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Fun kids activities this summer in Brussels

Gone are the days when museums meant dusty glass cases stuffed with animals

Bright, modern and child-friendly, nearly all now offer holiday activities – including the Architecture Museum, Wiels, Cinematek and the Musical Instrument Museum. Until 28 August, the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences presents WoW (Wonders of Wildlife) – a series of amazing freeze frames made by taxidermists, allowing you to get up close and personal with animals you might have previously only seen in nature documentaries on TV.

Touring the world for the past seven years, the Harry Potter exhibition's first stop in Brussels is one of the most eagerly awaited summer kids events in the city. The interactive exhibition features scenes from the Harry Potter films, such as Hogwarts School, Hagrid’s Hut and the Gryffindor common room, in addition to thousands of authentic props, costumes and creatures that were used in the film series. Reserve a slot in advance to avoid a long wait at the door.
Until 11 September, Palais 2, Brussels Expo, Place de Belgique 1, €15-€20

Cool down with a splash around at Océade, a great outdoor water park for the family. With 14 slides, indoor and open-air pools, Océade has something to entertain everyone. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays in September.
3 Avenue du Football, Heysel

While you're in the area, Mini-Europe is a fun theme park showcasing miniature landmarks from countries across the EU, from Big Ben and the Eiffel Tower to Vesuvius and the Parthenon. On Saturdays from 6-20 August, the park lights up for late-night opening with musical fireworks at 22.30.

Enjoy a trip to the beach without leaving the city. Inspired by the beach on the River Seine in Paris, Brussels transforms the banks of the canal into a real urban beach called Bruxelles les Bains with 3,000 tonnes of sand from the North Sea coast, straw huts, palm trees and lounge chairs. Play a game of beach volleyball, cool off under the fountains, or run amok in the secure Kids Zone for ages three to 12 which is open and monitored every day from 12.00-20.00. There are also concerts for teens every Wednesday afternoon, dance workshops and, on the weekend of 6-7 August, a chance for children to make sand sculptures.
Until 7 August, Quai des Péniches

One of Brussels' biggest and oldest summer events, the Foire du Midi is a massive funfair that has set up along the streets near Brussels Midi station since 1880. With 130 diverse attractions, from traditional fairground games to the very latest rides, this is a great day or evening out for the family.
Until 21 August, Boulevard du Midi

The fourth edition of the Brussels Games Festival takes over the Cinquantenaire park in the EU district for two days of board-game fun. Hundreds of games are available to share, for children and adults alike.
27-28 August, free

Brussels has a rich tradition in puppet theatre (for adults and children alike) dating back to the 16th century. Guignolet dans le Parc is just one event helping to keep that tradition alive, with 50 marionette shows to keep the kids entertained throughout the summer holidays.
Until 31 August, Parc Royal

Also in the Royal Park this summer, enjoy four days of street theatre, music and activity workshops – Théâtres Nomades is a packed programme of 30 shows, some in the open air, others under specially set-up marquees.
18-21 August, Parc Royal

Last but not least, check what your local area has to offer in terms of creative and sports workshops for children over the summer. All 19 districts of Brussels put on special activities for pre-schoolers to teenagers. If your child speaks French, see the programme at bruxellestempslibre.be – and for Dutch-speakers it's http://www.sportinbrussel.be/

PM

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