Leading with kids

Leiden with kids: 32 fun activities for a top weekend with the family!

The Leiden area with kids is really top notch! There are enough family-friendly activities in the area to easily entertain you for an entire weekend! The city known as the home of Rembrandt van Rijn is definitely worth a visit in the summer. We already included the city of Leiden in the list of most fun cities in our blog South Holland with kids, in which we list all the province’s fun activities. We have now visited the city of Leiden and its surroundings a few times and list for you the best activities and attractions in Leiden with kids!

1. Naturalis

With our Friends Lottery pass, we can visit this museum for free with the family! We initially thought that this was really Freek Spark’s museum, because he is often in the media in conjunction with this museum, but we don’t actually find anything of this in the museum itself. That’s not a bad thing, because it really is a very fun museum to visit with kids. Especially when right upon entering we are given a scavenger hunt by an employee for the museum.

This scavenger hunt requires kids to look for certain animals in the museum, which of course makes it a competition to see who finds the particular picture first. You walk a route through the museum through 7 different rooms, with themes such as the Ice Age, dinosaurs, the first humans and death. Especially the room with the dinosaurs we find very impressive. Along the way, kids can do all kinds of things such as copying certain skulls, shells and other objects.

What we loved about the museum is that it combines play and education. Kids will learn plenty about animals and nature, but there is also plenty of room throughout the museum to “play. The museum also houses a restaurant and café with views of the surrounding area. We ended up spending an entire morning here with our daughter and had a great time.

Leading with kids
Leading with kids

2. Corpus Experience

We didn’t really know beforehand what to expect from the CORPUS Experience, but what a fun museum it was! The unusual appearance of the museum from the outside has always caught our attention. We knew that you walk through the human body while visiting this museum, but not that it was accompanied by an audio guide for the first part. With the help of an audio guide, we go through the body and they did this really nicely (also for kids).

You go through the whole body and in some places you have to put on 3d glasses. For example, they explain the senses, reproduction and all kinds of processes that take place when you eat a cheese sandwich, for example. Something is happening in every room and this keeps kids’ attention. When our daughter was telling Grandma a week later what she had seen at the museum, we were amazed at what she remembered to say about the museum visit.

After the experience, which lasts about half an hour to three quarters of an hour, there are several more floors, where kids can get very interactive with the human body. This allows them to test hearing, they can play various interactive games and there is an area where they can see how well they can walk on a balance beam and hang from a tube.

We spent a total of almost two hours inside the museum and really enjoyed it a lot! By the way, keep in mind that you are not allowed to take photos and videos in the first part in the experience. For more information on admission prices, opening hours and exhibits, check out the museum’s website.

Leading with kids
South Holland with kids

3. Museum of Ethnology

A third museum that is great fun to visit in Leiden with kids is Museum Volkenkunde. Located in the middle of the city of Leiden, this museum is about people living all over the world. It is located in a beautiful historic building and has several floors. Right at the entrance we are given a Museum Bingo for animal spotters and this is a photo scavenger hunt with pictures of all kinds of objects from different countries with animals on them. 

Our daughter always really enjoys this kind of scavenger hunt and immediately starts looking in the first room for the objects shown in the pictures. For us right away a great time to look at the beautiful objects in the museum. Through our travels we have been to many places, which includes an exhibit in the museum about them, and it is a feast of recognition for us travelers. 

After we complete the scavenger hunt, we will go to the temporary exhibit Animal Academy. This exhibit is geared entirely toward children, and kids can learn a lot about different animals here in addition to playing. Each time a different animal takes the floor in the next room and so we get all kinds of information about the animals in a playful way. Super nice job! 

We ended up spending over two hours at the Museum Volkenkunde in Leiden. A very fun children’s activity in Leiden. For more information on opening hours, admission prices and the various exhibits, take a look at Museum Volkenkunde’s website

Leading with kids
Leading with kids

4. Rembrandt walking tour

When we visited the tourist office of the city of Leiden to see what we could do in the city, we were recommended the Rembrandt walk. This walk starts at the VVV office and arrives at Leiden’s Burcht via a route of about three kilometers.

During the route you will pass several points that were important in the painter’s life. We found it a very nice route to walk and got a good impression of the city this way. We found the best part of the route at the Latin School, where you can have yourself sketched by Rembrandt by looking through the window for ten seconds. You can then download the sketch from the website the next day. For kids, this does have something magical about being drawn while looking through a window.

