What can you do in Utrecht with kids? We traveled to Utrecht a few times recently and it turns out that there are enough children’s activities in Utrecht to have a great time with the family for a few days. We have listed the best tips for you!
Table of contents
1. Museum de Speelklok
You can visit many great museums in Utrecht with kids, and museum de speelklok is one of them. We didn’t really know what to expect from a museum full of self-playing musical instruments. But we found this to be a really great children’s museum in Utrecht.
Located right in the center of Utrecht near the Dom Tower, the museum is very much geared toward kids. You can take a three-quarter-hour tour here, with the guide showing various instruments, including a number of large barrel organs. This tour is also really kid-based. They even have songs by kids for kids that they can play on the big barrel organs.
In addition, kids can do a scavenger hunt through the museum, where they have to look for different monkey hidden among the instruments. For the rest of the museum, there are several activities for kids, such as putting together your own organ, making different puzzles and also making your own playing card for an organ.
Certainly for an hour or two to three you can have a great time here in Utrecht with the family. For more information on tickets , please click here. We wrote the extensive blog Museum de Speelklok with kids about this museum, with more information and photos from our visit to the museum.
2. Miffy Museum
The second museum you can visit in Utrecht is the Miffy Museum. This museum is for kids ages 2 to 6. Our 5-year-old daughter therefore still completely enjoyed it! Kids can playfully learn about traffic, animals, sounds and much more here.
Located reasonably in the city center (it is a 10-minute walk to the museum from the Dom Tower), this museum makes for a morning or afternoon of fun in Utrecht with kids. This also depends a bit on how long your kids will be playing everywhere.
The museum doesn’t feel like a real museum because it’s basically one big playground for kids. The museum also has a café where you can have lunch or a cup of coffee with a piece of cake.
We wrote the extensive blog Miffy Museum Utrecht with kids about this museum.
3. Railroad Museum
Surely the best museum to visit in Utrecht with kids is the Railway Museum! At the railroad museum in Utrecht, there really is all kinds of things for kids to do. It is a nice combination of a real museum with all kinds of historic trains and a kind of playground for kids.
The railroad museum is still quite large and we can imagine that there are families who can spend a whole day here in Utrecht with kids. We spent one afternoon there and had not done everything by then.
You can get to the museum by train from Utrecht central. A train runs to the museum every hour. When you enter, you first walk past a number of trains, then you enter a sort of central hall.
Our daughter especially liked the Fire Trial attraction. In this attraction you have to drive a train in a kind of virtual world with the three people sitting next to each other, and during this train ride they use all kinds of special effects. This attraction is for kids ages 4 and up, though. Unfortunately, the roller coaster Steel Monsters was just under maintenance, but that seemed like a really fun attraction at the museum as well.
There is also a children’s train running around outside where kids are driven around. There are also several slides and a boat at a lighthouse where kids can play and have fun.
There are several tours you can get into the museum with your kids, but basically you can explore everything on your own.
There is also a tech lab available for kids as young as four, where they can do various experiments related to the world of trains. There was also an area when we were there where the kids could do crafts and make some kind of hat.
There are several places in the museum where you can get something to eat, so you don’t necessarily have to bring your own lunch from home.
All in all, this museum is really a lot of fun for kids and should not be missed on your list when visiting Utrecht with kids.
Many of these children’s activities at the railroad museum are outdoors, so especially during the winter season, having a coat on is not a luxury.
We wrote the extensive blog Spoorwegenmuseum Utrecht with kids about this museum.
4. The Cathedral Tower
The Dom Tower in Utrecht is the city’s most distinctive building and you can also climb this tower with your kids.
There is even a climb especially for kids once a day for this tower. Climbing the 465 steps is fine with kids as young as four years old. Our daughter is not much for climbing stairs, but climbed the entire tower by herself. We found the tour itself a bit on the boring side for very young kids. The older kids did find it very interesting and had a huge number of questions for the guide giving the tour.
The tour itself lasted a total of an hour and 15 minutes, with stops at various floors and explanations and questions to be asked.
At the top of the tower, of course, you have a magnificent view of the city of Utrecht. Just be aware that it does get a little chilly on top of a tower at altitude, so you may need to bring something like a jacket in less weather.
For those with mobility problems or for those with very small kids, there is also an option to take the elevator up. Then in three minutes you will be at the top of the tower. However, the elevator may sometimes be out of order if there is a strong wind.
For more information on the various tours, tickets and opening hours, check out the tower’s website here.
5. KidZcity Utrecht
If you are looking for a fun indoor playground to go to with kids in Utrecht then KidZcity Utrecht is definitely a fun option. This indoor playground is different from other indoor playgrounds. At most indoor playgrounds you have the standard playground equipment, but at KidZcity you have completely different playground equipment and, in addition, several small attractions.
For example, kids here can go in the bumper cars, they can go on a train, they can go in the carousel and they can go in an attraction with a kind of hot air balloon. It is also possible to go laser gaming with kids at KidZcity Utrecht. Of course, it is possible for parents to sit back and relax and have a snack. We wrote about this indoor playground the blog KidZcity Utrecht, in which we report in detail about our visit to this indoor playground in Utrecht.
