The Drentse Koe is a real dairy farm in Ruinerwold, Drenthe. In 1999 they started selling homemade ice cream from the fresh milk produced on their farm. Since then they have grown to a full-fledged recreation play-center for kids, with a large outside and inside play area and in 2017 they said goodbye to their dairy cattle to focus on the play-center, but continue to make ice cream using fresh milk from neighbouring farms.
This summer we visited the Drentse Koe for the first time with our 2 year old and visiting family members (including a 9 year old and 12 year old). It was a wide age gap, but there was something for everyone!
We went first to the back area, where they had several sheep, goats, two small cows and a horse. The animals are roaming free in a large field that you can go into, so you are right up close and can stroke them. Small children have to be supervised, but it was a great learning experience for our 2 year old. In the field is also a go-cart track and a dozen or more pedal go-carts. The carts can be adjusted so kids and adults can race on them. Everyone else raced around the track, seeing who was the fastest, while I hooked up a trailer to my cart for our 2 year old to sit in while I peddled at a slightly slower pace around the track.
Next we explored the inside play area, which is inside two large barns. You have an area with mechanical horse bicycles that kids can sit on and ride around, a door to the outside which leads to a double aerial slide, while on the other end you have a climbing frame, slide, bouncy cushion play area just for under 3’s. Upstairs they have giant building blocks, and a bouncy circle with tractor in the middle that you can try to ride. And in the basement there is glow in the dark football, and a collection of old fashioned Dutch games.
We had a pause for lunch at the café on the farm (you are not allowed to bring your own food in. In addition to ice cream (well of course!) and sorbets, soft ice cream and milkshakes, they also serve sandwiches, toasties and snack bar food (chips, frikandel etc) and gluten free and lactose free items. The prices are reasonable, at €2,25 for a ham and cheese toastie or €2 for a portion of poffertjes for the little ones. Plus you can put everything on a card that you get when you enter, and pay the bill at the end; handy if you have older kids that want to go get their own snack or drink.
After lunch we went into the inside water play shed. Here they have all water fountains shooting up out of the ground, buckets that tip water on you from high up, and some water games. The kids got soaked, while the grown-ups sat at the picnic benches just outside the barn. They do have plenty of seating throughout the whole place, so parents can relax while kids run around having fun.
After drying off a bit, we found a nice picnic bench in the sun to sit, while the older kids played on the giant bouncy cushion and climbing frame; the little one played in the sand pit and rode around on a pedal tractor.
They also had a Mais Maze this summer, but we didn’t manage to go into it as we ran out of time doing everything else; so that will be another visit! At the end we headed to the exit, where they scanned our card that we got at the start, and paid off the entry fee and food we had bought. We actually decided we enjoyed it so much we took out a year subscription, so they refunded the entry fee for that day and just charged the subscription. A year subscription costs €35 per child, and then two adults can accompany for free. Otherwise it costs: €5 for kids 1-3 years old, €7,50 for 4–16 year olds, and adults cost €3,50 each. That is entry for everything for the whole day, parking is free; or if you just want to go for ice cream, you can stay for 30 minutes and won’t be charged the entry fee.
Overall we had a great day and are glad we took out the year subscription as we are going back in a few weeks’ time to try the Mais Maze, and enjoy some more ice cream!