Caribbean

Kid-Friendly Jamaica

Jamaica has famously been known as an island playground for couples, honeymooners and singles looking for fun. Its warm weather, plentiful beaches, relaxed locals, ample activities and low-cost accommodations also make it an attractive destination for families as well.

Your kids will love all Jamaica has to offer, especially if they’re adventurous type. From taking a ride in a 4X4, flying down a jungle zip line or hunting for crocodiles, to taking a horseback ride or visiting historic sites, Jamaica has you and your family covered -- here’s our list of diverse activities for kids (and parents) to enjoy.

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Dolphin Cove, Ocho Rios
Swimming With Dolphins
Your kids will love this fun and open marine park attraction full of exotic birds, snakes, iguanas, stingrays, sharks and dolphins. This aquatic center in the town of Ocho Rios has interactive programs in which your kids can feed, pet and even kiss the park’s well-trained and lovable dolphins. If they’re really adventurous, they can even get a dolphin piggyback ride as they’re pulled through the water holding onto Flipper’s fins.
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Chukka Adventures, Montego Bay
Horsing Around in the Water
If your child likes riding horses, then they just may love riding one in the water, too! Once they’ve enjoyed a leisurely horseback ride through the Jamaican backcountry, complete with a handy tour guide who doubles as a wrangler, they can swim horseback in the warm Caribbean Sea. Your child will have to be strong enough to keep hold of the horse’s reins … and good-natured enough to withstand some friendly splashing and snorting.
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Black River Safari, South Coast
Hunting for Crocodiles on the Black River
Crocodile Dundee isn’t the only person who loves crocodiles. Just ask the tour guide on the Black River Safari tour. He will take you and your kids on a 6-mile, 1.5-hour tour of Jamaica’s largest navigable river and wetland area. As your kids keep their eyes open to spot the endangered American crocodile that calls the river home, they’ll also see several species of birds like herons, egrets and ospreys, and have a chance to walk into an enormous mangrove. If they’re lucky, their tour guide may even give them a chance to get up close with the crocodile after he finds and feeds him.
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YS Falls, South Coast
Zip Lining Through the Rainforest
If your child is looking to tap into his or her favorite action hero, YS Falls will give them a surefire adrenaline rush. This 120-foot waterfall is tucked away on a privately owned estate. A bumpy jitney ride marks the first part of the adventure as a tractor trailer pulls its riders through the fields. Foot paths along and up the falls will lead them to different stations where they have to zip line across the water before reaching the summit. Then comes the highlight of the adventure -- an invigorating zip line down the length of the waterfall.
Urban Walnut, Wikimedia Commons
Rose Hall, Montego Bay
Hunting for Ghosts
For a different display of bravery, your child can channel his inner Zak Bagans and go on a ghost adventure, exploring the White Witch at Rose Hall. Animated recounts of ghost tales set against the backdrop of plantation life will not only spook your kids but give them a taste of Jamaican history. A tour of Annie Palmer’s rooms, secret passageways and her tomb leave a chilling reminder that evil was present in this Georgian mansion.

About the Author

Tawanna Browne Smith is the founder of MomsGuideToTravel.com, a site that provides destination ideas and stress-relieving strategies for family travel, and also writes at 10Best USA Today. Follow Tawanna at twitter.com/momguide2travel.

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