Best Things to Do in Barbados with Kids
Here below you will find some of the best things to do in Barbados with kids. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me.
Animal Encounters in Barbados with Kids
Swim with the Turtles
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🐢 Do you love marine life? My daughter was first exposed to marine life at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo camp last year at the age of 4. She loved Aqua camp and really enjoyed learning about marine life in and around Bermuda. I highly recommend it for kids it such a great way for them to learn about marine life and also how we can conserve and protect it. I also attended the camp as a child and have fond memories. ⠀ ⠀ 🐢 Recently since the pandemic, she has been obsessed with Jonathan Bird's Blue World. She watches the shows back to back and declared when she goes 10 she wants to get her scuba diving certificate. She stated one of her dreams was to swim with turtles. ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ 🐢 I did some research and found a tour where you could snorkel with turtles in Barbados with the company, Snorkeling Barbados. It was such a fun and unique bucket list experience. I highly recommend anyone visiting Barbados to include this on your list. ⠀ ⠀ What's on your bucket list?
There are a plethora of tours that would be willing to take you and your kids on a tour to swim with the turtles. There are so many tours on the market. Two snorkeling tours that I have done so far with my little daughter that we have enjoyed where located in two different marine parks.
The first tour we did with Barbados Blue Water. This tour is based next to the hotel by the Hilton Barbados. The tour goes out to various reefs in Carlisle Bay Marine Park. You will get the opportunity to swim with turtles and other marine life. This tour is convenient if you are based out of the central side of the island staying at any of the hotels or Airbnb sites.
The second tour I have done was with Barbados Snorkeling. This tour left from Holetown. We swam with turtles in Folkestone Marine Park. We also visited a wreck site. There were two stops on this tour. This tour also provides you with professional go pro pictures and videos with the turtle and marine life. They also offer WIFI on the boat. There’s also a fun slide that the kids will love. This tour is convenient if staying on the West Coast of Barbados.
These tours are great for kids of all ages as the company provides a life jacket however to fully appreciate the actual turtles I would recommend age 3 and over.
Horseback Riding at Nature Fun Ranch
Barbados is known to have beautiful trails to horseback ride. There’s no better way to experience the beauty of the island by horseback riding on either the pink sand beach or on a tranquil trail in the countryside. Riding on a horse on a scenic island there’s no better way to spend your time on your vacation. There are several horse stables available that can accommodate you.
For kids, I would recommend, Nature Fun Ranch. This ranch is located in the scenic distinct of Bruce Vale in the parish of St. Andrew. The ranch is maintained by kids who participate in this nature-based youth programme. In 2016 Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex visited the ranch. What better way to support such a worthy community project!
My daughter and a group of friends visited during their Open House. The kids had so much fun. The ranchers were very personable and provided the kids with a tour of the site showing them all the animals. There were rabbits, goats, fish, and turtles. Roaming around were also big pigs. It was a rainy day however the kids loved playing in the muddy puddles. In the end, the kids did horseback riding on a small area suitable for small kids. This activity is great for all kids ages 1 years old and up.
Barbados Wildlife Reserve
Barbados does not have a zoo. There is however a wildlife reserve, named Barbados Wildlife Reserve located in the parish of St. Peter. It sits on 4 acres of land and is an open area where the animals are free to roam. Here there are lots of wildlife the highlight of the reserve is mainly the green monkeys.
You will see lots of wild monkeys in Barbados. These monkeys were brought to Barbados in the 17th century from Senegal and Gambia during the slave trade as pets. They typically live in the well-vegetated areas of Barbados. However, they can be seen throughout the island. The reserve also has other animals such as snakes, small deers, birds such as parrots these animals are typically caged. The animals that are allowed to roam are mainly green monkeys, peacocks, and tortoises.
The reserve is a fun day out. It is a very compact reserve however spread over lovely trails covered by mature trees. However it is Barbados and it can be very warm so suggest you walk with water and a hat. It takes about 1 hour to visit all the various lookout sights and animal encounters. I would recommend it for kids under age 10.
TIP: If you want to see the animals being feed at the Wildlife Reserve feeding time is at 11am and 2pm. Admission to the reserve also includes admission to the Grenada Hill Signal Station. At the top of the station are great views of the island. Make sure you call ahead to check the opening times and hour. Also cash is required.
This animal sanctuary is located in the parish of St. Phillip. I was surprised at the number of animals that we encountered when we toured this quaint sanctuary. This is not a typical experience of a zoo.
From my discussions with the owner, it appears as it started out as a place with animals for their own personal care, and then people who imported animals and did not want them ended up leaving their animals there hence it became a sanctuary for animals that were exotic and most likely imported. The layout surprised me as it did not appear large from the outside entrance.
