The Miffy Museum
The Miffy Museum in Utrecht has been on the top of our “to do” list for a while, but the timing never seemed right. The museum is small and gets crowded. Reservations are strongly recommended. Although we love to plan, our local weekend adventures are typically a bit more spur-of-the-moment. With six weeks of summer holiday we took advantage of the freedom and booked a 10am reservation for this adorable museum.
Taking the train to Utrecht is easy and the museum is easily reached on foot. We decided to drive and park in one of the city’s many car parks. Thanks to summer traffic (lighter than normal) we arrived ahead of schedule and had some time to walk through Utrecht’s southern neighborhoods.
Early in the morning we had the canal walks basically to ourselves. We were able to watch barges unloading and loading all along the waterfront. Our favorite was a beer barge loading new kegs into a local pub.
We we passed the adorable KEEK with its “to go” coffee sign in the window, we popped in for my daily fix. We also picked up a smoothie for the boys, a savory scone and a sweet scone with jam and cream, all for €11. We sat on the water’s edge eating our scones and enjoying our coffee until the museum opened.
The walk through town was lovely and so different from our time in Utrecht’s historic center. On the south side there are tons of local shops, eateries and Dutch canal houses, creating a lovely neighborhood feel. All these local eateries have logo bikes parked around town. My favorite was a bright yellow one parked a block away from the Bananas Asian Restaurant.
With our online reservation and Museumkaarts in hand we entered directly into the museum. (Miffy’s Dutch name is Nijntje, by the way.) If you need tickets you will have to head across the street to the Central Museum.
Lockers are provided to store your things and there are ample coat racks available. The museum is small so you are encouraged to bring as little into the museum as possible. We parked our buggy in the buggy parking and took the boys on foot.
Each of the rooms in the museum has a different theme. All of these are complimented by Dick Bruna’s original art. Everything is hands-on and had elements all three of our boys (9 months, 3 years and 5 years) could enjoy.
My Big and Middle Littles are currently insisting on doing everything together. This was perfect for this museum as the Big Little had seen some of the art and concepts before and was able to show the Middle Little how to mix colors or create his own Mondrian inspired art.
A vehicle themed area was a huge hit. The Middle Little hopped right onto a tricycle and entered the traffic pattern. The Big Little loved running the crossing gates for the train. The Little Little even had fun pushing the train back and forth like he pushes his walker at home.
Other rooms had slides and playscapes to crawl through and explore. Every little detail has been looked into, as wall murals in rooms turned out to be magnetic boards where the kids can move shapes around.
The Big Little loved sitting in the art room. There are Miffy themed drawing prompts for the kids to use. This room also houses a little theater with all the figures and books from Snow White. The boys used the book to tell the story.
In another room they learned about the human body by dressing up as doctors and nurses to take care of sick patients.
A large house playscape had them tending to the garden, cooking in the kitchen and putting on a show with light about eating a meal. Kids can head upstairs in the house to help ready cutouts for bed.
Their favorite feature here though was the clothesline and pins full of Miffy’s clothing ready to be hung on the line.
The museum is clean and there is plenty of staff around to help. Everyone we encountered helped us in English. There are children’s changing areas in the handicap bathroom. Even the stairwells have a second kid-sized railing mounted.
We left before lunch but there is a picnic room upstairs in the museum. This is the only room in the museum where they allow eating. It’s the prefect place though to have your lunch or a snack. There are plenty of amazing food options a block away or pop over to the Museum Cafe at the Central Museum across the street.
We took our packed lunch out to the nearby park for a picnic by the river. The ground was a bit wet so we were glad to have all our blankets with us. The Little Little slept in the stroller making lunch a little less chaotic.
Before heading back to the car we used our Museumkaarts to pop into the Central Museum.
A display on chairs fascinated the kids. In this particular room you were allowed to sit on all the chairs. They loved trying them all out. Kids were then encouraged to draw their favorite.
Another area of the museum featured portraits and had a lace collar for the kids to try on and see if they looked like the painting. Our Middle Little did the best impression by far.
The boys are obsessed with these museum stools you can carry around. One of the galleries had them available so we let our kids tote them behind them and set them up to play games of I-spy.
Jeff even held an impromptu class about art history.
The boys really stumped him though by asking him in detail about the collection of “piston cups” at the museum. (The day before we all went to see Cars 3 at the theater.)
We spent about an hour in the Central Museum and that was about all we needed for our brief overview with the kids.
We made one last stop at Vlaamsch Bakery. We were walking by and saw some amazing looking bread in the window. Samples were set out and before we knew it we went home with several loaves, some treats and a hotdog rolled in pastry for the boys to enjoy on the walk to the car.
It was a leisurely visit to this wonderful city. The Miffy Museum lived up to our expectations and could be easily combined with other pursuits in the city.