It's difficult to be city-tripping in a city where you've worked for 3 years. Even though I did no visiting whatsoever during my working days here and I divided my time back then between the office, the hotel room and the restaurants near the Museum quarter, I have the feeling that I know this city too well for visiting. If for 3 years you rode multiple times in the tram across the Dam square per week, you don't feel the need to go and visit it anymore and take pictures of the royal Palace.

(Note: our visit in 2014 proved that wrong as we had a very fun weekend where I discovered so many new nice neighbourhoods of the city!)

While there's a dozen of musea in Amsterdam that I'd love to explore extensively, I figured the "extensively" would be an issue for the children. But we found an excellent alternative : we'd visit the downtown Artis zoo.  Bonus: since we have a subscription to the Belgian zoo, we could enter for free!! (Jan didn't have his card on him, but the man at the cash register was kind enough to let him pass for free as well. yeaay).

Our little fan of zoo's was running around enthusiastically with is red pompon toque on his head  "can we go to the elephants?" "where are the elephants" "Oh look mommy, come come here. " "oooh" "Can I go and see over there?"  "Is this the way to the elephants?".

Artis is a narrow rectangular city center zoo which isn't very large, but it has multiple houses that would make it very good for a visit on a rainy day as well : the aquaria, the monkey house, reptile house, bird/monkey house, ... Due to lack of space there isn't a huge number of large animals (e.g. 4 lions on a really small spot - no other big cats) but e.g. for the elephant family there is new larger accomodation under construction.
There is only one restaurant (with plenty of child seats) which offered more healthy snacks and drinks than on average on such public restaurants yet the waiting time was cruel. It was a non-busy day and it took us 30 minutes before we were all served with food in the self-service line.

We were lucky to see a 4-week old baby elephant nursing with his mom, but Kabouter's highlight were apparently the lions who were in the midst of their meal when we walked by (Our toddler told us they were eating "samali") and the fish  (we found Nemo and we found Dory).

There was a baby polar bear in the zoo on the day we visited :)


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