Deltapark Neeltje Jans, family attraction in Zeeland

Deltapark Neeltje Jans is a popular tourist attraction located on the former work island of Neeltje Jans in the province of Zeeland, Netherlands. It is a great place to spend a day during a holiday in Zeeland with kids. At Deltapark Neeltje Jans, you and your children can learn all about the nature in the Oosterschelde and the Delta Works.

Deltapark Neeltje Jans with children

After the Flood of 1953, efforts were made to find a solution to protect Zeeland and South Holland from the water. Ultimately, the Storm Surge Barrier was built, a 9-kilometer-long dam between the islands of Walcheren and Schouwen-Duiveland. In the dam, there are sluices that can be closed during high tide or storms, preventing seawater from flowing into the Oosterschelde. Halfway along the dam lies the former work island Neeltje Jans, named after a boat with the same name that ran aground near the island and after the guardian goddess of sailors, Nehalennia.

Deltapark Neeltje Jans

Until 1986, a visitor center could be found on Neeltje Jans where everything about the construction of the Oosterschelde Barrier was displayed, and information was given about the nature in the Oosterschelde and the Delta Works. After the opening of the Oosterschelde Barrier, the information center was expanded with several attractions, such as a water playground, an aquarium, and a tour boat, and became Deltapark Neeltje Jans. A great park to visit during a weekend or holiday in Zeeland with children.

Deltapark Neeltje Jans Aqua playground

Aquasplah and water playgrounds

We visited Deltapark Neeltje Jans on the first weekend of June. The temperature was fine, but unfortunately, the sun didn’t break through. As a result, we had to skip the Aquasplash, a collection of water slides you might know from the large water parks in Spain.

Fortunately, the water playground made up for it, and he couldn’t get enough of it. Understandably, because essentially, this is just a very large version of the watercourse he has in the backyard at home, only with saltwater directly from the Oosterschelde. Complete with bridges, locks, and pumps. By pedaling in a treadmill or pumping, the water starts flowing, which was, of course, very interesting. Also fun, but at your own risk: the wobbly stones in the water!

Deltapark Neeltje Jans

Animal shows at Neeltje Jans

The Deltapark Neeltje Jans offers sea lion and seal shows as part of its attractions. Whe found the seal show to be mostly education. The sea lion show is more geared towards entertainment, featuring sea lions performing various tricks and interacting with the audience. While the animals are well cared for and the show may include educational elements about sea lion behavior and biology, some visitors may have ethical concerns about the use of wild animals for entertainment purposes.

Deltapark Neeltje Jans

Sea Aquarium Neeltje Jans

Deltapark Neeltje Jans boasts the largest sea aquarium in Zeeland. Here, you can observe various species of sharks and many marine creatures that inhabit the Oosterschelde, such as lobsters and seahorses. For the true daredevils, there’s also the opportunity to dive in a cage among the sharks in the aquarium, but this must be booked in advance!

Adjacent to the aquarium is a remarkable building shaped like a whale. Inside, you can learn all about whales and dolphins, including a 22-meter-long skeleton and life-sized dolphins with sound.

Also near the aquarium is Deltapark Neeltje’s hurricane machine. Here, you can experience what it’s like to stand in wind force 12 and be blown over.

Deltapark Neeltje Jans

Delta Works and the North Sea Flood of 1953

Deltapark Neeltje Jans was originally intended as an information center about the Deltawerken until the opening of the Stormvloedkering (Delta Works Barrier), and it still serves that purpose to some extent.

The barrier consists of 65 pillars and one spare pillar, which stands at Deltapark Neeltje Jans. You can explore the inside of the pillar or climb it. We opted not to do this, but if you want to enjoy a view over the North Sea from 30 meters high, you should definitely consider it! There are different levels, and children from 7 years old can participate.

Deltapark Neeltje Jans

At the Delta Experience you will find a 4D animation that takes you into the night of January 31, 1953. You stand on the dike as the water rises on all sides, hearing and seeing the fear of the people. When the storm subsides, you see a film with archive footage. The recommended age for this is 8 years.

In addition to the Delta Experience, there is also a space where you can see the Delta Works in miniature and discover exactly how everything works. For example, there’s a simulator that allows your child to close the gates of the Oosterscheldekering themselves on a small scale and see what happens to the water.

Deltapark Neeltje Jans

Boat ride Oosterschelde

Would you like to see the Oosterschelde from a boat as well? You can do that at Deltapark Neeltje Jans too. The tour boat departing from the pier in the park introduces you to the largest national park in the Netherlands in just an hour. With a bit of luck, you might even see seals lounging on the sandbanks! However, please note that the boat tour comes at an additional cost; tickets can be purchased at the ticket counter.

Deltapark Neeltje Jans

Practical information Deltapark Neeltje Jans with children

Deltapark Neeltje Jans is open year-round from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. During July and August, the park may have extended opening hours for a few weeks, so it’s a good idea to check the exact times on the website to be sure.

We found the entrance fee for Deltapark Neeltje Jans with children to be somewhat expensive, but you do get a fun and educational day out in return. Ordering your tickets online is the most cost-effective option!

Inside the main building of Deltapark Neeltje Jans, there is a self-service restaurant where you can have a decent lunch. They offer a selection of hot and cold dishes. Outside near the Aquasplash, there is also a terrace with a kiosk where you can buy ice cream, drinks, and fries.

We found Deltapark Neeltje Jans to be an enjoyable and educational day out. With its interactive playground, various attractions, and educational elements throughout the park, it makes for a great activity if you’re in Zeeland.

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