Raise your hands if your kids are early risers! If you go to Amsterdam with kids and visit the Nemo Science museum, this is one more place where getting there early might just be the best thing ever.
And actually if you have kids who are early risers, a hotel nearby the Nemo Science museum that is perfect is the Doubletree Amsterdam Central Station, especially if you book a room that includes the executive floor for its breakfast and cocktail hours. Breakfast on the weekdays starts at 630am and it’s a spectacular breakfast feast that spans maybe 3 hours of dining so you almost have time to get two breakfasts in with kids who like to wake up in the wee hours of the morning. We ended up using the cocktail hour once for dinner for the kids too because we had done way too much that day and all of us were too exhausted to go out-there were tacos and drinks and desserts and veggies so this was a perfect meal. The library is a 5 minute walk from this hotel and it had a wonderful cafeteria style restaurant inside and next door to the library is Vappianos, a reasonably-priced pasta and pizza place- so we loved that there were easy places to get family-friendly meals quickly. This hotel was also very convenient to the Central Train Station so it made traveling around the area with kids easy too. (I may also have been swayed by the warm chocolate chip cookies we received when we first arrived. I have a horrendous sweet tooth.) I wish I knew all this before I booked the hotel-I just really liked its beautiful modern architecture and I thought it might be a fun hotel choice.
We decided to go the Nemo museum on a Friday that we heard a lot of kids in Amsterdam were also on holidays and would be at the museum too. We woke up and had our breakfast and headed over to the museum so we would be there twenty minutes before it opened just in case there was a line because we did not buy any passes and would have to buy tickets at the door. The ticket line was already open when we arrived and we were the second or third group there.
And unlike most museums we’ve visited, this one opened up early. And on what was supposed to be a REALLY busy Friday, we had the whole Nemo museum almost to ourselves for nearly 30-40 minutes.
You can see a lot in 30 minutes. But we ended up staying in the water section for nearly the whole time. Everything is written in English and Dutch so it’s easy to interact with all the activities. I loved that my kids eventually met other kids during their time here and I’m always amazed at how kids can play in ANY language.
We spent about 2 hours roaming the exhibits and the kids especially liked building gears in a science workshop they had for kids 8 and up (These ended up being our most difficult souvenirs to pack home from our trip because we just HAD to take them home!) and working with sandbags in a water activity to try to make a water wheel turn.
The boys also enjoyed this assembly plant activity where they had to use robotics to move balls that represented packages onto a production area and figure out how to transport them cost-effectively and efficiently. I actually really enjoyed this activity too.
We had lunch reservations at the Smallest house in Amsterdam that I didn’t want to miss, so we had just enough time to watch this awesome demonstration we saw being set up in the middle of the museum. In one of the coolest change reactions ever, we watched as dominos toppled over, water poured, balls rolled, wheels turned and ultimately a rocket shot up into the air.
The Nemo museum is such a place full of wonder, I can’t imagine anyone visiting and not having a memorable time.
(PS. There is a section for older children that I was warned about before our visit and it deals with bodies and relationships-we felt our kids weren’t really old enough this time and I also accidentally bought them what I thought was a Van Gogh comic book for kids at the Van Gogh museum that turned out to be a little too graphic so I was scarred enough that I didn’t want to deal with this but I thought I should let you know just the same.)
(PPS have you been to this museum or do you know of another fabulous Science Museum? I’d love to hear! We love traveling to see places like this that are fun for the whole family.)