Top 5 Places to visit in Brussels with kids

This article first appeared in My Travelogue by Bhushavali

FUN & EDUCATIONAL MUSEUMS & EXPOSITIONS IN BRUSSELS


EXPO DINO WORLD - BRUSSELS EXPO

Atyudarini loves Dinosaurs, so when this Dino World exposition was announced in Brussels, automatically I had to go! To begin with, it is a temporary exposition that will be open till August 2021. It is housed inside Brussels Expo, the huge exposition ground close to Atomium.
Dino World is a very balanced combination of both static installations, installations and robotics for sound & movement as well as a few dinos for photo-ops. There are a total of 60 life-like, life-sized dinosaur art installations here. 
The exposition begins with a re-created fossil site complete with the ranger's tent, jeep, bonfire etc and here's the timeline of dinos. Then the actual exposition of the different Dinos are present beginning with the herbivore Shunosaurus munching on some grass, followed by Lambeosaurus. The path took us through various dinos incl. Oviraptor, Spinosaurus, Ptrenadon, Gallimimus and more, finishing up at T-Rex which has just preyed upon a Stegasaurus. 

DINO MOVIE: Halfway through the exposition is a 10-mins long Dino movie which is essentially a compilation of select scenes from the BBC's show Planet Dinosaur. There are wooden benches placed apart for social distancing but capable of seating 3-4 people. The movie gives an overview of not only the different types of dinos, but a realistic depiction with animation of how the Dinos would have walked, flew, hunted, ate etc. Also, the movie digs into how the imaginative transformation of the fossils into the realistic depiction. The way Xianglong was chased by Microraptor who in turn was chased by Sinornithosaurus, was just so realistic! There are some scenes of the movie that might be a little bit aggressive for very young kids, esp., the way Spinosaurus hunted Onchopristis! 

VIRTUAL REALITY WITH DINOSAURS: Almost towards the end of the expo is the Virtual Reality area. This is ticketed separately. As the name says, it is a virtual reality experience with a VR headset. A disposable head & eye cover is given to be worn before wearing the VR headset to prevent it from being 'touched'. I did not experience this, because I'm not really sure how Atyudarini would react to a VR experience. 

KIDS ZONE: The Kids Zone is a fun place with 3 activities. Photo op with a Dino egg, dancing with a live display and a colouring area for very young kids. 

SHOPPING AT DINO WORLD: I kid you not. The shopping area is so attractive that the little ones would really not want to leave the area without buying something. There are quite a few books. activities like fossil finding sets, colouring & stencil books etc, lifestyle products and way too many toys!

Dino World Brussels Tickets: €14 for adults; €11 for 2-11yr old kids. Have to be bought online with a timeslot via the official website of Expo Dino World. €5 extra for the Virtual Reality experience. This has to be bought at the VR area. Tickets get sold out early.  Book at least 2 weeks in advance for a comfortable time slot.
Dino World Brussels Timings: Till 31 Aug 2021. Afternoons only on Wednesdays (11:30AM to 8:00PM) & Fridays (3:00PM to 7:00PM) and full days on weekends & school holidays (8:30AM to 8:00PM). Time slots have to be pre-booked via the official website. 
Dino World Brussels Location (on Google Maps): Entrance of Paleis 2 of Brussels Expo.
How to reach Dino World Brussels: Nearest tram stop & metro station - Heysel. 5 mins walk from Heysel Metro/Tram stations. Head to Avenue Impératrice Charlotte and walk straight till to spot the Dino World banner. (Google Maps gives you a wrong and very roundabout route).
Other places to see near Brussels Expo - Dino World: Atomium. Mini Europe, ADAM (Design Museum), Brussels Planetarium, Royal Greenhouses of Laeken, Parc Laeken.

Royal Museum of Natural Sciences Belgium Natural History Dinosaur Museum Brussels

Royal Museum of Natural Sciences Belgium Natural History Dinosaur Museum Brussels

Royal Museum of Natural Sciences Belgium Natural History Dinosaur Museum Brussels
Right Pic Credit: ©RBINS - Thierry Hubin

Royal Museum of Natural Sciences Belgium Natural History Dinosaur Museum Brussels

NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM, BRUSSELS

Now that I have already established that Atyudarini loves Dinos, I do try to take her to other places where she'd come across fossils & dinos. Though I've named it above as Natural History Museum Brussels, the actual name of this museum is Museum of Natural Sciences, Brussels. That said, it is fondly called the Brussels Dinosaur museum - reason, its dedicated section for Dinosaur fossils. 
Also read: Atyudarini's visit to Messel Pit Fossil Site, Germany; Also watch: Video of Dinopolis (temporary) Exhibition
BERNISSART IGUANADONS & MOSASAURUS: The Dinosaur gallery in the Museum of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences is the largest Dinosaur museum in Europe! How come? Well, close to Mons, along the border of France is a town called Bernissart. Today the town has the Mine Museum. Ages ago, at the end of 19th C, when this was an active coal mine, the mineworkers came across the humongous Dino fossils, more than 300m underground, not 1 or 2, but 30 Dinosaur fossils!!! Most of these fossils were of Iguanodons (I perhaps knew of Dinos when I was 3yrs old, but Atyudarini actually knows the types of Dinos incl. Iguanadons!) and most were almost complete fossils. Today 8 of those Iguanadons are on display in a protective glass case here. A replica of the fossils, as they were discovered, is also on display, beneath the feet, under glass flooring! There are replicas of several more dino fossils and more! Just ahead of Bernissart Iguanodons is the gallery of Mosasaurus, an underwater dino which was, at that time, new to Atyudarini because till then she had only known of land dinos.

