The Mom's Guide to the Best Things To Do With Kids and Toddlers in Jamaica.
Planning a trip to Jamaica with kids can feel overwhelming. No mom wants to hear the dreaded words: " I'm bored mom," while on her tropical vacation. Rather, every mom wants to plan a vacation that her kids will find fun, educational and filled with family memories.
Boredom will not be a problem for moms going to Jamaica with kids. Many of Jamaica's all inclusive hotels include exciting things like mini-waterparks, kid clubs and kiddie pools on their grounds. But it is outside the four walls of your hotel where you will find the best of Jamaica. From educational, toddler friendly nature walks to thrilling zip lining, you will find it easy to plan exciting activities for your kids in Jamaica. And since Jamaica is a small island, arranging transportation from your hotel to these activities should be easy. Here is a compilation of the most awesome things to do with kids in Jamaica.
Swim With Dolphins at Dolphin Cove
Dolphins are arguably the most beloved ocean creatures. The intelligent, gentle creatures are well suited for up close encounters with young kids. Jamaica's Dolphin Cove may just be the best place to experience them in all their grandeur.
Best for children age three and older, swimming with dolphins at Dolphin Cove is one of the most popular things to do with kids in Jamaica. Activities are catered to the children's ages. Younger, non- swimmers take part in the fun by petting or kissing the dolphins. Older kids participate in a dolphin care program where they help to feed and take care of the dolphins, while learning about the everyday life of the creatures. There is also a swim with stingrays program and glass bottom boats for toddlers to safely enjoy the dolphins. For toddlers, there is a nature trail (see below) which is the perfect way for little ones to interact with a tropical ecology. To plan a visit, dolphincoveja.com.
Take Toddlers on the Dolphin Cove Nature Trail Hike
The Dolphin Cove Nature Trail is an easy to moderate level nature trail with friendly snakes, birds and other exotic animals. The trail can be done with any kid, but it is particularly suitable for toddlers. The easy hike makes it possible to carry your toddlers or infant, who will love the friendly animals they will encounter along the way. Point out the tropical plants everywhere while helping your toddler pronounce unusual animal names like iguana. if you have a really brave toddler, take her to pet the resident snakes for an experience she will remember long after she returns home
Take Older Kids to Climb a Waterfall at Dunns River Falls
Dunn's River Falls is a picturesque, 180 feet high wonder of white waterfalls rushing down natural limestone to meet a turquoise ocean. The waterfall is really a sight to behold, and the only one of its kind in the Caribbean. The guided hikes offered are a great activity for the whole family to enjoy and can be enjoyed by kids as young as six years old. Join hands with your little ones and with the other families who are also embarking on the trip into the waterfall. Stop at the wading pools formed by the force of the waterfall or in front of the rapidly falling water for a family photo you will love displaying.
Although the hike cannot be done by really young kids, there is a way to enjoy Dunn's River Falls with a toddler. At the top of the waterfalls there are viewing areas that give a bird's eye view of the action. This area is perfect for toddlers. It is completely surrounded by safety rails, yet it is so close to the waterfalls that you and your little one will get sprayed by the cool water.
After you climb or see the waterfall, head to the beach at the bottom of the falls where toddlers and older kids will enjoy the gentle waters flowing from the waterfalls into the ocean! For rates and more information, www.dunnsriverfallsja.com
Doctor's Cave Beach-- Shallow Waters for Toddlers, Beach Trampolines for Older Kids
Doctors Cave beach has many things going for it -- a sparkling, beautiful beach; trampolines for the kids to jump away some of their unending energy; shallow waters with lots of little fishes for toddlers to play with and a kid friendly restaurant right on the beach. The cumulative effect of these elements is a beach that is consistently rated as the best Jamaican beach for kids.
Once your older kids realize that there are actual trampolines out in the ocean, they will forget everything else. Getting to the trampolines does take some swimming or a float, but once they get there, they will never want to leave. Don't be surprised if you are tempted to join in on the fun. Doctor's Cave Beach trampolines are a hit with adults and kids alike.
Toddlers will especially enjoy the calm, shallow waters of this beach. Take your toddler out to see the tiny fishes that love to swim around the calm water, and order delicious chicken nuggets from the restaurant right on the beach. Head to the convenient changing area for diaper changes or a shower at the end of the day. Visits cost USD $3 or kids, $6 for adults and can easily be arranged through any of Jamaica's hotels.
Zip Line Through a Jamaican Forest at Mystic Mountain
First time visitors to Jamaica are often surprised when they see that Jamaica is filled with dense, green rainforests that are almost as beautiful as the beaches. It is this diverse topography that accounts for the exciting range of activities available to people going to Jamaica with kids. For a change of scenery, leave the beach and take your older kids to explore the tropical greenery by zip line. Mystic Mountain is the top rated place to zip line in Jamaica.
