By Micaela Zaslabsky
Artis, a jungle in the city
Two years ago, when I was still living in Spain, I came to the Netherlands for a quick New Year’s visit. You can imagine my reaction when some friends of mine suggested going to Efteling (a very famous Dutch theme park): Winter? Minus 5 degrees?? A theme park???
We ended up spending the whole day walking around and enjoying ourselves like kids. And one of the most surprising facts is that my friends were not the only ones with this crazy idea: there were thousands of families with kids of all ages. And also grown ups like us, who decided that no-one is too old to have fun, and there is no winter cold enough to stop us!
This is most certainly one of the incredible characteristics I have discovered in Dutch society: the weather is not an excuse!
I have been living here for a while now and I have not only experienced rain and cold, but one of the worse winters in the past decade (cute frozen canals and all). And I have been enjoying my life outdoors as much as any Dutch person.
I have decided to dedicate a couple of posts to explain how to get the most from this small and wonderful country (especially Amsterdam) to encourage anyone who decides to visit it. And I’m starting with ARTIS, the Amsterdam Royal Zoo!
First of all, of course it will be cold! So don’t forget to grab your winter jacket, gloves, hats and all your winter equipment (and probably an umbrella). You will be walking around like in any other zoo, but with some rain, so you may get muddy and wet. In any case, there are a lot of cool activities indoors as well:
There are cute observation stations where you can hide and watch the animals live in their natural habitat while escaping from the wind and the rain for a little while.
You can always enjoy a warm experience inside the butterfly house. There are feeding times and a bunch of activities for kids and for grown ups!
Has it started raining? Don’t worry! You can use the opportunity to enjoy a quick film inside the PLANETARIUM, or discover the smallest living animals in MICROPIA.
Water is not always an impediment to see the animals, and in some cases it is what draws them out.
You can also enjoy some of the facilities, tunnels and amazing viewing spots available in the AQUARIUM of ARTIS. And for some extra fun… how about a warme chocomelk (hot chocolate)?
Wait for the next post to read about some other great ideas to enjoy the winter in The Netherlands.