Out and about with kids in Zeeland’s nature
Zeeland’s landscape, with its salt marshes, mud flats, polders, dykes, forests and dunes, is truly amazing. All these contrasting elements make the countryside unique. With all the hidden treasures just waiting to be discovered, Zeeland is ideal for children. We have made a selection of ten outings in Zeeland's nature which are just perfect for kids.
1. Seal spotting
Zeeland is home to many seals who live in the wild. Most seals inhabit the coastal waters to the west of the Delta, but you can find seals in Grevelingenmeer and the estuaries of the Westerschelde and Oosterschelde too. They are easiest to spot at low tide basking on the sandbanks. If you are walking or cycling along the coast, a pair of binoculars will help you pick them out more easily. Another great place to look for them is from the top of the Plompe Toren. One of the best ways of making sure not to miss them is to go on a seal safari by boat!
2. Up close with roe and fallow deer
If you take a walk through the forest or dunes at dawn or dusk, there’s a good chance of bumping into a roe or fallow deer. If you’re visiting the Ornajezon nature reserve or the woodland in the Kop van Schouwen, you should keep your eyes peeled. Find out where you can improve your chances of seeing wild deer.
3. Beachcombing along the coast
The high-tide line is where the sea surrenders its many secrets. It’s a good place to look for treasures which wash up along the shoreline. Don’t forget to take a bucket, spade and fish net along with you. On some beaches in Zeeland-Flanders, if you look carefully you can find fossilised sharks’ teeth which are millions of years old. Check out where and when you are most likely to find sharks’ teeth in Cadzand and on Walcheren. Searching for different kinds of shells is another great activity for kids.
4. Climb one of Zeeland’s observation towers
Experience the scenery from on high. Why not climb to the top of one of Zeeland’s look-out points? Gaze as far as the eye can see. For example, at Burgh-Haamstede. Or look out over the Slikken van de Heen (mudflats) in Sint Philipsland. Why not visit the same observation tower at different times of the year to see how the landscape changes.
5. Visit one of the Delta Works
The coast of Zeeland is protected by a number of sea defences. When you visit Zeeland, you’ll be sure to pass one or more of them: the flood defences of the Delta Works. They are famous the world over. Step into the saddle or explore them by car. In the Watersnoodmuseum (flood museum) children can learn all about the struggle against the sea and Zeeland’s Delta Works by means of treasure hunts, games and interactive exhibitions.
Migrating birds, water birds and meadow birds. There are many places in Zeeland where you can go birdspotting. For example on Zeeland’s very own bird boulevard! The Waterdunen nature reserve is another good place to look for birds. And you don’t need to be an ornithologist to enjoy the experience. Every year, in spring and autumn, tens of thousands of waterbirds stop off along the Westerschelde and Oosterschelde estuaries on their migration north and south. Train your sights on these birds from the safety of a bird hide or hut. It’s a great place to watch birds in their natural surroundings. If you bring a pair of binoculars, you can see them even closer up.
7. Climb the highest dune
The dunes near Groot-Valkenisse are amongst the highest in the Netherlands. At 51.81 metres, this is the highest natural point in Zeeland. It’s a bit of a climb to get there, especially with kids, but it’s worth the effort. The path along the dunes affords magnificent views across Walcheren and the estuary of the Westerschelde. Nowhere else along the coast do the ships come as close as they do here.
8. Paddleboarding on Zeeland’s waters
If you’re the outdoors type, Zeeland was made for you. With the wind in your hair and the sun on your face, the water is always a big draw. Standing on a surfboard for the first time can always be a little daunting, but paddleboarding is a sport which can be enjoyed by everyone. Veerse Meer and Grevelingenmeer are perfect locations for this pastime. Paddleboarding allows you to explore many special places in Zeeland from the water.
9. Experience nature from the tree tops: a forest adventure park
10. Terra Maris
The orangery of Kasteel Westhove houses Terra Maris, a hands-on natural history museum. The museum provides an insight into the different kinds of landscape in Zeeland. Behind the museum is a 2.5-hectare garden which presents the diversity of Zeeland’s landscapes in miniature. In the museum itself, there is a multifaceted exhibition about Zeeland’s natural history. The museum also regularly organises nature-themed activities for kids.