Some might not at first consider Rotterdam as a great place to visit with kids, due to the city being known for its port, nightlife and architecture. But Rotterdam has all those things and great attractions for kids of all ages. From miniature worlds where kids feel like giants to maritime history and with an eye towards the future, visiting Rotterdam is both incredibly fun and educational.

Feel like a giant

Sometimes kids can feel like they are very small in the world surrounded by adults and tall buildings but there are two places in and around Rotterdam where they can feel like giants. At Miniworld Rotterdam, they can explore the city of Rotterdam in miniature, including the city’s port. Here a day only lasts 24 minutes. At dawn the 27,000 inhabitants wake up to make their way across the city, when night falls, thousands of tiny lights light up the city.

To see all of the Netherlands in miniature, the port of Rotterdam must be exchanged for the parliaments of Den Haag, where near the Scheveningen beach you can visit Madurodam. The park consists of miniature versions of recognisable, important and famous buildings in the Netherlands. You can visit, for instance, the palace of the king, the Rijksmuseum, airport Schiphol, and the tulip fields. Everything is built to a 1:25 scale including miniature people, canals, cars and trains that move around.

Become a captain

Once the SS Rotterdam was the flagship of the Holland-America Line. Back then it sailed across the seven seas, today 'La Grande Dame' is a tourist attraction as well as a hotel with multiple restaurants docked at Katendrecht island. There is an escape room, where you will have to solve riddles to escape from the cold storages in the bottom of the ship.

The ship also offers several tours, including the Sea Breez Tour, which is perfect for younger visitors. This tour will show you what a large cruise ship has to offer and what life was like onboard. For the tour kids will receive The Small Captain’s Passport with lots of questions and fun tasks to do during the tour. They can learn Morse code or play an exciting game of shuffle board.

Battle it out in the hold of a ship

Across the water from the SS Rotterdam, the ship ‘De Zwarte Zwaan’ has a laser tag arena in its hold. At Lasergame Rotterdam, you’ll descend into the hold and imagine yourself in a submarine. You will be prepared in the engine room, where the sound of sonar and water enhances the underwater experience.

After the explanation you will know how to use the laser gun to defeat your opponents. Then you enter the arena for an exciting battle. You will be shot through portholes, take cover behind oil barrels and engines. In the arena of 300 m2 you can go all out!

Discover Europe’s busiest and largest port

The port of Rotterdam is the busiest and largest seaport in all of Europe. And the port continues to grow with new areas in constant development. In FutureLand, you will experience the development of the newest port area of Rotterdam with your own eyes. Maasvlakte 2, where the Nieuwe Maas flows into the North Sea, will not only show you the most modern container terminals and largest seagoing vessels in the world, you will also see the latest offshore developments.

Discover a fantastic view of Europe's smartest terminals from the Panorama deck. Take a unique bus tour or boat trip through Maasvlakte 2. Experience what it is like to be a crane operator in the game Drop the Box. Or take a look beyond the gates of port companies in the 360PortExplorer. The future of the port of Rotterdam will amaze you no matter what your age is.

See the most extraordinary animals in the worlds

Rotterdam Zoo, Diergaarde Blijdorp, is one of the oldest and most beautiful zoos in Europe. Here you can take a walk around the world in one day. Travel to Asia, Africa and North America, and discover the most extraordinary animals in the world. Wander through the different continents and be amazed by the natural beauty on offer.

At Rotterdam Zoo, you can walk through Oceanium, the largest aquarium in the Netherlands, to see diverse coastlines and the ocean floor where sharks and sea turtles swim overhead. Or watch as the magnificent polar bears dive into the water in front of your very eyes. And step into the colourful, tropical Amazonica, the largest and most beautiful butterfly paradise in Europe.

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Rotterdam Zoo Diergaarde Blijdorp
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Rotterdam Zoo Diergaarde Blijdorp

Discover cultures from the past and present

The almost 140 year old Wereldmuseum displays cultural objects from various cultures in Asia, Oceania, Africa, the Americas and the Middle East. With its collection of more than 1800 artefacts from around the world, the Wereldmuseum is home to some of Rotterdam’s most important historical treasures.

The objects in the museums collection all tell a story about humanity, stories with universal themes such as celebrations, mourning, decorating, worshipping, loving and fighting. When looking at these themes through objects of different cultures, both from the past and the present, it becomes clear that while we might be different from each other we are also all human. A important lesson to remember or learn not matter how old you are.

Eat delicious pancakes while cruising on the river

The best way to try traditional Dutch pancakes is by stepping aboard the Pancake Boat. The Dutch don’t eat their pancakes for breakfast, they are far more popular for a late lunch or for dinner and that is exactly what you can experience on the Pancake Cruise.

During the 75-minute cruise, you’ll sail across the Rotterdam waters from where you will have a beautiful view of the city’s impressive skyline, and you’ll have access to an all-you-can-eat buffet of Dutch pancakes, including mouth-watering toppings like Dutch cheese, syrup, bacon, fruit, chocolate, marmalade and much, much more. When the kids are filled up on pancakes they can play in the enormous ball pit in the hold of the boat, while you enjoy the sights of the city and another pancake.

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Pancake Cruise Rotterdam
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Pancake Cruise Rotterdam

Uncover the maritime world

The city with the largest seaport in Europe must have an appropriately impressive maritime museum, and Rotterdam certainly does. The Maritime Museum in Rotterdam has over one million maritime object and all sorts of (inter)active experiences for you to explore. Here you’ll discover the enormous effect shipping has on our daily lives by going on a journey through the maritime past and present in modern exhibitions for adventurers of all ages.

The Maritime Museum has hundreds of maritime objects on display, shows a movie about the history of the port of Rotterdam and gives you the possibility to visit a naval ship from 1868. Children will have fun Professor Splash, who has just returned from a long journey at sea and can use some help from children to prepare for his next journey.