If you’re taking a weekend-trip to Antwerp with the whole family, a kid-friendly outing will be at the top of your list. Antwerp, Europe’s second biggest harbour city (after Rotterdam), has a rich history. But a weekend filled with history lessons will probably not be what your children are hoping for. Luckily for them, Antwerp also has endless family fun to offer. These 5 tips will surely give you plenty to work with.
1. Antwerp Zoo
When in Antwerp with kids, do not miss out on the Antwerp Zoo. Enjoy a visit to the sea lion show or see the hippos and penguins being fed. From tropical fish to koalas, this wonderful 19th century zoo has got it all. The zoo is conveniently located in the centre of the city, next to the Central Station, so it’s never too far away. This also makes it easy to combine a visit to Antwerp Zoo with other attractions in the city. The zoo is opened daily from 10 am to 5 pm (with extended opening hours during the summer).
2. MAS Museum aan de Stroom
A trip to Antwerp should always include a visit to the city’s impressive harbour. The MAS ‘Museum aan de Stroom’ is the perfect way of ticking this box. Learn everything there is to know about Antwerp’s role in the world as an important harbour city. The museum also has special children’s tours called ‘miniMAS’, which are not only educational, but also lots of fun! Open on Tuesday through Sunday, 10am to 5 pm (weekend opening hours are extended to 6pm during the summer).
Aquatopia is a large aquarium, also located in the city centre. This underwater experience is divided up in 7 different ‘worlds’ with over 10.000 species of animals to discover! From enchanting multicolour fish, to 12 different varieties of sharks. Open daily from 10am to 6pm.
4. Cycling along the Scheldt river
A fun way of exploring Antwerp with the whole family is by renting bikes. Enjoy the view over the Scheldt river and don’t forget to stop at the beautiful 13th century castle ‘Het Steen’ (The Stone). The castle is featured in Belgian comic book series ‘Suske en Wiske’, translated into English as Spike and Suzy. Rental bikes are available in Antwerp in all shapes and sizes. It’s best to enquire about the possibilities in your hotel. For short distances there are so called ‘Velo’ bikes, available throughout the city. If you get a day card, you can take these bikes from any location and return them somewhere else. The seats are adjustable, which makes them fit not only for adults, but for slightly bigger children as well. Do mind the tram rails throughout the city!
5. The Saint Anna tunnel and the Left Bank</h2>
The Saint Anna tunnel is a walking and cycling tunnel under the Scheldt river, which features authentic wooden escalators. The tunnel is 525 meters (1722 feet) long and takes you across town. There you will find the Saint Anna beach, where the children can play while the parents enjoy a fresh Belgian beer. From the Left Bank - as this part of Antwerp is called - you have a wonderful view over the city.