Most children are obsessed with dinosaurs. Well, who would not love dinosaurs? Even adults and parents also had their share of dinosaur fun (games, toys, and coloring books when they were young). Even my kids are also crazy with dinosaurs. They know a lot of dinosaur names, which by the way are sometimes difficult to pronounce, and they had lots of questions about them. Luckily here in the Netherlands, there are many places to visit throughout the country to expose children with dinosaurs. If you are looking for children’ activities related to dinosaurs here in the Netherlands, below are the lists of the dinoparks. In this blog, I will focus on our experience in the Dinoland Zwolle.
- Biodiversity Naturalis Centre in Leiden – here you can find a skeleton of famous meat eater dinosaur Tyrannosaurus rex (T-rex).
- Dinopark Landgoed Tennax in Groningen (north of the Netherlands) – this features dinosaur in Cretaceous forests, flying dinosaurs, caterpillars’ rides and much more.
- Dinoland Zwolle – this dinopark brings you back in time millions of years ago and let you find more than 100 dinosaurs from the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods.
- Dino Experience Park in Gouda – this dinopark was also recently open in 2020 and features more than 70 dinosaurs from different eras; it offers children various activities, such as excavating lifelike bones and walking through the different eras with photos.
- Dinobos-Dinopark in Amersfoort – as part of the Amersfoort Zoo, this Dinopark offers a 1-kilometer route beginning 400 million years ago and featuring dinosaurs such as Brachiosaurus to flying Pterodactyl.
- Oertijd museum Boxtel – is a natural history and geological museum in North Brabant (South of the Netherlands) that displays a number of paleontological features, including dinosaur skeletons, as well provides educational activities.
- Finally, we have the Julianatoren amusement park which allows you to tour the park by car and let visitors encounter dinosaurs along the way.
How is it to be in Dinoland Zwolle and is it a good place to visit for children to experience dinosaur? We will answer these questions based on our review of this attraction.
Things to do in Dinoland Zwolle:
1. Children can learn, discover, and play with more than 100 dinosaurs.
Many dinosaur species from various eras can be found in Dinoland Zwolle. The moment you enter the park, you will be welcomed with the “Jurassic Park” movie-like setting of a T-rex running after a jeep, which you can ride statically for photo moment. As you tour around the park, dinosaurs can be found everywhere. Children can learn about their favorite dinosaurs, discover more other dinosaurs, and even have fun photos with them. The Dinoland Zwolle is divided into various themes, such as the Cretaceous, Paleolab, Jurassic, and Triassic.
2. Watch the Dinosaur show of Dinoland Zwolle.
Just close to the entrance you will find a dino show. This dino show, which stars Ranger Jones and Researcher Hatcher, brings you to an adventure in the Dino Island at various dinosaur times. The show is about 20 minutes on average. It is intended for the whole family including young children (from 3 years above).
3. Kid’s activities climbing in a Jurassic world.
The climbing place in a Jurassic world let kids experience, how was it to survive with the dinosaurs in the wild, by climbing and having excursions. This activity is suitable for young kid around 4-5 years old (to low climbing places) and for older kids (around 1.3-meter-tall kids) to climb an 8 meter high climbing course and tower.
4. Experience 3D T-rexpedition.
This expedition enables kids to make their own 3D experience with the dinosaurs. The whole family can also have a photo with the dinosaurs background, which they can share on their social media.
5. Unearth a skeleton.
Feeling like a real paleontologist? Your kid can unearth a T-rex skeleton that is buried under the sand. This activity can be done by both young and old kids.
6. Play, play in the Indoor play area.
Dinoland Zwolle also has a separated indoor play area suitable for younger kids (around 2-4) and for older ones (from 5 years old). Kids can climb, slide down the slides, and play interactive games in the indoor play area.
7. Enjoy the outdoor playground.
Children can also enjoy playing in the outside playground to feel like they are in the “dino-movie” settings. There are some helicopters, airplanes, jeepneys, and some dinosaurs to climb and goof around with.
8. Dig some gold (both in the sand and in the water).
Dinoland Zwolle also offers activity for searching small pieces of gold in the sand (at the front of the Paleo lab) and using a special water bowl (at the outside of the Paleo lab). Children can have fun collecting their little “treasures” like a real gem collectors.
9. Build dino clay.
At the Paleo lab, there is a work area where you can mold your own dinosaurs using clay. You can also find some of the art works of other visitors in the collections . This activity is mostly suited for a bit old kids (from 5 years old and older) and for parents.
Other activities in Dinoland Zwolle for older kids:
The next activities are mostly for older kids (around 5-6 years above). My kids were not able to do this because they were still a bit young to do the following activities.
1. Bungee jump in trampoline.
For 2 euros, you can experience a bungy jump like the springing dinosaurs for five minutes. You can test for yourself how high you can spring in the trampoline.
2. Mini golf.
Children and parents can also play with this 18-hole mini-gold course. The name of the golf course is after the little Minmi Ankylosaurus.
3. Dino cars.
Children can also enjoy riding the dino cars and go around the race track. Thye just have to watch out with the Carnotaurus that is somewhere in the race track.
Overall impression of Dinoland Zwolle:
Looking at all the activities that we outlined above, it Dinoland Zwolle is indeed a nice park to visit for children. It is educational, clean, organized, and affordable. Surely the kids will enjoy being in the park especially that the activities range based on children’s ages (around 4-10 years old).
However, take note that if you visit with a young child (less than four years old), or a bit older ones (above 11 or so), children might not enjoy to the fullest or they may get bored easily. Therefore it might not be worth to visit Dinoland Zwolle.
In addition to this, the park is also a bit smaller than other attraction parks in the Netherlands. Therefore do not expect to spend a whole day in Dinoland Zwolle. More likely your kids will spend half a day (around 3-5 hours) of visit.
Finally, when visiting Dinoland Zwolle, avoid going in the summer period unless you are an early bird. Dinoland Zwolle is very busy during summer period. The parking space is immediately full. In our experience, we had to park our car a bit further from the Dinoland park, and from that parking took a bus going to Dinoland Zwolle.
Where to stay in Zwolle when visiting Dinoland Zwolle?
As mentioned earlier, visiting Dinoland Zwolle can be done for half a day. Therefore it is not necessary to book an accommodation. If in case you want to stay in Zwolle, best to combine the Dinoland Zwolle experience with other activities in Zwolle, such as exploring the city, enjoying nature areas, or other immersion activities of the city. For a complete Dino experience for the family, staying in Mercure hotel is a nice experience. Dinoland Zwolle has a Dinoexpedition package in partnership with Mercure hotel in Zwolle. If you are a family, you can book a room for 2 persons (110 euros), 3 people (145 euros) and 4 people (160 euros). This include sleeping in a dino-style room, continental breakfast, a Dino surprise, and an entrance to the Dinoland park.
For a cheaper alternative and for a different experience, it is also possible to book a camping site in Zwolle. This is what we did during our visit to Dinoland Zwolle. It was summer period and the rooms in Mercure hotel were fully booked. So as an alternative, we booked Molecaten Park de Agnietenberg Zwolle. My children did not only had fun in Dinoland Zwolle, but also enjoyed the various activities in the vacation park, making their summer holidays in Zwolle extra special.