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Top 10 must-see Dutch Parks

During their free time, the Dutch love to visit one of the many theme parks or zoos in the Netherlands. And for such a small country there are more than enough to keep them entertained! So, whether you like elephants or rollercoasters, there’s always a park or zoo nearby. Below is a top 10 list of theme parks you should visit in Holland.

Efteling

eftelingThe largest theme park of all is called the Efteling . Every year millions of people visit Kaatsheuvel to wander around this magical world of fairy tales. In the Fairy tale Forest, famous stories such as Little Red Riding Hood, The Nightingale, Sleeping Beauty and Hansel and Gretel literally come to life. And in addition to the legendary forest there are plenty of other exciting attractions, including a rollercoaster known as the Flying Dutchman, the worlds first madhouse, Villa Volta, and the breath-taking Dreamflight, where you are whisked away into a fantasy world of fairies and trolls. The Efteling attracts both children and adults: indeed many adults grew up visiting this celebrated theme park! Visitors that want to make the most of the park tend to stay for two days, either in the Efteling Hotel or in a bungalow in the conveniently located Efteling village known as Bosrijk.

Walibi

You can find Walibi in Biddinghuizen, in the Dutch province of Flevoland. This theme park is popular largely thanks to its thrilling rollercoasters and other wild attractions. So, if fairy tales aren’t your cup of tea, then why not visit Walibi for an adrenaline rush instead? Step into El Condor, the hair-raising rollercoaster where you dangle beneath the rails. Or visit Goliath, a mega ride that’s almost 50 meters high and the biggest rollercoaster in the Benelux. The park is divided into special themed areas such as Sherwood Forest, Mexico and Wild Wild West, each boasting their own unique attractions based on their theme.

Dolfinarium

dolfinariumThose who like dolphins, sea lions and other sea creatures, prefer to visit Dolfinarium . This lovely zoo in Harderwijk is possibly the most popular animal park in the Netherlands and the only dolphinarium in the country. Here you can view all manner of sea creatures up close and personal and observe dolphins, seals, walruses and sea lions as they perform in a variety of delightful shows. Watch as they wow the crowds by responding to their trainer’s every request and fetch balls, perform high jumps or take on the role of actor in one of the plays. It’s even possible to touch some of the fascinating animals that live at the Dolfinarium.

Burgers Zoo

Burgers Zoo comes hot on the heels of Dolfinarium in the top ten list of most visited parks in the Netherlands. Indeed, this charming zoo in Arnhem attracts in excess of 1.5 million visitors every year. The zoo is divided into several areas, each featuring their own climate and matching animals. Both the Bush and the Rimba are tropical rainforests, where it is hot and humid and, thanks to the colourful flowers and huge trees, particularly beautiful. In fact, there are more than 40 species of birds living in the Bush and the Rimba is home to tigers, Malaysian bears and Sri Lankan panthers. The Mangrove evokes a coastal swamp, whilst the Burgers’ Desert simulates a desert complete with snakes, owls, lynxes and scorpions. To observe sea creatures in their natural habitat, visit the Ocean, or meet the king of animals, the lion, in the Safari.

Apenheul

apenheulIf you adore swinging monkeys, you must visit the Apenheul – a zoo totally dedicated to these comical animals! The zoo is situated at the edge of the Dutch city of Apeldoorn. Its inhabitants come from Africa, South-America and Asia and include gorillas, orang-utans, Barbary apes and gibbons. Whilst these animals do live in restricted areas, you barely notice the wire enclosures or bars and in some areas they are even allowed to potter around freely! So don’t be surprised if a little monkey crosses your path or comes to boldly sit on your shoulder. And be sure to put away your belongings, including food and money, as these little guys are extremely quick with their hands!

Diergaarde Blijdorp

Rotterdam is home to one of the oldest zoos in Holland. Diergaarde Blijdorp officially opened its doors in 1855, but contained only flying inhabitants at the time. In the years that followed, the zoo gradually expanded until it was eventually forced to relocate to a larger site. Many of the animals were moved to the new zoo between 1939 and 1941, during which time the old zoo suffered extensive damage as a result of World War II. Unfortunately many animals were killed, but a few managed to escape to the city. A zebra reputedly marched right up the high street and sea lions were seen swimming in Rotterdam’s waterways! Now you can visit the animals in their new home, which opened in 1940. Come and observe the gorillas, giraffes, tigers and Asian elephants all enjoying the great outdoors or visit Oceanium, Crocodile River, the Arctic area and much, much more.

Drievliet

Another favoured theme park of the Randstad is Familiepark Drievliet , located just outside The Hague. This theme park is particularly popular with older children, who flock to enjoy its wild attractions including four rollercoasters and a darkride. So, why not take a spin on the breakdance Star Dancer or rock your senses on the rocking ship De Piraat? The faint hearted can try some of the theme park’s tamer options: the park boasts the oldest monorail in the Netherlands for example. And there are plenty of fun fairground attractions such as the Haunted House, swinging Nautilus and even a Carousel.

Dierenpark Emmen

Another extremely popular zoo is Dierenpark Emmen , which can be found in in Emmen, in the north of the Netherlands. Currently the park is divided into two parts: the old zoo in Emmen city centre and the new zoo, located on the edge of town. The plan is to relocate all of the animals to the new zoo, as the old zoo is running out of space, although you can still view plenty of animals in both sections. At Dierenpark Emmen you will come face to face with the African lion, the Sri Lankan panther, the Californian sea lion or the Bolivian squirrel monkey. You can visit the Butterfly Garden, check out African House, discover the Savannah or come take a look at Asian House and all of the glorious inhabitants.

Toverland

Toverland , located in Sevenum in the Dutch province of Limburg, is one of Holland’s newest theme parks. Yet, what makes Toverland so special is that it is housed almost entirely indoors – perfect for Dutch weather, which is notoriously unpredictable! This particular theme park is favoured by younger children, who want to indulge in a spot of magic – there is the Magic Forest for example, with attractions including Backstroke and Swampie’s Swing or the Toverhuis, a conjuring house, where visitors bring objects to life with one swoosh of their magic wand! And, of course, there is a selection of sensational rollercoasters, the most famous being Booster Bike, where everyone sits atop a motorcycle.

Slagharen

Last but not least there is Attractiepark Slagharen . This theme and resort park is situated in the eastern part of the country, in Slagharen. The park was formerly known as Ponypark, after the ponies that used to roam free there, however, its main focus is now its wide range of attractions. Whilst these are predominantly geared towards young children, there are some rollercoaster rides for the more daring too, including Thunder Loop, Free Fall and the Flying Cloud. For those who don’t want to brave the more frenzied attractions, Slagharen offers gentle carousels, a Big Wheel, the waterslide, White Water, and several entertaining shows. You can even decide to make a weekend of it, as Slagharen boasts its own bungalow park!

This guest blog was provided by uitmetkorting.nl

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