Utrecht is a fun city to live in, I’ve been living here for more than 20 years and loved the city since I moved here for attending university. We decided to raise our son here and have no regrets. There’s plenty to do with kids. When they’re toddlers and preschoolers. I name just a few of the fun things to do in Utrecht with kids. Both Yuri and us enjoyed these 8 things immensely.
One of our all-time favorites to do in Utrecht with kids is the railway museum or Spoorwegmuseum in Dutch. It has been a while, but we’ve been there plenty of times, and it’s fantastic. Your kid doesn’t need to be a big train fan to enjoy himself here. For us it’s a 10 minute bike ride. But you can also reach the museum by car. The museum has a parking lot right in front, but especially when there’s an event it’s fully occupied fast.
What’s even more fun is going to the museum by train. There is a special train that goes from Utrecht Central Station to Utrecht Maliebaan. The trainstation you arrive at is in the museum. The museum is in the old Maliebaanstation which has been built in 1874. We went a few times with the train to the museum, but in the afternoon there’s no train back for a few hours. We had to take the bus, which is a 5 minute walk. On bike is better for us, but otherwise I would say go by train.
The museum is child friendly, it has slides outside, a small kids only train and more attractions which are fun for kids of all ages. Next to the attractions there are also shows. For instance an conductor who tells of his last ride on the Orient express. Inside and outside there are different locks and barrels displayed. You’re allowed to go inside a few. The museum has a regular set-up and temporary exhibitions. It’s a museum in which the kids can play, and the parents can join in, which gives also the experience of being inside a train, but next to hands on experience there’s also a “serieus” part.
The museum hosts events, like the Thomas the train weekend at Pentecost. We’ve been a few years in a row when Yuri had the age that he loved Thomas the train. Yuri loved seeing the “real” Thomas the train. They had Thomas the train blow steam. Thomas the train’s friends where also there. There’s a show with Thomas the train and friends. Thomas the train episodes were shown and a secluded place where the kids can play with the Thomas the train sets. I don’t think there’s a single kid that has that much trainsets. We have good memories from the times we went here. Yuri’s best memory revolves around the food. The blue waffles are the main attraction according to Yuri. (second was the blue icecream.) The downside was that when we visited the railway museum again, Yuri expected there to be blue waffles, and was disappointed that they only had them once a year.
Another event the railway museum hosts is the Chugginton week during fall break in October. We went once, liked it, but had big expectations, which weren’t met, because of the Thomas the train weekend. There was less to do around the Chugginton theme Chugginton. No real life Chugginton trains or Chugginton show.
Another fun event we’ve been to several times and which is for all ages is the winterstation. This is during Christmas break (and before) in December and Januari. It’s fantastic to roast marshmallows above a fire and to skate on the rink they have set-up inside the museum.
3581 XW Utrecht
Entrance is until the age of 3 for free. Up from the age of 4 the entrance is 17.50 euros. Opening hours are Tuesday till Sunday 10 am – 5 pm.
We’ve been numerous times to Museum Speelklok (Musical clock or street organ museum) with Yuri. It’s in the city centre, in between the stores. Whenever Paul needed to go shopping, he took Yuri with him and did the one hour tour. They loved it, although they knew it by heart after a few visits. The tour has been changed and shortened since then, Paul and Yuri still miss a few of the things they used to show.
The museum has automatically playing music instruments on display. During the tour they demonstrate a few, mostly older, instruments, like a bunny popping out of a cabbage, and a self-playing piano.
There’s also a self-guided tour, during which you can play with some of the new instruments built specifically for the museum. Kids can go on a search to find monkies all around the museum. The monkey is the mascotte of the museum. Each picture of the museum has a music note which they have to color on a piece of paper. At the end they can puncture this out and play on a musical instrument.
During schoolbreaks the museum hosts shows and other extra things for kids to do. Next to that they have temporary exhibitions, there was one about automatically playing robots who play an instrument. Which was fun and interesting to visit in Utrecht with kids.
3511 JP Utrecht
Entrance fee is for 4 till 12 year 7.00 euros, up from 12 years old is 13.00 euros. Opening hours are from Tuesday till Sunday 10 am – 5 pm. Museum Speelklok is on about 15 minutes walking distance from Utrecht Central trainstation.
The Domtower is the proud landmark and symbol of Utrecht. You can see it from afar and it means home for us. A visit to Utrecht without climbing the Domtower. It’s a top thing to do in Utrecht with kids. The Dom tower was originally part of the Dom church, but in 1674 there was a tornado in the city. One of the things it destroyed was the middle part of the church. Separating the church and tower, built between 1321 and 1382, forever. The Domtower is 112 meters and 32 centimeters high. You’re able to see the whole of Utrecht from above.
