cruises). Buy snacks and drinks on the dock before you go, or bring them with you on the cruise. Canal cruises are available from the dock across from Centraal Station.
Ride the ferries – Amsterdam is a watery town, and getting around on boats is part of the fun. For a short ride, take the ferry (behind Centraal Station) across to North Amsterdam, and back. For a longer ride, take the 2 hour Historical Ferry boat ride (pick it up also at the pier behind Centraal Station) around the Eastern Islands and Nieuwendam area.
Madame Tussauds – Madame Tussauds on the Dam Square is tacky and wonderful, and a way into Dutch history. You'll find incredibly lifelike portraits of the Dutch painters, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Vermeer. In the Grand Hall, step into opulent Dutch life around 1700. One family writes, "Worth the visit, especially on one of those many rainy days."
travel for kids | the netherlands | amsterdam | amsterdam - central
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