6. Castle de Haar
Another fun children’s outing in Utrecht is a visit to Kasteel de Haar. This is the largest castle in the Netherlands and you can also see the inside of the castle. Castle de Haar is located outside the center of Utrecht, and by car you can reach the castle in about half an hour’s drive. At the castle, they have two different scavenger hunts for kids that you can do through the castle.
We did the scavenger hunt for the older kids with our daughter and we found this scavenger hunt very fun to walk. Our daughter was fanatically answering the questions and filling in the correct letters on the sheet and we were able to see the beautiful castle at our leisure in the meantime.
By the way, Kasteel de Haar is also a great place to have lunch in Utrecht with kids. We had a wonderful lunch here. We visited the castle when the weather was not so good, but in the summer months you can also have a great walk here through the park surrounding the castle and the castle gardens. We wrote about our visit to the castle the blog Kasteel de Haar, in which we report extensively on our visit.
7. Indoor playground Utrecht
If you are looking for a fun indoor playground for when the weather is not so good in the city of Utrecht, there are two more different options besides KidZcity.
Monkeytown Maarssen: you can take kids to a branch of the famous chain Monkey Town in the Utrecht area. We actually always have a great time here!
Ballorig Utrecht: This is another fine indoor playground in Utrecht. Like Monkey Town, you have several branches of this in many cities, so you’ve probably been to one of them before. Especially in cooler weather, this is a great option to let your kids get some energy in Utrecht.
8. VR Room Utrecht
In this virtual reality hall, kids can play a game while wearing a virtual reality headset. Thus, when you enter, you will be given an explanation by an expert and then you can choose from various options. For example, you can choose different games at the All You Can Play option, you can play laser tag, you can play an escape room or you can play in a team against each other. However, the minimum age is 7 years.
9. Cape Woods
If you want to escape the city for a while, a walk through the Kaapse woods near Utrecht with kids is a great option to let your kids take a break.
Natuurmonumenten has set up several trails in these woods, where you can hike tours ranging from just over an hour to up to three hours. In these woods, you can look out pretty far over the area at watchtower De Kaap.
There are two different parking lots (Kaapse Doorn and at the teahouse) from which you can walk several hiking trails with your kids. If you are in a wheelchair or want to ride a baby carriage, there is an excellent 1.8-kilometer route from the teahouse.
10. Bicycle tour Utrecht
It is also possible to explore the city of Utrecht by bicycle. The Dutch company BajaBikes organizes bike tours of the city of Utrecht led by a Dutch-speaking guide. In 2.5 hours you’ll cycle past several downtown attractions. These bike tours are also great for kids, as they also rent kids’ bikes and child seats for the bike tours. We think this is a fun way to explore a city and that’s how we did it in Paris via BajaBikes. For more information on these organized bicycle tours in Utrecht, take a look here.
11. Military Museum Soest
There are also museums to visit with kids in the Utrecht area.
The Soest Military Museum houses all kinds of Army equipment. Airplanes, jeeps and tanks are on display and kids can climb some of these vehicles. The first floor has a separate children’s area with all kinds of games, and outside kids can run wild on the assault course.
There will also be children’s activities such as making a helmet with camouflage colors and family tours. In addition, the museum has two different dining options. We found this a very nice museum to visit and spent a whole morning there. The museum is a half-hour drive away from Utrecht.
Other children’s activities Utrecht
There are many more activities to do in Utrecht with kids. Definitely another reason for us to visit Utrecht again.
#12 Domunder: this is an activity for kids ages 8 and up and is an archaeological exploration under Dom Square. You look at archaeological Roman excavations with your flashlight in the dark. For kids interested in the past, this can be a fun option.
#13 University Museum: the University Museum of Utrecht is unfortunately closed until 2022, due to a major renovation at the museum. The museum’s three floors are filled with children’s activities.
#14 Waterline Museum: just over a 10-minute drive from the center of Utrecht is the Waterline Museum. This museum is for kids ages 8 and up, and they have several permanent exhibits for kids about the Romans and, of course, water. In addition, the museum is interactive and you can take a virtual parachute jump, for example. They also have family scavenger hunts and you can take family walks nearby.
#15 Amersfoort Zoo: If you want to go to a zoo near Utrecht, you can go here in Amersfoort. Just over 10 minutes by train from Utrecht central is Amersfoort. This zoo is all about kids. For example, kids can walk right through the bears’ enclosure via a rope bridge, pedal past the zebras and giraffes, and feed the parrots in their cages. There are also lots of playground equipment and a Dinobos for kids. So an excellent day out.
#16 Verkeerstuin Amersfoort: This traffic garden for kids ages 3 to 12 is located near the animal park and is open Wednesday and Sunday afternoons. Kids get on a go-kart here and can ride around the square. An activity that can be combined with the animal park just mentioned.
