Top 5 Indoor activities to do in Brussels in Summer 2023 with kids

This article first appeared in My Travelogue by Bhushavali

Quite amusingly, after a very short 2-week-long Spring Season, this year's hot summer existed for 2 weeks too, and now it's all rainy! So what to do with the kids. Here are 5 'indoor' expos for your kids this summer 2023. Most of these are temporary exhibitions that would wrap up by September.


Happiness Expo Brussels | Indoor Summer Activities with kids in Brussels

Happiness Expo Brussels | Indoor Summer Activities with kids in Brussels

Happiness Expo Brussels | Indoor Summer Activities with kids in Brussels

Happiness Expo Brussels | Indoor Summer Activities with kids in Brussels

HAPPINESS EXPO BRUSSELS
True to its name, I, a grown-up, was giggling with Atyudarini throughout the expo! Happiness Expo in Mont des Arts has just about 7 displays, but each and every one of them is super cool. 
As soon as you enter, there's the 'Connection Room' which is like a volleyball court and there are sensors to show your location. You stand on either side to make a connection on the digital screen! The next room is the 'Cloud Room', which is what I saw in their advertisements. It is a tiny room with mirrors on all sides including the floor, except the back. There are LED screens on the back where multicolor cloud videos are played, which of course, gets reflected on all sides! It was absolutely phenomenal with its infinite reflection on all sides with the moving colorful clouds!!
The next room is the 'Rain Room' with droplet-shaped lights hanging from the ceiling, at different heights. Let their look not fool you, these lights are heavy, I mean, if you swing it on someone, they can get hurt. When you visit here with kids, inform them of that! The colors of these lights keep changing and there's background music as well, from melodious music with soft colors that feel like monsoon rain to dark & bright light flashes with thunder-like music! 
There are 3-4 minor displays and after that is the 360° display (though technically, not really, coz the ceiling isn't covered). Absolutely stunning. We were here for 3to 4 shows! I think per show was about 10 minutes. Always in love with 360° display shows and Atyudarini was running around to catch the moon, jump on the flowers, touch the birds, run away from he lava & more!
Our favorites were the cloud room, rain room, and 360° display. Esp., if you have kids, you can be here for several hours together just for those few art installations! That said, you really may not spend much time here as just adults. 
Tip 1: Go on a weekday morning or afternoon. The first few displays (cloud room, rain room) can accommodate only 1 family or a few people at a time, so there's queuing due to the crowds in the evenings. 
Tip 2: There are a lot of stairs, meaning, it is not stroller friendly. 

Where is the Happiness Expo happening (on Google Maps)? Plein Publiek BXL
How to reach the Happiness Expo? It is at the base of Mont des Arts in Brussels. The nearest train/metro stop is Brussels Centrale
Happiness Expo Tickets: €16 (kids under 7 years of age go free). However, it's just €5 with museumPASSmus√©es. Buy online from the official website of Happiness Expo.
Until when is the Happiness Expo happening? Till 05 Nov 2023
Happiness Expo Timings: Tue-Thu: 10AM to 6PM; Fri-Sat: 10AM to 9PM; Sun: 10AM to 7PM; Closed on Mondays.

WOM World of Mind Brussels | Indoor Summer Activities with kids in Brussels

WOM World of Mind Brussels | Indoor Summer Activities with kids in Brussels

WOM World of Mind Brussels | Indoor Summer Activities with kids in Brussels

WOM World of Mind Brussels | Indoor Summer Activities with kids in Brussels

WOM World of Mind Brussels | Indoor Summer Activities with kids in Brussels

WORLD OF MIND
Unlike the rest of the places on this list, this is a brand-new but permanent museum. Located inside Tour & Taxis, Gare Maritime, this is a very cool exhibition that talks about how the brain perceives the various senses of the body and how the brain could be tricked by altering the senses! The museum has 5 zones each dedicated to the 5 senses of the body and there's a video in each room (trilingual audio where you can select English at the beginning of the video) that explains how the brain perceives that particular sense in a child-friendly science!
The first display is the good old chair split into 2 which looks 1 when viewed from a certain angle! There are a few more displays in this room like the illusions of the size of the circle surrounded by bigger or smaller circles, positive & negative spaces, perception of the intensity of grey when surrounded by white or black, etc. Then there's an interesting room filled with art & graffiti of various colors that explain the role of light in visibility. The lighting in this room changes from white light to blue to yellow to red making certain aspects of the art more visible or more hidden than the others depending on the colors of the light! It is a simpler, child-friendly way of explaining how a Tiger is hidden in a savannah in daylight while very clearly visible under thermal imaging at night! 
The next room has interesting, interactive illusions like the table with mirror sides making the body invisible underneath, curvy-quirky mirror reflections, a skewed room that looks straight from a certain angle, an upside-down room, etc. I'm super glad that this museum opened up here because these exact displays, which I had already seen at Camera Obscura in Edinburgh, were what I wanted to show Atyudarini! 
The last room is the cool spinning rotor room with multicolor streaks through which you walk on a still bridge. Thanks to the spinning rotor, you lose stability and feel pushed, as if you're gonna fall as if the bridge itself is moving! I had experienced this too earlier at Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum in London. Again, I'm glad this museum opened up here, that I could take Atyudarini too to experience it!

