Barbados, a gem in the Caribbean, is a paradise that offers more than just sun-kissed beaches and azure waters. One of the key reasons why Barbados is family-friendly is its wide array of activities that cater to all age groups. The island offers a perfect blend of adventure, relaxation, and educational experiences that keep both children and adults entertained.
A must-visit attraction in Barbados is the Submarine Atlantis. This adventure takes you on a journey beneath the surface of the Caribbean Sea, offering a unique perspective of the island’s vibrant marine life. The submarine dives down to 150 feet, providing a panoramic view of coral reefs, and tropical fish, and we even spied a historic shipwreck. The night dive is particularly enchanting, as the submarine’s lights illuminate the underwater world, creating a magical spectacle. The Submarine Atlantis is not just an adventure, but also an educational experience, making it a hit among children and adults alike. Kids have to be taller than 3 feet and above the age of 3 years old. https://www.barbados.atlantissubmarines.com/
For those who prefer to stay on land, the Discovery Safari with Island Safari offers an equally thrilling experience. This 4-hour off-road adventure takes you through the island’s lush landscapes, rugged terrains, and hidden spots that are inaccessible by regular vehicles. We took in the majestic lion at Gun Hill and on off-road to Hackleton’s Cliff. The route also took us along the rugged East Coast with a photo stop at Bathsheba which is spotted with rock formations all along the coast. The knowledgeable guides share fascinating insights about the island’s history, culture, and flora and fauna, making the tour both fun and educational. learning about the history of rum, sugar and tobacco along the way.
HARRISON’S CAVE AND ZIPLINE
Another attraction that combines adventure and education is Harrison’s Cave which was officially opened to the public in 1981. The Boyce Tunnel, named after equipment operator Noel Boyce who broke ground to open the cave’s natural passageways, leads to the entrance of the cave. Beyond this point, Harrison’s Cave is a massive stream cave system that is at least 2.3 kilometres long. Interior temperature is an average 27 degrees Celsius and its largest cavern, the Great Hall measures 15 metres high. The tram tour takes you through the cave where you can take pictures of this crystallized limestone cave featuring flowing streams, deep pools, and towering columns.
For the more adventurous, there’s the option of a 100-foot plus zip line tour which creates the best memories with the family as you scream and hurl your way around the zip lines enjoying every minute of the scenes from high up in the hill tops. The Bird Aviary, located near the cave, is a delight for bird lovers. Here, you can observe and interact with a variety of exotic bird species in their natural habitat. A complete delight for little ones!
ST. NICHOLAS ABBEY
Built-in 1658, this Jacobean Great House is only one of three existing in the Western Hemisphere. The Property has been tastefully restored as a sustainable heritage attraction and working plantation, producing its own unique single cask rums, which has received international acclaim. The tour includes the Great House, gardens, a small museum, factory, distillery, not to be missed short movie circa 1930 and rum tasting. For the enthusiast, the private Rum Experience Tour, is bookable on select days with owner, Larry Warren. https://stnicholasabbey.com/
ST. NICHOLAS ABBEY HERITAGE RAILWAY
The St. Nicholas Abbey Heritage Railway, completed in late 2018, is the newest family attraction at St. Nicholas Abbey Great House Plantation and Distillery. Journey through the plantation’s grounds on our beautiful steam locomotive. Your narrated tour takes you past the historic St Nicholas Abbey Great House, around the lake, home to wild waterfowl and migratory birds, and through the mature mahogany woodlands. The tour culminates at Cherry Tree Hill, an elevated point offering breathtaking highland views of the island’s rugged east coast. The round-trip tour takes approximately one hour; on your return to the main grounds, you can visit our gift shop and cafe, or add on a tour of the Great House. https://snahr.com/
After a day of adventure, unwind at the Tapas restaurant. Located on the south coast boardwalk, this restaurant offers a stunning view of the ocean. The menu features a variety of tapas and international dishes, catering to diverse palates. The relaxed ambience and delicious food make it a perfect place for a family dinner. Dishes include Tuna Tartare, Crab Cake, Mushroom Truffle Risotto, Lamb Shank With Bean Stew and Mashed Potatoes West Indian Curry alongside an impressive rum and cocktail list. https://www.tapasbarbados.com/DMA/public/default.asp
For RnB and Hip Hop fans, you can now visit the home in which global superstar Rhianna grew up. The backstreet which is located on the outskirts of Bridgetown is now known as Rihanna Drive and has become a cultural landmark. The green and yellow house accented with red trimmings and bright blue pavements is in pristine condition set on the side of a narrow road. https://www.visitbarbados.org/take-a-step-into-rihanna-drive
HISTORY AND HERITAGE
The history and culture of Barbados is unique. The island was colonised by the English early in the 17th century and transformed by the plantation system and slavery to become the world’s number one sugar producer by 1650. One of the oldest continuing parliamentary democracies outside England, Barbados achieved universal voting rights in 1943 and opted for full independence from the UK in 1966. You can enrich your Barbados experience by visiting amazing historical places, including Gun Hill Signal Station, George Washington House and the Parliament Buildings in historic Bridgetown. https://www.visitbarbados.org/things-to-do/experiences/history-culture?pageindex=1
Another part of Barbados’ history shows that the first known Muslim to arrive in Barbados was over 100 years ago when in 1910 Bashart Ali Dewan, a silk merchant from West Bengal came to Barbados. Soon after, more Bengalis arrived and they shared a house in Wellington Street, in the City. Some of them also lived in Milk Market and Tudor Street (upstairs Bata Shoe Shop) in Bridgetown. Most of these Bengalis married local Barbadian women and started families in Bridgetown. Today many well-known Barbadians are the grandchildren of these unions. The island’s mosques welcome visitors, offering an opportunity for tourists to connect and learn about the local Islamic community and the South Asian history in Barbados. More info here: https://barbadoshalalexperience.com/services-and-products
In conclusion, Barbados is a family-friendly destination that offers a diverse range of activities and experiences. Whether it’s exploring the underwater world in a submarine, going on a jeep safari, visiting a limestone cave, dining at a Tapas restaurant, or experiencing the history and heritage of the island- there’s something for everyone in the family. So, pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable family vacation in Barbados.
To plan a visit to Barbados check out https://www.visitbarbados.org/ for more information.