DIGITAL DISPLAY DINO GAME FOR KIDS: The most fascinating thing for kids is the Natural History Museum Brussels is the digital display game where you provoke a dinosaur and it comes charging towards you! The sensors in front of the display read your movement and thus the dinosaur actually looks at you, as you move, and if you run towards it, it will charge at you!

ANIMALS & HUMAN EVOLUTION: There is a hall dedicated to the evolution of animals (incl. mankind). There's also a small illustrated movie to explain the same. Then is another humongous gallery of various animals & birds like in any typical natural history museum. There are also a few other prehistoric fossils like the skeleton of the Mammoth from Lier (connecting it with the movie Ice Age!) as well as some petrified woods. 

Natural History Museum Brussels Tickets: €7. Have to be bought online with timeslot via the official website of Natural History Museum, Brussels. Book at least 2-3 days in advance for a comfortable time slot.
Free entry at Natural Sciences Museum, Brussels - First Wednesday of every month after 1PM (currently unavailable); included in Visit Brussels card - Time slot must be pre-booked via the official website
Natural History Museum Brussels Timings: 9:30AM to 5:00PM on weekdays; 10:00AM to 6:00PM on weekends
Museum of Natural Sciences, Brussels Location (on Google Maps): Muséum des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique
How to reach the museum of Natural Sciences Brussels: Nearest railway station - Brussels Luxembourg; Nearest metro station - Brussels Schuman. It is located just beside Park Leopold (Parc Léopold).
Other places to see near the museum of Natural Sciences Brussels: Parc Léopold, European Parliament (Parlamentarium), House of European History, Wiertz Museum

Train World Best Places to visit in Brussels with kids

Train World Best Places to visit in Brussels with kids

Train World Best Places to visit in Brussels with kids

Train World Best Places to visit in Brussels with kids

Train World Best Places to visit in Brussels with kids

TRAIN WORLD

I've been a thrice so far to Train World, thanks to it being included in MuseumPassMusees. Every time someone visits Brussels for the first time, I make sure to direct them to Train World and if they're friends or family, I accompany them as well. 

VIRTUAL TOUR OF TRAIN WORLD: As the name suggests its all about trains in Belgium. It is a very large area with many actual engines & carriages in-display making it one of the best places to visit in Brussels with kids and best things to do in Brussels with kids.
The first room is a simple display of the historic uniforms worn by onboard staff since the inception of passenger trains as well as a miniature model of Liege Guillemins Railway station, Antwerp Railway Station and this Schaerbeek Railway Station.
Further ahead is an outdoor area with a few railway pieces of equipment. Further ahead, is again the interiors and that's where the magic begins. There are 4 engines in the display along with a digital display of how Belgium's railway network grew since its inception. These can also be climbed and 'operated'! It is just super cool for kids to try and operate the train!!
The first room is about how Belgium adopted the Atomic Clock for its railway stations for the perfect time-keeping across all railway stations from Oostend to Arlon! Another room is dedicated to the various equipment used in the railway stations & trains like lights, lanterns, station boards, signals, ticket dispensers, luggage weighing machines etc.
Further ahead is a room about the evolution of railways from the steam engine to electric lines to the high-speed trains etc. Each is explained in detail including the physics behind it with some videos, working models etc. Right here is also a smaller room dedicated to the role of railways during world wars. 
Further ahead are several other historic trains - their engines and a couple of carriages - in the display. Some of these could also be accessed from inside while most are closed to be preserved. After all, they are actual pieces of history. 

TEMPORARY EXHIBITIONS AT TRAIN WORLD: The first time I visited the Lego the exposition was on and there were many lego creations associated with the Belgian railway including a model of Scharbeek Railway station itself (see the last pic above - lego vs original)! Currently, the ChocoLoco exhibition is happening and you'd get to see chocolate sculptures of trains, try your hand in chocolate-making as well as chocolate tasting!

Train World Tickets: €12. Have to be bought online with timeslot via the official website of Train World. Book at least 1 week in advance for a comfortable time slot.
Free entry at Train World - included in Museumpassmusees and Visit Brussels Card - Time slot must be pre-booked via the official website
Train World Timings: Tue to Sun - 10:00AM to 5:00PM (last entry at 3:30PM)
Train World Location (on Google Maps): Train World
How to reach Train WorldNearest railway station - Schaerbeek Gare; Nearest tram station - Schaerbeek Gare served by STIB Tram route 92. 
Other places to see near Train World: Docks Bruxsel Shopping Mall

Musee de la Medicine brussels

Musee de la Medicine brussels

MUSÉE DE LA MÉDICINE

Musée de la Médicine was what an anatomy class of a medical student would have been a couple centuries ago before Information Era & Digitization! It is dedicated to human evolution, human biology and anatomy, diseases and more. 

