Top 5 Outdoor Activities to do with Kids in & around Brussels

This article first appeared in My Travelogue by Bhushavali
 
...THAT'S NOT A PLAYGROUND OR ANIMAL FARM

Here are some earlier articles on the associated topic:


Strawberry Picking in Brussels | Ferme Framboos

Strawberry Picking in Brussels | Ferme Framboos

Strawberry Picking in Brussels | Ferme Framboos
 
STRAWBERRY PICKING NEAR BRUSSELS - FERME FRAMBOOS
Strawberry picking is an activity I've always wanted to do since Atyudarini was a year old. Finally, I got the chance recently. Ferme Framboos is a charming little farm on the outskirts of Brussels at Huldenberg. The farm is quite large and produces organic strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cherries, etc. A section for strawberries is covered and there are about 7-8 rows of plantation.
It required quite some precise planning to visit here by public transport while coordinating with Atyudarini's friends who accompanied us. But, we did and we were there. We were, in fact, the first ones to go there by public transport that, Ms.Marjolijn, the owner, treated us with some special, farm-fresh juice to celebrate!
Ms.Marjolijn explained the dos & don'ts, and it was time for the kids (& us too) to start picking. Soon it was time for us to start picking. She gave us boxes (to be returned) that would hold approximately half a kg. After picking, the strawberries were weighed and we paid for what we picked. Atyudarini wanted to wipe clean and pick everything but I told her that we would be purchasing only 2 box fulls. 
Here's the highlight - after eating these strawberries, I realized that I hadn't known the taste of fresh, farm-grown, organic strawberries all these years! It was so so so delicious. What you get at supermarkets is too tasteless in comparison!!! 

Where is the Ferme Framboos (on Google Maps)? Ferme Framboos
How to reach Ferme Framboos?  It is possible to take the DeLijn Bus 349 from the Hermann-Debroux metro stop. This bus runs once every hour on weekdays and once every alternate hour on weekends, so keep a tab on your watch. The bus stop is 1km from the farm and there's a paved road. It's a downward slope! Very easy to go but is one steep climb while returning. Give it some extra especially, esp. with kids, to catch the bus.
Ferme Framboos Phone number: +32 (0) 488-664.620. She speaks English.
Ferme Framboos Entry Tickets: €3 (kids under 6 years of age go free). The strawberry you pick is €10/kg. Pay cash or by bank app on the spot. No card facility. 
Ferme Framboos Timings: Wednesdays, and weekends only from 2pm to 5pm. That said, it is a family-run farm and they may have their own commitments. So msg/WhatsApp/call and then go. 

Tips for visiting Ferme Framboos for Strawberry Picking
When is the best time to do strawberry picking in Belgium? Strawberries in May-June; Raspberries and cherries in June, and July; Blackberries and plums in July, and August. That said, with the current climate change & delayed seasons this could change. Call them and ask if it is the right time to visit.
Can I do picking without buying? No! 
Can kids pick & eat directly? They can taste 1. After that weigh the plucked berries, pay, and then eat.
Make a day trip out of it by combining it with a meet-greet-feed session at Sint-Alpaca-Rode, which is just 1.5km away
Bring boxes/crates to take the strawberries back home! 

Honeybee farm in Belgium | Bees Api Brussels | Apiculture in Brussels
Photo by Bees Api Brussels

Honeybee farm in Belgium | Bees Api Brussels | Apiculture in Brussels
Photo by Bees Api Brussels

Honeybee farm in Belgium | Bees Api Brussels | Apiculture in Brussels

Honeybee farm in Belgium | Bees Api Brussels | Apiculture in Brussels


BEEKEEPING (APICULTURE) IN BRUSSELS - BEES API BRUXELLES
Recently while visiting a small music festival in Brussels, there was a stall that sold honey and honey-based products like soap, beeswax lip balm, candles, etc. It was an adorable family-run business and their son was almost the same age as Atyudarini and they were hanging out together at the event. What caught my attention was the presence of an actual bee hive (sealed in a glass box) at their stall. On enquiring, I learned that they organize family days at their apiary! I booked a spot on the next family day and there we were.
The tour began with, as commonsense would have it, putting on the safety suit. Next, we stepped beside the beehives and Mr.Neset, the beekeeper explained the types of bees in a hive, the life expectancy of the types of bees, their tasks, and all about the Queen Bee and Royal Jelly. Soon, he took a piece of a smoky stick, opened the lid of one of the bee hives, and lifted it. Quite amusingly, some of the honeybees had made a little honeycomb on the lid itself! There were a gazillion bees flying everywhere around us. It did scare Atyudarini a bit but she overcame that and started enjoying it. Soon, it was time to hold the entire bee hive frame in hand. While I could do it myself, Mr.Neset helped Atyudarini to hold because with all the bees, and the jelly on it, it was quite heavy. While this was okay, the next task was what was totally loved by Atyudarini, and she to date talks about it whenever someone mentions honey - putting her finger into the bee hive frame (while the bees are still there) to pick up some honey and then, licking her finger! This was the best moment of her visit to Bees Api Bruxelles. The next task was for the kids to find the Queen bee while Mr.Neset explained more about where the Queen bees come from (Spoiler alert: Beekeepers travel to find the best queens and sometimes they come from even another country!).
The very last part of the tour is away from the beehives, taking off the safety suit, and sitting on a comfortable couch to taste various types of honey made here at Bees Api Bruxelles. This is indeed the best place to see where honey comes from and how beekeeping is done in Brussels.