The route ends at the Burcht of Leiden, where you walk up a sort of hill via steps, where you can walk around and get a great view of the city. In total, we walked just over an hour on the entire route through the city. The route also ends in the center, so you can certainly combine this walk through Leiden with kids in the summer with a drink at one of the many cozy terraces that are in the center.

Leading with kids
Leading with kids

5. National Museum of Antiquities

This museum is largely dedicated to ancient Egypt. Our daughter has been learning about mummies in school lately, so this museum had been on our list for quite some time. This museum is also located right in the center of Leiden. We are really impressed with the museum! What wonderful things they have here from ancient Egypt.

The mummies especially impressed Sophie. Funny that she recognizes things from the museum that she has seen on the Youth News. Not only does our daughter enjoy, but we also find it super fun to walk past all these different attributes from ancient Egypt. When we have seen everything we go to a section on another floor where there is a temporary exhibition created especially for kids.

Kids can search for Tutankhamun here. They are given a tracking booklet and must answer eight different questions to discover in this part of the museum. Really all about kids and therefore super fun! Extra sections like these make a museum entirely suitable for families with kids.

We walked around this museum for more than two hours. For more information on opening hours, admission prices and the various exhibits, take a look at the website of the National Museum of Antiquities.

Leading with kids
Leading with kids

6. Rijksmuseum Boerhaave

You can take kids to see the most important inventions in the history of Dutch science at this museum in Leiden. This museum was named European Museum of the Year in 2019. We were very curious about this museum and did not really know what to expect from this museum that is also located right in the center of Leiden.

This museum really surprised us and we really liked it a lot. First we visit the Anatomical Theater, where we get a little background on the building that houses the museum. Then we will walk through the exhibits on the second floor that cover the Golden Age, Disease and Health, Mighty Collections, Water, Power and Data and Big Questions. At all of these exhibits, there is much to see and do for kids.

Our daughter enjoys discovering things in the museum, looking through different microscopes, for example. Meanwhile, we also do a scavenger hunt through the museum. We collect letters from the different questions, with which we can make words and sentences.

On the first floor, there are several areas especially for families with kids. For example, you have the Play with Math section, where kids can do all kinds of math experiments. You also have Treasure Island here, where kids can do and discover all kinds of things and collect various stamps.

In total, we walk around here for about two hours. For more information on opening hours, admission prices and the various exhibits, check out the Rijksmuseum Boerhaave website.

Leading with kids
Leading with kids

7. Canal tour

you can also see the city of Leiden with kids from the water by taking a canal cruise. Walking through downtown on a summer day, you cannot have failed to notice the boats on the water. There are several companies that offer canal tours of downtown Leiden. And we did a canal cruise through the organization Boats and Sandwiches.

This tour lasts about an hour and the boat’s skipper is the guide. This guide spent almost the entire hour telling us all kinds of things about the city, and we really enjoyed hearing a little more about the city. Our daughter also enjoyed it very much and could tell plenty of things the next day about all that the guide had told her about the city.

For example, Leiden is the birthplace of Rembrandt van Rijn and the king also lived there during his student days. When we did this cruise, the weather was a little less that day, but the boat company thought of that and the boat is nicely roofed. As you pass under many of the city’s bridges, this canopy goes up and down all the time, causing hilarity on board. We always find boating through the city with our daughter a very relaxing and cool activity in a city.

Touring Leiden with kids
Touring Leiden with kids

8. Adventure City the Bubble Jungle

At this cool indoor playground in Leiden, there is plenty to do for kids. We spent an entire day here with our eight-year-old daughter and had a great time. For example, in addition to playing here, our daughter also climbed in the climbing park. This climbing park is located in the indoor playground and kids climb independently above the parents’ heads.

Kids can also play laser tag here (this is included in the price of the play city and it is also possible to play golf in the dark with the whole family. Our daughter also really enjoyed these two activities. For parents, there are great seating areas and you can also have lunch there at noon. As a result, you can easily spend an entire day there.

Finally, it is also possible to do an escaperoom with kids, but we did not do this here because this escaperoom is for two to eight kids. We wrote an extensive blog about Adventure City the Bubble Jungle, called Bubble Jungle Leiderdorp.

Bubble Jungle Leiderdorp
Bubble Jungle Leiderdorp

Other children’s activities Leiden

Of course, there are many more children’s activities you can do in Leiden. We list below all the activities you can do in Leiden with kids.

#9 Duinrell amusement park: just over a 15-minute drive from the center of Leiden is the Duinrell amusement park. We have visited this amusement park several times now and for our daughter there are really many attractions that she can get into, so we always have a very good time here for a whole day. In addition to all these rides and roller coasters, you also have a huge playground located in the middle of the park. Here kids can play while parents enjoy a drink on the terrace surrounding the playground.

