If you are looking for an interesting family day out with children of all ages, Aviodrome is the perfect place.
Officially known as the Luchtvaart-Themapark Aviodrome, it is the national aviation museum/theme park of the Netherlands since 2003. It is located alongside the small Lelystad Airport about 45 minutes from Amsterdam. Its surface area of 6000m² consists of impressive indoor and outdoor exhibitions, sure to excite aviation enthusiasts and impress clueless visitors like me.
The aviation heritage starts right before the main entrance with a Fokker 50 prototype stands proudly to greet your arrival. Fokker was a Dutch aircraft manufacturer named after its founder, Anthony Fokker. It started out in 1912 in Schwerin, Germany, before moving back to the Netherlands in 1919. Fokker went bankrupt in 1996.
Embark your visit by following the museum route. It is a quick course to learn everything about the Netherlands’ aviation history. You will start from hot air flight balloon to Lockheed F-104 Starfighter aircraft and right through to modern aerospace developments. Get to know the famous Dutchman who built and flew his first airplane, the Spin. See the Wright Flyer Type A (1909) replica from the Wright Brothers. Check out the museum expositions about the beginnings of the Royal Netherlands Air Force, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Fokker and Martinair. There is a section on Dutch military aircrafts including historical airplanes and comprehensive information on their roles during the wars. From the observation deck, visitors can admire the vast aircraft collection on display. Some of these planes are open for inspection so visitors are able to get a good look inside the aircrafts’ interior. Visitors can even step on board a couple of static flight simulators to experience the feel inside a cockpit. Many aircraft are displayed with historical explanation, type of engine, weight, top speed, size, photographs, restoration report, etc. As for the kids, there are several interactive games throughout the exhibition, two kids’ playing area and a pilot/stewardess training program for Aviodrome’s pilot license at the end of the day. There are daily indoor guided tours in Dutch at 1100hrs and 1400hrs. These tours explain all the main highlights within the indoor exhibition. I highly recommend joining this tour if you are looking for a quick introduction on aviation. The duration of each tour session is approximately 45 minutes. It is suitable for kids too. Further tour information can be obtained at the check-in desk in the departure hall. Ask for a possibility of an English guided tour if you are in a group. Staffs are friendly and very helpful.
Step outside and be prepared to venture more! Climb abroad the giant Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet where you can sneak into the cockpit, walk around the business class, peek at the galley kitchen and go close inside the spaces/area which are normally are out of bound. It even comes with a decommissioned jet bridge connecting the plane to the upper level indoor exhibition.
Try out the less than comfortable space flight simulator that makes hard movements. I regretted taking that flight! Visit the Hanger T2 to study historical airplanes such as the Spyker V.2 and see some of the aircrafts being reconstructed on site. While on your walk about outside, admire the many civil and military beautiful flying machines like the Douglas DC-2 ‘Uiver’ and Fokker 100.
Stop by the Schiphol replica station building from 1928 to climb the control tower, learn how to signal in Morse code at the Radio Room and wander through the authentic Departure Hall full of historical detail.
Let the kids have their fun around several exciting play equipment and play areas.
Not forgetting the daily 45-minute outdoor guided Dutch tours happening at 1200hrs and 1500hrs.
Apart from the indoor and outdoor exhibitions, the usual souvenir shop and a great café/restaurant with a terrace, there is a 4D movie cinema experience showing multiple times a day. It is a 3D film with extras such as precipitation, wind, smoke and smell. The kids will absolutely love it!
I have been to Aviodrome twice. Both times, I had to beg my kids to leave. We spent about 5 hours each time. The park is huge with excellent facilities for all children. It is well laid out, massive size exhibits and most of the explanations are provided in English too. I highly recommend Aviodrome for a fun family day out. For all ages!
(If necessary, you can switch to English language on the top right hand corner of the webpage)
Address: Pelikaanweg 50. 8218 PG Luchthaven Lelystad.
Opening hours: Closed on Mondays except during Dutch holidays. Tuesday – Sunday from 10am till 5pm.
Entrance fees: €16.95 for 12 years old and above, €14.95 for 3-11 years old, €10.95 for disabled and kids under up to 2 years old are free. Order the adult and kids tickets online and receive €2.00 discount per ticket. Free entry for Museumkaart holder.
By car – parking facility is approximately 150 m away from the main entrance. A full day parking cost €6.00. Operating hours are from 0830hrs – midnight.
By public transport – Bus 148 (operator Connexxion) from Lelystad train station and Harderwijk train station alight at busstop ‘Vliegveld/Eendenweg’.