You will find kid-friendly activities and attractions all over Norway. Here are our top tips in six regions that have made an extra effort to make the youngest globetrotters smile.
Kristiansand and Southern Norway
The most popular holiday destination for Norwegian families is Southern Norway, and for good reasons. The region has a fabulous archipelago, lovely beaches, and tons of attractions, especially for children.
Kristiansand zoo and amusement park, Dyreparken, is a biggie. With different themed sections and a large waterpark, it is much more than just a normal zoo.
Kristiansand, which you can easily get to by train, ferry, or plane, is a very cosy town. The whole family can enjoy the beautiful, centrally located Bystranda beach, lined with palm trees. Bad weather? The waterpark Aquarama is conveniently situated just behind the beach!
Chill out with an ice cream at Fiskebrygga habour by the water before exploring the idyllic island of Odderøya. Previously a naval base, Odderøya is now appreciated as a lively meeting point with cultural events such as live music and performances, cosy cafes, art museums, the Kilden cultural centre and lovely beaches.
Ten minutes from the city centre you’ll also find the region’s biggest climbing park Høyt & Lavt Kristiansand.
Another exciting excursion is to go up to the fortress and canon museum Møvik fort, beautifully situated on a hill with magnificent views in all directions. In the summer, you can go on a ride on the small ammunition railway.
On a sunny day, two hot tips are the popular beach Hamresanden, just outside the city, and island hopping in the archipelago on MS Bragdøya. Or you can visit Norway’s southernmost point Lindesnes, where you can stay overnight in the lighthouse. On route to Lindesnes, it is a great idea to stop at the Furulunden and Sjøsanden recreation and camping area in Mandal, which has one of the finest sandy beaches in the country.
Kristiansand has several family-friendly campsites including Kristiansand Feriesenter, Skottevik Feriesenter and Åros Feriesenter. Make your stay extra special by spending the night in a pirate apartment in Kristiansand zoo and amusement park’s Abra Havn, or in the SafariCamp, where you can stay in a safari tent.
The area around Lillehammer, less than two hours by train from Oslo, is a blast for families with an adventurous streak. The most obvious choice is the Hunderfossen theme park, just north of the town, which has several fairy-tale themed sections and fun attractions and rollercoasters. As for the toddlers, they usually also enjoy playing with the animals at the Barnas Gård (the children’s farm), right by.
Just across the valley sits Lilleputthammer miniature town, where ALL activities have been designed for children between one and eight years.
Nearby, you can feel the adrenaline pump in Hafjell bike park where the lift takes you to the top, where there are 14 trails to choose from, with a difficulty level from green to black. On a rainy day, head over to Jørekstad aqua park. Here you’ll find 1,350 square metres of pools, slides, and a Jacuzzi, as well as a climbing wall for the kids.
If you have made it to Lillehammer, be also sure to pay a visit to Maihaugen. This is a super nice open air museum that offers a variety of family-friendly activities during the school holidays.
A little further north in Gudbrandsdalen, families can try rafting, river boarding and canyoning in the Sjoa river. Or check out the Olympic bob run (available for children from ten years).
Surrounded by soft, rolling hills, Gudbrandsdalen is also perfect for family-friendly hiking and biking, and you can stay at a cosy farm. At the Glittersjå mountain farm in Murudalen valley, you can even meet moose!
The Oslo region
The Oslo region offers countless inspiring things to do for the whole family. One of the main highlights is TusenFryd, Norway’s largest amusement park. Expect everything from hair-raising rollercoasters with VR technology to river rafts that take you through tunnels and waterfalls.
Most museums in Oslo arrange activities for families, especially during the school holidays. The museum of science and technology is extremely family friendly, with more than 100 interactive installations for curious minds of all ages.
Norsk folkemuseum, the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History is a fantastic open air museum that shows how people have been living in Norway since the 16th century and up until our own times, with more than 160 historic buildings situated in beautiful surroundings and many activities for children.
It is also fun to go sculpture spotting in Ekebergparken and Vigelandsparken, and the latter boasts a large playground as well.
At Oslo summer park at Tryvann (take the Metro), you can swing through the trees in a climbing park with 200 challenges spread out over 12 different trails of varying difficulty levels. The park has several ziplines, the longest of which is 230 meters long. Or try skiing here in winter!
More cool activities are available in the activity hall Skur 13 at Tjuvholmen: skateboarding, BMX, street basket and frisbee golf, for example.
On warm summer days, you need a good place to cool down. A few options are Sørenga sjøbad, Huk beach at Bygdøy, Tjuvholmen beach, and Frognerbadet. If you go island hopping to Hovedøya, Gressholmen and Langøyene, you might find your own bathing spot!
There are a lot of fun experiences around Oslo. Cuddle with cute animals and enjoy a range of activities, such as jumping in hay, riding, dog sledding and tractor driving, at Bergvang farm in Asker or at Foldvik Family Park in Larvik.
Not far from the latter is Høyt & Lavt Vestfold, Scandinavia's largest climbing park, with more than 254 obstacles between the treetops and a total of 19 routes of varying lengths and difficulties.
Another great place to combine playing and learning is the Inspiria science centre in Sarpsborg, an hour’s drive from Oslo. Explore and experiment with more than 70 interactive exhibitions.