This playground is actually open 24 hours a day and even when we stayed overnight at the amusement park campground, our daughter was still able to play here after the amusement park closed.

In addition, the amusement park also has a huge cool water park with lots of slides. We were able to use this water park for two hours, but that was actually way too short. Dozens of slides make it easy to enjoy yourself for a day in this pool. We wrote an extensive blog Pretpark Duinrell with kids about this amusement park.

#10 Molenmuseum de Valk: you can also see a mill inside with kids in Leiden. At Molenmuseum de Valk, you can see how families used to live in the mill, and the mill has several floors. You do have to climb some steep stairs to get higher in the mill, so be careful with some smaller kids here.

#11 Hortus Botanicus Leiden: you can also visit a botanical garden in Leiden with kids. This botanical garden is located on the outskirts of downtown and in about ten minutes you can walk to it. It is the oldest botanical garden in the Netherlands and you pay an entrance fee for this garden unlike many botanical gardens in other cities in the Netherlands. You have lots of different flowers and plants here.

#12 Klimpark het klimeiland: you can also go to a climbing park in Leiden with kids. At this climbing island, you can climb at 1, 4, 7 and 11 meters. Children under 1.40 meters tall may only climb on the 1 meter height course and kids taller than 1.40 meters may also climb on the other courses. Of course, you also pay more if you are allowed on all courses than if you are only allowed on the 1-meter height course. This children’s activity in Leiden takes about 2.5 hours.

#13 Polderpark Cronesteyn: in the south of Leiden is a large city park that you can visit with kids. You have six kilometers of hiking trails here, and the park also has a water playground with wooden rafts and water pumps. In this nature playground, kids can enjoy playing in nature. A great activity to do in Leiden with kids in the summer when the weather is nice in the city.

#14 Museum de Lakenhal: This is a museum of art and history and for kids ages six through 12, they have a kid’s viewing tour here. This is a sheet with assignments you can pick up at the information desk, and this is how the museum lets kids look at art in a different way.

#15 Kinderboerderij Merenwijk: You can go to a petting zoo in Leiden with kids as in almost all cities in the Netherlands. At petting zoo Merenwijk, kids can cuddle with the various farm animals and also feed them. There are feed dispensers, where you can buy feed. On Wednesday afternoons you can take a pony ride here and at Teahouse the Proud Peacock you can have a drink and they also have a playground for the kids.

#16 Steam Train Katwijk- Leiden: you can travel to Katwijk from the city of Leiden with kids on an old steam train. This ride on this steam train takes thirty minutes and departs several times a day. Be sure to check in advance which days he drives all of them, as he does not drive every day and usually only on weekends.

#17 Bouldering: this children’s activity is becoming increasingly popular in the Netherlands and you can also go bouldering with kids in Leiden these days. You can buy a separate entrance ticket here for the whole family and then try to climb up through the various walls.

You have several routes at bouldering center Kunstof that you can climb to. You can do this right away without a course or with all kinds of ropes, but just by strength. Our daughter did this once in Venlo and found this a very fun climbing activity to do.

#18 Mini Golf the Happy Highway: this miniature golf course is a half-hour drive from Leiden in ‘s-Gravenzande. We ourselves always find this a very fun children’s activity, and Glow in the Dark miniature golf is becoming more and more popular. You have 18 holes here and it is suitable for kids as young as eight. You can combine this children’s activity with an hour of bowling, laser gaming or a VR experience at The City.

#19 Leidse Schouwburg: Another fun children’s activity in Leiden is to go to the theater with kids for once. We have now been to several children’s shows in different theaters in the Netherlands with our daughter and always enjoy this when we are on a city trip. However, it always depends a bit on the program at the theater, so when you know when you are going to Leiden with kids, check the website right away for the theater’s program.

#20 Vitruorium Leiden: you can also do a very cool activity in Leiden with kids with a VR experience. The website says this is open to the whole family and you can book two hours of Virtual Reality fun. That there are then different age groups in a group does not matter. You are really doing something together with the family. We did this once in Eindhoven with our daughter and found it very cool ourselves. We played a game there and could see each other in space in a different guise. You can play multiple games here.

#21 Cinema Leiden: Of course, you can also go to the cinema in Leiden with kids. You have three different cinemas in Leiden that you can go to (Trianon, Lido and Kijkhuis). Of course, there are plenty of movies running that are suitable for kids. Always a great children’s activity in Leiden if, for example, the weather is a little less and you still want to do something with the family.

