I really enjoy to the Maritime Museum: Rotterdam. If it were closer I could see taking the kids there on a regular basis. Unfortunately it is about 1 1/2 hours to get there from Eindhoven and that’s just at the top of what I’m willing to drive for a day trip. There are great indoor and outdoor play areas and tons for kids at all age groups to do. It a really great kids museum.
The ground floor looks really empty. There is a few picnic tables and the front desk.
The first floor holds a small exhibit about boats and some really pretty miniature ships behind glass. The exhibit has been different both times I have been but I’m not sure how often it is changed. Honestly there was nothing here for the kids to do so we didn’t linger. On that same floor is an area dedicated to house boats. This area is pretty cool. There isn’t a huge amount to do but there is a really fun shadow area and a little room set up like a room on a boat.
The second floor is where the real fun is. If you go up the stairs you will see and area with a big map on the floor. There, kids will get an interactive lesson on trade. There is a little video about where a few products come from and how they are transported around the world. The kids can pick up a sheet and move giant boats around and get stamps when they “collect” goods. Its really super fun for all ages. My 2 1/2 year old just pushed around a boat, my 4 year old pushed a boat and collected the stamps and the older kids did everything in a certain order and followed a set of rules that I didn’t bother to read because my kids are to young for them.
To the left there is a mock cruise ship. There is a “deck” with shuffle board and bingo and a bar with fake martinis. There is also a dining room and a recreational room with play roulette and a karaoke stage. It’s a lot more fun than it sounds.
To the right there is a hallway with the another play area at the end. It’s super fun. There is a ship and a slide and some other play structures.
Through this room and out some doors there is an outdoor play area. It is set up like a shipping yard. There are padded boxes to move around. They start at a fixed boat and can be hooked to a crane that takes them to a flat “train car” that can be moved a short distance. Then that can me unloaded and scanned. Then they are to be placed on wheel barrows and trollies and moved to the final delivery point. Of course, this is what the big kids are doing. My son is doing his own thing and having a great time. My daughter is running around playing a game that only she understands.
Honestly, it is a lot more of a focused play area with a nautical theme than a traditional museum. I didn’t learn anything, but that’s ok.
Outside there are a few boats that you can go on. One is a house boat and one is a very industrial big boat. The most recent time we visited the museum was the first time I was able to see the boats. The first time we went we stayed inside for so long that this section was closed by the time we got there (it closes an hour earlier than the museum). So I have only seen them in December and I had about 5 heart attacks during this 20 or so minutes. There is no railings, fences or anything stopping the kids from falling into the water. I generally don’t consider myself the safety police but this seemed excessively dangerous. It would have been nice to at least have a handrail. Then there are the boats themselves. Rickety metal stairs leading up to the top of a boat with a barrier lower than my kids waist stopping them from falling in the water. I hated it. Every minute of it. I had visions of my babies slipping and falling into freezing water.
Terrifying boats aside, I really enjoy the Maritime Museum: Rotterdam. It makes for a really nice day out.
You can bring in your own food. There are picnic tables on the ground floor you can eat at and you can also eat in the big play areas. You can not eat in the map room (I was told off for that last time I was there). There is no place to but food within the museum. There is a restaurant attached to the museum but it is a sit down place with servers. The food was good but was a lot of trouble. We ate there the first time we went. It was tough convincing the kids to stop playing and go all the way down for food. They were not interested in sitting still and waiting for our tostis so it was a real pain. The last time I packed food and it made things much easier.
This is a great place to use the Museum card. I really recommend it.
Some Practical Information:
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Don’t have a Museum Card? Read about it here: The Museum Card