#17 Museum Hoge Woerd: It is also possible to visit an archaeology museum in Utrecht with the family. Museum Hoge Woerd is free to visit. The museum is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The museum is mainly about Roman times and there are also activities for kids such as a scavenger hunt.
#18 Sonneburgh Observatory: if your kids are very interested in the universe, this museum in Utrecht could be fun with kids. There are several telescopes, you can do a scavenger hunt and also experiments. This museum is recommended for kids ages 8 to 12.
#19 Forest Playground Maximapark: if you are looking for a nice city park in Utrecht then this park is a nice option. In this park you have a fun playground with plenty of wooden play equipment for kids aged 2 to 12. Near this playground is a family-friendly restaurant with a terrace overlooking the playground.
#20 Botanical Gardens Utrecht: these gardens can be found at the University of Utrecht. We always like to go for a walk with our daughter through a beautiful garden. Check the website for the calendar of children’s activities. Kids can also take a scavenger hunt here.
#21 Taking a trip through the canals: you can also see Utrecht from the water with kids. Utrecht has several canals that you can cruise through with your kids in different ways:
- Electric sloop: at Greenjoy, you can rent a sloop for 6 to 8 people.
- Canoe: If you want to do something more active in Utrecht with kids, you may want to rent a canoe with your family.
- Pedal boat: another active way to see Utrecht with kids from the water.
- Sup board: you can possibly do this with some older kids, as you propel yourself through the canals on a SUP board.
#22 Tour boat: you can also tour Utrecht with kids from a tour boat. Utrecht is known for its canals and in an hour and a half you will take a beautiful tour of these canals. Of course, you will receive information about the city of Utrecht from an audio guide during the crossing.
Family-friendly restaurant Utrecht
You have plenty of family-friendly restaurants in Utrecht! During a city trip to Utrecht with kids, you want to be able to eat somewhere cozy with the kids and it is nice if there are restaurants that are geared towards children or where you can eat easily with kids. We list some family-friendly restaurants in Utrecht below!
Restaurant Hygge: you can visit this Danish restaurant in Utrecht with kids in both summer and winter. So the restaurant has a great outdoor terrace, where the kids can play and in winter you can eat inside and the kids can play in the restaurant’s play corner with all kinds of toys!
Restaurant Leen: This is another family-friendly restaurant in Utrecht with a playground. There is entertainment for kids both inside (play corner) and outside at this Asian restaurant. Which also makes this a great place to go for lunch or dinner in Utrecht with kids.
Restaurant Buurten: this restaurant has two locations where you can eat with kids in Utrecht. Restaurant Buurten has an excellent menu, with plenty of options for kids on the special kids’ menu as well.
Restaurant Jozef: There are also plenty of tasty options for kids on the menu at this family-friendly restaurant in Utrecht. This restaurant also has a playroom in the family-friendly restaurant.
Theehuis Rhijnauwen: Of course, this list of family-friendly restaurants in Utrecht cannot fail to include a pancake restaurant. With our daughter, this is always a success. This restaurant is located in the forest and also has several animals.
Loft88: This family-friendly restaurant in Utrecht also has a special menu for kids, with plenty of tasty dishes for the kids. There is also the possibility of doing crafts with kids at this restaurant in Utrecht.
Family-friendly hotel Utrecht
During one of our city trips to Utrecht with our daughter, we slept at hotel Ibis Utrecht. In this hotel we had booked a family room, which consisted of two double rooms connected by a connecting door. Our daughter obviously loved this because it allowed her to have her “own room.
Ibis Utrecht also has its own restaurant where you can enjoy an extensive breakfast in the morning and dinner in the evening. We wrote an extensive review about this hotel with the blog Ibis Utrecht with kids.
Hampton by Hilton Utrecht Central Station
A good option when looking for a hotel in Utrecht with kids is the Hilton Hotel Utrecht centraal. This family-friendly hotel in Utrecht is located next to the train station and in a few minutes you can walk from the hotel to the city center.
The hotel’s family rooms are spacious and luxurious, and they are communicating rooms. That is, two double rooms are connected to each other. As a result, this room also gives you no less than two bathrooms! At the hotel they also serve a delicious breakfast! For a detailed report on our overnight stay at this hotel read our blog Hilton Utrecht with kids.
Carlton president hotel
After eight days of traveling through the Netherlands, it was time for relaxation and we took it easy at the Carlton President Hotel in Utrecht. We had a wonderfully spacious room with a separate room for our daughter Sophie. Relax in the room, enjoy breakfast and dinner in the restaurant and relax in the private welless. We could really rest here in this hotel.
We wrote a separate travel blog about this hotel, so if you want to know more about our findings of this hotel click here.
Fletcher Hotel Amersfoort
A 25-minute drive from Utrecht is the Fletcher hotel in Amersfoort. We stayed here when we had a weekend trip and visited several museums in the area. If you want to stay somewhere on a small budget, this hotel is definitely an option. We wrote an extensive report on the hotel, which you can find here.