Rotterdam with kids, 16 great activities

Visiting Rotterdam with kis is a great idea. There are many family activities in Rotterdam. Such as Blijdorp Zoo, Villa Zebra or Plaswijckpark family park, a nice park for toddlers and preschoolers.

Practical tips for your visit to Rotterdam with kids

If you are visiting Rotterdam with children for the first time, realize that you would need a week for everything we recommend here. Our tips are based on several visits and weekend stays in Rotterdam with children of different ages. With 2 or 3 days you can still get a nice feel for the city.

Rotterdam is the second largest city in the Netherlands and it has a totally different vibe than Amsterdam. It is a modern city because not much of the old historical town was left after heavy bombing at the start of the german invansion during the second world war.


In recent years, Rotterdam has really grown in terms of tourism, making it even more enjoyable. The new train station and the Markthal are good examples of this, contributing to a increasingly positive image. There are plenty of familyfriendly hotels and restaurants in Rotterdam.

Rotterdam has good train connections with the rest of the Netherlands. As well as international trains to Belgium and France. The journey from Schiphol to Rotterdam typically takes around 25-30 minutes, depending on the type of train.

Rotterdam is quite a sprawling city, but with the combination of metro, train, bus, and water taxi, you can navigate around the city quite well. If you only have a day in Rotterdam with kids, focus on one area of the city and combine two or more activities there. For example, visiting the Maritime Museum and then taking the water taxi to the SS Rotterdam are a good combination.


You can purchase a Rotterdam Welcome Card, which allows you to travel for free on RET public transportation for 1, 2, or 3 days (excluding the water taxi). I calculated how much I would be traveling in the city, and for us, this was more cost-effective than using the OV-chipkaart (public transportation card) for everything. Additionally, with this card, you’ll get a 25% discount on attractions like the Euromast and fifty other museums and attractions in the city.

Activities in Rotterdam with kids

Diergaarde Blijdorp

Rotterdam has a wonderful zoo, called Diergaarde Blijdorp. This zoo is very modern after several renovations. For example, the giraffes have a beautiful indoor enclosure where they can stretch their long necks comfortably. Your child can look them in the eye because the walkway is about 5 meters high. Seeing the animals in real life is a whole experience for your child, but if they also hear the sounds of the animals, it’s even more special.

They are also doing a great job with their website. On their website, for example, you can follow the elephants live, read everything, and I mean everything, about the animals, and find out when special events are happening. You can also buy your ticket online, which not only saves you money but also reduces waiting time at the zoo itself. Children up to the age of 3 enter for free.

The zoo is very stroller-friendly so you can also view all the animals with the littlest children. There are plenty of food and drink stalls on the premises, but bringing your own sandwiches and drinks is also allowed.

Diergaarde Blijdorp

Villa Zebra Rotterdam

Villa Zebra is a genuine children’s museum in Rotterdam. There’s a first floor for kids aged 7 to 12 and a lower area for children aged 3 to 6. At 5 years old, our daughter was exactly the right age for it. In the exhibition ‘SELF,’ she dives into a labyrinth where there’s plenty to do. Hula hooping, dressing up, and pulling open drawers. A staff member provides a search card, and with it, she looks for characters painted on the walls. Our daughter really enjoys this, and after the first card, she receives a new one.

When she finishes playing, a staff member guides us to the craft table. We make our own diorama with a fantasy fairy tale.

Villa Zebra Rotterdam

Maritiem Museum Rotterdam 

If you want to discover Rotterdam as a port city, a visit to the Maritime Museum is definitely a must. This is truly one of the most enjoyable museums in Rotterdam for families. A part of the museum is specially designed for children. In the children’s interactive exhibition “Professor Splash,” kids help with loading and unloading ships, scanning containers that need to be onboard, and hoisting sails. Through play, they learn all about how things work in the harbor. B

A part of the exhibition is outdoors (but partially covered), so it’s nice to keep your jacket nearby in colder weather. The Offshore Experience is highly recommended for children from around 8 years old. In this experience, you enter a space for a special briefing and it turns out you’re going aboard an offshore platform. You’ll be equipped with a yellow helmet and a safety vest. Once on board, there are various challenges to face, such as guiding a helicopter to the platform and hoisting a container on board in high waves. In the harbor near the museum, you can also admire various old ships, and some of them you can even visit.