There were several different types of birds (parrots and peacocks), fish, snakes, iguanas, tortoises, bunnies. This was such a personal experience. You can tell the owners, their family, and workers are truly connected to the animals and share a special bond. This is a great place to take your kids if they want to get up close and personal with snakes, birds, and iguanas. The owner does allow you to handle them. This is definitely a unique experience that you may not find at a typical zoo.
I would recommend this activity for kids aged 2 years old and older. Its a great family fun activity. We went and the ages ranged from 3 years old to 70 years old.
TIP: Make sure that Google Map takes you to Harrismith road we had a bit of difficulty finding the location. Also because this is privately owned and operated as a sanctuary ensure you call ahead or email to arrange a visit. I visited on a weekend.
Beaches & Playgrounds & Nature in Barbados with Kids
Barbados is any beach kid’s dream. The sand is soft and pink. The water is crystal clear. There are so many beautiful shells to pick up. There are so many great beaches to take your kids. Additionally of note, Barbados does not have any private beaches so you can simply take your child to any beach you want on the island. I love this as the beach belongs to everyone and there’s no exclusivity.
My daughter’s favorites are Browne’s Beach, Pebbles Beach, Carlisle Bay, Miami Beach and Accra Beach. These beaches are relatively calm and she enjoys frolicking in the water independently as we don’t really have to worry about the waves and the water being too rough for her.
For younger kids under age of 10, I prefer beaches that have adequate parking, an area to wash off the sand, and bathroom facilities.
For older kids (age +12) who are strong swimmers and are looking for surf, I would recommend Dover Beach, Surfer’s Point and Long Beach.
Artsplash Barbados Play Park
Artsplash play park is located in the Hastings, Christ Church. It is in a great location close to several beaches (Accra beach, Carlisle Bay, Pebbles Beach, Browne’s Beach), restaurants, shopping area called Latern’s Mall, hotels and resorts if you are staying in this central area. Additionally across the street is a lovely boardwalk with ocean views from every viewpoint.
When you approach Artsplash you will see the sign for the Artsplash Center at the front there is a cafe. The food is really delicious! My favorite items on their menu are their sweet potatoes fries with their special dip and smoothies. It’s even convenient for parents as you order the food and they will give you a number and bring the food to you.
Note the play park is at the back of the building. You will see a small access point and gate. Artsplah is the best privately owned outdoor play park you will find in Barbados. The playpark equipment is well maintained and varied in nature. There’s are different sections that appeal to kids of wide spectrum of ages. Let’s start with the area for little toddlers. There’s an area with playhouses and swing set appropriate for kids under 3. The swing set for this age has an enclosed area so that you can push young kids and they won’t fall out.
For the age of kids from toddlers and up there are several climbing frames for them to enjoy. There’s a tall tree-like climbing frame. There’s also another playground climbing structure with poles, bridges, pathways, and slides. This one is definitely a hit with my daughter. There’s also a unique stepping log area which is always fun for kids to try out their balancing skills.
For older kids, the main attraction for them would be the zip line. There are two zip lines that carry the kids from one side of the play park to the next. Definitely looks of fun for kids that love flying in the air. Another interesting apparatus at the play park is a wide dream catcher saucer looking mesh swing. Kids can go from side to side on this.
Kids will also enjoy the merry go round. Make sure you ate your Wheaties and have the energy to push the kids on this. There’s also a sea-saw whereby kids can go up and down. Hopefully, while they are there are kids of similar weight.
What makes this playpark also great is that there are lots of mature trees and the property owners have done a great job with providing shaded canopies throughout the play park. Benches are also provided for you to eat a snack or lunch from their cafe. This is well needed as Barbados is extremely hot all year round. There are bathroom facilities inside the playground area.
I did not see a changing table though for young babies. Note in the Caribbean these are not as popular as in North America. Outside there’s a pavilion area where they host private birthday parties where one can rent the playground area and host a party.
There’s also a local farmer’s market which is set up on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday so if you are interested in getting some local fruits and vegetables its a one-stop shop. You can even get some items that are typically hard to find in the supermarket like soursops, guavas, ground provisions like eddoes and the list goes on. They also have other vendors selling uniquely made local items which would make great souvenir.
TIP: Make sure you bring plenty of water to keep the kids and yourself hydrated. The playpark offers free admission on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday during the same time as the Hastings Farmers Market which is from 8am – 2pm.
Chefette is a local restaurant chain of restaurants in Barbados. They are known for their delicious reasonably priced convenience food. There are 15 locations throughout the island. Some of the popular foods that are served are their tasty Rotis (curry beef and potato, all beef, chicken and potato, all chicken, all potato for vegetarians are served in a flat dough and rolled into one), seasoned broasted (fried) chicken and their milkshakes are always a hit as they are thick and creamy.
