Things to do with a toddler or kid in Brussels: Visit the Zoo at Planckendael

In the wild
In the wild

On a recent February morning we decided to embrace the Swedish concept of “there is no bad weather, only bad clothes”, and headed out to Mechelen to check out the zoo at Planckendael. We love animals and as Babatwo is finally able to differentiate between gorillas and giraffes, it felt right to introduce them in person.

To call Planckendael a zoo is really not doing it justice. With restaurants, play areas, and interactive exhibits, it really is a full day of fun, including lots of time and contact with the many varieties of animals. A bit of a maze, as you might expect but one thing you are really struck by is how much effort has been put in to masking or minimizing the barriers between you and your furry or feathered friend. This alone makes the experience special. As you wind your way around the map of the world, you come across many different play areas which give a very nice break from what can become a monotonous checklist of going from one animal to the next. Inside you find the excitement stays high as you bounce from activity to viewing and back.

Without a doubt the monkeys stole the show for my little ones though the elephants held their own. The passage to Africa was closed when we visited as the giraffes are expecting a little one soon. Hey, we are all due for a little privacy when so pregnant you want to just lay down and hibernate until your 100 kg and almost two meter tall baby makes its arrival. Lord have mercy.

The park provides cute wagons you can pull the littles along in which I highly recommend!

It is easy to get stuck in your Brussels bubble but come on, Mechelen is only 25 minutes away. Take advantage of the discounted offers meant to bring you out for a winter viewing. See animals, have fun. 🙂

Where: Leuvensesteenweg 582, 2812 Mechelen

When: Check their calendar for times. Open 7 days a week!

How much: Not cheap but for me worth it when you see that the animals are actually happy and well cared for. 🙂

  • Free for under 3
  • 17.50 EUR for 3 – 17 years
  • 25.00 EUR for loving and well meaning parents
Nesting
Nesting
Stripes
Stripes
On a break
On a break
Birds of a feather
Birds of a feather
Wagon: the only way to travel
Wagon: the only way to travel
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Bababoo Ballerina turns three – WOW

Ballerina birthday party - coming up!
Ballerina birthday party – coming up!

It is truly incredible to see this amazing preschooler walking around the house. She has big feet, loves to jump and sing and has seriously strong opinions about her hair style. My daughter is growing up! The original inspiration and often documented subject of Life of Bear and Dragon, bababoo is turning into a kid and downright awesome person right before my very eyes.

We celebrated the big #3 this weekend and now I am happy to share some at home snaps with you. 🙂

Thank you for your sweet hugs and kisses my sugar bean. I can’t wait to get started on this next year (already dubbed the year of “why”, if you know what I mean). Let’s see what beautiful adventures we can have together.

Reflection
Reflection
Taking time to chill with little brother
Taking time to chill with little brother
Sweet hug or attempt to gain control over the iPad? You decide.
Sweet hug or attempt to gain control over the iPad? You decide.
Party time!
Party time!
Face painting :)
Face painting 🙂
Sorry...when are my friends arriving?
Sorry…when are my friends arriving?
Time for a ride
Time for a ride
And always there is cake
And always there is cake
Oh Zuzana <3
Hair still in place! Oh Zuzana ❤
Happy Birthday sweet bean!
Happy Birthday sweet bean!
Aftermath
Aftermath

Things to do with a toddler or kid in Brussels: Check out the Natural History Museum

Teeth
Teeth

Let’s face it, the gorgeous weather couldn’t last forever! This week is forecasted to be rainy, grey and dreary. That rules out parks so we turned our gaze inside to see what kinds of adventures we could find.

I have walked by the Brussels Natural History Museum aka The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences many a time on the way to Place Boniface. While the big dinosaur mural was appealing, I was not sure if bababoo was quite ready to enjoy it. Now that she is a couple of months past two and a firm animal lover, the time seemed right to check it out. Also somehow the word dinosaur made it into her vocabulary recently. Helloo Peppa Pig…anyhow!

Very accessible by bus, driving (there are two parking lots) or walking of course, the museum is immediately welcoming. Truly it is gorgeous, bright, well laid out and clearly the product of a lot of imaginative science-minded people. Pressed for time, we went straight for the baby animals exhibition. Who can resist baby animals? Once you get past the fact that they are stuffed, you can really appreciate the care that went into the displays and interactive sections. There are videos, games, and activities. You can try to crawl through a maze with a turtle shell balancing little eggs, build a nest out of Styrofoam noodles and try to locate you spirit animal mother by following her scent. So cool! We could have spent much longer but lunch and nap time beckoned.

Walking out we past the halls for dinosaurs (one of the best collections in Europe), mammals, biodiversity and more. I want to go back!   Definitely a recommend for the 2ish+ set.

WhereRue Vautier 29 – 1000 Brussels

When:

Tuesday – Friday 9.30 – 17.00
Saturday and Sunday 10.00 – 18.00
School holidays (Tuesday – Sunday)
10.00 – 18.00
Closed on Mondays, 1 Jan, 1 May and 25 Dec

How much: The cost for adults is 7.50 EUR and for kids under five it is free.

Interact
Interact
A maze
A maze
Wings
Wings