Hallingdal, a long valley situated on the way between Oslo and Bergen in Eastern Norway, has become a top location for family holidays. The Bergen Line between the two cities runs through the valley and stops at all the destinations mentioned below.
Every day, the staff at Bjørneparken (“the bear park”) in Flå arrange magical encounters between humans and animals. Apart from bears, you can get close to elk, lynx and even crocodiles! There is also a wide range of activities and playgrounds, a zipline, and a water park for children. For more wildlife, swing by the wildlife and nature park at Langedrag, where you can get acquainted with wolves and lynx, feed reindeer, and say hello to the king of the forest – the mighty moose.
Further down in the valley, stop at Gardnos meteorite park. Situated just outside Nesbyen, a geologist will show you a real meteorite crater which is also used as an unusual playground. If the weather doesn’t hold, the pleasant water temperature at Tropicana waterpark at Pers Hotell in Gol is a safe bet.
In Ål, the activity centre at Hallingdal feriepark (also a five-star campsite) is an Eldorado for adventurous kids. The centre is equipped with a climbing park, a farm, a giant indoor play centre, and a very special minigolf course, carefully decorated with fun objects from local traditions and folklore. The campsite also houses the Hallingdal bike park, built to suit all ages and levels.
In Geilo, try the family-friendly Prestholtstien hike that leads up to Hallingskarvet. Thanks to the stone steps built by Sherpas from Nepal, the 6.5-kilometre-long hilke. At the Prestholtseter summer farm you can recharge with a well-deserved waffle with jam and whipped cream.
The Geilo summer park at Vestlia is another top tip with a zipline, a playground, and a waterpark. And a myriad of fab bike trails makes Geilo, and all Hallingdal, ideal for mountain biking and lift based downhill biking.
The Stavanger region
Long sandy beaches, magnificent nature and many activities and museums designed especially for children makes Stavanger, one of the largest cities in Fjord Norway, a place worth checking out. The first stop for many families is Kongeparken – with over 60 attractions and experiences! Who’s brave enough to try Stupet, the world’s tallest drop tower that will pull you down 80 metres at 125 kilometres per hour?
A few museums in the city centre are worth mentioning. The Norwegian petroleum museum is fully prepared for young, inquisitive minds, and the Stavanger maritime museum has an interactive exhibition for children. Next to the two museums, you’ll find Geoparken, a playground and park that experiments with different ways to recycle materials, objects and ideas from the oil industry.
The interactive science centre Vitenfabrikken in Sandnes, next to Stavanger, is one of the most popular family attractions in the region.
With kilometre upon kilometre of white sandy beaches, the Stavanger region is a paradise for everyone who likes water activities like surfing and kiting. The shallow Sola beach and the Orre beach are particularly suitable for the youngest in the family. Learn more about the wonderful beaches of Jæren.
Or how about horseback riding in the beautiful countryside around the farm Tryggvi islandshestgård or paddling on the Refsnesvatnet lake? Canoes and kayaks are available to rent at Preikestolen fjellstue, which also offers SUP boards to explore the Lysefjord.
The famous Preikestolen hikeis also suited for sporty families.
The county of Telemark in Eastern Norway is a perfect match for lively families with children.
The biggest attraction is Bø Sommarland, Scandinavia’s largest waterpark with everything from fast-paced water slides to thrilling roller coasters. Bø Sommarland’s neighbour is the Høyt & Lavt climbing park, where you can take your family adventure to new heights in 70 different climbing challenges.
Most people can make it to the top of Mount Gaustatoppen, but anyone who’s not up for it can always take the funicular railway Gaustabanen to the top instead. Be sure to enjoy a waffle while you admire the widest view in Southern Norway.
More unforgettable viewpoints are waiting in the UNESCO town of Rjukan. Take the Krossobanen cable car up to the top station Gvepseborg, which has a glorious view over Rjukan, Gaustatoppen and Vemork. Here you will also find the Rjukan climbing park with several historical climbing trails. From Gvepseborg you can take the whole family for a pleasant one-hour walk along the Solstien path. Those who prefer biking can go for a ride on the Hardangervidda mountain plateau to Kalhovd tourist lodge.
If the sun doesn’t come out, Rjukanbadet is a safe option with indoor and outdoor pools.
The region has endless opportunities for outdoor adventures, too. At the Hulfjell farm in Drangedal, you can get to know 20 different animals and enjoy a nine-meter high climbing wall, a water trampoline with a slide, and a swimming pool.
It is also nice to take the kids along the Telemark Canalwith MS Telemarken – a pirate ship with a treasure hunt and competitions. Another way to explore the canal is by bike or in a canoe.
A myriad of rivers, lakes and canals make the area perfect for paddling. For an unusual water-based adventure, explore the natural pools and water slides in the giant caves at Nissedal.
In the Skien leisure park, you can combine water-based fun with activities like frisbee golf and outdoor climbing. All very accessible! At the DuVerden Maritime Museum and Science Center, children can learn about maritime history through interactive activities. In the ship simulator, they can even find out what it’s like to be the captain of a ship. The Telemark Museum also offers daily activities for children.
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