If you read our post “Our WWII Inspired Vacation along the Normandy Coast with kids – Part One” we mentioned three excursions we did with our boys that were entirely devoted to them. Our WWII adventure was filled with fun stuff for Holter and Heath but we still wanted them to have some pure kid-focused experiences as well to break up the trip.
Plopsaland de Panne
For our first kid-friendly adventure we surprised the kids with a trip to Plopsaland de Panne, an amusement park just 10 minutes away in Belgium.
While we were planning our trip, we had considered taking our boys to Disneyland Paris but then we discovered Plopsaland was only a 10 minute drive from where we were staying in Dunkirk and that made our decision very easy. And exponentially cheaper! For our family of four, we spent 115 Euros total for tickets to the park and parking. After visiting Disneyland recently, our boys told us that they prefer Plopsaland.
Plopsaland had so many fun things for kids of all ages. We found a roller coaster that was great for Heath and he was just a tiny bit scared on his first ride. We ended up doing a few laps on it because he loved it so much. He even sat beside me once when he felt more comfortable being away from gripping onto Andrew!
The highlight of the day for Holter and Heath was hands down the Mercedes Benz track where the boys had their own Mercedes to drive and the track had fully functioning street lights and marked lanes. The boys spent hours on the track, racing back into line again and again. Thankfully there were benches to watch and beer vendors nearby for Andrew and I to indulge while we watched.
Holter loves scary rides so he hopped on Super Splash with Andrew while Heath and I waited for them. It has quite a drop and of course Holter convinced his dad to sit in the back row for maximum thrill value! Andrew is obscured by the hands of people in front of him but Holter’s face is priceless. He loved every minute of it and if the wait wasn’t so long he would have done it over and over as well.
Check out our post A Day Trip to Plopsaland de Panne from Dunkirk for more information and tips about this really fun adventure.
Leeds Castle in the UK
Our second kid-friendly adventure took us on the Eurotunnel from Calais to Folkestone and then on to Leeds Castle in the UK.
There were two exciting parts to this outing that ended up being a blast. The first part was taking the Chunnel from Calais to Folkstone. Getting to Calais was an easy 45 minute drive. The entire loading process was so slick, with its automated reservation systems upon arrival to their expedited loading systems. It was a quick 30 minute crossing, it felt like a riding a subway in your car and we were on our way to Leeds Castle. We spent 110 Euros for our round trip passage and it was well worth the money for the experience.
Our day trip to Leeds Castle was really fun for the boys. The grounds were massive and full of things to do. Holter and Heath loved feeding the ducks as we made our way up the trail from the parking lot to the Castle. The ducks come right up to you as you walk and the boys enjoyed picking out the ducks that they wanted to feed. You can take the train from the parking lot to the Castle but the walk is peaceful and kids will definitely enjoy feeding the ducks. Admission for the day was 26 Pounds for adults and 17.50 Pounds for kids.
There was a maze that the four of us spent a good 30 minutes trying to get through. Luckily they had some hidden boxes with hints along the way that we had to resort to doing in order to find the exit! We had a nice but overpriced lunch at a cafe overlooking the lake and toured the castle gardens which were impressively manicured.
It was fun, full day especially getting to ride the Chunnel for the first time. You could easily find time to visit the Cliffs of Dover as well before heading back to Dunkirk or taking a scenic drive through Dover. Check out our post on our day trip to Leeds Castle where we provide more in-depth information and share our visit to the Cliffs of Dover before we headed back to Dunkirk.
Kiddy Squat in Teteghem
For our third kid-friendly adventure we went to Kiddy Squat in Teteghem which was an enormous indoor playground for kids.
There was a helicopter ride installed on tracks above the playground that the kids could power using the foot pedals, there were slides, bouncy fixtures, large lego blocks to build and a bumper car track built underneath the playground structures! Entrance fees were 12 Euros for each child and 2 Euros for each supervising Adult.
Just like at Plopsaland, Holter and Heath loved the bumper car track. They spent the majority of their time racing each other and trying out each car. The bumper cars were not included in the entrance fee but were an additional 1 Euro per car. The length of the ride was long so I felt it was definitely worth the extra cost.
The massive blocks of Lego were a huge hit with Heath, Andrew took a break from working and had fun with the kids on the massive indoor slide and Holter spent a good chunk of his time on the bouncy castle which was definitely geared towards kids 8 and older.
We spent a half day at Kiddy Squat and the boys still talk about it to this day. Andrew was able to sit at the open tables and work while the boys played. It was a great day just letting them be kids and giving them time to run around and try to use up some of their endless energy before we headed back to our WWII inspired itinerary.