Winter Fun at Fairytale Wonderland
Fairytale Wonderland (Sprookjeswonderland) is a lovely little amusement park just north of Amsterdam. The park is reminiscent of The Efteling, but smaller and geared toward children under 10. It was perfect for our 2 and 4 year olds. Each winter Fairytale Wonderland opens for three weeks fully decorated for Christmas.
We decided to make the 1.5 hour drive north to check it out and get a little Christmas spirit. The weather was crisp and cold and the park was empty. Jeff talked to an employee who said the first day it’s open for winter the crowds are always light.
The large Christmas tree just inside the entrance is the highlight of the Christmas decorations. They do a big tree lighting every day at 4pm. We actually left the park at 3:30 because the kids were exhausted and missed the tree lighting, but we hear it is fun!
The little houses around the main square are all decorated for Christmas. The boys loved viewing these displays and we spent much more time here than I would have imagined.
Kabouters (the Dutch word for gnome) are everywhere. The kids love them and went searching for them yelling “Kabouter mama. Kabouter dada” every time they found one.
There are only a few rides at the park, but all of them are things our kids love. The boys liked the bouncing horses around the farm. The two year old was required to ride with an adult but the four year old was allowed to ride alone. Of course, once he discovered his brother was going to ride with an adult he wanted to as well. Jeff was a good sport and squeezed onto a horse with him.
Driving a car is always a favorite with our kids. Since there was no line we got two cars so each of the big boys could “drive.” We rode this a few times in a row, trading off who got to drive the baby around.
My driver even let me sit up front with him, but he kept his eyes on the road when I was taking selfies.
There are little mice you can pedal around a track. The two year old doesn’t pedal well, so Jeff hopped onto the track to push him. Here is a mouse car pileup since my four year old is a bit slow with his pedaling. There is no ride operator so it’s up to parents to keep the ride moving.
The most popular ride is the boat ride that winds through a castle. When you buy your admission ticket you get one voucher to ride the boats. Additional vouchers can be purchased. Kids have to ride alone, but you are able to walk next to the ride for almost the entire time. The castle it floats through doubles as a playground.
There is also a small train that does a loop around the property. We have train crazy boys so we rode this a few times. There are little scenes set up along your ride to enjoy, plus you can view parts of the park.
The baby was sleeping when the two year old insisted we ride the train. My genius husband just grabbed the bassinet and put it in our train car!
The park has a huge storybook component. We wandered around reading about the different stories. Signs are in Dutch, but we made do.
The boys universally love being silly and climbing on things, and there were plenty of opportunities to do that.
We faced a sleeping giant.
Some of the boys were even brave enough to tickle the giant’s toe!
The Gulliver’s Travels section was personally my favorite. It was a story the boys were not familiar with but after seeing the display had so many questions. I love when our outings lead to book reading!
Amongst the fairytale displays you come to a castle. You can climb the castle walls and look out over the kingdom. Inside there is a 25 min show featuring robotic figures that tell the story of a princess who only ate strawberries. The show is in Dutch of course. My kids, who speak Dutch, loved it. They even sat together in the kids seating up front. Jeff and I enjoyed the show and were able to follow along with the plot. It was a great break to rest our feet, feed the baby and get warm.
Behind the castle is a large, Dutch playground. Our kids could have played here all day. At any other park these would be rides on their own. In other countries, these rides would be forbidden.
Some of the equipment rocked back and forth, others were like large (death) swings.
Dad propelled teacup ride.
Dad propelled flying squirrel swings.
There were also plenty of these bouncy ride-on figures that O loves so much!
What had the longest line though? The giant hamster wheel. Yep. The only thing we waited in line for all day was for the kids to run on a giant hamster wheel. I was thinking I needed to get one of these at the house, until my kid fell and went half way around the wheel on his tummy. He was fine and it was quite funny.
Leaving the playground we encountered some more magic fairytales. We must have moved into an area with more obscure stories because I couldn’t make out most of them. The kids liked them though.
We peeked into little houses to see them all covered in Christmas decorations.
O thought these houses were the best. Loads of them are full of Kabouters, which of course as you know, my children love!
We ate lunch at the park. They have a little pancake restaurant serving up all the Dutch favorites. We brought a bunch of snacks and combined that with some pancakes, a cheese platter and some fries to make lunch. Don’t expect anything special by way of food here. It was all perfectly acceptable but stuck to your typical Dutch fare.
The only thing we had to search out was the Petting Zoo. We had sort of wandered by it while exploring the fairytale route. My kids were more interested in climbing the goat mountain than the goats themselves. This guy wasn’t too happy about that. The park also has reindeer and some wallabies to view.
We had a lovely visit and would recommend this as a day outing or as part of a visit to the area. We found a few other things around here to try out. The park has a camping area behind it that may serve as our home for an overnight in better weather.