Rosheda Stephenson calls NYC and the Caribbean home. Her travel articles are meant to inspire passion, adventure and curiosity.
To say that Grand Cayman is all about the ocean is no overstatement. Visitors to the island will find a reverence and celebration of the ocean which permeates everything on the island. The happy result is that your family vacation to Grand Cayman will mean your kids spend their days exploring not only the beach, but also the colorful life that lives beneath the ocean. For teenagers and 'tweens this means snorkeling or scuba diving in some of the the coolest dive sites in the world. Toddlers will love petting Grand Cayman's giant turtles, or just being awed by the stingrays in popular Stingray City. If somehow the kids get tired of the ocean, there are tropical gardens and museums that the whole family can enjoy. Here is a list of the best things to do with kids in Grand Cayman.
1. Play With Stingrays at Stingray City
Stingray City is the rare place where human beings get to interact with stingrays in their natural habitat. Families with kids are often surprised when they realize that although they are out in the middle of the ocean, the kids can in fact stand in the shallow waters of the stingray haunt. It is this fact that makes Stingray City the number one thing to do with kids in Grand Cayman.
Stingray City is really a sandbar in the middle of the ocean where fishermen used to throw out the refuse from their catch. The stingrays came to expect food in this spot, and made it a kind of home. Today, instead of fishermen, daily tours to the area bring people who the stingrays willingly swim up to, and sometimes even allow to pet them.
Imagine how thrilled your little ones will be to find that they can easily stand in the 2-4 feet deep waters of Stingray City. If you have a younger toddler, you can easily hold him for close views of the graceful creatures, or just let him watch from the safety of your boat. While Stingray City is great for toddlers, the whole experience is a great family activity for older siblings as well.
As Stingray City is only accessible by water, a boat tour is the most common way to get there. These can be arranged through your hotel or privately through a reputable company like Crystal Charters.
2. Take Toddlers to Go "Aargh!" With Pirates on a Pirate Cruise
The Caribbean has a colorful history of rowdy pirates patrolling the seas in search of treasure laden European ships making the journey between the Caribbean colonies and the European mainland. While the mayhem they unleashed was nowhere as romantic as it seems in the movies, pirates are forever etched in children's minds as either heroes or lovable villains.
If you have a pirate loving toddler, indulge his fantasy on one of Grand Cayman's realistic looking pirate ships where he will get to participate in a wild, interactive experience that he will be talking about for months Your toddler will never forget walking the plank, sailing on a galleon or going aargh with the pirates onboard. Pirating is big in the Cayman Islands and they do it well, so be prepared for a day of wild family fun in what must be the wildest thing to do with kids in Grand Cayman.
3. Pet Giant Sea Turtles at Cayman Turtle Center
Although toddlers will be particularly awed by the close up encounters with the gigantic sea creature, this is really an activity that the whole family will enjoy.
The Cayman Turtle Center is your families' chance to learn all about turtles in a refuge facility set on a gorgeous blue lagoon.There are daily talks on turtle care and a short film showcasing the special place turtles play in Caymanian culture. There are opportunities to interact with the turtles either through petting in a touch tank for the toddlers, or actually getting into a tank with them for the older ones.
The most interesting thing about the Turtle Farm is probably the sheer size of some of the turtles who call it home. Both kids and adults will be amazed at how big these ocean creatures can get. Also look out for the resident crocodile and the shark tank.
Because of the size of the turtle farm, expect to spend about two hours there. To make it a whole day affair, check out the center's adjoining play center where waterslides and other play structures guarantee hours of fun. For information on rates, hours and more, visit www.turtle.ky
4. Take Toddlers to Play With Starfish at Starfish Point
Like Stingray City, Starfish Point's shallow, clear water make it a perfect place to experience life beneath the ocean. However, unlike Stingray City, one may actually walk from the beach out into the calm, clear water and experience the orange and pink starfish that make this beach their home. Starfish Point is the popular name given to a beach (actually called Kai Point beach) that boasts calm water because of its sheltered location. However, this beach is more than just a beach: a short walk into the ocean unveils the most beautiful starfish just swimming around or lazying on the ocean's floor. Starfish Point is especially ideal for toddlers who can easily be carried out into the calm waters of this beach for an authentic interaction with these colorful sea creatures.
The beach is in a remote location (a short drive from Rum Point, at the end of Water Cay Road). As Starfish Point is close to Stingray City, it may also be experienced as an add on to a Stingray City tour.
5. Smell Tropical Flowers at Queen Elizabeth II Botanical Gardens
From its resident blue iguanas to the Floral Color Garden, the Queen Elizabeth II Gardens is a study in a multi-hued tropical ecosystem. Show your toddler rare sights like the endangered Blue Iguanas that roam the gardens where they are being bred to bolster their numbers; also look out for rare palm trees and the rare West Indian Whistling Duck on the garden's lake.