You can climb the tower with a tour, there are special kidstours. Paul has taken one of those tours with Yuri a few years back. They explained a lot about the history and working of the tower and let the kids do things too. Sadly Paul and Yuri didn’t make it all the way up, since Yuri had to go to the bathroom around the 400th stairstep. The toilets were all the way down. Paul went down with Yuri on his shoulders, who promised his dad not to pee on him. There was no point in going back up again afterwards. So unfortunately Paul didn’t get to enjoy the view from up high.
In 2019 I went with Yuri and his class to the Domtower and we got to see the view from up high, which was certainly worth climbing all those stairs for.
3512 JC Utrecht
Entrance up from 12 years old is 9.00 euros, 0-3 years are for free, 3 till 12 years is 5.00 euros. Tours are from 11 am till 4 pm on Tuesday – Saturday, Sunday – Monday tours are from 12 am till 4 pm.
Yuri’s favorite playground when he was 3 to 4 years old. After that he was too busy playing with friends to go here with me. But I have some good memories of going here with Yuri. A perfect hidden gem outing in Utrecht with kids.
The Wilhelminapark is a park on the eastside of Utrecht, which has a playground, a huge grassfield, walking paths, a restaurant, trees, water and shrubs. Across the middle of the park runs a busy biking path. The park is in full use, when the first rays of sunlight are showing in Spring people are having picnics on the field. There’s people playing soccer and the neighbourhood organises events.
Yuri loved the playground especially. The playground is great in both winter and summer time. There’s a special part for toddlers, but also a more daring part. Yuri could play here for hours. I didn’t mind being here with Yuri, it was a bliss to be in the park. The playground is surrounded with a fence with 2 entrances.
3581 NP Utrecht
Free entrance, payed parking.
There are several spots in Utrecht where you can rent a kayak to go out and about on the canals in Utrecht. We went kayaking at Botenverhuur de Rijnstroom, which is outside the city center. From here it’s easy rowing to for example Amelisweerd and Rhijnauwen, two beautiful estates with forest where you can have a lovely picnic after the rowing, which we did.
It was perfect to row and having a good workout, while in the meantime enjoying the sun and all the green surrounding you.
Yuri rowed also, found this scary at first but super fun afterwards. He liked the rowing, combined with a picnic and playing in the water. An energetic outing to go on in Utrecht with kids.
Botenverhuur De Rijnstroom V.O.F.
Weg naar Rhijnauwen 2
3584 AD Utrecht
Open from March first til Octobre 31st, Monday – Sunday 9.30am till 10 pm.
Prices vary from 4.50 euros for 1 hour in a one person kano, till 60.00 euros for an 8 persons silent electric boat.
The biggest arcadehall in the Benelux, at least they claim to be. We had been to arcadehalls before in the USA and Yuri (and Paul) loved them. So when we heard one was opening in our hometown, we just had to go there. First time Paul and Yuri went there was about a year ago. They loved it. We visited several times since. It’s in the city center, so easy to go to when we have some shopping to do. We even had part of Yuri’s Birthday party here, which was awesome.
In conclusion if your kid is into games, this is something for you, to do in Utrecht with kids.
3511 LJ Utrecht
Gamecard costs 0.50 euros. On this card you place money, with which you can play. Opening hours Sunday till Thursday 12 am – 12 pm, Saturday 12 am till 1 am.
7.Stadsboederij Lunetten De Koppelsteede
On walking distance from our home is this fun petting zoo with different animals, a toddler playground, a nature playground, a coffee bar and community gardens. We don’t come here as often anymore, but when Yuri was little we visited weekly.
We enjoyed the farm year round. Yuri always loved the playground outside most. Now we go once a year when it’s apple plucking season. The farm hosts a “Oogstfeest” or harvest festival. You can pluck apples, pears and press you’re own apple juice. This is the highlight for Yuri every year.
Stadsboederij Lunetten De Koppelsteede
3524 SK Utrecht
Opening hours Tuesday till Sunday 10 am – 5 pm.
8.Zwembad de Krommerijn
In the summer this swimming pool opens up for recreational swimming. There’s an kiddie pool, a large sunbathing lawn, a bigger swimming pool and a competition pool. With beautiful weather this place is perfect to spend an afternoon. We went here once with a few parents and kids from our street. A perfect outing on a warm day in Utrecht with kids.
Zwembad de Krommerijn
Weg naar Rhijnauwen 3
3584 AD Utrecht
They work with 2 different seasons: September till April and May till August. In the off season there’s no free swimming. In the Summer there’s free swimming.
So this were the 8 things we have enjoyed doing with Yuri in Utrecht in the last 8 years.
If you want to read about other ideas to do with kids in Europe, you can find that for instance in our blog about the Dordogne in France.