Tip: When you're here you might as well consider visiting Bubble Planet (more info below) just beside. 

Where is the World of Mind Museum in Brussels (on Google Maps)? WOM-World of Mind
How to reach the World of Mind Museum? It is inside Gare Maritime (Tour & Taxis). The nearest metro is Ribaucourt (STIB-MIVB route M2 & M6)
World of Mind Museum Tickets:  €17.50 (kids under 7 years of age go free). Can be bought online on the official website of World of Mind
Until when is the World of Mind happening? It is permanent!
World of Mind Museum Timings: Tue-Fri: 9AM to 5PM; Sat-Sun: 10AM to 6PM; Open on Mondays only during school holidays.

BUBBLE PLANET
When you're in Tour & Taxis, Gare Maritime, you gotta visit Bubbles Planet Expo too! I have the tickets for next week. I'll update you here as soon as I visit!

Where is the Bubble Planet Event happening (on Google Maps)? Same as above.
How to reach the Bubble Planet Event? Same as above
Bubble Planet Event Tickets:  €13.90
Until when is the Bubble Planet Event happening? Till 15th Oct 2023
Bubble Planet Event Timings: Mon-Thu: 10AM to 8:30PM; Fri: 10AM to 9:30PM; Sat: 9AM to 9:30PM; Sun: 9PM to 8:30PM

iMAL Brussels | THE ARTWORK AS A LIVING SYSTEM | Indoor Summer Activities with kids in Brussels

iMAL Brussels | THE ARTWORK AS A LIVING SYSTEM | Indoor Summer Activities with kids in Brussels

iMAL Brussels | THE ARTWORK AS A LIVING SYSTEM | Indoor Summer Activities with kids in Brussels

iMAL Brussels | THE ARTWORK AS A LIVING SYSTEM | Indoor Summer Activities with kids in Brussels

iMAL
Honestly, I did not expect it to be so good. I definitely did not expect to spend 2.5 hours here, but we did!!! iMAL stands for Interactive Media Art Laboratory where various temporary exhibitions happen from time to time. The current exhibition is called 'The Artwork as a Living System'. 

The Artwork as a Living System: The Artwork as a Living System is the creative brainchild of Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignonneau. They are internationally acclaimed pioneers of interactive digital art. This expo connects a traditional subject – art, and nature – with the most innovative artistic techniques employed in virtual, sentient, interactive projects!
As soon as you enter, lift your head up over the ticket office. What you see there is a live video capture of you, but surrounded by flies!!! Move and the flies move with you. Yes, it also captures the people who walk on the footpath in front of the museum! The next 2 displays are in the same room, and one of them is an interactive pinboard on VR; this was like in the sci-fi, futuristic movies where you touch, select, pinch, zoom in, zoom out & interact on a virtual pinboard!!! Mindblowing!!!
The next room is the main room with 10 displays. The first is your live portrait with ants! The camera and the sensor capture your live image and the ants on the screen move around to create your image!!! The next interesting display explains how some insects like winged termites get attracted to light. Here digital winged-termites are attracted to and follow-around where you point the flashlight! The next cool thing is a digital train window! There are 2 comfy train chairs where you can sit & relax and gaze out through the 'window(?)'. Well, there's a screen and a video of moving nightscapes is on. Everything is hazy and there are blotches of light & darkness on & off! Another cool display was of an insect typewriter! The letters you type convert to or get eaten by insects! They move all over the surface and you can push them out by moving the 'paper'. It is made of an actual typewriter (Atyudarini got to handle one for the first time in her life)! Yet another awesome one was where you create water creatures (by drawing their top view & cross section) and they come to 'life' and start swimming. You can even create multiple creatures and they may eat one another or get together to create more!!! There are 2 interesting displays where you can grow digital plants by interacting with real plants! 
The whole exhibition was unexpectedly so cool that we spent more than 2 hours here. They were like video games for Atyudarini where she could interact with the art and do activities. The water creatures was her favourite and she spent most of her time creating those creatures & watching them!

Tip: If the weather is good, check out the playground at Bonnevie Park, which is one of the Top 10 Best playgrounds in Brussels.

