Duinrell Holiday and Amusement Park and Tiki Water Park – If you believe that when kids are happy, parents are happy, then get yourself to Duinrell Holiday & Amusement Park and Tiki Water Park, just south of Amsterdam. We spent a day there (although you can stay in caravans or camp) and the children were delirious.
Practicalities – Lockers, Queues & Tokens
The headlines are the rides. We arrived by bike – how very Dutch – and there was even a staff member at the bicycle (car) park helping visitors. Great start, in terms of service. Once we were through the gates, we were still laden down with bags for the swimming pool, and the staff pointed out lockers where we could dump them for a refundable €2. Then we were off. No tokens required, ride on whatever you like, as often as you like. We visited on a weekday during the school holidays in July, and the queues were very short, up to a maximum of 20 minutes. So let’s get started…
The megarides are Wild Wings, Waterspin, Mad Mill, Dragonfly and Falcon, for the bravest of the brave. There are height restrictions on rides, generally around the 120cm or 140cm mark, but lots to do for shorter wee ones too – the Frog Track Rollercoaster was fantastic, and ideal for four year Junior. Mr Tot is aged 5, over 120cm, but under 140cm, so he had more options open to him.
Mr Tot and I started on Ship Ahoy (120cm), swinging back and fore – me forgetting that, post children, I now have motion sickness. Mr Tot absolutely adored it. I turned green! Junior was happy to just watch.
Next we entered Wonderland, it’s quite magical little town, with a regular animated frog show, nursery rhyme characters (included a huge giant) and a Peeing Infant that Junior thought was hilarious, running back and forth through the spray. Junior found this very quirky – pee and poo as entertainment, now you’re talking!
The wee Frog Monorail, peddled by the riders, is very popular as it’s ideal for most ages. It follows a circuit over Wonderland, giving great views of the park, looking down on the rich green Boating Lake. [Do not drop your mobile here.]
The boys had two rides on the Mini Train, which was so quiet they could choose to be driver or passenger. The backdrop of the Aqua Swing was the quintessential image of a fairground for me.
Just before lunch I took Mr Junior on the Frog Wheel, which gave him the exhilaration of height, and was gentle enough for his delicate mother.
Food & Drink
Click here to see the full range of food offerings at Duinrell – from pancakes to Dutch poffertjes. We indulged in a sugar fix of fruit dipped in chocolate and covered in sprinkles (that we grabbed at a stall).
For lunch we opted for La Place restaurant as I wanted a hearty, healthy meal. Whilst the food on site isn’t cheap, it’s not stupidly expensive either, and it’s pretty good. My Caprese Salad and Smoothie was not the kind of dish I expected to find in an amusement park – it was fresher and greener than the usual stodgy fare dished up at similar venues.
We realised why the queues were relatively short for the Duinrell rides, most kids seemed to be in the swimming pool complex. The changing cubicles are quite small, but the lockers are sturdy. Tiki Pool is undeniably epic, but when we visited it was very busy and the noise level was very high.
Tikibad’s 21 unique slides make it the largest water park in the Benelux area. The flumes are amazing – too full on for my little ones, but older children were going nuts on crazy rides such as the Blue Shark, Cyclone, Starfright and Cannonball. Some of them literally had kids dropping out of the bottom of a flume into a pool several feet below – they loved it!! We attempted the Lazy River ride but it felt quite hyper, as we jostled with teenage boys, so we kept our kids close and headed for areas designated only for young children. Thankfully Tikibad has got the little ones covered.
Youngsters (roughly under 120cm) head to the Kids Waterpark Playa, where smaller flumes such as Green Flash and Blue Stripe, and Rapid Run slides await them. Junior flung himself down these with wild abandon. Or get caught under the Tipping Bucket – and remember to leave those contact lenses at home.
Babies and really wee ones can have water splash play in the Heated Play Pool. It’s as warm as a bath, with lots of aparatus and toys.
Tikibad – Outdoor Pool Complex- New for Summer 2019
The children’s pool and its water playhouse has three child-friendly slides, and the largest tipping bucket in the Netherlands. Hammocks and deck chairs are available for sunbathing and relaxation: they were all taken when we arrived, so get there early to grab a seat. Outdoors also offers a heated pool and five new slides, including a family racer and a new half-open slide.
Every child I saw was living the dream in Tikibad. My boys suddenly seemed so small next to the teenagers hurling themselves in the water, so Tikibad has done well to offer designated baby pools in this very popular attraction. [Remember to bring towels and swimsuits.]
Mr Tot opted for an epic final ride of the day. He was too small for Waterspin (140cm), but he got on Falcon (120cm). I watched as my first born slowly rode the rollercoaster to the top of the ride, then whizzed, whirled, spun and turned upside down. His face, when he got off, said it all- complete joy, grinning from ear to ear.
As you can tell we barely scratched the surface of all the rides available. Duinrell is a place to make memories. It’s a place kids want to return to, to try the rides they were too small for last year, and to run mum and dad ragged. They keep mentioning Duinrell and Artis Zoo as the favourite bits of their Dutch holiday, so if you want to make your kids’ day, head to Duinrell.
I was inspired to visit Duinrell after reading a travel blog on South Holland by the Pigeon Pair and Me. Visit here for the lowdown on Duinrell tickets. Click here for ‘Getting There’ info – Duinrell is an achievable day trip from Amsterdam if you rise early to make the most of the day.
For our holiday, we flew direct from Scotland to Amsterdam. We stayed at the Vakantiepark Koningshof caravan park near Leiden, renting bikes nearby, and cycling from our caravan park to Duinrell and back. We were exhausted but it was such a cool way to get around.