Vogelpark Avifauna in Alphen aan den Rijn in South Holland is the largest bird park in the Netherlands and a great day trip from Den Haag, Gouda, Delft, and Rotterdam.
Vogelpark Avifauna Bird Park is the top tourist attraction in Alphen aan den Rijn in the Groene Hart (literally, green heart) region of South Holland. Vogelpark Avifauna with its endless birdcages and enclosures is a green alternative to the medieval old town centers of nearby Gouda, Delft, and Leiden and offer a relaxing atmosphere after visiting larger nearby cities including Rotterdam and The Hague (Den Haag). Avifauna is a great day-trip destination from these cities, or alternatively, take advantage of lower hotel prices by staying in Alphen aan den Rijn and making day-trip excursions from here to the top attractions of South Holland.
Vogelpark Avifauna Bird Park in Alphen aan den Rijn
Vogelpark Avifauna claims to be the oldest bird park in existence and certainly is the oldest and biggest in The Netherlands. Avifauna Bird Park developed out of the supply farm of colored bird feathers for a hat maker, which partly explains the location in a light industries zone at the outskirts of Alphen aan den Rijn. Avifauna Vogelpark (Bird Park) opened in 1950 and is part of the large Dutch Van der Valk tourism company, which has used a colorful toucan as its emblem ever since acquiring the bird park.
Avifauna has birds in cages and in free roaming areas. Several biotopes group birds according to their regions of origin. The colony of Cuban flamingos is the largest in Europe and visitors can come into almost touching distance from these elegant pink birds. The Philippines biotope is also a large section where rare rain forest birds can be seen close up. Avifauna has a huge variety of colorful toucans, parrots, and hornbills.
A new attraction features kiwi birds in a special facility where night and day has been reversed so visitors can see these nocturnal birds active during the day. During the summer season, flight demonstrations of bird of prey are held most days and bird feedings, including penguins and pelicans, are popular too.
Attractions for Children in Avifauna Bird Park, South Holland
Bird watching is not the only activity in Avifauna. A particularly popular section of Avifauna with children is the large play area. This play area features numerous swings and slides including slides of up to 80 m high, the highest in the Netherlands. Most of the attractions are free although the small electrical boats and cars, as well as steam shovels require an armband, which costs only a nominal €2 per day. Electronic games are available in a large play hall and are charged according to play.
Several restaurants and kiosks are spread throughout the park. Prices are very reasonable – management obviously knows the Dutch will bring their own if water and drinks feature a tourist mark up.
Van der Valk Avifauna Hotel, Alphen aan den Rijn
The Van der Valk Avifauna hotel is a comfortable hotel located directly next to the Vogelpark Avifauna. Families with small children will appreciate the family rooms, which is on two levels with beds for up to five and a small kitchenette area.
Hotel guests enjoy ample free parking and free admission to the bird park for the duration of their stay. Most rooms have views of the bird park or the Rhine River.
- See Review of the Family-Friendly Van der Valk Avifauna Hotel for more details.
Opening Hours of Vogelpark Avifauna Bird Park
Avifauna Vogelpark is open year round from 9 am to 6 pm but some attractions and birdcages open an hour later. The bird park itself is freely open to hotel guest after hours as well.
Transportation to Avifauna Bird Park in Alphen aan den Rijn
An own car is the easiest way to travel to Vogelpark Avifauna – a public bus service is available but requires telephonic reservations. Avifauna is at Hoorn 65, on the ring road around the northwest of the old town. As the most famous attraction in Alphen aan den Rijn signposting to Avifauna is very clear. Parking is plentiful and free.
Alphen aan den Rijn makes a great base from where the attractions of South Holland can easily be explored by car. Alphen aan den Rijn is within easy driving distance from better-known towns including Gouda, Leiden and Keukenhof, Rotterdam, Den Haag / The Hague, Delft, Kinderdijk, Utrecht, and even Schiphol Airport and Amsterdam. (N121217)