Now that we have our fancy museum cards we are on a mission to check out as many of the “kid proof” museums as possible. This is a huge list and is going to take us some time, luckily there is no shortage of study days and school breaks to use up! The Discovery Center Continium: Limburg wasn’t even on my “must visit” list until a friend took his son and sent me a few pics. We went on the next possible day.
Science museums are great for kids but they can be a little tricky to plan. They need to have enough to do to keep the different age groups interested while having nothing that can get broken or hurt the title kids. Continium checks all the boxes. There are plenty of buttons to push for the littlest kids, things to explore and figure out for the bigger kids, and things to build and take apart for the bigger kids. On the day we went we there with a 2 year old, three 4 year olds, and a 7 year old and everyone had a great time and stayed well entertained (while hopefully learning something in the process).
The actual museum is seperated into 4 main areas. Honestly it didn’t feel like there was much of a rhyme or reason to the exhibits but they were all really interesting.
In the area to the right of the entrance there was a place you can learn about how water is processed, thee are giant robots you can make talk and gesture, there is even a bed of nails to lay on!
There was a bus to “ride” (you sit in it and watch a little film), an area to explore how the inside of the body works, and so much more random greatness.
The area to the left had a much more “hands on” science feel. There was all kinds of stuff to do in there. Things like “if I pump this and then press this button this shoots up in the air” and a ball that floats on a fan. There was also a small water area to experiment with.
There is also a hall with puzzles and blocks. This was a little to advanced for my kids so they didn’t stay here long.
Also on this level there is an exhibit room for a changing exhibit. At the time I went it was about the history of communication. There wasn’t much for the kids to do in there but is was interesting to see all the old cell phones. It made me really appreciate my smart phone!
Downstairs (you can see the stairs in the picture above) there are 3 rooms. One is a place you can eat (more on that later), one is a room where big kids can build different things, it’s based on age and the parents have to help (and there is an additional charge). The room my kids spent the most time in my friend called the “chill out room” and for good reason. There are different stations all with a different activity. One station had legos, one had a peg wall where you could build a marble run, one had a an area to take apart small electronics. Its a cool little room and gave all of us a chance to breath after all the mad running around we were doing upstairs.
At the entrance there is a really great touch screen tv. I think my kids could have played with his for hours.
You have 2 options. Thee is a small cafe outside the museum but still in the same building. They serve soup and sandwiches and other basic packaged food. There is an outdoor seating area that I’m sure is nice during the summer. There is also some things for the kids to play with outside so thats another bonus. The day we went it was rainy but my kids were still very excited to go out and explore.
You go to the counter to order and pick up you own tray.
You can also bring in your own food. There is a nice little room inside the museum and down the stairs set up to eat in. It was nice and quiet and had big windows. I always try to bring my own food. Eating with two small children is a bit of a pain, I find myself saying “sit down and eat your food” about a million times before they finally just decide they are done and just run off leaving me to pick up the mess and it can make for an expensive day. Plus eating out at an unknown place is always a bit of a gamble, I’m likely to spend 20 Euros on food that all of my kids will deem “yucky” and then be screaming hungry in and hour so we have to do it all over again. Packing a lunch saves so much frustration (I can’t be the only one this happens to).
Compared to Nemo: Amsterdam.
Science Center Nemo is our favourite museum. We can’t actually go to any other museum on Amsterdam because my kids scream for Nemo (I think they can smell it or something) so whenever I visit another science museum I naturally compare the two. There are pros and cons of each. Nemo is in Amsterdam and I love Amsterdam so this alone is a huge plus. Nemo is a beautiful building, it’s bright and open and really nice to be in. Compared to Nemo, Continium feels a little dark and cramped. Nemo is very open so it’s very easy for me to stand in one spot and keep up with the kids. I really have to follow the kids around Continium because everything is in its own little area.
Continium does win on a lot of points, though. There is MUCH more for the littler kids to do in Continium. It has a better mix of activities for the different age groups. Parking is free at Continium and if you have ever parked in Amsterdam you know that is a huge deal. Continium is also slightly closer and thats always a good thing.
So I’m mixed. I would go back to either happily and I’m sure my kids would as well.
There are a few things that I wish I had known before going.
You have to walk through a lego store to get into the museum. My kids were content to merely look at all the lego sets that were completely put together and drool but if your child is going through an “I want” phase be prepared.
There are stairs.
I went with a stroller and this was a mistake. There is no elevator at the front entrance and when you walk in the door you are confronted with stairs. I got really frustrated about this. I learned later that at the back entrance there is an elevator you can take from the outside down to the main floor (which is sublevel).
The desk to buy your ticket is on this level (as well as the cafe) and to get up into the museum there are more stairs. There is a separate elevator inside to get up the the 1st floor but by this time I had already stashed the stroller in the coat room.
Some Practical Information:
- This is the website: www.continium.nl
- This is the address: Continium discovery center Museumplein 2
6461 MA Kerkrade
- Continium is free for kids under 5 and costs 12 Euros for everyone over that. You can get a 1 Euro discount if you preorder online. It’s free with your museum card but you still have to go to the counter and get a ticket printed out.
- Continium of open 10:00-5:00 and during summer break they stay open till 6:00. CLOSED ON MONDAYS, except some school vacations. Make sure you check the website before you turn up on a Monday
- Parking: go to the Columbus/Cube/Continium P&R at Hambosweg 60 in Kerkrade. Its a free parking lot just at the back of the building. You just have to cross the one train track and you are at the back entrance.
We had a great day at Discovery Center Contium:Limburg. It will make a great option for a rainy study day. I really recommend checking it out. I don’t think you will be disappointed.
Don’t have a Museum card?
You can get all the information here: The Museum Card
Intersted in other museum fun with the kids?