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 waves. Not everyone enjoys the beach, or if your visit coincides with bad weather you'll likely need a backup plan.
The island offers various types of historical, cultural, and outdoor activities for all different ages. Whether they're exploring a museum or exploring underwater, your kids will never get bored in Puerto Rico.
Museo Del Niño
Young kids normally don't get too excited about visiting a museum, but the Museo del Niño, or Children's Museum, is a worthwhile exception. Located in the town of Carolina about 20-minutes outside of San Juan, the Museo del Niño is a world that blends learning and entertainment specifically designed for little ones.
Some of the kid-friendly exhibitions include learning about magnets; playing with different instruments; and a "mini-city" for kids to make believe they are firefighters, bankers, supermarket clerks, or whatever they can imagine. Kids can learn while having fun through the many interactive exhibits that focus on alternative energy and conservation.
The museum is closed every Monday and Tuesday.
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 (called chiringas in Puerto Rican Spanish) at vendors on the street right on the corner of Norzagaray Street at the entrance to the fort grounds. The fort, designated a National Historic Site by the U.S. government, 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 through 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 common getaway to take the kids, whether you're on vacation or just getting out of your house. But Plaza Las Américas, the largest mall in the Caribbean and second largest in Latin America, offers entertainment options besides shopping and the cinema.
Time Out is a video arcade that's popular with young kids and teenagers. You likely didn't travel to an island to play video games, but when kids get tired of the beach or the weather is limiting, an arcade can be a godsend.
For the youngest members of the family, there is also a children's play area just outside the Sear's exit into the mall designed for children aged 5 and under.
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 traditional Lei Lo Lai dance performance 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
This 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 a 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.
More than just a gym, the Albergue Olímpico contains swimming pools and water parks; baseball, softball, and soccer fields; miniature golf; and rock climbing, all with tropical rainforests as the backdrop to your activities. It's a place where the whole family can enjoy a day out.