Zip lining at Mystic Mountain's Rainforest Adventure is a top rated thing to do with kids in Jamaica for good reason- the mountain has much more than zip lining. There is a splash pool for cooling down after zipping under the tropical sun. A small, colorful hummingbird garden gives delightful views of Jamaica's fascinating national bird, and a lift quite similar to a ski lift takes visitors on a picturesque ride up the mountain. There is also a restaurant for quick meals after all the fun.
The actual zip line course goes through rainforest, and offers glimpses of white waterfalls and the turquoise ocean. Be forewarned though-- zip lining hundreds of feet from the ground is only for the brave! Kids have to be at least five years old to participate. For rates and more, www.rainforestadventure.com
Take Toddlers and Older Kids to Columbus Park Museum
Columbus Park Museum sits on the very spot where Christopher Columbus first set foot in Jamaica in the 16th century. In Jamaica, he found the indigenous Tainos people (also known as Arawaks) and a paradise filled with waterfalls, green mountains and pristine beaches.
The small, open air museum tells this history, and is a good way to give your kids a basic understanding of Jamaica's history. The museum is most suitable for age six and up. Teenagers will love the lesson on Jamaica's past, and the younger ones will love the ancient artifacts like the old Arawak (the indigenous Jamaican people) canoe, and earthen vessels.
The small museum is also a good thing to do with toddlers as its small size and wide aisles make it doable with an umbrella stroller.
Take the Whole Family to See Crocodiles at the Black River Safari
This is one wildly beautiful trip down one of Jamaica's largest rivers. Best for older children (though toddlers may enjoy the long trip too), the guided boat trip will take you down a beautiful river surrounded by lush, tropical forestry. Look out for exotic birds, iguanas and other strange creatures. As the Black River is the natural habitat for hundreds of crocodiles, don't be surprised if your kids gaze in awe at the open mouthed crocodiles they are bound to see.
To plan a wild rafting trip down the black river, or any of Jamaica's numerous rivers, check with your hotel for a reputable rafting company, or check out the folks at whitewaterraftingjamaica.com
Enjoy Kid Friendly Watersports at Aquasol theme park
The Aquasol Theme Park located at the Walter Fletcher Beach is a watersports haven filled with all the watersports your kids will ever need. From wave runners to banana boat rides, this park will be the most exhilarating thing your kid did in Jamaica. Most appropriate for ages five to teenagers, the theme park is all the more special because of its location--- right on a beautiful stretch of white sand beach.
One other special attraction is the awesome go-kart racing facility that is popular with older kids. For added convenience there is also a kiddies snack bar for a quick meal.
The favored way to book a trip to Aqua Sol is to book a bus tour through your hotel. Check with your hotel for details on available bus tours before arriving.
Take the Family to the Appleton Estate Rum Factory Tour
Don't be put off by the name of this tour. Although, you will want to keep your kids from the rum tasting portion, everything else is a well architectured lesson on the rum making process.
The tour is a good way to sneak a learning opportunity on your itinerary of things to do with the kids in Jamaica. Older kids will definitely leave this tour more knowledgeable of the fascinating origins and process of rum. Even the adults in your family will learn something new! Book a tour at appletonrumtour.com
Learn about the Reggae Icon at the Bob Marley Museum
A tour of the Bob Marley Museum is a must for fans of the world renown (though now deceased) Bob Marley. Even if your older kids don't know who Bob Marley was, the tour is still a good thing to do with them if they like music. Music loving 'tweens' and teenaged kids will enjoy learning about a new music form and the icon most identified with it.
The Bob Marley Museum explores reggae music and the life of one of the most inspirational reggae singers that ever lived, Bob Marley .A visit to this gem, brings you intimately close to the life and inspirations of the icon. See how he lived, his guitar and much more.
There are three museums dedicated to Bob Marley in Jamaica. The best, and most informative is located in Kingston, at one of Bob Marley's former homes. A trip to this museum will take upwards of two hours from Ocho Rios, Montego Bay or Negril For more information, check bobmarleymuseum.com. However, as the museum is located in Kingston, (Jamaica's capital city and outside of where your hotel is likely to be), it is best to book a tour through your hotel.
Go Horseback Riding in the Ocean
Horseback riding is exciting in any place, but horseback riding in the ocean takes the activity to new heights. Take your whole family on a ride through Jamaica's lush countryside, onto a pristine beach, then straight into the ocean. Watch them squeal as they first enter the warm water on horseback. Be sure to take a camera to preserve the priceless memory.
The horseback ride is guided and can be booked through several companies that offer horseback riding packages. Check with your hotel for their recommendations.
The array of things to do with kids in Jamaica will make your vacation a treasured family memory. You may even join the countless families who keep going back to the beautiful island year after year.
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