Paris Permenter & John Bigley's
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Family Activities in Grand Cayman

Turtle Farm

Cayman's most visited attraction is the Turtle Farm, located on Grand Cayman in the town of West Bay.. Here you’ll have a chance to get up close and personal with green sea turtles, viewing them as eggs, hatchlings, and in various sizes as they work their way up towards adulthood. Some reach 600 pounds, and can be viewed slowly swimming in an open-air tank in the center of the farm.

The Turtle Farm is one of the Caribbean’s most popular attractions for children. They can learn a great deal about these marine creatures as well as other wildlife found on Grand Cayman at this farm. The favorite part for children is the holding tank, where they can pick up a turtle. (A tip: Have your child hold the turtle vertically. As long as he’s held horizontally, he’ll flap around and try to “swim” away.) This is a great place for some terrific vacation photos.

Stingray City

The top watersports attraction on Grand Cayman is Stingray City, the place for your family to act out Jacques Cousteau fantasies. It’s an area where numerous operators introduce vacationers to one of the most unique experiences in the Caribbean.

Following a short boat ride, visitors don snorkel gear and swim with the stingrays just offshore at several stops. Accustomed to being fed, the stingrays (which range in size from about one to six feet across) are docile and friendly, brushing against swimmers and even allowing themselves to be held and petted. About 30 stingrays frequent this area.

Even non-swimmers can enjoy the shallowest stop, the Sandbar. Use your own judgment on this attraction. We’ve seen many school age children participating but you should realize that the rays are large and will come close and often brush against anyone in the water.


There’s no visiting Grand Cayman without seeing what lies beneath the water’s surface. But you don’t even have to get wet to enjoy the underwater sights of the Caribbean. The Atlantis submarine, offers hourly dives six days a week. For 50 minutes, you’ll feel like an underwater explorer as you dive to a depth of 100 feet below the surface. It’s a unique opportunity to view colorful coral formations and sponge gardens, and identify hundreds of varieties of tropical fish. The submarine has individual porthole windows for each passenger, plus cards to help you identify fish species. A pilot and co-pilot point out attractions during the journey.

Although Grand Cayman has long been the home of the Atlantis submarine, it is also home base for the Nautilus. This 80-foot semi-submersible submarine, docked in George Town, has provided a one-hour tour to view the rich marine life of the bay. The sub goes out about three-fourths of a mile offshore offering visitors a chance to view two shipwrecks and to watch a diver feed a variety of tropical fish. Good for families with children and for anyone claustrophobic, travelers sit in a glass hull six feet beneath the surface but can go up on deck anytime during the trip. Guests can choose to go out for one hour, or to stay for an extra half-hour for snorkeling and swimming.

Another inexpensive option is the Seaworld Explorer, located next to Atlantis Submarine on South Church Street. Like the Nautilus, it is a good option for those who might feel a little claustrophobic about a submarine adventure (it does not go below the water’s surface). Visitors descend into a glass observatory and view marine life as well as two shipwrecks. The Explorer travels to the Cali, a schooner that hit the reef in 1944, and the Balboa, a freighter from Cuba destroyed by a hurricane. Today the wrecks are encased in corals and filled with fish life. Seaworld Explorer tours last one hour.

Pirate Cruise

To feel like one of the pirates of the Caribbean, consider a cruise aboard the Jolly Roger, an authentic replica of a 17th century galleon. Cruises take families on a rollicking pirate excursion or an elegant dinner cruise.

Butterfly Farm

Part of the same family of butterfly farms that operate in St. Martin and Aruba, this farm opened in 2003 showcasing exotic butterflies in an open-air, mesh structure. You'll take a guided tour of the building and learn all about the life cycles of the free-flying butterflies. The farm is a good bargain for visitors who are staying a few days: your ticket is good for your entire stay!

Botanical Gardens

Outside the city of George Town, the population is sparse and the atmosphere is rural. Located about 25 minutes from George Town, the Queen Elizabeth Botanic Park, a 65-acre park filled with native trees, wild orchids, as well as birds, reptiles, and butterflies. Here our family enjoyed a self-guided tour and a quiet look at the flora and fauna that make the Cayman Islands special.


From the North Side most tours travel to the East End, home of the Blow Holes. Park and walk down to the rugged coral rocks that have been carved by the rough waves into caverns. As waves hit the rocks, water spews into the air, creating one of the best photo sites on the island. Keep children back from the water's edge, however; this is a dangerous area.

Cayman Islands National Museum

Just under 30,000 people populate the island, and almost half live in the capital city of George Town. Save a few minutes for a tour of the Cayman Islands National Museum on Harbour Drive. This excellent two-story museum traces the history of the Cayman Islands, including the islands’ natural history.

Back to Cayman with Kids


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