Where is Bees Api Bruxelles (on Google Maps)? The location is disclosed when you book a tour because it is the private residence of Mr.Neset
How to reach Bees Api Bruxelles All I can say is that it is in Schaerbeek, in a locality near Parc Josaphat and is well connected by both bus & tram.
Bees Api Bruxelles Phone number: +32 4709 52249
Bees Api Bruxelles Timings: Open only by appointment
Bees Api Bruxelles Tour Tickets: €25 for adults and free for kids under 12. Find their next tour date via the official Instagram Page of Bees Api
English Tour at Bees Api Bruxelles: It is possible to organize an English Tour but the entire tour would have to be privatized with a minimum of 5 adults and a maximum of 5 kids. If 5 families with 1 parent and 1 child can come together, at €125, an English Tour of Bees Api Bruxelles is possible.

Bxl Pump Park | Best bike tracks in Brussels

Bxl Pump Park | Best bike tracks in Brussels

Bxl Pump Park | Best bike tracks in Brussels

BEST BIKE TRACK IN BRUSSELS - BXL PUMP PARK
As a bike enthusiast, my daughter wanted some more challenging paths to explore and that's when I came across Brussels Pump Track. Located very close to Tour & Taxis, the Bxl Pump Park has 2 tracks. The small dirt track with 2 wide stairs and 1 small u-turn is what Atyudarini calls the warm-up track. Then there's the 110m asphalt track with several pumps, twists, and turns. This is the absolute adrenaline from a beginner like Atyudarini (who could learn to balance in those pumps) to a super-advanced biker (who would fly over the pumps)!
The best part is that it is not just free of cost but also they have free-to-rent bikes to try! Plus on weekends, vacations, and Wednesday afternoons, there's a nice cafe too. Atyudarini has so much fun every time she visits there, plus she also got to try out her 6-speed bike! She managed to ride it on the kids track. 
 
Where is Bxl Pump Park (on Google Maps)? BXL PUMP PARK by Velosolutions
How to reach Bxl Pump Park 850m (11 mins walk) from Pannenhuis Metro / Tour & Taxis railway station
Bxl Pump Park Timings: Tue-Sun 10:00AM to 08:00PM
Bxl Pump Park Tickets: Free
Bxl Pump Park Bike Rentals: Weekends & Holidays only. Free of cost.

Promenade Verte | Groene Wandeling | Best hiking routes in Brussels

Promenade Verte | Groene Wandeling | Best hiking routes in Brussels

Promenade Verte | Groene Wandeling | Best hiking routes in Brussels

GREEN BELT HIKING ROUTE AROUND BRUSSELS - PROMENADE VERTE
Promenade Verte literally translates to Green Promenade. This is a 60km way-marked walking & biking trail that goes through some of the greenest spaces along the border of the Brussels Capital Region. When I say green, I mean, it actually goes via parts of Sonian Forest, through wooded areas, through marshlands, through valleys & vegetation, via some farms & some parks too.  
While many adults go biking to cover the entire 60km stretch in a single day, we did this in bits and pieces while carrying the bike on public transport to get from home to the Promenade Verte. Since bikes cannot be carried on the bus, we had to the portions of the Promenade Verte that are connected by metro, tram, or train. While we've covered most of the path, some portions of Anderlecht and Laeken are still pending, but I already know my top 3 favorite parts of Promenade Verte. 
The first part is the Woluwe Valley. This is where I first came to know of Promenade Verte while playing at Le Mat playground and I saw the way-marking boards of the path, got online, and found it. So on our first walk on the Promenade Verte, I took the tram to Tram Museum (STIB MIVB T44) and then took the short walk to reach Le Mat and started walking on the way-marked trail (after spending time playing there of course). Atyudarini was on her bike while I walked beside her. Our next stop was Plaine de Jeu Parc Malou - La Terrasse Enchant√©e, one of the best playgrounds in Brussels, complete with a zipline. In the same Parc Malou, there is something very interesting - Moulin de Lindekemale (Lindekemale Watermill). It is currently defunct but it was fun for Atyudarini to see what a traditional watermill looked like. Going a bit further ahead we were at the Moulin √† vent de Woluwe-Saint-Lambert (Woluwe St.Lambert Windmill). It was quite something to reach this point, riding through dirt tracks. Just beside the windmill, there were some horses and Atyudarini had fun interacting with them. The windmill was defunct too, but it was one picturesque landscape. Following the way-marked trail, by the end of the day we were at the Roodebeek Park. Again time for a playground and a bonus - this is one of the animal parks in Brussels as well! 1km away is the Roodebeek metro and we went home. This was the 8km trail from Tram Museum to Roodebeek Metro. 

