On the left a large screen with the game Pac Man on it. In front on the right Yuri and Paul playing the game with a console.
City,  Kids,  Netherlands,  Utrecht

8 Things to do in Utrecht with kids

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.

1.Spoorwegmuseum

In the back a large(r) building, an old railwaystation. It's the entrance to the Spoporwegmuseum In front paved square, where people are walking on towards the entrance. One of the things to do in Utrecht with kids.
Entrance to the Spoorwegmuseum

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.

On the picture 2 slides, one on the right, other on the left. Yuri's sliding down the left one, Paul on the right one. In front is gravel. In between is rocks, where kids can play hide and seek in.
Slides outside at the Spoorwegmuseum

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.

Several army trains and locks displayed inside the museum
Overview of part of the trains

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.

On the podium Thomas the train in the middle and on each side a friend of him. On the left side there's an conducteur.
Thomas the train show

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.

A hall filled with red blankets with Chugginton trainsets on them. People standing around them and kids playing on the rugs.
Playing with trains at the Chugginton week

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.

A firepit with sticks with marshmallows above it.
Roasting marshmallows at the winterstation

Spoorwegmuseum

Maliebaanstation 16

3581 XW Utrecht

https://www.spoorwegmuseum.nl/

+31 30-2306206

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.

Yuri driving atrain inside the Spoorwegmuseum. he's sitting on a chair with panels in front of him. Through 3 windows a movie is playing from a trainstation. Part of Utrecht with kids.
Yuri driving a train.

2.Museum Speelklok

Yuri looking at a wooden instrument play on itself. To do in Utrecht with kids at Museum Speelklok.
Yuri watching a musical instrument play

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.

A large wooden clock, where Yuri is walking out through a door. On the right side is a white staircase.
A clock you can hide in

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.

Yuri holds a horn to his ear and is listening to music. Things to do in Utrecht with kids.
Yuri listening to music

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.

Museum Speelklok

Steenweg 6

3511 JP Utrecht

https://www.museumspeelklok.nl/

+31 30-2312789

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.

3.Domtower

A large bell, hanging on beams in the inside of the tower. Utrecht with kids.
One of the large bells in the Domtower

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.

Yuri is in the middle of the picture looking inside a wooden carrilion. Utrecht with kids.
Yuri looking inside a carrilion.

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.

Inside the Domtower, Yuri standing on the right next to a carrilion
A carrilion to play with

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.

Part of the city Utrecht, the Dom church in front and behind lots of houses and trees.
View on Utrecht from on top of the Domtower

Domtower

Domplein 21

3512 JC Utrecht

https://www.domtoren.nl/nl

+31 30-2360010

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.

4.Wilhelminapark

Sand, with in the middle a large play thing, with trees standing behind it. Utrecht with kids.
Part of the playground at Wilhelminapark

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.

On the left a waterpump, on the right Yuri standing on a stepstone. In the middle another stepstone. Behind in the picture trees.
A waterpump, which only works in Summer.

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.

A playhouse, with Paul sitting in it on the left and Yuri on the right. Paul has a soft soccer ball lying at his foot. Food and drinks on the table.
Picnic in a playhouse

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.

Wilhelminapark

3581 NP Utrecht

Free entrance, payed parking.

In front of the picture on the right a bench, and on the left a wastebin. After that a path, then a sand play with a slide in the middle. Behind that more play things and trees. Utrecht with kids.
Slide at the playground

5.Kayaking

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.

Yuri in shorts and a shirt with a hat on He's having a safety swimming fest on. Utrecht with kids.
Safety first

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.

Yuri in the middle of the kayak, Behind him Cosette with her back to us, rowing. On the river, with trees and bushes around.
Us in the kayak

Botenverhuur De Rijnstroom V.O.F.

Weg naar Rhijnauwen 2

3584 AD Utrecht

https://www.rijnstroom.nl/

+31 30-2521311

Open from March first til Octobre 31st, Monday – Sunday 9.30am till 10 pm.

Free parking.

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.

6.Gamestate

Two machines with Mario Kart on them. You see the screens and aplate with a picture of the game above. In front are two chairs with stirring wheels and a picture of Mario on the back. Paul is sitting on the left, Yuri in the right chair. Utrecht with kids.
Playing Mario Kart

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.

Paul and Yuri (on the left) are sitting in a machine/capsule with green lights on the side. Above is the Ghostbusters sign. In front of them is the screen.
Ghostbusters game

In conclusion if your kid is into games, this is something for you, to do in Utrecht with kids.

Gamestate

Mariaplaats 13

3511 LJ Utrecht

https://www.gamestate.com/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.

 In the back a box with the game Pink Panther. In front Paul and Yuri. Utrecht with kids.
Playing Pink Panther

7.Stadsboederij Lunetten De Koppelsteede

In the middle is Yuri standing on a crate. He's hanging onto a waterpump. Around him is grass. The water pours into a wooden pole, which tickles down. In the back are trees. Utrecht with kids.
Yuri is playing with a waterpump

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.

Yuri is in the front left walking on wooden steps, a girl is walking on the wooden steps in the back right. The steps are surrounded by grass. In the back is a mini slide.
Yuri and a friend in the toddler playground
In the front right is Yuri with a blue coat. He's hanging over a beam from a shack for a bunny. In the back left is a bunny.
Yuri looking at a bunny

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.

In the middle is standing Yuri. He holding a long stick to pick apples with. Above him are branches. He's standing in the grass. Behind him is an apple tree. Utrecht with kids.
Yuri plucking apples.

Stadsboederij Lunetten De Koppelsteede

Koppeldijk 115

3524 SK Utrecht

+31 30-7533850

Free entrance.

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.

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