Pony Park City, The Netherlands
This post contains affiliate links.
Pony Park City is a Netherlands with kids showstopper. We have really loved visiting vakantie parks around Europe. Each one offers an easy trip packed full of family fun. Pony Park City topped them all. This “wild west” park gives each family their own Shetland pony to enjoy for the length of their stay and is packed with western theme activities that border on hokey but are sure to please for your littles.
Making the reservation at Pony Park City is admittedly a bit difficult. Start by checking their open dates. We were lucky enough to grab an off-peek weekend sale rate. You submit all the information online but have to wait for them to mail you a packet which will tell you how to pay by bank transfer. We were a bit worried that our reservation had not gone through and friends that were joining us mistakenly threw out their package containing the about paying. (They were able to call and get it all worked out though.)
A few weeks before your visit to Pony Park City you will get a package in the mail with all the details of our visit. Our weekend package included an early check-in on Friday and a late check-out on Sunday which really maximized our visit time. We hit a bit of traffic on our way up from Delft and were ready to go when we arrived.
Check-in was easy. You park your car on “Route 66” just outside the Pony Park City reservations office. You go inside to get your key and map. Outside a man was handing out welcome packets which included a straw hat and some goodies to enjoy in our cabin.
The cabins are organized into little circles, which provides plenty of room for you to park your car outside your cabin. It can be a bit difficult to find your cabin from the car though upon arrival. (Take a look at the cabin map here.)
The yards are fenced with a gap to get your car in. You should bring some rope to close this gap when your horse is in the yard. You’ll also find water and hay buckets for the horses on the porch.
The Pony Park City Holiday House cabins are all exactly the same. They are small and cozy, but you won’t be spending much time in them. We had an ‘under the weather’ little for the first day of the trip so I probably spent more time than most in ours. The couch in the main room converts into a double bed. The bathroom was small and simple with a shower, toilet and sink all sharing the same space in the bathroom.
The bunk room has two sets of bunks. You have to bring your own sheets and towels. Pillows and duvets are provided. (You can also purchase a towel and sheet package with your reservation.)
To accommodate the baby we installed one of the guard rails and put the KidCo PeaPod on the bunk. (We typically use the Phil&Teds travel crib which provides more room for our Little Little but doesn’t fit into many of these smaller sleeping situations.)
There is a lot of dirt that gets tracked into the house. One of our horses also kept trying to come in for snacks. We spent much of the time outdoors and utilized the plastic outdoor chairs and picnic table constantly.
While I set up the cabin (and got the Big Little settled) Jeff took the Middle and Little Littles to pick out a pony. You go to the barn and exchange your token for a pony of your choice. The token system (really just a sheet of paper) prevents families from taking multiple ponies. The Middle Little picked out a naughty little pony named Elaina. He was in love with her.
All horses at Pony Park City all come with leads, but you’ll need to rent a helmet and bar from the General Store. The helmets all come with hairnets since lice are a huge problem in the Netherlands. The deposit for helmets is 25 Euros. We also popped into the horse store and purchased cheap brushes for the kids to use (1.50 Euros). These turned out to provide hours of entertainment.
We only had Elaina for a few hours before it was time to return her for the day (pony hours are generally 10-5). She was gentle with the kids but liked to escape the yard. Luckily when she ran away she was returned by another child. They all run back to the barn so you don’t need to chase them. Just walk that way and you are sure to find them wandering around somewhere. Pony Park City is surrounded by a big fence so you’ll never lose your pony for long.
We mostly prepared our meals in the cabin, but there are a few restaurants at Pony Park City. We ate at the Mexican restaurant for dinner on our first night. The food was good and the atmosphere was really festive. There is a huge playground outside so the kids could play and run around while we ate. After dinner we headed to the evening activity where we exchanged the coloring sheet from the webpage for a free board game!
Saturday morning starts with a camp wide meeting. Things are generally conducted in Dutch and German so the big kids knew what was going on, but we were left mostly in the dark. The general gist seemed to be ‘don’t stand behind your horse and be kind to it.’
In order to get your pony you have to wait for your cabin letter to be called. Ours was called near the end and the kids went and picked up our token and raced to the barn to choose a good pony.
I took the opportunity to swing past the cafe and meet the group and new horses with some coffees where they came out of the outdoor stables.
There are so many horses to choose from you really don’t have to worry. You can reserve a horse by paying €2 and placing a “lock” on your horse. Our friends did this since their little girl was in love with their horse. We, however tried a new one every day.
So on Saturday we had the incomparable Bartje. He was a great horse that loved being walked around and was happy to let the kids do whatever.
We spent the morning riding Bartje around Pony Park City. There are a few trails to explore and of course you can walk anywhere around the cabins. We took the horses to pick up more hay and to the playground.
The kids loved riding the horses. If you’re worried that your child will get bored, they won’t.
There are plenty of other activities to keep you busy. There is a pool and playground, both of which are open in the morning and evening when the ponies are at rest in the barn. This is a great way to fill that time. We also rode the ponies to the different playgrounds a lot.
You can pan for gems (free). This was only open on Saturday and was a huge hit with the kids.
A large indoor playground (free) was also a big hit and a nice place to hide from the sun/rain. It has a large variety of equipment, so all our kids were able to enjoy it.
The playground is Playmobile themed so there are plenty of Playmobile tables to enjoy, plus some set up displays that move. There is also a small movie theater showing some cartoons and puppet shows are hosted there (free).
You also won’t want to miss the mechanical bull riding competition they host (free).
One of the few things we were disappointed by was the show on Saturday. It was basically just a bunch of animals riding in circles. The kids were a bit bored.
Immediately following the show though was the kids rodeo, which turned out to be a hoot! I was worried our kids were too little to enjoy it, but they had a division for little kids where the parents got to help out. Everyone went home with a ribbon!
We of course celebrated with some ice cream!
Lunch was back at the cabin. It is nice to be able to eat and let the kids run around brushing and feeding the horses while the adults relaxed a bit.
One of the challenges though was keeping the horses from enjoying our lunch too.
We packed carrots and apples as well to feed the horses.
The kids enjoyed sharing the horse treats with any pony they could find.
Our friends’ pony, Eddy, was the biggest eater though.
Many other people spent the afternoon doing their pony’s hair. You could purchase accessories at the horse store, but many people seemed to bring their own supplies. There is a Pony Show with prizes on Saturday and we saw lots of horses and people dressed up, but our kids were not interested.
When it was time to return the horses on Saturday we were all pretty tired!
There are evening activities like dance shows and BINGO all held back in Lucky Town.
Another popular thing to do is to get a t-shirt with your horse’s name on it. You’ll need to do this early in your visit in order for it to be ready before you leave. Take a good photo with your horse and they put it on a t-shirt. There are many colors and patterns available.
Sunday morning the Big Little couldn’t wait to go choose a horse. After two days of brown horses he really wanted a white one, so Carel came home with us.
At this point the kids were quite comfortable with the ponies and needed much less assistance from us.
Although we stayed most of the day on Sunday everyone was pretty sad to be leaving Pony Park City.
Plenty of families have crying littles as they are checking out, perhaps that is why when you check out you are given a tin of popcorn to enjoy on your drive home.
Pony Park City is a unique experience that in our books was completely worth it with the kids. We all enjoyed ourselves and loved our weekend here. Months later the boys have not quit talking about it.
This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase through one of these links we receive a small payment at no cost to you.