Maritiem Museum RotterdamĀ 

Kids Marina

Kids Marina is a children’s harbor where electric boats sail in the heart of Rotterdam. The unique aspect is that boats such as a police boat, fireboat, container boat, harbor service vessel, or even a rainbow boat can be independently operated by children as young as three years old.

Kids Marina is open from spring to autumn in the weekends and everyday during the school holidays.

Kids Marina

SS Rotterdam

The SS Rotterdam is the most famous ship in Rotterdam. Since 2010, the old passenger ship of the Holland-America Line has been back in its home port of Rotterdam. You can stay overnight, dine, or learn more about the history of the steamship during a guided tour. There are special (audio) tours for families. They receive a captain’s passport with a number of questions they have to answer along the way. Once they have collected all the answers, they receive a captain’s diploma.

Also read our full blog about visiting and sleeping at the SS Rotterdam.

SS Rotterdam guided tour

The Euromast

The 185-meter-high Euromast is a true landmark in Rotterdam. First, take the elevator to the observation platform and then a bit higher in the rotating tower for some great views. One of the coolest things to do in Rotterdam, of course, is abseiling from the Euromast. You won’t catch me doing that anytime soon, but watching is pretty awesome!

In the Euromast, there are two restaurants. It’s a great place to have a drink and take a break. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a group starting their descent.

The Euromast

Het Park

Next to the Euromast is “Het Park,” which is definitely a very relaxed place, especially in the summer. You can easily play a game of football here, have a picnic, or grab a bite to eat at the restaurants. There are also nature trails through the wooded area.

The park Rotterdam

Belasting- en Douanemuseum (Tax and Customs Museum)

The ‘Belasting- en Douanemuseum’ (Tax and Customs Museum) is a fun, lesser-known children’s activity in Rotterdam. It’s a small museum with a permanent children’s corner: the Customs Deck. Here, you can scan your own luggage and see how you catch criminals. Every year, there are two temporary exhibitions, and those are also often very child-friendly. So, before your visit, be sure to check the website to see which exhibition is currently on display.

Wereldmuseum (World Museum)

The World Museum in Rotterdam is beautifully situated in an old building near the Maas River, close to the Tax and Customs Museum. The World Museum is a modern and interactive museum. On the top floor, you can visit the permanent collection.

Wereldmuseum (World Museum) rotterdam

Here, many objects are displayed in an interesting manner. For example, masks are not simply hung on the wall but are placed on a rotating podium. Additional information about the masks can be found via a display on the wall. Furthermore, the museum pays a lot of attention to the history of the objects. Were they bought, stolen, or were they gifts?

Although it’s a world museum, I found that there was a lot of focus on African art, in particular. Even in the modern stories, the focus often centered around Africa. For instance, musicians from Cape Verde who also have a connection with the city of Rotterdam.

Wereldmuseum (World Museum) rotterdam

Going to the World Museum with children? On the ground floor, there’s a special children’s museum called “Superstraat.” This part of the museum is only open on weekends, during school holidays, and on Wednesday afternoons. In this section of the museum, there’s more to experience for families. You can dress up and practice world dances. With the help of the staff, you can also make things yourself. Children aged 6 and above are welcome here, and the activities are specifically aimed at children aged 6-12. Plan for at least an hour for this part of the museum.

Wereldmuseum (World Museum) rotterdam

Remastered Experience

Remastered Experience is described as “a completely new world” and featuring “the old Dutch Masters reworked by the new Dutch Masters”.

Tickets with specific time slots are provided, advising arrival 15 minutes early. The welcome area boasts a large LED screen displaying flying UFOs, hot air balloons, helicopters, and rockets. Coloring pages and markers are available for creative activities.

Entering the digital experience we are impressed. First there are several rooms to visit. Such as Underworld where it really feels like being underwater with swimming fish and soothing music.

In the main room the works of Dutch Masters come to life in a remarkable way. The music throughout the entire show is also very impressive. We find Remastered to be a unique experience, you really have to see and experience it for yourself.

Remastered museum rotterdam

Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen

Het Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen get lots of attention on Instragram. But is the Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen fun with kids? I would recommend opting for one of the many other cool and truly child-friendly museums in Rotterdam. The pieces on display in the museum were not interesting for children when we were there and sometimes quite explicit. However if you have card that allows free entrance I would recommend popping inside for the view from the rooftop terrace.

