Amsterdam is a vibrant city, filled with historical and art museums, shops, nightclubs, markets and, of course, the canal system. If you go to the Netherlands, you must take a stroll along the canals of Amsterdam, visit the zoo, the parks and the botanical gardens to get the most out of your visit. Many of its citizens speak English, however you may wish to learn a few Dutch words to facilitate your travels.
If you are traveling with kids, be sure to visit the Artis Zoo. The zoo was established in 1838 and boasts more than 6,000 different animals. Expect to see the usual tigers, camels and elephants, as well as the children's zoo. Kids can feed sheep, chickens and cows at the children's zoo. The zoo also has a planetarium and a zoological museum, as well as a geological museum. The botanical garden features exotic plants from all over the world. And the zoo's aquarium highlights the Amazon River, as well as Amsterdam's own canal system.
Vondelpark is a haven for sports enthusiasts. Located within walking distance from the Van Gogh Museum, Vondelpark features lakes, meadows and woodlands with a wide variety of flora. You can often find basketball games, in-line skating, model-boat sailing, skateboarding and Frisbee players. In-line skates are available for rent. The park also holds open-air concerts, theater performances, picnic areas and arts-and-crafts markets. It's a popular spot for strolling and sunbathing.
For nature lovers, Hortus Botanicus is a must-see. This botanical garden is one of the oldest in the world, established in 1638. It originally featured medicinal herbs to cater to the pharmacists and doctors of the city. As time passed, the Dutch East India Company helped the gardens grow, contributing plants from all over the world. Today, the gardens house over 6,000 plants. According to Amsterdam Info, this includes a 300-year old plant called the Eastern Kape giant cycad, as well as the 2,000 year old agave cactus.