Promenade Verte | Groene Wandeling | Best hiking routes in Brussels

Promenade Verte | Groene Wandeling | Best hiking routes in Brussels

Promenade Verte | Groene Wandeling | Best hiking routes in Brussels

The second part is the Sonian Forest. For this, we took the tram to Fort-Jaco (STIB MIVB T92). A short walk from there connected us to the part of the way-marked trail into the Sonian Forest. This was absolutely charming. Unlike Woluwe Valley, this trail was pretty flat. It was never-ending stretches of straight dirt tracks for Atyudarini to ride her bike. We deviated from the trail a bit to further explore the forest. Soon, we were at Parc Tourney-Solvay followed by the banks for Boitsfort Ponds (Etangs de Boitsfort), a beautiful place for birding in Brussels. At this point, we were out of the woods (literally!) and were in the streets, but soon we were back again in Sonian Forest. After a short walk, we were at Parc Tenreuken and Parc Seny which also has a nice playground. Again, a perfect wrap for Atyudarini. A very short walk from here is Hermann-Debroux. This was a 9km trail from Fort-Jaco Tram to Hermann-Debroux Metro. 
The third part is the Jette & Ganshoren Marshlands. This time, we ditched Atyudarini's bike and got her to walk too. This was a shorter 5km hike with Exposition Tram Stop (STIB MIVB T9) as the starting & ending point. A short walk from there took us to the Jette Marshlands (Marais de Jette), the only surviving protected marshlands within Brussels City limits. There was a viewpoint here but it was locked up. We went ahead in the way-marked trail. However at one point, it turns left to Ganshoren, but we turned right to explore Laerbeek. We walked into the forest,  were in front of the picturesque Chalet du Laerbeek, and continued on the hiking path behind, the Bois du Laerbeek (Laerbeek woodlands) and walked along the border of Brussels and Flanders. After a while, we turned and got into the deeper woods and that's where marshlands are. This place gets closed whenever it's the mating season for the little creatures that live here! Soon we were at the open space in front of Chalet du Laerbeek which is perfect for a picnic and in front of it is a playground which is again, one of the Top 10 playgrounds of Brussels!

Promenade Verte Map: Via Environnement Brussels

Boating in Brussels | Waterbus Brussels

Boating in Brussels | Waterbus Brussels

Boating in Brussels | Waterbus Brussels

Boating in Brussels | Waterbus Brussels

BOATING IN BRUSSELS - WATERBUS
While cruising in the canals may be one of the top things to do in Gent or top things to do in Bruges, in Brussels, it doesn't really isn't a priority. But here's the thing, boating is not only very much possible in Brussels, but also much cheaper than there!!!
Here, in Brussels, like the River Bus of the London Metro, it is a part of public transport and is called Waterbus! However, here, it requires a separate ticket and is not a part of STIB. You can also carry your bike in the boat. Waterbus starts from the heart of Brussels (close to Yser metro) on the Brussels Canal and goes all the way to Vilvoorde via Docks Bruxsel! One fine day we took this boat and went to Drie Fonteinen (the stop just before Vilvoorde). As usual, we took Atyudarini's bike on the boat and went biking in Domain Drie Fonteinen and returned by the same boat. 
This boat operates only from May to October. Since it primarily serves the school/office goers (imagine taking the boat every day and then biking to go to the office/school. That sounds so nice!), it operates Monday to Friday only and the last ride is early, around 5PM. During the summer holidays, it does operate every day though, but same time. So, even if you miss the last ferry, you can take the train back to Brussels from Vilvoorde. 
This isn't a fancy boat ride; as mentioned earlier, more of a public transport. But is super fun for kids to sit on the deck and watch the scenes.

Waterbus Brussels Canal Boat stops: via Waterbus.eu
When does Waterbus Brussels Canal Boat operate: May 01 to October 31
Waterbus Brussels Canal Tickets: €3.50 for one way and €7 for a return trip. €1 for the bike.
Waterbus Brussels Canal Boat Timetable: via Waterbus.eu

Best Outdoor Activities for kids Brussels

Outdoor Activities to do with Kids in Brussels Outdoor Activities to do with Kids in Brussels

Outdoor Activities to do with Kids in Brussels Outdoor Activities to do with Kids in Brussels


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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