Speeltuin de Splinter, Eindhoven

After a good week of not seeing the sun, the first day it came out again I knew we had to get the kids outside and into the playground.

Our kids are a funny age – at 8 my youngest likes playgrounds. But as someone who can be afraid of high structures and rope bridges, it’s not always the best place for her.  While she wants to be courageous, she’s afraid of getting hurt and lacks the core strength to do some of the things.  My 10 year old finds many of them boring and would prefer to find a grass area with goals to play football with some other boys.

Having heard only good things about this park and the fact we we’re going to MediaMarkt nearby to get a toaster – finally, we stopped there first.

As expected, Soren was off with three other boys playing football and Maebh and I wandered a bit.  Parts of the park were really muddy and loads of puddles, so getting around was a bit of a challenge.

The giant slide up on the hill was pretty cool.   And as explained above she didn’t actually go down but climbed up.

Those round mesh swings and a hammock are favorites!

There is a small kinderboederij but as the babies were being born, so you we’re not allowed inside. But look how cute this baby is….

A section with birds where a few unsupervised shits were chasing the birds trying to hit them.

Look at this beautiful pauw.

There is a castle with tunnels underneath – our kids are too old for it but this is the type of extra large playground which if you had small kids, it would be hard to keep track of them.

Zip lines are always fun!

There are two small splash pools for kids on hot days – very shallow so perfect for young kids to cool off.

Before we left the kids played with the sand/water area [again geared towards young kids but ours still like it.]

Overall the playground itself was nice. Perfect for kids 4-7 years old who can play independently.  There is a window where you can buy drinks and snacks, but it was closed when we there.

You can read and see more photos on their website here.

Screen Shot 2019-02-21 at 20.53.37.pngThey have organised events there like on Wednesday the building area – again all just a bit geared towards younger kids.  If we lived close by, the kids would certainly go there often as a great local neighborhood park, but I would not drive from Den Bosch specifically to enjoy this park – but would certainly stop again if in the neighborhood in Eindhoven.

Pannenkoekenhuis Het Betoverde Bos – Esch, Netherlands

Our kids love a good Pannenkoekenhuis when we are in The Netherlands.  In fact, they have one favorite one in a cute village called Esch.  It’s the Pancakes The Enchanted Forest or Pannenkoekenhuis ‘Het Betoverde Bos’t.  It’s not far from Pake & Beppe’s house and it’s yummy and loads of fun for kids.

12743578_1036178593092348_1064866376049132473_n

Inside is quite pretty – a small play area for kids, a trail inside where you find letters and butterflies hidden to decode a secrete message and the shop which you can buy cheap plastic made in China toys for your tokens which you earn based on what you buy.   They tend to get 10 silver coins so end up with a frisbee, sword or skipping rope.  Each time it differs and each time within 24 hours, the item is broken.  But it’s all fun and they love it so why not.

hdr
Inside seating

Outside is a great open terrace and a play area with a giant bouncy pillow, swings, a tunnel and two in the ground trampolines so loads for the kids to do while us parents enjoy our beer in the sun – harassed by wasps in the summer.

 

Screen Shot 2019-02-21 at 21.05.20

On Soren’s last day of football camp, we took him here for pancakes to celebrate his hard week – football and 100% Dutch kids so language was tricky!  Though he loved it!

dav
Pirate Pancake
bty
Princess Pancake

While Maebh did cartwheels on the pillow, Soren did flips on the trampoline – giving me a near heart attack

 

The staff is friendly and helpful and enjoy the kids but the only one problem we have here is that they never take foreign credit cards and there is no bank machine nearby so remember bring cash!!

I have more photos from a past trip – will see what I can find and post here.

I swear this is the best business idea around – easy to make pancakes which all kids love! And if we are ever living in Hollands, I am sure birthday parties at the pancake house are very popular!

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.

Speelbos de Kemmer – Kids Play Forest

I read about a free kids trail walk in the woods nearby Oirschot, called Speelbos de Kemmer. As it was really nice weather and as Bobbi was going for a nap, we took the walk.  Scatter throughout the woods are animals carved into wood which as you wander you will spot them.

First Soren scoped out the trail, as once you go on the trail, you have no idea which way to go as there are no signs posted.

Turns out we found all but two the ‘wart hog and kabouters’.  After we realised we missed a turn in the end… but not that important to go back in for the last two.

Next door is a tennis club with a few swings, slide, etc.  The other direction a camping area and an indoor/outdoor pool. Would be a great place to stay with kids.

My only one warning is for those with small children who run off or don’t really listen well (I know plenty!) Or for those who let their dogs run off lead, I would avoid the path which runs parallel to the major highway as there is NO fence.

De SteenUil Kinderboerderij – Oirschot, Netherlands

mde

Yesterday we all visited a Boerderij (Dutch for farm) De SteenUil which has been transformed into a restaurant with kids play area but at the same time still a working farm.  It was sort of like Davis Farmland where there are activities for the kids including feeding the animals, but with great looking food and beer – and as an added bonus for me they have white beer! My beer snobbery is showing.  But I have been lucky on this trip and had some yummy white beers so will post those later when I get around to it.

What 6-year-old girl doesn’t love a pair of wooden clogs!?  I meant to pick her up a pair of slippers but forgot – next trip!

The kids loved it.  Inside there is a slide which you go down on snow tubes – it was hard to get the tubes up at first but with some adult help they were on a roll.  Sometimes they’d go one at a time, other times altogether. Here are a few videos of their slide adventures.  Only one injury which Soren feels on this head going up the ramp but with two broken arms, we’re used to these boy injuries.

There is also an indoor sandbox and a smaller area for toddlers – but when we were there it was a free for all of all age groups so definitely not a ‘safe toddler area.’

After doing the slide load of times, they went outside to the swings, go-carts, and sand area – which I would avoid – cats love to use it as a giant litter box (which we witnessed ourselves).

Then on to my favorite part -feeding the animals which required some working for it.  The farmer first had them feed the baby goats, then donkey, cats, and then had to bring their individual wheelbarrows outside to the scoop hay.

After all the feeding the cows, they got to give them a cookie… in this next video, you’ll see their long tongues were a bit too much for all three of them, including Nils.

They had a barn full of ride-on toys and bicycles [most of which were broken with flat tires] which if you found a working one, you could use.  At his time Maebh still is not stable enough to ride but had some trying and the next day kept talking about the Dutch bicycle she’d love to own.

In the summer the place has more stuff like pony rides and more things outdoors, but it was still fun and we’ll definitely visit one more time before we leave back to Dublin.  If we lived in the area, we’d buy a family membership.

Website: http://www.desteenuil.nl/  Which I believe is all in Dutch but you can still decipher the basics like entry price and location, etc.