It’s the family vacation you’ve been dreaming of and a top priority is trying to make sure everyone has a great time while on holiday. Add to that the fact that you’re hoping to have a good time yourself and you may have a mixture of little ones and teenagers to keep entertained and it can become a tricky proposition. Here are a few suggestions for outings that can appeal to a wide range of ages, including your own inner child!
1. Head to the zoo. Mischievous little monkeys chatter away and colourful tropical birds display their feathers as you stroll past at Hope Zoo in Kingston. Hang out with Lucas the lion and then head to the Serengeti for a nice lunch in a beautiful tropical setting. The zoo is located in Hope Botanical Gardens which offers a great option for a picnic lunch if that’s more your style or just a beautiful way to walk off that meal.
2. Feed The Birds. Rocklands Bird Sanctuary is a fun outing if you’re staying in Montego Bay. Watch their faces light up as hummingbirds hover, their wings moving so fast as to almost be invisible, each one coming right up to each person holding a small bottle of sugar water. If they’re lucky they’ll get to spot the Doctor Bird, Jamaica’s National Bird.
3. Spot a Crocodile. Head out on the Black River or Swamp Safari tours, both available on the South Coast close to Treasure Beach. You’ll board an all-terrain vehicle or jump in a boat and head out to see if you can spot a crocodile’s snout poking out of the water. Your guides will take you to the most likely spots in one of Jamaica’s natural wonders of the Great Morass. Get up close and personal at Swamp Safari as your little ones can get to hold baby crocodiles in a croc nursery.
4. Swim with Dolphins. Fun for all ages, Dolphin Cove in Ocho Rios offers interactive and educational swims with dolphins catering to different ages. They also have small harmless nurse sharks and stingrays, and an entire nature trail which educates while protecting some endangered species. Have a parrot sit on their shoulder, walk through a whirl of yellow canaries or make friends with an Iguana. There’s even a nice beach for the adults to laze on and a pirate themed boardwalk offering everything from lunch and snacks to a cup of Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee.
5. Head For The Hills. Take the kids for an overnight experience in the UNESCO World Heritage site of the John Crow & Blue Mountains. Stay in a 200 year old house left over from a former plantation with a fireplace to roast marshmallows at Whitfield Hall Hostel and Coffee Farm, where they can roast marshmallows, check out constellations, sleep in bunk beds or camp in tents, and for the bigger kids, hike the highest mountain in Jamaica, Blue Mountain Peak and claim bragging rights.
6. Ride the Trails. DaCosta Bike Farm has dirt trails and mini moguls for kids to live the dream on two wheel dirt bikes. Mud and the open road make for a lot of laughter. For the less adventurous there is a pool, waterpark and even fishing off the end of the pier.
7. Go Underground. Green Grotto Caves in Falmouth are some of the most kid friendly caves around, even the little ones will have a blast as there are actually some rocks that work as a prehistoric drum set. These caves were a hide out for the original People of Jamaica, the Taino, housed contraband for the famous smugglers during the height of Jamaica’s pirate and buccaneer days and now offer a fantastic and not too strenuous day out for everyone, even Grandma.
8. Gateway to Adventure. Adventure Parks are an easy option as you can join in the fun or kick back and let the setting do the work for you. Chukka Good Hope in Trelawny offers up lazy slow river tube rides, afternoon high tea and bird feeding for those wanting to take it easy. At the same time ATV rides, kayaking, ziplining and a waterpark create a range of fun activities for kids that will have them all smiling and worn out by days end.
9. Tour on Horseback. If it’s one thing you can do practically anywhere on the island it’s find a tour that has you riding steadfast gentle horses through scenic spots on the island with the option to end up on the back of the horse as it swims through the beautiful Caribbean Sea as a great way to cool off after walking in the warm tropical sun.
10. Play in the Crystal Clear Caribbean. Glass Bottom boat rides are a nice option for everyone to get out on the water. For those who aren’t that comfortable in the water, it’s a rare glimpse under the sea. Colourful tropical fish dart around in their underwater world and families can share their delight. For those who want to head into the water, snorkeling is an easy activity for beginners and whether above or below the sea makes for an amazing Instagram shot and quite the Snapchat moment!
For other suggestions of awesome things to do with the kids (or without) while vacationing in Jamaica browse a bit more through www.jamaicaexperiences.com !