Amsterdam has no shortage of city farms but if you’re looking for something on a different scale, head to the phenomenal central-Amsterdam zoo Artis. Artis is a HUGE central Amsterdam park, with stunning historic buildings, a wonderful butterfly house to walk through, a forest house where monkeys swing from the trees overhead, an aquarium, planetarium, big animals, noisy animals, insects, carts to pull the kids around…I could go on. Basically we just love this place.
On a hot day there’s nowhere better to find shade but don’t rule it out on a rainy day either. As well as the usual beastly wonders, Artis has free roaming areas which allow kids to get up close to lemurs and other animals in open parts of the zoo. Captivated by each other, the interactions are magical.
Naturally there’s a huge cafe as well as other food outlets and a brilliant adventure playground for kids who have been inspired by the climbers and creepers they’ve seen.
We’ve been a number of times and always seem to discover new favourites. Most recently we made the most of one of the city’s best Summer events – Artis Zoomeravonden or Summer evenings. Every Saturday in June, July and August the park stays open until sunset, families bring picnics and the little bandstand next to the flamingos is lit up with fairylights to play host to some wonderful local musicians.
We delighted in some Summer jazz and kids and adults alike were absolutely captivated by the performance.
On the edge of the park is the stunning Grand Cafe Plantage. During the day its a place you might find ladies who lunch but there are no shortage of kids running through the water feature on the outside terrace too. At night, lit up by garlands of bulbs in the trees, listening to the howls of monkeys and cries of the parrots and overlooking the flamingos its an extraordinarily special place to dine.