Madurodam- The Hague, Netherlands

If traveling with kids in the Netherlands, this is a must-see attraction. Madurodam is a mini-Holland, and has miniature models of all major buildings built on a 1:20 scale. This made it much smaller than I was expecting, and much smaller than Taman Mini, the mini Indonesia that we visited. However, it was much better than Taman Mini because it had lots of fun interactive games and exhibits, and tons of transportation, which if you study the grin on that little boy’s face below, makes a huge difference in his happiness level! 

Landon and the trains
Madurodam is located in The Hague, and was a five minute tram ride from The Hague central station. I had checked the weather and noted that it was supposed to rain in the afternoon, so we left in the morning hoping to skip the rain. The rain came early. Then I checked the weather again and it said the rain would be done by 12:00. So I took my time at the train station and tried to spend as much time as possible inside. As soon as we got to Madurodam, however, Landon wanted to run around like a crazy kid, even in the cold and rain. I had not even bothered to bring our rain gear, so his sweatshirt was getting soaked. He chased after the trains, and kept seeing things he wanted to inspect closer- the airport, the bus station, the canals and boats, the race track- everything was just so magical!
Soccer and transportation, what can be better?!
After running around for quite awhile, Landon found the soaked playground, and of course, wanted to play outside. There was an indoor part of the playground, but he was not very interested. I finally got him to try to climb up this big lighthouse, but he needed boosts to get up to each new level because he was not tall enough. So we both went up the lighthouse! When we got to the top, there was a slide, but Landon thought it was too scary and wet, then I had to help him get down the lighthouse. Fun times in small spaces with a rambunctious boy!
Finally I convinced him to check out an indoor activity, just as the rain was stopping. It was a soccer area with different activities. Landon could care less about the activities, but he loved to kick the ball and chase it around, or throw it. Some activities that he did try was the speed kick, where it measures the speed of a kick against a wall, and the timed dribbling game that he helped me conquer. 
Landon and mom playing the dribbling game
There were no directions for the dribbling game, so we had to figure it out ourselves. We deduced that when you kicked the ball over a green light in the floor, the timer started. The green light moved to one of the other circles on the ground, and we had to dribble the ball over the circle to get a point. Eventually, Landon started helping me win by throwing the ball at the green light while I did the dribbling. We were a great team and ended up with 24 points in a minute, which we thought was very good. 

The best part of the soccer area- it was indoors and out of the rain and cold! Next, we walked around some of the miniature notable buildings in the Netherlands. This is the part that I thought I would appreciate the most, and it was the part that Landon was not interested in, so we did a brief overview. I posted the picture below because later on in the day, we wandered into this very square and saw all the buildings for real!

I think this might be a windmill from Schiedam
Along with the rain soaking us, Landon decided to take up a habit of shirt sleeve biting/sucking instead of his finger sucking. So his shirt sleeves got soaked. Hooray for little boys! I did not realize this at the time, but the windmill above might represent the ones in Schiedam, where we are staying. Apparently they are the tallest windmills in the world, because they had to catch the wind above pre-existing industrial buildings. We have put them on the list for a visit!

Dam Square, Amsterdam- we went there!

I finally got Landon a little interested in the boats. He was so enthralled with chasing the trains around that the boats were kind of out of his mind. There were loading stations where it took feats of coordination between people to load the barges with the right blocks. I managed to help move a few, and Landon watched but it was definitely too difficult for him to do by himself. A feature of Madurodam that looked really cool and I didn’t get to enjoy fully were the video stations. We had a key card that we could put into the video stations and learn about different industries of the Netherlands. It would have been cool, but I spent most of my time chasing a toddler and making sure he was not on the mini train tracks.

On the bridge to the barges

About this time, Landon discovered the gift shop. Gift shops are great, except they are little toddler temptation stations. Unfortunately for me, they had airplanes, cars, trucks, buses, of every kind, as well as the normal extremely breakable things. Landon was cold and wet and not in a good mood anyway, and just wanted to play cars with the expensive, collectible quality cars in the gift shop. After crashing them into each other once, I thought that this was going to end badly, so I tried to cheerfully get us out of the gift shop. That was entirely unsuccessful as Landon dropped to the floor and writhed around like I was killing him. I cajoled him with promises to go see the train, the boats, candy, anything to make him move, without helping at all. Eventually I just had to try to pick up the writhing little guy and try not to drop him with one hand while leading the stroller out of the shop with the other hand. We went to the bathroom to cool off, then I said we were leaving and Landon begged me to take him to go see the boats. So we went to the boats. 

Landon and his boat
Along with the model boats, they had a channel of water with locks that kids could play with to see how boats move up and down in a waterway with different water levels. The older kids were just playing with the water channel controls, but Landon definitely wanted to send some boats down the channel. Trying my best to keep him dry and out of the water, we sent several boats down. After he seemed bored of that, I announced that it was time to go and take nap. Landon was not about to let that happen. Before the words even escaped my mouth he was back in the gift shop. So the above paragraph happened again, and then we left. Right after we got out of the doors, Landon became very upset that we were actually leaving without seeing the trains and other transportation one more time. This time I knew the game. I knew he was just trying to get back in that gift shop. So we left. I hate gift shops. 

Madurodam from the outside. You can’t tell, but Landon is hysterically crying from having
to leave before he was ready! Also, he threw his cookie and was mad about that

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