Indoor playground Leiden

You can take kids to several other indoor playgrounds in Leiden besides that of the Bubble Jungle. If the weather in Leiden is not so good, these kinds of activities are always nice to do anyway. Especially if your kids want to expend some of their energy after visiting various museums in Leiden, for example. We list below several indoor playgrounds in Leiden.

#22 Monkeytown Warmond: You can also go to a branch of Monkey Town in the Leiden area with kids. Monkey Town has dozens of branches in the Netherlands and the concept is basically the same everywhere: you can park your car in front of the door for free, for the kids you only pay, and for parents there are plenty of seating areas to grab a snack and a drink while the kids are playing.

#23 Trixes Indoor Trampoline Park: this may not be a true indoor playground in Leiden, but this offers just as much fun for slightly older kids. We see with our daughter that now that she is almost eight years old, that she likes going to these kinds of trampoline parks more and more. It’s a bit of a transition from the indoor playground to this kind of jump park.

You can choose here whether you want to come and jump for an hour, an hour and a half or two hours. We had booked here for an hour and a half and that was fine. We also had a simple lunch here, but don’t expect too much of this.

#24 Streetjump Warmond: You can go to yet another trampoline park in Leiden with kids. Streetjump Warmond actually has the same setup as Trixes indoor Trampoline Park. Again, you can choose whether to come and jump for an hour, an hour and a half or two hours. Usually the kids are given a colored band with a specific time slot. This is also a great children’s outing in Leiden when the weather is a little cooler in the city.

Children's activities Leiden
Children's activities Leiden

Outdoor playground Leiden

In the summer, it is obviously nice to be able to play outside with kids in Leiden, and then a playground in the city is always a great free children’s activity where the kids can expend some of their energy. There are a number of fun outdoor playgrounds in the city and we briefly list them below.

#25 Playground Westerkwartier: this is the greenest playground in Leiden it says on the website and this playground has a large variety of playground equipment. The playground is open seven days a week and is in the middle of a residential neighborhood. Admission to this playground is 1 euro per person.

#26 Playground Southwest: This is another great playground you can go to in Leiden with kids. This outdoor playground in Leiden has a climbing tower with various slides, a cable car, swings, a merry-go-round, a sandbox and you can also get in the pool at this playground during the summer months! There are also trampolines and a ship for kids to climb on. There is also a water table and a sand table. You can also buy some drinks with some goodies at this playground.

#27 Speeltuin de Speelschans: this outdoor playground in Leiden is freely accessible and there is quite a large wooden playground equipment where kids can play nicely. During the day, it is possible to buy drinks with some goodies at this playground.

#28 Speeltuin het Zonnestraaltje: At this playground in Leiden they have several slides, swings, houses, seesaws and a long cableway. You have a terrace sitting at this playground, where parents can have a drink while this kids play in the playground.

Trips around Leiden

You can make great trips in the Leiden area with kids. We have listed some fun trips that are no more than a twenty-minute drive from the center of Leiden.

#29 Noordwijk: An 18-minute drive from the center of Leiden are the beaches of Noordwijk. We visited Noordwijk beach for a day last summer and had a great time here. It is a nice beach with enough space for the kids to play and also there are plenty of nice beach bars where you can grab a bite and a drink. We wrote the blog Noordwijk with kids about this beach.

#30 Katwijk aan Zee: this is another beach destination you can easily visit from Leiden with kids. You can get to Katwijk aan Zee in just over fifteen minutes by car from Leiden. We also visited the beaches of Katwijk aan Zee last summer and actually they are similar to the beaches of Noordwijk in terms of facilities and the like. Again, we had a great time with the family for a whole day.

These are definitely fun trips if you are taking a city break to Leiden in the summer and the weather is nice. Then it is very nice to catch a few hours of beach at the end of the day. We wrote the blog Katwijk aan Zee with kids about this beach.

#31 Wassenaar: this place is exactly a fifteen-minute drive from the center of Leiden and here, in addition to being able to go to amusement park Duinrell, you also have a very cool Monkeybos (nature playground) and you can also go to the beach (Wassenaarse Slag) at Wassenaar. Here too you have beach bars with a playground, where you can enjoy lunch or dinner by the beach. You can also visit another swimming pool and a petting zoo here. We wrote about this city in the blog Wassenaar with kids.