Chefette is any kids paradise as there are many throughout the island and they have very modern and well-maintained playgrounds for kids. There are 9 playgrounds throughout Barbados. There are tall slides and climbing frames. There are also smaller areas that are ideal for younger kids which are typically at the bottom of the playground.
I would recommend this park for kids aged 2 years and up due to the fact that sometimes the older kids can play rough. It’s important to supervise all kids especially young kids. Your kids are going to be asking to go there and over and over.
In terms of safety, there is a waiver and liability notice on the door of each playground. Parents are responsible for their kids. The playgrounds do have rubber tiles, the pools are covered with soft rubber foam, and there are grip footholds on the bridge. The company also ensures they close the playgrounds when it rains by locking the door to keep the children out.
The best playgrounds for younger kids are the Charles Rowe Bridge, The Walk at Welches, and Rockley locations. For older kids, the best playgrounds are Lancaster, Black Rock and Widley. There are different structures at each. The two-story playgrounds are at the following locations: Charles Rowe Bridge, Rockley, Six Roads, and Speighstown. The three-story playgrounds are at the following locations: Black Rock, Lancaster, Warrens, Wildey, and the Walk and Welches.
The newest and most spacious location is at Lancaster. This one is one of my favorites lots of benches for parents in the shade. The only negative is the parking there aren’t a lot parking spaces considering the size of the restaurant. My other favorite is the playground at Welches its close to lots of shopping (Hallmark, Carters, Payless, Up Beat), bulk grocery store Cost U Less, restaurants Wok Up, Subway, Coffee Bean, Chutneys and RBs (this is crucial cause sometimes you don’t want to eat what the kids are eating especially if you want healthy options), and a pharmacy, Imart. The Warren’s location is also super convenient to the Massy Grocery Store, a mall, and a gas station.
Once the kids have finished playing I am sure they will be hungry. Chefette offers kids meals. They offer chicken and chips (in Barbados french fries are called chips) and nuggets and chips. No drinks are included with this meal. The kids meals come with a toy included. If your kid fancies pizza they have combo offer deals as well note these do not come with a toy however will come with a drink.
For the parents two of their locations (Rockley and Warrens) have their brand, BBQ Barn which offers dine-in wholesome home cooked food and also have a self service salad bar which I adore especially when I am trying to eat healthily. At BBQ Barn there is a self service salad bar, baked chicken, fish, pork, steak with sides such as well known Bajan macroni pie (this is a must try dish in Barbados), potatoes (served mash, cut fries or baked), rice or seasonal vegetables (FYI most likely will have okra as this is plentiful in Barbados). There are so many options to choose from.
TIP: It’s free and there’s no admission to the play park. This is one of the best things to do with kids in Barbados for those unplanned free days or if it is a rainy or an overcast day. The best and only indoor playground is the Chefette located in Rockley. It is an air-conditioned enclosed big space with an indoor playground which is separated by a door between the restaurant and the playground. This is great for those rainy days when your child needs to blow off some steam.
The best time to visit these playgrounds to avoid crowds is on weekdays when most parents are at work in the early afternoon. On evenings and weekends, the playgrounds can become like a zoo with kids shrieking with excitement. There is lots of seating for the parents around the parameter of the playground so that you can adequately supervise your kids. If you’re a parent be prepared there is no WIFI available for free so make sure you bring some reading content. I have spent hours there with my daughter with no entertainment its makes the time go by slowly.
Education Museums & Sites in Barbados with Kids
Barbados Museum & Historical Society
The Barbados Museum & Historical Society is located in the area known as the Garrison. This property makes up an area that has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Property. The Musuem area is close to many hotels and restaurants in area that is close to all the attractions and one I would deem as the best area to stay in Barbados without a car. The site of the museum was a former British Military Prison. The Prison dates back to 1817 and the Museum was opened in 1930.
There are many really interesting exhibits to see here for kids of any age however I would recommend this excursion for kids age 3 years and up. My daughter’s Blossoms and Brownie Group did a tour here and the kids highly enjoyed it. I believe it is important to teach kids the history of each country and when traveling what better experience than learning historical information about the country you visit. This is the best type of hands-on learning.
The exhibits that they saw were as follows:
- A natural history display that describes the coral structure of Barbados.
- A display of animals found in Barbados
- Artifacts of the Amerindians, the early inhabitants of the Caribbean islands.
- A display on slavery and life on the plantation
- Artifacts on early education, cultural and heritage of Barbados
And so much more.