Sunday, August 22, 2010

Duinrell: A Campy Little Amusement Park with a Bad Rap

It’s funny how a place can get a reputation, especially in a community as small and encapsulated as the American ex-pats here at the school. Duinrell, for some reason, has a bad rap with my crowd. People avoid it like the plague, and they will drive an hour or more to go to a different theme park. This summer I was pleasantly surprised to find Duinrell’s reputation was largely undeserved.

Originally a royal estate, the park is still owned by the Count Van Zuylen Van Nijevelt. Fine ancient birch trees line every path. The park designers managed to nestle the rides in amongst the mature trees. I love the cool, breezy, and soothing effect of the shade. In direct contrast to other theme parks I’ve attended, the rides here are almost silent. The cool green of the shade and the quiet rides create a most relaxing experience.

Like Dutch Wonderland back home, Duinrell is old and maybe a little campy, but I find it charming. I spent six fun-filled hours there yesterday with four girls under the age of seven. We could have stayed there for days.

Jordan loves the children’s rollercoaster. I love the Water Swings. Audrey is now the master of the towering sack slide.

If you are looking to wear your children out, take a picnic lunch to the tables at the bottom of the sack slide. I let my kids eat for the three minutes they remain interested in their cheese sandwiches and then watch them tackle the slide. The assent to the top is a real calf burner, and my kids wear themselves out tearing up the ramp and launching themselves back down the slide. The slide is much faster if you leave the “sack” at the bottom of the ramp and slide down on your bottom. Watch out for friction burns, though. Yesterday, Jordan suffered just such a burn and then asked me to kiss her little tush to “make it better”. I declined.

10 meter slide
We spent over an hour in the two large playgrounds. Each, in Dutch style, offers a variety of absolutely fun, potentially dangerous, play equipment. Jordan fell about six feet off the bridge of a wooden jungle gym. It was a bad fall and I was relieved to see that no limbs were twisted. Within minutes, though, she was hobbling over to the other playground to climb the spiral stairs to the 10 meter sliding board. Today she is sore, but not at all sorry. Tough girl.

The Water Swings
The whole back of the park has rides for adults and big kids. “The Falcon” is a small but thrilling rail roller coaster guaranteed to leave you breathless and smiling. There are multiple water rides as well as a full blown water park.

There is a ton more to see and do than I have time to put down here. To plan your visit or peruse the rides, more information is available at Entrance is 18.50 euro per person over three years of age.  A Season Pass is a steal at only 52.00 pp.  Parking is 5 euros, but if you park in the small lot across the street from the park entrance, parking is free. There are many fast food type restaurants available. The food is adequate but expensive (Warning!  The coffee is terrible). Picnic lunches are recommended. Have fun!


  1. Sounds fun! I love the kiss on the tush request, kids are too funny!

  2. Sounds fun! I love the kiss on the tush request, kids are too funny!

  3. Well said !
    We used to have Rye Playland (NY) in our "backyard". Duinrell is a charming alternative.

    There is actual fun playtime to experience at this park, not just the waits for the next ride :)

  4. We really should go more......instead of thinking of the Efteling :-). A prophet is not honoured in his hometown, aye?

  5. Paultons Park Peppa Pig
    if any of you live near Lakeland, check out this park it is beautiful!There are pony-rides on weekends and public holidays too.