#32 Archeon: This outdoor museum is located in Alphen aan de Rijn, and you can reach Archeon in nineteen minutes by car from the center of Leiden. Kids can see how things were in the Netherlands during the Middle Ages at this museum. Everywhere in this open-air museum are reconstructions of buildings how they used to look. Kids can tour the village here, can make candles, make bracelets and many more such children’s activities.

Family-friendly restaurant Leiden

The little planet!

When we went online to search for a family-friendly restaurant in Leiden, we came right to the website of family café de Kleine Planeet. This is a restaurant on Leiden’s canals that caters to kids. For example, you have several sandboxes on the restaurant’s terrace where kids can play. Near the seating area where we sat with our family, for example, was a small sandbox (see photos below) where Sophie sat and baked delicious cakes for us.

Besides being fun for kids to play there, you can also enjoy delicious food in a cozy environment. The restaurant’s guiding principles are quality, sustainability and fresh preparation, and it shows in the food. We both had a delicious vegetarian wrap and Sophie had a pizza. Then we also had several yummy cakes and tried some smooties. We really liked it in Leiden with kids and had a great lunch by the water with our daughter.

Leading with kids
Leading with kids

Brasserie Buitenhuis

Another great place to eat in Leiden with kids is Brasserie Buitenhuis. This restaurant is located slightly outside the center of Leiden in the village of Valkenburg (the place in South Holland and obviously not in Limburg ;)). This restaurant is located on Valkenburg Lake (also the departure point of the steam train) and around the restaurant, kids have plenty of room to play. 

There is also a playground in front of the restaurant here, and of course you can have fun with the kids by the water in the summer months as well. The brasserie also has an indoor play area for slightly younger kids. We had a great dinner here in the evening, and the restaurant also has a kids’ menu with several options for kids. 

Family-friendly restaurant Leiden
Family-friendly restaurant Leiden

Karalis: this is another family-friendly restaurant in Leiden where you can have a nice dinner in Leiden with kids. This family restaurant has high chairs, coloring sheets and coloring. They also take kids into account at this restaurant by simply giving them a smaller portion of what an adult would get as a dish. This family-friendly restaurant is located right in the center of Leiden.

De Tuin van de Smid: This family-friendly restaurant in Leiden is located in a park just outside the city center. At this restaurant you have a large terrace and there are also all kinds of farm animals. For kids, of course, super fun. This is a vegetarian restaurant, which also has plenty for kids on the menu such as a kids’ sandwich, sandwich or fries. You can also just have a drink at this restaurant on the terrace in the nice deck chairs with a piece of cake, for example.

Tabu: If you are looking for a family-friendly restaurant with a playground in Leiden, this restaurant is a nice option. Again, they have some smaller portions for the kids that you can order for lunch or dinner.

Brownies and Downies Leiden: this family-friendly restaurant in Leiden is located right in the center and the branches of this chain are located throughout the Netherlands. The lunch café is run by people with intellectual disabilities or who are distanced from the job market, and you also have a children’s menu here for lunch. A great restaurant to have lunch with your family at noon.

Family-friendly hotel Leiden

Tulip Inn Leiden Centre Hotel

If you are looking for a family-friendly hotel located right in the center of Leiden, the Tulip Inn Leiden Centre Hotel is a good option. We stayed in the hotel’s family room during one of our city trips to the city of Leiden and it was a very nice family room with a bathroom with a bathtub! The hotel has an area where kids can play, and in terms of food and drink, the restaurant and bar are also great here. 

We had a wonderful sleep at this hotel and a delicious breakfast in the morning.  We wrote about the hotel the extensive blog Tulip Inn Leiden Centre hotel with kids

Tulip Inn Leiden Centre
Tulip Inn Leiden Centre

Van der Valk Sassenheim-Leiden

During one of our city trips to the city of Leiden, we slept at the van der Valk Hotel Sassenheim Leiden and it was absolutely super. We slept here in a very spacious and modern family room, which was fully equipped. We as parents had a large double bed and our daughter slept in a separate part of the room in a bunk bed, each bed had a television and there were all kinds of toys in the drawers as well. Our daughter absolutely loved that. 

We also had a delicious meal here in the hotel restaurant. We wrote about this hotel the blog van der Valk hotel Sassenheim Leiden with kids, in which we give an extensive review of the hotel. 

Family-friendly hotel Leiden
Van der Valk Hotel Sassenheim Leiden

Where to sleep in Leiden with kids – other hotels

Of course, there are other family-friendly hotels in Leiden. We list a good option in every price range!

Budget: Ibis Leiden Centre

Middle class: Golden Tulip Leiden

Luxury: House of Leyden

For the full range of accommodations in Leiden with kids check here.

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