Ambassadors of the Environment
Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment programme at the Ritz-Carlton offers kids from 4-18 a chance to learn about Cayman’s natural environment and cultural heritage. There is a huge range of activities, including eco-tours, snorkelling and photography, for both young kids and teenagers. All programmes start at the Heritage House, and are usually a half day. Costs range from $50 to $60 per child.
MarineLand Tours (tel: 945-8687) offers one of the more unique ways of seeing the island in their Hydra Terra amphibious bus. Tour George Town and some of the island’s historic sites by bus, and the drive into the water to continue your exploration of the sea. The 2 hour trip includes snorkelling and a fish feeding show. Cost is $42 per adult, $38 per child, residents receive a 10% discount. Kids must be over 3.
The bioluminescence tour is a truly magical experience and one you could only find in a handful of places on the planet. Bioluminescence lights up the night seas like an underwater firework display, as every movement made by fish, paddle or human hand creates a trail of sparkles.
Cayman Kayaks (tel: 925-4467) offers tours on evenings when the moon is not too full – see their website for a calendar of dates each month. Kids must be over 8 years old. The tours in 2-man kayaks leave from Rum Point at 7:20pm and 9pm and last approximately 2 hours. Expect to get a little wet, so bring a change of clothes (there are dry bags to store valuables during the trip). Cost is US $59 for adults over 13, and $29 for kids age 8-12.
For younger kids, Cayman Sea Elements (tel: 945-7525) offer boat tours across the North Sound and around the bioluminescence bay – you can even jump in and swim in the twinkly sea. Tours depart from Yacht Club at 7pm on evenings when the moon is not full, and last about 2.5 hours. Cost is US $55 per adult or $11 for kids under 11.
Cayman Islands National Museum
Housed in the country’s oldest existing building, the Cayman Islands National Museum (Harbour Drive, tel: 949-8368) celebrates the islands’ natural and cultural heritage. There is a special Children’s Gallery which encourages children to interact with display based around the current exhibition in the Changing Gallery. Admission is $6.40 per adult, $2.40 for children age 6-12, free for kids under 5 (with a 30% discount on Saturdays). Open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm, Saturday 10am-2pm, closed Sunday.
Cayman Motor Museum
One of the largest private collection of cars in the world, the Cayman Motor Museum (864 Northwest Point Rd, tel: 947-7741) has an impressive number of Ferraris and classic cars. Kids will especially enjoy seeing the original Batmobile and a working reproduction of the 1886 Benz, the first car ever made. Open Monday to Saturday from 9am-5pm (November through May) and from 9am-2pm (June through August). Closed Sundays and throughout September.
Cayman Turtle Farm
The Cayman Turtle Farm (786 Northwest Point Rd, West Bay, tel: 949-3894) is a wildlife park where you can touch and play with green sea turtles, go nose-to-nose with the sharks in the Predator Tank and feed native birds in an aviary. The Turtle Farm’s mission is also to conserve turtles, whose numbers have fallen dramatically in the surrounding waters, as well as rear them for turtle meat, a traditional Caymanian food since the days when the islands were an important provisioning stop for sailors crossing the Atlantic.
In addition to the wildlife encounters, the Turtle Farm offers visitors a recreation of a traditional Caymanian street, a lagoon for snorkelling and a pool with waterfall and water slide for swimming. There is also a restaurant and various snack kiosks for ice creams. Residents rates offer a good deal at $10 per adult, $4 for children under 12 and free for children under 4. Open Monday to Saturday 8am to 5pm, Sundays 11am to 5pm (closed Christmas Day and Good Friday).
The Jolly Roger pirate ship (tel: 945-7245) takes you on a two hour journey back in time to the days when pirates roamed our seas. Pirate trials, sword fights, attacks on cruise ships and lots of swashbuckling are all part of the adventure. Kids will enjoy helping hoist the mainsail, firing the canon, and even walking the plank. The ship also stops for a swim at the reef, so bring swimsuits.
Tours leave Monday, Wednesday and Friday from the South Terminal (near Atlantis). Check-in is at 1:45pm. Cost is $30 for adults, $16 for kids age 2-12.
Market at The Grounds
Held every Saturday morning from 6:30am-1pm at The Grounds (Agricola Drive, Lower Valley), this weekly farmers market has a range of local produce, from vegetables and herbs to chicken and eggs. It is a great place to sample Caymanian cuisine and buy the freshest food available on island. Local crafts such as jewellery, sea salt and traditional thatched goods are also for sale. Kids will enjoy the large playground and maize located just behind the main pavilion.
There is also a smaller version of the Farmers Market every Wednesday afternoon at Camana Bay from 12 noon to 7pm in the shed on the corner of Market Street and Forum Lane.
Pedro St James
Built in 1780 as a great house for an early English settler, Pedro St James (Pedro Castle Rd, Savannah, tel: 947-3329) is one of the oldest buildings in Cayman and is set in one of the most beautiful spots on the island. Its historical significance comes alive with a visit to the multimedia theatre where you can get an insight into life in Cayman days of old. The twenty-minute multi-sensory 3D presentation, which includes props, vapors and water, is something kids will enjoy. Shows run on the hour from 10am to 4pm daily. After exploring the great house and its outbuildings, take a walk around the stunning grounds and enjoy the views of the Caribbean Sea. Admission is $8 per adult, children under 12 are free. Open daily from 9am to 5pm.
Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park
The Queen Elizabeth Botanic Park (off Frank Sound Rd, North Side, tel: 947-9462) is a 65 acre site with woodland trails, flower gardens, a lake and wetlands. It is also home to the Blue Iguana Recovery where Grand Cayman’s blue iguanas, which are found nowhere else in the world, have been pulled back from the brink of extinction. These large iguanas roam freely through the park, along with other native wildlife including agoutis, butterflies and birds. Kids will enjoy the Colour Garden and Heritage Garden, while a walk along the Orchid Boardwalk is also fun. Admission is $8 per adult, kids under 12 are free. Open daily 9:30am to 5:30pm (last admission is 4:30pm), closed Christmas Day and Good Friday.