Flanders from the Kids' Perspective
Flanders: cradle of history, culture and heritage. Not for children, you think? Well, that's not right!
There are lots of interesting things to do and see for the little ones. We will be happy to introduce you to our region through play. And any bets the parents and grandparents will love it too?
Mad science and an ancient castle
A museum? Boring? Not so at the GUM in Ghent. In this crazy science museum, children and teenagers marvel at a spectacular collection derived from various branches of science: from biology to archaeology, from psychology to medicine. Younger children will definitely be thrilled by one of the game quests. About a kilometre away, in the city museum STAM, young and old can explore the history of Ghent at their own pace.
This beautiful historic city houses even more museums with an eye for children. Be sure to visit the House of Alijn, in the beating heart of the historic centre. This museum focuses on daily life, on people’s extraordinary everyday existence. Both the permanent collection and the changing exhibitions will appeal to young and old. Ideal for a trip with the whole family. After that, just a five-minute walk away, you will be at the gates of the Castle of the Counts. In this imposing 12th-century castle, you can picture yourself as a real knight. All the more fun if you take the comedy tour, which explains the history of the castle with a wink and a good laugh.
Flowers and bees in Meise Botanical Garden
Discovery and experience are key in Meise Botanical Garden, some ten kilometres from Brussels. Together with the children, you can choose one of the walks through the park or visit the Castle of Bouchout. Teenagers will enjoy the extra challenge of the GPS quest. And King Amaryllo loves having the 4 to 12-year-olds on reconnaissance. In the summer months we have the Amaze-your-feet-Path, an adventurous barefoot experience. The Orangery restaurant, with adjacent playground and a sandpit on the terrace, is also ideal for children.
From Ensor to TikTok
The great James Ensor was one of the most important innovators of modern art. The James Ensor House in his hometown of Ostend shows how this artistic genius lived and worked. An absolute must for culture lovers and their children. The recently renovated museum teaches them about the wonderful world of James Ensor in a fun and interactive way. Manservant Gust leads the way, while whispering many secrets in their ears. The family trail serves up some amazing tasks and crazy puzzles, and there’s a handsome reward at the information desk for anyone who unmasks the fake Ensor. Afterwards, the whole family will be ready to explore the great master’s city of Ostend during an interactive, digital walk.
After your visit, there is still plenty to do in Ostend. The beach is nearby and throughout the city there are many spectacular, lasting impressions of the street art festival The Crystal Ship. Or do the cool challenges of Ostend’s very own TikTokTour. Will you be able to complete all ten?
Cycle racing in Roeselare
Flanders is the Mecca of cycling. If you want to immerse yourself in cycling, the KOERS museum in Roeselare is certainly worth a visit. The family package for 6 to 12-year-olds (families included) provides instant enjoyment for kiddies and older children through play and discovery. Just like the real cyclists, you get a road book. Along the way, you search out talking objects, test what cycling was like in the 19th century and come up with your own cyclist nickname. A bike ride through the museum completes the story: the little ones can race through the exhibition on one of the KOERS balance bikes.
Mechelen, kids more than welcome
Mechelen guarantees an unforgettable visit for both young and old. An art city full of heritage and numerous assets for the young (at heart). Take St Rumbold’s Cathedral. This iconic structure with a tower of over 97 metres high can also be discovered on a child’s level. With a fun quest spread over the different floors, you stumble from one surprise to another.
Has the children’s hunger for exploration not yet been satisfied? Then you should definitely visit Technopolis in Mechelen. This interactive hands-on centre is packed with technological and scientific experiments. Or if you prefer something a little more light-hearted, at the Toy Museum you will find an overview of the most fun items in the world: toys. Or immerse yourself in the wonders of nature in Planckendael, a beautiful landscaped zoo.
Playing on the Heath at Hoge Kempen National Park
Alongside its many museums Flanders has a great outdoors for you to enjoy. Hoge Kempen National Park has no less than 12,000 hectares to discover through fun and play. The possibilities are endless, but here is a brief summary. You have the Joekelbos, the largest adventure play woods in Flanders. The play elements, wooden animals, play dune with water and shelters are an open invitation to romp. The play woods are great fun for young and old. For the little ones there are spring rides and playhouses, and for the bigger kids the maze and the cable car. Parents can keep an eye out from the picnic area. And then there is the petting zoo, the gnome trail, the planet trail, and they are all largely accessible with a pushchair.
You see, the possibilities are endless. These are just a few of the many options that make Flanders a dream destination for family holidays. If you are planning to visit for our culture and outdoors, you should know that Flanders welcomes children with open arms. Because we just love to put a smile on their little faces.
Story created on 15 May 2022