Depot Booijmans van Beuningen

The Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum in Rotterdam is a fun museum for kids, with several interesting displays. It’s not too large, so it’s perfect for when you have half an hour to an hour to spare.

In this informative museum, you’ll see many taxidermied animals. They’ve made it more interesting by providing an audio guide that gives extra information about the animals. For children, there’s a special children’s audio guide available. One of the most interesting animals, for example, was a pike preserved in strong alcohol, which died because it had tried to eat a fish too large for it. There are also various skeletons on display, such as that of a large elephant. Be sure to read the information cards or listen to the audio guide for fascinating stories.

The Natural History Museum Rotterdam

Markthal Rotterdam

The Markthal is truly an eye-catcher, and children are also amazed by the painted ceiling full of birds and tropical flowers. There are many food stalls in the Markthal, but I found the prices to be quite high. Nevertheless, there is plenty available for children, from fries, donuts, candy to cake.

What many people don’t know is that during the construction of the Markthal in Rotterdam, various archaeological finds were discovered. Instead of putting everything in a museum, some of them are now on display in the parking garage beneath the Markthal. So take the escalator down and check out the horse bones that were used to make skates in the Middle Ages and other discoveries.

Markthal Rotterdam

Marines museum

This childfriendly museum in Rotterdam is great with kids 8 years and olders.

The museum has three floors, and we start our visit on the top floor. Here, we learn more about the long and remarkable history of the Marine Corps. You can watch videos, and there are plenty of activities for children on this floor.You can dress up as a marine (including a real rifle), try to shoot holes in pirate boats, and learn to march like a real marine. And how fast are you on the obstacle course?

On the second floor of the Marines museum we are confronted with various dilemmas that the Marine Corps has really faced during missions.

On the first floor, you’ll find the “Marines on Mission Experience.” A very fun and exciting activity for children in the museum. First, we receive instructions from Major Maas about our mission. Then we get clothing, a cap, headphones, a map, rope, and a flashlight.

Marines museum rotterdam

Rotterdam museum

The Rotterdam museum is a small museum located near the Coolhaven. It’s interesting to see here how the city has changed over the past years. From a city that didn’t really have a good reputation to the trendy city it is now. While you explore at your own pace, children can play in the kids’ corner, which is especially suitable for toddlers and preschoolers. For slightly older children, you can request an activity booklet.

Rotterdam museum

Rotterdam Street Art Route

Heading out with (pre-)teens in Rotterdam and want to make a city stroll more interesting? Download the Rotterdam Street Art Route app for free. You’ll pass by multiple artworks in the city, including some humorous ones.

Rotterdam Street Art Route

Childfriendly hotels in Rotterdam

StayOkay Hostel – Are you looking for a child-friendly hostel in Rotterdam? Do you want to stay in a unique location? Then you should definitely choose the StayOkay Hostel in the Cube Houses. There are rooms for four and six people, so larger families can also stay here comfortably. There’s even a cool Marine-themed room available.

Stayokay rotterdam

SS Rotterdam – Another very special place to stay with children in Rotterdam is the SS Rotterdam ship. It’s truly a unique, child-friendly hotel where kids are welcomed with extras. The rooms are decorated in nostalgic atmospheres but with comfortable bathrooms of today. The family room is very spacious with a seating area and half-open bedrooms. One with a double bed and one with a bunk bed. There’s a delicious extensive breakfast buffet. As a hotel guest, you’re also welcome to relax in the swimming pool (for children only) on the foredeck.

SS Rotterdam swimmingpool

Art Hotel – The Art Hotel in Rotterdam is a great hotel for families, and their family rooms (with a double bed and bunk bed) are often available at attractive last-minute prices. The location is also very convenient, close to the metro. The hotel is a bit older, which is noticeable in the bathrooms, but it still offers excellent value for money. Check here for the current price and availability of Art Hotel Rotterdam.

Hilton Rotterdam – Are you looking for a luxery hotel? The Hilton is an excellent hotel. If you’re looking for a hotel with a family room in Rotterdam, you’ll find it at the Hilton, where they have double rooms with an adjoining door. This is very convenient because it provides plenty of space for families. Here, you’ll find all the facilities you’d expect from a hotel in this price range, with spacious, bright rooms! Check availability and prices here.

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