The Zaanse Schans is both brilliant and rubbish. The rubbish part and, in my opinion a waste of time is the Zaanse Museum (info mainly in Dutch) and the various so called museums that are actually shops, like the Bakery Museum, the Cheese Farm, cynical tourist traps supreme).
What is totally worth seeing are the windmills along the river. I went the sawmill and the oil mill, €3.50 entry to each windmill. There is something magical about watching the mechanics of the windmill at work and strange the lack of motor sounds. There is a person running each mill who will explain the production process to you. Go to 2 or 3 of the windmills that are actually turning and forget the ‘museums’. That way you can be to and from Amsterdam in no time at all and squeeze more out of your day.
To get there…
From Amsteram Central Station get the train to Koog Zaandijk (3 euros and 17 minutes each way). At Koog Zaandijk, walk out of the station following the sign that says Zaanse Schans. About 20 metres out of the station is a big upright vending tower, you pull a lever and it spits out a free map. You need to wait 25 seconds between pulls for the next map. Follow the route that leads you over the river, across a big modern bridge. Turn left along the river and head up to the working windmills, they are numbered 2,3,4,5 on the map. The walk from the station to the windmills takes about 10 to 15 minutes.
The mills are open from 10am to 5pm. check the website for more info… http://www.dezaanseschans.nl/en/opening-hours/