This past summer, when I was a nanny in Amsterdam, we accidentally ended up taking all three kids to the Maritime museum. Or original plan was to visit a castle that was a bit outside the city (maybe 45 minutes). We got into our Uber and started to go. However, our driver got things mixed up and didn't realize we were trying to go to a different city. At this point it was getting late, lunch and nap was encroaching, and we didn't want to make the long drive. As we were headed back to the highway, we saw the maritime museum, and just said let's stop and go there.
We did no previous research as to whether it was child friendly, or what there was to do there. But we saw the big boat out back and figured, at the very least, we could climb around on that. We figured it would be a great museum because of the rich maritime history of the dutch and the dutch east indies trading company.
Well I cannot believe this was not recommended as something to do with kids, because it was absolutely incredible for kids. I think it was our favorite museum we visited the whole trip.
We started instead with the story of the whale. It was an interactive exhibit for kids that talked about the myth of the whale into the reality. The kids loved it. You could climb in a whale, feel his teeth, and much more. There were videos, stories on the wall, and other interactive features. The four and eight year olds spent about 40 minutes going through this exhibit.
As great as that exhibit was, it was out shined by the big boat out back. They had a giant boat that you could climb aboard docked out back. It was set up similar to how a boat would look back in the days of the Dutch East Indies trading company. The kids were all about this. There were hammocks inside that you could hang in, and nugget will tell you again and again that this was a favorite activity by far.
On deck, you could check out the captains cabin, pull the sheets, turn the wheel, and enjoy the views from the giant deck. Anything that involves climbing and moving is a hit with my kids, so this did not disappoint.
Lastly, although I don't have any pictures, we went to the other children's exhibit. Yes, there are TWO in this museum. This exhibit was a huge dress up under the sea area where you could put on a fish hat, or a turtle body and run around. There was big sea-shells and pretend seaweed. After the dress-up portion there was a puppet show to watch which was about a whale and two fisherman.
If you are ever in Amsterdam with children, I could not recommend this more. It was such a great find and I am extremely glad we stumbled across it. What a treat!