VIRTUAL TOUR OF MUSÉE DE LA MÉDICINE: The museum begins with the room of Ancient Egyptian medicine, with real specimens of mummified body parts. The next room is the largest room for General History of Medicine. This was the one Atyudarini liked the most with human skeletons (incl. one real skeleton safe in a cabinet), anatomical waxes of the muscular system as well as various organs incl. lungs, heart, liver etc. There are also samples of historical medicines and medical instruments like glass syringes. There is also a small area that talks about the evolution of Homo Sapiens from apes with all the skulls on display as well as 2 full skeletons. Next is the room for History of Surgery with some anatomical waxes as well. I got to explain Atyudarini how my bone broke and how it was fixed by the surgeons! Next is the room dedicated to Precolombian medicine

TIPS TO VISIT MUSÉE DE LA MÉDICINE: If you're going there with children below 13 years, skip the floor dedicated to Diseases (Maladié). It can be really scary and scarring! We skipped it as well. 

Musée de la Médicine Tickets: €3. Have to be prebooked by email (brigitte.dhossche@erasme.ulb.ac.be) or phone (+32 2555 3431). However, since it is not a very frequented museum, it is very much possible to book the tickets for the day, during the day.
Free entry at Musée de la Médicine - included in Museumpassmusees and Visit Brussels Card - Time slot must be pre-booked by email or phone
Musée de la Médicine Timings: Mon to Fri - 1:00PM to 4:00PM (last entry at 3:30PM)
Musée de la Médicine Location (on Google Maps): Geneeskundemuseum
How to reach Musée de la MédicineNearest metro station - Erasme; It is located inside ULB (Brussels University)'s Erasmus Hospital. But this is in a separate building and not inside the hospital building. 


WAR HERITAGE MUSEUM's AVIATION AREA

While most of the War Heritage Museum is about war itself, their Aviation section not only deals with military aircraft but also civil aircraft (both commercial and personal). It is awesome to have the ability to see the aeroplane up & close and touch it and realize the scale of it, even though many kids would have traveled by flight. 

War Heritage Museum tickets, timings, location etcWar Heritage Museum


OTHER SIMILAR EDUCATIONAL MUSEUMS FOR KIDS IN BELGIUM 
Brussels with kids pinterest Brussels with kids pinterest

Brussels with kids pinterest Brussels with kids pinterest

P.S: I was invited by Expo Dino World to experience the expositions for review purposes, however, the opinions are my own and this post does not advertise the product/service.

Bhushavali

An ardent traveler by passion. Being an ex - Art History Teacher, my area of interest especially lies in Nature and Heritage. Visited 78 UNESCO World Heritage sites as of Sept 2020. I've been listed among the Top 7 Women Travel Bloggers of India, Top 50 in UK. I have been interviewed in a couple of TV Shows, Radio Channels and Events as well. Read more about me and read the testimonials of different brands

8 comments:

  1. All these places I have never heard off, (and I even work in the railway for a short while in Bruxelles and never heard of the train museum). Me personally I would love to visit the train museum because I am a bit of a transport geek but my kids, give them the dinosaurs! They are made on it ever since they saw George's dinosaur toy on Peppa Pig cartoons. :D For the wife, she would love the medicine museum as its her field. So for our next visit to Bruxelles, we could see these museums. :)

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  2. This brings back so many childhood memories of visiting Autoworld and the Museum of Natural History at the Cinquantenaire with my grandparents. Thank you! Another must is the Comic Book museum if you are passing by Brussels!

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  3. I know you said these are the top places for kids... but I would definitely go to all of these exhibits! Especially Dino World, the VR experience I'm sure was great. Your little one is so lucky!

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  4. I am sure hubby would love the dinosaur exhibits and check out the War Heritage Museum in Brussels. But I would start at Train World. I love the old trains and all the history of train travel. Brings back another time. I love that there are so many things for kids of all ages.

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  5. Brussels is definitely a place where we want to visit someday. Since we mostly travel with our kids, this is a great guide for us when we do make it there. We usually love the natural history museums no matter where we go. I think my girls would also go crazy in the Dino World. Sounds so much fun and they love dinosaurs. Thanks for introducing all these places for us.

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  6. Even though I do not have kids, I would have loved to have visited the Dino world. That definitely would have been my highlight. Unfortunately, when I visited Brussels I did not know any of these places and I have not visited any. I usually used to walk around the city centre exploring the places and mostly eating.

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  7. I love your photo with you both peeping out of the dino egg. So timeless. And the place itself is so much fun. Actually educational and fun! I love the way they have made it interesting for the kids while at the same time sharing the facts that help them get knowledge.

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  8. Wow, these are some great places in Brussels for kids - both entertaining and educational. I can totally understand Atyudarini's excitement with dinosaurs. I fondly remember my visit to the Dinosaur Park in my city just after Jurassic Park became a rage. It was a school trip and I was so excited. The Train Museum also looks like an interesting place to visit.

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