The Botanic Garden Meise is a hidden gem, only 10 kilometres away from the centre of Brussels : 92 hectares of luxuriant vegetation, a great place to spend a sunny day with the kids !
It was sunny on Monday, and we had the chance not to have to work. Considering the scary weather which haunted us since we were back from vacation, we were eager to jump on our bikes and let the kids get some fresh air.
So, while Mister K. was clearing the breakfast table (I know, I know), Emma was selecting her favorite high-heeled shoes from my closet and Ruben was desperately trying to get on his Winnie the Poe truck on his own… I was flipping through our book Les plus belles balades à vélo and found just what we needed : a bike ride along the canal, then through the Park of Laeken up to Meise and its Botanical Garden.
75 minutes and 36 “Emmmmmmaaaaaa” later, we were on our way.
The bike ride was nice and easy : 100% on bike lanes. If you don’t have the book, I recommend you the app Bike Citizens.
From the centre of Brussels, you just head to the canal and follow it until the Avenue de la Reine whith the beautiful church Notre Dame de Laeken. From the church, you just follow the bike path until and then along the A12.
By public transportation, take the bus 250 or 251.
A green oase
When you enter the Botanic Garden, you are immediately seized by a feeling of the exotic as you are welcomed by palm trees !
You receive a map of the Garden at the entrance, and you’d better take a look at it and select the areas you don’t want to miss : the domain is huge and the plants are grouped by type in specific parts of the Garden.
At any rate, don’t miss the Plant Palace : several greenhouses simulating tropical climates !
It is unnecessary to say we didn’t learn a lot about plants as we were accompanied by our toddler and a 4 year old princess.
– What’s the name of this speci… nonoNONONO Ruben, don’t touch it. Ok, let’s go.
– Did you catch the name of…? whatever.
But it didn’t matter, really. All we wanted was a happy time, strolling in the green with the kids. And they enjoyed our family excursion !
As we came by bike, we didn’t bring the buggy and I was a bit scared by the idea of constantly having to run behind Ruben. But trollies for young children can be obtained for free at the main entrance. So much fun for the kids ! Ruben even managed to nap…
There is also a free tourist train (every Sunday, festive day and every day during the school holidays).
But you can easily get the kids to walk : a discovery trail for children (from 4 years old) is foreseen, just ask the booklet at the main entrance and let them lead you as they look for the boards with the King Amaryllo !
Finally, pay a visit to the castle of Bouchout in the middle of the Garden. For the reasons described above we had to skip the exhibition, but the kids enjoyed climbing the stairs up to the roof from where you have a nice view over the Garden !
Grab a bite
The terrace of a former farmstead has been set aside for picnics.
As we didn’t expect to spend the whole day in the Botanic Garden, we didn’t bring any sandwiches…
We were happy to find the Orangerie, a brasserie-restaurant with a nice terrace. We even got to chill a few minutes while the kids were playing in the sand box !
Once a year, at the end of August, you can spend a night in a tent with your kids in the Botanic Garden and lots of activities are foreseen (NB : in Dutch)!
If you haven’t visited the Botanic Garden Meise yet, I can’t recommend you enough to plan an excursion there with (or without) the kids.
We ended ours by chilling in the hammocks put at the visitors’ disposal…