It's not hard to imagine a great day with the kids when you're on the island of Puerto Rico. Heading to the nearest beach will probably do the trick, but there's more to kid-friendly Puerto Rico than sandcastles, and this article will introduce you to all the other fun your kids can have while they're here. Among the choices are a museum designed for children, an exclusive water park, tailored scuba diving lessons, and more.
Museo Del Niño
- A "kids town" where, naturally, no adults are permitted
- A miniature recreation of a typical Puerto Rican plaza
- A wardrobe full of costumes and dress-up accessories
- A science center, complete with computers, information about recycling, and even an exhibit on bugs
- The health hall, where the resident star "Stuffee," an oversized muppet-looking creature, happily zips open and pulls out human body's major organs
- A small TV studio where children can become anchors and report the news in front of working cameras and a live audience
Location: Cristo St., Old San Juan
Kite-Flying at El Morro
Go visit El Morro on a Sunday, and you'll likely find the large green plaza in front of it filled with families picnicking, and the skies above filled with colorful kites. Kite-flying is a popular pastime here, and if you've dragged the kids out on a day of "adult" sightseeing, this can serve as a nice reward. You can purchase kites (they call them chiringas here) at vendors on the street right on the corner of Norzagaray Street at the entrance to the fort grounds. The fort makes for a lovely visual backdrop.
Located in Guaynabo, Scuba Dogs is so named because they claim to be the "Diver's Best Friends." Cute, eh? What's even cuter is Scubadoo Club, Puerto Rico's only scuba kids club for children aged 8-14. The training program includes:
- One day of scuba diving
- Scuba gear rental
- Educational materials
- PADI Seal Team certifications
Scuba Dogs also offers swimming lessons for all ages, including toddlers.
Plaza Las Américas
The mall is a commonplace to take the kids, whether you're on vacation or getting out of your house. But Plaza Las Américas, the Caribbean's largest mall, offers three entertainment options besides shops and the cinema:
- Galaxy Lanes is a modern, 32-lane bowling alley
- Time Out is your standard video game arcade, just like home!
- Plaza Kids Club is a program designed for children aged 4-10. Once you sign your children up, they each receive a Club card and t-shirt that will allow them to participate in a variety of club activities, including music, plays, games, and educational programs. Note: the activities take place only on the last Saturday of every month, so plan accordingly if you want to sign up.
Teatro de los Niños
Paseo La Princesa, the lovely promenade at the foot of Old San Juan, is a busy place and a great destination for families, romantics, and people looking to mingle. There is almost always something going on here, whether it's a Lei Lo Lai Festival, a special event, or just a gathering of locals and tourists soaking in the beauty of the magnificent Raíces (“Roots”) Fountain.
But on the third Sunday of every month, Paseo La Princesa caters to children, hosting an event called Teatro de los Niños, or "Children’s Theater." Held in the afternoon, this free event includes games, live music, clowns, puppet shows, and other treats for kids.
Coqui Water Park
The newest kid-friendly activity in Puerto Rico is also the most exclusive. The Coqui Water Park in Fajardo is the first-ever water park along the banks of the Caribbean and overlooking the Atlantic. Almost 2.5 acres, the park includes waterfalls, rapids, a jungle rope bridge, a 40-foot vertical drop and 26-foot serpentine flume body slide.
There's only one catch: the park is open only to guests of the El Conquistador Resort & Golden Door Spa. It's the culmination of a massive renovation project undertaken by the hotel, but it also puts the hotel a notch above anything else on the island when it comes to entertainment.
The Albergue Olímpico in Salinas is off the beaten path for San Juaneros (it's less than an hour from the capital and about a half hour from Ponce), but it's also the only facility of its kind in Puerto Rico. An outdoor recreation center with plenty of aquatic entertainment, the focus here is sport, fun, and education. It's a place where the whole family can enjoy a day out.