Let me introduce myself: my name is Anaïs (30), Lou’s mom (21 months old) and I work at the sales department of fashion company Hop Agenturen. I have been living in beautiful Brabant for five years now, with Han. But as a true Antwerp girl, my heart still skips a beat for this beautiful city along the Schelde. That’s why you can find me there almost every week, cause it feels like coming home every time!
When fall sets in, it seems I feel obliged as a mom to keep making up fun outdoor activities for my little monkey. I don’t know about you, but our son is always in the mood to be outside… in all weathers! Personally, I’m not a fan of turning my home into a life-size tipi or racetrack every weekend. And it’s not that fun to go to every playground in the neighbourhood in the pouring rain. So there you have it: time to come up with an original activity.
Lou has been a big fan of Shark Tale lately. The beautiful coloured fish, coral, sharks; he loves it all. That’s’ why it seemed to me like an ideal plan (and weather) to go to Aquatopia.
We met godmother Lyns at one of my favourite spots: Le Pain Quotidien, or The Daily Bread. When you ask me; the ideal spot for a quick brunch with the kids! There are several in Antwerp. If you want to be really fast, choose the one on the Mechelsesteenweg, just outside city centre. It has a lovely homey vibe. The smell of freshly baked bread and fresh coffee makes your mouth water right away. At the long common tables it’s instantly cosy and you’re not only sharing the table, but also the jars of chocolate spread and jam.
At Le Pain Quotidien they use as much bio ingredients as they can, everything you consume has to be good for your body. Very healthy! You can arrange the breakfasts yourself, but their ‘tartines’ are a real favourite as well. Everything is for sale too, from chocolate to bread… but also yummy pies. Tuck in!
We choose to go to Aquatopia by tram. Aquatopia is part of the Antwerp Zoo and it exists 10 years. Unfortunately, it’s not in the Zoo, but across the street on the Astridplein. Parking is easy in the Q-park underneath the Astridplein. For € 10,– you’re inside and kids under 3 years old are free. As soon as you walk in, you feel like you’re in the tropics. Aquatopia is divided into 7 worlds: rainforest, swamp, mangrove, coral, ocean, labo and submarine.
Lou is very impressed and doesn’t skip a single aquarium. He loves all the colours! Lyns and I are getting enthusiastic with his voyage of discovery.
His favourite immediately is ‘ocean’, where you actually walk through the ocean. Sharks, giant turtles, mackerel, they all swim around you. He stared his eyes out. He also dares – fearlessly – to go through the crawling ways (kids only, believe me J ) where you walk along the fish. He loves it!
With little ones you are done in 1,5 hours, but with bigger kids you can take the time to read the information signs, play educative games, learn things in the labo and the submarine, play in the indoor playground etc. The only downside it that for safety reasons the buggy is not allowed inside. For the very little ones they have belly-carriers available. An absolute recommendation on a rainy autumn day.
Oh and before you go… PITSTIP at the Central Station: Starbucks Coffee to go. Enjoy!