Where is iMAL (on Google Maps)? iMAL
How to reach iMAL? A minute's walk from the nearest metro station is Comte de Flandre connected by STIB-MIVB routes M1 & M5.
iMAL Tickets: €10. Included in museumPASSmus√©es (can be bought at the door).
Until when is the Artwork as a Living System exhibition happening? 24th Sept 2023
iMAL Timings: Wed-Fri: 10AM to 6PM; Sat-Sun: 11AM to 7PM

DinosAlive Brussels | Indoor Summer Activities with kids in Brussels

DinosAlive Brussels | Indoor Summer Activities with kids in Brussels

DinosAlive Brussels | Indoor Summer Activities with kids in Brussels

DinosAlive Brussels | Indoor Summer Activities with kids in Brussels

DinosAlive Brussels | Indoor Summer Activities with kids in Brussels

DINOSALIVE
Reminded me much of the Dino World Event that we attended last summer. However, DinosAlive is a smaller show and the dinos are either not life-sized or there are some life-sized smaller dinos. It begins with a dark tunnel and you go in to meet 4 smaller dinos in the first room. The dinos move their heads, open their mouth, and growl (have robotic controls within and loudspeakers beside)! It can definitely be scary for the younger kids, especially, if they haven't seen a similar expo like Dino World or Dinopolis. After another room of bit-larger dinos, there's a magical 360° display room with pre-historic sea creatures (spot the Mosasaurus, Plesiosaurus, & more) moving side by side with modern-day animals like jellyfish and a school of little fish & more. The next room has a bit larger animals incl. T-Rex, Kentasaurus, Kosmoceratops etc.
Next is the large room with various activities for kids. The first one is a VR Experience, followed by a 'race with a dino'. It is literally a running race against a digital dino! The next is a cool 'Dig like a Paleontologist' area where 2 'fossils' have been submerged in the sand for the kids to dig, brush, and unearth! Then there's a very cool coloring area - there are Gallimimus for the kids to color and they can scan it which would convert to a 3D Gallimimus and it would run around on the digital screen there along with other dinos!!! The very last room is where there are 5 dinos which the kids sit on & ride! One of those moves & growls too!!!

Tip 1: There is no toilet on the premises! You may have to use the toilet of the Rogier metro station or the Starbucks nearby if needed.
Tip 2: Carry €3 per person in cash if you want to try the VR Experience.
Tip 3: There's a combo ticket with Bouncy Games. It is a humongous series of Bouncy castle activities! There's a starting point and then there's a series of obstacles. It reminded me much of the good-old WipeOut game show, however not as dangerous, but rather safe and very kid-friendly. The kids go through donuts, climb on little trees, tackle a snowman, traverse through pillars, climb over bars, climb little hills, slide down, go through tunnels, etc etc etc and finally get to the tall slide, all made of bouncy castle (though you may not want to call it a 'castle' at this level)! There's an exit before the tall slide if the smaller kids prefer not to do it. Keep in mind that it is a series of activities, meaning once the kid enters, they keep going till the exit point. They cannot get off by themselves halfway through (but you can lift them out halfway through). Apart from this series, there's the 'Grand Slide' which is 12m (40ft) tall (that's about 4 floors tall building)! You can go all the way up and then slide down onto a huge bed, again all filled with air and made of the bouncy castle! Absolute thriller. For the smaller kids, parents are expected to accompany them.
That said, keep in mind that it is an outdoor event, meaning, that if it rains, this is wet. Many of the places collect water and some places are like a little pool! So you really may not want to go when it rains or just after a rain (or get more creative and do it wearing a swimsuit)! The best time to go would be after the sun shines at least for half a day so the water has all evaporated a bit.

Where is the DinosAlive Expo happening (on Google Maps)Place Rogier
How to reach the DinosAlive Expo? Rogier metro/tram is connected by STIB-MIVB Routes M2 & M6 and T3, T4, T25, and T55.
DinosAlive Expo Tickets:  €10 (can be bought online at the official website of DinosAlive).
Until when is the DinosAlive Expo happening? Till 31 Aug 2023
DinosAlive Expo Timings: Mon-Thu: 10AM to 6PM; Fri-Sun: 10AM to 8PM

Where is the Bouncy Games event happening (on Google Maps)Place Rogier
How to reach the Bouncy Games event? Same as above
Bouncy Games event Tickets:  €11 for adults, €9 for kids and free for kids under 6 yrs of age. (€12 for a combo ticket of Bouncy Games & DinosAlive).
Until when is the Bouncy Games event happening? Till 31 Aug 2023
Bouncy Games event Timings: Mon-Thu: 10AM to 6PM; Fri-Sun: 10AM to 8PM

Bouncy Castle in Brussels | Bouncy Games Belgium

Bouncy Castle in Brussels | Bouncy Games Belgium

Bouncy Castle in Brussels | Bouncy Games Belgium

Bouncy Castle in Brussels | Bouncy Games Belgium

Brussels with kids??? Here are some more options.

BOOKMARK IT/PIN IT
Indoor Activities for kids in Brussels Indoor Activities for kids in Brussels

Indoor Activities for kids in Brussels Indoor Activities for kids in Brussels

VIDEO OF HAPPINESS EXPO

Bhushavali

An ardent traveler by passion. Being an ex - Art History Teacher, my area of interest especially lies in Nature and Heritage. Visited 85 UNESCO World Heritage sites as of June 2022. 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

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