Traveling in Europe with children can be enjoyable. Often, travelers are encouraged to leave smaller children at home, but there are many activities and attractions that will interest all ages in Europe. Children’s museums are an excellent way to spend a day, and these are some of the very best. In fact, each of these museums was a finalist for the 2012 Children’s Museum Award given by the European Museum Academy. Moreover, the first museum on the list was the actual winner, the Tropenmuseum, located in Amsterdam.
Often, family visitors believe that Amsterdam is a city for singles only, and many don’t travel to the Netherlands because of that. This, of course, is simply not true. The Tropenmuseum is part of the larger Tropenmuseum of the Royal Tropical Institute. It has the distinction of being the first children’s museum in Europe, and it is geared towards children from ages six to thirteen. It is unique in that, during public hours, only children are admitted. They are carefully supervised, and the exhibitions are staffed by professional educators, musicians, and dancers. Children are exposed to different cultures, and they have the opportunity to paint what they have seen. Later, parents are invited into the exhibition with their children acting as guides.
Another finalist is the Discover Childrens Story Centre in London. It is the only children’s museum in London, and it is open to the public, schools, and birthday parties. Different sections include the Story Trail. In this area, kids can explore a secret wave, make a craft to take home, slide down a magic tower, and play dress up, among other activities. There is another area located outside with numerous stations and a Story Studio with live performances for ages three to six and their families. The performances do require tickets, so be aware of that.
Though these are not the only finalists for the 2012 Children’s Museum Award, the last one on this list is the Labyrinth Kindermuseum in Berlin, Germany. Built inside an old factory, this museum is fun and educational, particularly for preschoolers. Every nine months, the staff creates new themed exhibits which keeps the attraction fun and relevant. Themes include cultural sensitivity and community spirit among others. Kids and parents alike will be thrilled with the interactive elements as well as the puzzles. One important detail to note is that shoes are not allowed, so socks are required.