The garden is also an oasis for butterflies and rainbow hued parrots that can be spotted through the trees. If you visit in the latter part of February, look out for the garden's gorgeous orchid show, which includes some unique breeds that can only be seen in Grand Cayman. Visits can be arranged through your hotel or at botanic -park.ky.
6. Swim With Dolphins at the Dolphin Discovery Center
Like many other Caribbean destinations, Grand Cayman has an exciting swim with dolphins program that for those kids who have never encountered the creatures in water will be one of the highlights of the trip. The island’s program called Dolphin Discovery is a few hours of amazing interaction with the gentle water creatures that is a great way to spend the day with older kids.
Among other things, the dolphins are actually trained to give their human visitors what can best be described as a dolphin ride through the large pool. Visitors hold on to the dolphin’s fin and the dolphin swims through the water while its human friend hangs on tight. Since the experience involves such close encounters with the creatures, only kids age 8 years and older can participate in the paid program. This makes the program best for teenagers. However, if your younger child insists, the center will allow young kids to swim with an adult as long as the younger child is only allowed to touch or kiss the dolphins.
7. Take Teens Parasailing or Jet Skiing Around the Islands
When planning activities for teenagers the more adventurous and extreme the activity, the more enjoyed it's likely to be. Parasailing and jet skiing are arguably the most extreme things to do with teenagers in Grand Cayman.
Grand Cayman is but one of a string of sandy islands that make up the Cayman Islands. Tour the islands from the sea with your teens on exhilarating jet skis or adrenaline inducing parasails. Watersports and boating are well represented in Grand Cayman so there are numerous ways to organize parasailing or jet ski rentals. Check with your hotel for recommendations.
8. Dive a Real Shipwreck (Kittiwake Shipwreck)
The Cayman Islands are popular world wide for their awesome dive sites. For teenagers who love scuba diving or snorkeling, the Kittiwake shipwreck is a good way to follow a guided dive (much of the wreck can also be seen by snorkeling) into a real vessel, even if not a certified diver.
The wreck is actually the remains of a U.S Navy rescue submarine. Although fairly new, the site already has extensive coral growth and a decent amount of colorful fish that have already made it home. Uncertified but experienced teenaged divers may follow a guided tour with a dive master through a program like the Discover Scuba Diving program at Divetech. Divetech is well regarded for safe and professional dives with modern technology.
9. Admire Really Old Cars and Boats at Cayman Motor Museum
Admittedly this is a rather non-tropical thing to do with kids in Grand Cayman, but If your teen likes cars or cool, shiny things this place is the one to see. The collection includes an authentic bat-mobile from an early batman movie and a cool looking Excalibur Phaeton III.
10. See Ocean Life Sculptures at Davinoff's
In the Cayman Islands, even the art focuses on the ocean. Davinoff's sculptures reflect just how much Caymanians love the ocean. Located in the front yard of the artist, the whimsical concrete sculptures include renditions of a dolphin surrounded by fish, a mermaid, a giant crab and an octopus.
The sculptures exude a cool, playful vibe that especially appeals to tweens and teens. Teenaged visitors invariably start snapping selfie after selfie upon seeing the unusual art. The great thing about a trip to Davinoff's is that the kids can admire the art and take selfies for as long as they like as the sculptures are open to the public for free. To get there, check with your hotel for directions to the Davinoff's.
11. Laze on Some of the Best Beaches in the World
One cannot visit the Cayman Islands without visiting the beach. The beaches on the islands are rated among the best in the world. With good reason too. With the clearest, turquoise waters and calm waves, these beaches are perfect for families just looking to build sandcastles or enjoy some calm warm waves.
The Seven Mile and Governor's beaches are particularly good, but can get packed on a Sunday when local families flock to the beach for a day of relaxation. Visit on a weekday, and plan to snorkel and swim in some of the clearest water in the world. End the day admiring one of the Cayman Island's famous lavender orange sunsets. For general information on planning a trip to a Caymanian beach, visit the Cayman government's tourism site at www.caymanislands.ky.
From extreme adventures like parasailing to calm days spent building sandcastles at the beach, this list of things to do with your kids in Grand Cayman will ensure a family vacation that will be fun for every member of your family. Happy travels!
© 2016 Rosheda Stephenson
Rosheda Stephenson (author) on April 16, 2018:
So happy you found this helpful. Have a great vacation.
Lauren on February 13, 2018:
Thanks for this article! The pirate cruises and starfish point did not come up on Trip Advisor as local attractions, this helped me find activities for the kids.