10 tips for an adventurous holiday!
Holidays mean playing outside. And nowhere better than in our National Park; 12,000 hectares of nature to explore while playing. Here is the ultimate list of child-friendly activities in the Hoge Kempen National Park.
1.Duinengordel and surrounding area
*The Joekelbos in Duinengordel is the largest adventure play forest in Flanders: 10 play elements, wooden animals, play dune with water and shelters invite you to romp! The paved path is accessible for wheelchairs and prams.
Access via Speeltuinstraat in Opglabbeek or by bike between nodes 526 and 527 . (see overview map at the bottom of this page)
Info: Download the map at www.duinengordel.be/joekelbos
*The Oudsberg game is the ideal 'bubble activity'. You play it on your own and it is completely free.
Would you like to help the forester protect the Dune Belt nature reserve? Super! Centuries ago there lived Ouweltjes, a kind of goblins near Oudsberg. Get into their skin, have fun in the sand and learn all about this special dune. Go out with your family, friends or youth movement, scan the QR codes with your smartphone and play around to help the Ouweltjes.
- For children and young people aged between 7 and 18
- From 4 or more players
- Get a QR code scanner on your smartphone
- Choose your route on the spot: 1 km (-12y) or 2 km (+12y)
- Parking and start at Camping Zavelbos (Kattebeekstraat 1 in Maaseik). The hiking trail to Oudsberg starts here. Count on 4 km for there and back.
Tip: rent a wagon from Sulphur Forest.
*The Multimovepad in Itterdal is a real adventure trail to introduce children to nature in a fun way. The signposted Multimovepad of about 2 km, starts at the Care Café Itterdal. Through the springbok trail, suspension bridges, the ducking frame, the balance beam, the climbing forest, the long jump box, the balance box, the rings and the climbing nets, children learn to climb, jump and land, slide, hit, pull and push, walk and run.
Adress: Opitterkiezel 240, 3960 Bree.
*In the play forest, both young and old can have fun. While the little ones can have fun on the spring seesaws or in the playhouse and the older kids find their way through the maze or dare to use the cable car, mum and dad can enjoy themselves in the picnic area. After all, from here you have a view of all the equipment!
*Mini train: Subject to measures, and reservation required via .
*View tower with a view of the National Park.
Parking Station As: Stationsstraat 126, As or Google Maps
*Children's farm with playground: Whether playing on the large playground or strolling among the farm animals, children will have lots of fun. There is even a cuddle meadow where sheep and goats can be cuddled under supervision.
*The House of Lotte & Giel is a small livestock house with 20 indigenous breeds of rabbits and poultry. Various info panels and interactive games provide more interpretation.
*Gnome trail: Squirrel Kwip introduces you to the gnome family living on Pietersheim Domain. The 3 km long gnome trail (or 40,000 gnome feet) leads you along various nature games. The children can tinker with the big family tree trunk, hug a tree, cook in the big bread oven and soup pot, make music with real gnome instruments.... .Start at the Children's Farm or at the Water Castle.
*Lanaken Rocks. Walking the blue route (6.8km) at Pietersheim? Then look for the beautifully decorated stones, post them on the Facebookpagina LanakenRocks and hide them somewhere else again. Extra fun is that you can collect UiTPAS points on this walk. Get your UiTPAS at one of the sales points and save as many points as possible by making or finding stones. More info can be found here.
Parking Pietersheim: Neerharenweg 12, 3620 Lanaken or Google Maps
*Stone Man Trail with app: Follow Steentje and the Stone Man Trail on your way to the top of the terril. All info here.
Parking Thorpark: André Dumontlaan 67, 3600 Genk or Google Maps
*Hourglass Trail: For the little ones, there is a paved path from the car park that leads to the Hourglass Trail. This path, which is accessible by pram, goes through the former sand pit and shows the different biotopes of the National Park. A mini-National Park so to speak. A bird-watching wall, a platform and some physical challenges make it even more fun. 1.5 km of baby fun.
*In the Beestige Boelbos children and their parents get to know the animals of the National Park, especially the species living on the Mechelse Heide. All info here.
You will find the Beestige Boelbos on your left, about 500m walk from the car park.
Parking Mechelse Heide: Joseph Smeetslaan 280, 3630 Maasmechelen or Google Maps
*Stickman route: This 4.2km route takes you into the story about the mysterious Stickmen in the forest. Via an app, game booklet or story booklet, you get all the information about these extraordinary creatures. The route starts and ends at the visitors' reception where the app and booklets are also available for 5 euros. More information.
*On the Stenenpad there are some 30 stones that give you a view of more than 500 million years of Earth's history. You will find the Stone Path right next to the visitors' reception where you can pick up a free brochure.
*Follow the 1.4 km-long Planetary Path where you will get to know the 8 planets of our solar system that is 4 billion times smaller than reality.
*No holiday without minigolf. And in the middle of the beautiful Kattevennen forest.
*In case of less good weather, you can always visit the Cosmodrome.
Parking: Planetariumweg 19, 3600 Genk or Google Maps
*For young and old: the Barefoot Trail. Exercise all your senses and both feet to perceive the special stimuli of wood, stones, tree chips, grass, loam and water on a carefully crafted trail with fun 'obstacles'. Cold and hot, humid and dry, pleasant and tantalising alternate on a route almost 3 km long, which is only accessible barefoot. Along the way, you will encounter some spectacular things.
*Never too young to learn! Turn your gaze towards the earth and discover the fascinating world of insects. Entomopolis playfully and interactively teaches you that insects are useful and not nasty. Then follow the insect trail, a 2.5 km walk to the 'beast tower', the largest insect house (as well as for other critters) in the National Park.
Parking Lieteberg: Stalkerweg z/n, 3690 Zutendaal or Google Maps
The Play Pit is a mine-themed playground and is good for hours of fun for small and big kids. From the terrace (no service during the Corona measures) you can keep an eye on them.
Parking: Zetellaan 54, 3630 Maasmechelen or Google Maps
9.B'oscars: Across the Hoge Kempen National Park
Do you already know the B'Oscars? This is the National Park Hoge Kempen's main award for natural talents from 7 years and up!
Ree Witherspoon and Arnold Schwarzenever challenge you to take on the role of a character very important to the National Park.
You can win this prize by setting off with the IZI.TRAVELL-app and the special B'Oscar booklet.
The booklets cost €2.5 and can be bought at the following entrance gates: Kattevennen, Lieteberg, Mechelse Heide, Pietersheim, Station As and Terhills
Kattevennen: here you crawl into the role of an astronaut.
Station As - here you can take on the role of a forest ranger
Pietersheim - here you assume the role of a knight
Lieteberg - here you assume the role of an entemologist (insect expert)
Mechelse Heide - here you assume the role of a shepherd
Terhills - here you crawl into the role of a miner
The walks range roughly from 3.5 to 5 km and are signposted.
The izi.travelapp takes a lot out of your smartphone battery, so it's best to take a powerbank with you on the hike.
Download the B'Oscar route in advance to make sure you get all the info and avoid extra data consumption.
Together with the tips you collect along the way and the info you find in your booklet, you can crack the code and collect your reward!