Oertijdmuseum Dinosaur Museum – Boxtel, Netherlands

Today the kids and I explored the nearby Oertijdmuseum while Papa had a meeting in Eindhoven.

When I was looking around at kid-friendly things to do in the region of the Netherlands, I came across the Oertijdmuseum so knew it would be something for us during this trip.  As their website is 100% in Dutch, I couldn’t get info to see if there was enough to keep our two entertained. It’s so easy to have a translation widget put on your website for all the non-Dutch speaking visitors who come to The Netherlands (there are plenty in the area with Philips, etc)

The museum is essentially broken up into three parts -the gift shop/cafe & movie, the museum part and the outdoor trail & play spaces.  Upstairs you will find find fossils, statues and some interactive exhibitions – all in Dutch (as it should be as we are in the Netherlands) but two were not working.

After we saw all the good stuff inside, we headed out to the forest where you follow the path and came upon all the different dinosaurs with a few playground areas. For those interested in plants there were tons!

As you see, it was cold and frost on the trees.  The temperature was set to be max 3 degrees but sunny so was bearable.   Certainly would be much more enjoyable and in the warmer weather.

As you walk down the path some were more scary then the one before… Our kids found this fine as they were older but for some kids 2 & 3 – they might find it a bit scary.

We enjoyed being outside, even though cold. We think this is the area which could be improved.  Add something interactive here like a stamp or punch at each stop, (think Santa’s Village) or holiday-themed treasure trail like at Sheringham Park and if the trail was completed you get a certificate or tiny plastic dinosaur. Something for the kids to do. .. you see the large plastic dino and then what at least with a trail of letters or stamps they are challenged to do something. Might be just me.

The playground areas were fun for them too. They especially enjoyed being in the mouth of the Dino’s as if they were going to be eaten.

And some more friendly thoughts.

We visited the cafe for a tea, a worstebrotje for Soren and a ham/kaas toasti or Maebh – though .30 for a package of mustard grrr!   Why not have a tub of mustard and ketchup at the counter.  Probably not able to do with the mayonnaise – the Dutch drink it 😉 He he – I can this as my hubby is Dutch and he drinks it… literally. Look at the name of this blog 🙂   But the food was very affordable at €2.00 each – most places charge €4.50 or more!!

I am not one to give them loads of toys, especially plastic ones) from the gift shop for no reason but visiting but allowed to each picked out two small items from the gift shop.  Two shells for Maebh’s new shelf shell collection and for Soren an interesting gem called Gypsom (as his favorite, the Amethyst is way too expensive)  and real haaientanden (sharks tooth). Again affordable at a total cost of €5.

The museum was a fun time for us and good for a family half day out. Super friendly staff too. I would say eight would be the oldest and ages two to five is the ideal age to visit.

The guests well typical  – they have no problem stopping in the middle of the walkway to do something or chat and not thing of others around them. The kids cut the line while the parents watch and never correct. Not a single apology and rarely a smile.  Same experience at the Naturalis in Leiden with kids cutting in between the four kids (who does that?) and after along discussion with a Dutch father & Czech mom, it’s normal.   In fact, The Netherlands has been ranked among the most unfriendliest place for expats!   I still really like it here & know it’s not all the people, but I have met Dutch who live in Ireland and UK who say they’d prefer to never return to NL.  I cannot say the same for myself – as I do like it and it doesn’t bother me like it bothers them. I would probably like to live here – who knows maybe one day!

Entrance fees: €9 adult and €6 for kids and they do not accept the Museumkaart. Personally I would not return too often as it’s a bit steep for what you get. If they added a dino-themed indoor soft play area, it would make it even that much better. I am not sure if there is an option to skip the museum part and just visit the playground, cafe and gift shop.  If so, we’d do that on a future visit back to the Netherlands at Easter with all 9 grandchildren but we would not pay €9 adult and €6 for kids for all of us for what you get as it stands today.

Trix The T-Rex at Naturalis in Leiden, The Netherlands

We visited the T-Rex at Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden, The Netherlands with our friends Jana and Philip and their boys.

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Four friends

The exhibit is of a 67 million year old dinosaur which they brought from the USA.  

Dutch Dino Passport

Named Trix, after the late Queen Beatrix, it took three years to unearth Trix from her resting place in Montana. She is an almost complete and very well preserved skeleton; more than half of her bones have been preserved. All that is missing is the left leg, a part from the tail, the feet and claws. The left leg was reproduced by making a mirror image of her right leg on a 3D printer.  It is the only T Rex in the world mounted with a REAL skull.

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During its lifetime, the dinosaur would have stood 4-5 metres tall and weighed 5,000 kilos. They believe it was  female and died at about he age of 30 around 66-67 MILLION years ago!

At the exhibition, you will literally step back into the world of the T Rex with lifelike robot dinosaurs bringing the Cretaceous period to life. Visitors come face to face with Trix.  The next gallery is packed with interactive play elements.  You are challenged to find answers to puzzles & more. 

There was a cafe in the center area where the adults can have a drink.  As you’ll see there was some drinks between the four adults while we chatted.   Seriously, two Dutchmen who stand at 6’8″ & 6’9″ tall and a woman from Czech Republic – you better believe they enjoy their brew.  I wonder who took the photo of Philip with 1/2 his head cut off?! 

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There were Paleontologists who were there on hand to talk about various bones and there were some doing some scraping and cleaning of bones.

Great place to visit and fun day with their family.   Trix is going on tour for 18 months I believe while the building gets a make over.

It’s great to see the kids together again.  They were with us 2 years ago in Cromer, UK. Soren speaks English with a bit of Dutch and while Tobias speaks Dutch with a bit of English and understands Czech, yet they are still able to communicate.    Tobias gave Soren a coin with a dino on it and it’s proudly displayed on his dresser in his room.

They are coming to Dublin in May and staying with us for a few days so that will be fun!