Amsterdam is a destination site with so much to explore there is no need to venture beyond its canals. But if you have time or special interests, here are some day trips that might well top your list of favorites. Imagine a warehouse that sells 20 million plants and flowers each day (more than 12 billion a year). Chances are you can’t. The fourth largest building in the world, the flower market spans 10.6 million square feet (243 acres). That in itself is worth a stop. You can reach the market by car. Parking is free. If you take the bus you will be dropped at the front door. Do arrive by 7am or soon after to get the full impact of this international flower trading center. Most visitors opt for a self-guided tour via a balcony overlooking the noisy flower floor. In addition to marveling at intense beehive activity (that seems to be understood only by the bees), you can watch the buying process in the auction halls. A second option is a guided tour that must be arranged by appointment. Observing a flower market that sends 20 million plants to customers around the world every 24-hours gives you much to think, wonder, and talk about. Did I mention the aroma? After our morning at Aalsmeer, I marvel at the idea that the flowers I’m buying were growing in Europe just yesterday. Today they grace my dining room table. As we were leaving Logan said, “That was awesome!”. We gave the Aalsmeer Flower Market 5 stars. Madurodam is a miniature park featuring 1:25-scale replicas of important Dutch landmarks. Buildings are landscaped with tiny trees, flowers, and bushes in such realistic arrangements you feel like Gulliver in Lilliput. If you had only one day to visit The Netherlands, you’d see most of the country’s icons here. There are three theme areas, City Centre, Water World, and Innovation Island, that are supported by various cafés, shops, and a romp and stomp playground. Madurodam is easily accessible by car or public transport. The overall rating for this visit is impossible to post because we didn’t have enough stars. Truth be told, if we hadn’t had return airline tickets there’s a good chance we’d still be at Madurodam. Need I say more? Zaanse Schans is an open air museum. The authentic collection of houses, windmills, warehouses and workshops offers a glimpse of life in the 18th and 19th centuries. This area, known as Western Europe’s oldest industrial site, once claimed more than 600 windmills that produced a wide range of industrial products. The museum was established in 1961 as buildings were relocated piece by piece, and has grown ever since. Our day of discovery provided a variety of activities including craft demonstrations, museum visits, duck feeding, and yet another order of pannenkoeken (Dutch pancakes). Highlights included watching the making of wooden shoes and observing the placement and sawing of a log at Het Jonge Schaap. Prior to our trip we had watched a DVD detailing the rebuilding of this windmill using blueprints, tools, and techniques from the original construction. Some people might schedule several hours here. We had no problem spending the entire day. We’re getting low on stars. Had to give this trip five. Janet Dieman’s passions in life are travel…and learning. While exploring these passions, she collects memories and photos. When she combines her passions with her career skills as a teacher, professor, media designer, and creative writer, the result is an irresistible you-are-there magic. To share her joys of travel, she presents armchair travel talks and writes multimedia interactive ebooks for children. www.JanetMcCreaDieman.info
New York City has something to offer every family, as children and adults alike will find the sights, the sounds, the food, fun and excitement that simply can’t be found anywhere else. Whether you decide to take it easy or pack in as much of “the city that never sleeps” as possible, family fun is sure to find you. This day enjoys some of the city’s most popular attractions for a well rounded day you will all remember for years to come. Description: Billed as “Part Tour, Part Ride” this unique attraction has dazzled countless NYC visitors with its exciting new brand of family experience. The 75 minute interactive tour of NYC features stadium seating and a panoramic view, all in a multi million dollar custom built vehicle that allows you to experience New York like never before. See midtown and Times Square along with street performances, trivia, karaoke and the fun of professional comedic hosts. This unforgettable overview of the area will set you up for the rest of the day, as you enjoy the most action packed part of the city. Description: Madame Tussauds is world famous and a NYC highlight since the year 2000, while the London outpost dates back 200 years and all locations can trace their roots back to 18th century France. The realistic wax figures of everyone from celebrities to fictional characters and world figures will amaze young and old alike. Download the app for a preview of your experience. Take memorable family photos with your favorite “stars” (or at least their wax doubles) and enjoy what millions of tourists each year know as one of New York’s greatest attractions. Description: One of Broadway’s newest shows, Finding Neverland is great for families. Children 8 and up, including teens and tweens, will be amazed by the performance, which parents are sure to enjoy as well. The show is “powerful” and “magical” according to first hand accounts. See our full, featured Spotlight On: Finding Neverland for a review from a real family, as well as additional details and tips on how to save. Interested in booking or planning a vacation to New York City right now? Check out some of the offers currently available for airfare and hotels at Kayak, Orbitz and Priceline. See more lodging options at Hotels.com and Hilton. Get started on your next trip today! Please note that some of the links included in this piece are affiliate links and in such case, Real Family Trips will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on the link.