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Playtime like a local: Some of our favourite Brussels kids' activities
School holidays or not, there’s no shortage of fun places to take the children in Brussels, from playgrounds and miniature trains to kid-friendly museums and indoor playgroups.
Gone are the days when museums meant dusty glass cases stuffed with animals. Bright, modern and child-friendly, nearly all now offer activities tailored for young people – including Wiels, Cinematek and the Musical Instrument Museum.
BELVue is a fun museum telling the history of Belgium through seven themed zones. The Natural Sciences Museum invites you to bring your own teddy to an interactive exhibition where you can discover all about bears, their complicated relationship with humans and their plight for survival.
Meanwhile, Train World in Schaerbeek is an engaging journey through almost two centuries of train travel, from the early steam engines to the sleek international models that now whisk us around the continent. Children can follow an interactive comic strip as they play the role of a cartoon hero.
The great outdoors
Medieval-themed outdoor activity park Sortilège 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. When you're done, head over the road to see the animals at Nos Pilifs urban farm. Central Brussels’ Maximilen Park also has a farm.
Young train buffs will love the miniature train rides at Le Petit Train de Forest in beautiful parkland. Meanwhile, Schaerbeek’s Parc Josaphat is home to a cute mini-golf course.
The Brussels region has more than 400 outdoor playgrounds, but one of the best (and biggest) we’ve found is at Rouge Cloître, an old abbey nestled in the Sonian Forest in Auderghem. Some favourite features include a fireman’s pole, a multitude of slides and several rocking animals to ride.
Another hit is the Georges Henri Park in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert, with its water fountains, lots of sand, rope bridges and three huge slides. And next to the 14th-century tower of the Porte de Hal lies 4,000m² of play area for kids. Made entirely from wood, the Porte de Hal playground is among Brussels’ most whimsical. It’s in the shape of a large castle complete with swinging catapults and a giant maze.
Go for a swim
Nemo33 in Uccle offers swimming lessons from as young as three months in child-friendly 32°C water, but almost every commune in Brussels has at least one municipal swimming pool to its name, and most offer lessons. The Poseidon swimming pool, for example, in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert offers swimming lessons for children ages four to 12, focused on familiarising children with the water and teaching basic strokes. They also have classes for infants and toddlers.
Baboes is a free, multilingual and multicultural drop-in playgroup for any Brussels child four and under, with branches near Madou metro, Midi station and in Schaerbeek and Laeken. The aim is to provide a safe place where kids can play and parents can mix. Check opening times on their Facebook page.