Hanging Out with the Kids in Jamaica
A vacation in Jamaica lends itself to idyllic days and unforgettable nights for children and adults. There’s no shortage of family outings for vacationers here. Follow this guide for Jamaican adventures that can be enjoyed at any age.
In Ocho Rios, a visit to the Butterfly Park at Mystic Mountain, the Bird Trek at Dolphin Cove, or the Coyaba River Garden and Museum, will surely mesmerize younger children. For the more adventurous, the Green Grotto Caves and Chukka Tours will help to scratch the adrenaline itch with horseback-riding, ATVs, and river-tubing adventures that are fun and educational.
The Seville Heritage Park in St. Ann is another unique property worth visiting. It’s said to be the location where Christopher Columbus first came in contact with the Tainos inheriting the land. There are over 300 acres of lush grounds to explore with a newly renovated museum of artifacts that displays life in the years of 600 A.D.
Count on the White Witch of Rosehall to provide the frights. Closer to the Montego Bay side of the island, the Rosehall Great House is the home of the White Witch, who is said to haunt the place. Tours are offered both day and night.
In the capital city of Kingston, there are museums, heritage sites, and national landmarks, including the Bob Marley Museum. Here, you’ll be able to eat vegetarian goodies, get a glimpse into the life of the musician, and buy his music and other souvenirs. The Jamaica Defence Force and the Bank of Jamaica also have museums in the city that will be an absolute treat.
Right outside of Kingston is the town of Port Royal where pirates and debauchery once ruled the land. The city was featured in the movie, Pirates of the Caribbean, and offers some of the best views and seafood on the island. Formerly known as the “most wicked city on earth,” much of it was sunken in an earthquake in 1692. The museum holds amazing artifacts of the land that once was. The Giddy House, left permanently tilted after the earthquake, offers endless amusement for little ones trying to keep upright here.
Since you’re already on that side of town, take a short boat ride with the local fishermen out to Lime Cay or Maiden Cay to Kingston’s best beaches. The ride is wild, so be sure to keep valuables secured. Kids will have fun, and the beaches are gorgeous on these sandy spits.
When you get back in town, a stop to Devon House is a must for the best ice cream this side of the world. Take a tour of Devon’s House and have dinner at one of the several diverse restaurants on property. At the shops at Devon House, you’ll be able to pick up authentic Jamaican souvenirs, munch on gourmet patties, and take home chocolate and desserts from the bakeries.
Finally, visit the tropical zoo located on the grounds of the Hope Botanical Garden. There’s also a zoo in the hills of St. Elizabeth called Jamaica Zoo if you’re heading to the South Coast. While in St. Elizabeth, check in with the crocodiles on Black River with your local community tour guides who are well trained to take you on this journey. Then, continue west to the Kool Runnings Water Park, Jamaica’s biggest, most exhilarating water adventure in Negril.
by Shanoy Coombs