A treat for children and adults alike is a day trip to the Dolphinarium in Hardewijk. The park has been open for over 40 years and has now been hailed as Europe’s largest marine park. It is open during the summer months from mid February to end of September and you are welcome to spend the whole day at the park enjoying the daily shows. A timetable of shows is given at the entrance detailing the times of the shows for the dolphinarium, stingray & sharks, walruses, seadogs and seals. There is several playgrounds for the children and being right on the beachfront a paddle in the sea is quite pleasant.
In July 2009 they celebrated the birth of baby dolphin Luna and Rif who you can view in the aquarium and take pictures without flash. There is something very spiritual about the dolphins, we decided to see the show twice and no 2 shows are the same.
All of the shows are conducted in dutch with the exception of the seal show which is done in mime, it really doesn’t matter if you can’t speak the language as the animals are the stars of the show also you can ask any questions you have after the show in English. There are several restaurants dotted around the park most selling frites with mayo but you can enjoy a healthy sandwich. There are also kiosks to purchase ice-cream, beer, coffee and stroopwaffels.
Cost Adult Eur25, children Eur22.50 extra Eur1 in July & August
Parking Eur6 park open 10am – 5pm & 6pm in August
When you exit the Dolphinarium there are several restaurants but be wise and walk further into the city for the real delights which are probably more reasonable as well.
We walked around the cobbled market courtyard which has a selection of nice eating places with plenty of outdoor seating. We settled on this restaurant based on the great menu deal. Han & I both had the rump steak with a mushroom sauce, frites and salad a genorous portion for only Eur9.50.
The staff were friendly and the food was delivered promptly with a smile.
Opening times Mon & Sun 11am - 10pm all other days 9.30 - 11pm & 1am on saturday
From outside the station you can catch the 144, 147, 148 bus
Otherwise durin the summer they have a novelty bus a bit of a bumpy ride but the children like it.
The cost is 2 strips or probably Eur1
You can also walk to the Dolphinarium its about 20min
I would advise bringing your swimming togs and a towel. Pack a picnic and flip flops.
Light clothing during summer with a jersey or windbreaker
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: suntan lotion
Photo Equipment: Some shows take place indoors also ensure you have a lens to capture action shots as those dolphins are fast one minute they are there and next minute back in the water.