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Autumn in Brussels: Fun indoor activities for the whole family
While the summer holidays were all about enjoying the great outdoors in Brussels, autumn is the perfect time to head inside and sample the city's family-friendly museums, exhibitions and shows. Whether you're stuck for half-term ideas at the end of October, or just need to fill a wet and windy weekend, there's plenty to keep the young and not so young entertained.
BELvue Family Day (7 October 10.00-18.00)
Bang percussion instruments made from recycled waste, join an aerobics session set to Belgian music and play traditional wooden games at this fun museum, telling the history of Belgium through seven themed zones. The annual Family Day features discovery trails for children from three to 16 (in English, French, Dutch and German). After you've explored and joined in, treat yourself to pancakes, ice cream and hot chocolate.
The Adventures of Alix (until 6 January)
Seventy years ago, one of Hergé's longtime collaborators on Tintin, French comics artist Jacques Martin, created Gallo-Roman superhero Alix. His adventures, praised for their historical accuracy and attention to detail, have been translated into 15 languages, selling 12 million albums. Where better to host a retrospective of Martin's work - focusing on Alix - than in the Greek and Roman antiquity wing of Brussels' Art & History Museum in the Cinquantenaire park? This exhibition features 150 original drawings and looks at issues including the Romans' treatment of women and homosexuality. While you're there, you should also see the museum's meticulous reconstruction of the Wolfers Frères jewellery store, designed by Victor Horta in 1909.
Little Life (until 25 November)
Explore a world of small things in this exhibition all around the theme of dolls and dolls' houses. There are drop-in workshops for children aged four to 10 (in French and Dutch) where they learn to build, furnish and decorate a dolls' house with paper, cardboard, ink and fabric. Littler ones (under four) can settle down, play and relax in the cosy corner and dolls' cafe.
Teddy & Bear (from 18 October)
Bring your own teddy to this interactive exhibition and discover the bear necessities about this fascinating animal. Where did bears first emerge? What do they eat other than honey? The Natural Sciences Museum explains bears' evolution, their complicated relationship with humans and their plight for survival. Six species are endangered. In the future will our teddies be the only bears left?
The Smurf Experience (until 27 January)
One of Belgium’s most-loved comic creations is celebrating its 60th birthday this year. The Smurfs are the subject of a vast exhibition at Brussels Expo, offering a chance to plunge into the magical world of these little blue elves. If you were one of the 105,000 visitors who enjoyed the Smurf Experience over the summer, head back to see the new scenography and virtual reality experiences, before the show leaves Brussels for a five-year world tour.
Bricklive (27 October-5 November)
Toy trends come and go, but Lego - which turns 70 next year - has stood the test of time. Three million of the plastic bricks take over Tour & Taxis for half-term week. Unleash your creativity in themed areas ranging from Duplo to Star Wars and a Lego safari.
After all the indoor experiences above, it's time for a breath of fresh autumn air. This medieval-themed outdoor activity park in Neder-Over-Heembeek features walks and games in the middle of nature and an obstacle course with zip line and monkey bridge inviting you to swing across the treetops. The park takes on a Halloweenesque atmosphere over half term, with a special spooky challenge to be completed. When you're done, head over the road to see the animals at Nos Pilifs farm.