Do your kids have favorite films where animals can talk like humans? Can you imagine a place that lets children make friends with marine life, just like in the movies?

curacao for kids

 

Curacao is a Caribbean island only a few miles off the coast of Venezuela. Inspired by previous Dutch settlers and its close proximity to South America, Curacao is not your typical resort destination. Instead, it can offer your family a chance to connect closely with marine life, learn about new cultures and enjoy many more activities in a beautiful, tropical paradise because Curacao is for kids!

 

Get in the ocean

The creatures behind the glass are a thrill to see, but what if you could get even closer? At the Curacao Aquarium, there are some interesting exhibits – take a peek at the colorful fish tanks, flamingoes and even shark feeding exhibit. But to experience something over the top, head back outside to Animal Encounters. By signing up ahead and paying a reasonable fee, the aquarium allows guests to really get wet, wild and become one with the marine life.

curacao for kids in ocean

Along the side of the main building is a natural inlet that feeds directly into the ocean. There are several sections roped off by underwater nets. In the main tank, your family dons snorkeling equipment provided and immediately is surrounded by zipping yellow fish and stingrays (they are perfectly safe). Head divers give you and the kids little fish to feed the animals with, including the rays that will curiously glide right into your lap.

The real thrills begin during big critter snack time. On the roped nets below the water are plexiglass panels with small holes. This lets snorkelers swim over to the separated sections that hold even more new marine friends. You can feed loggerhead turtles, nurse sharks and lemon sharks. Nurse sharks will delight the kids, as they suck up the fish through the holes like powerful vaccums.

At the end, don’t forget to say goodbye to Herby. Herby resides in a shadowy corner of the main tank and will come out to greet your clan, slowly but surely. He is a 25-year old, 200-pound Goliath Grouper that lets you pet him like a puppy.

Although the Aquarium was by far a highlight of Curacao, especially for energetic kids, there was so much else to see and do as well for the whole family.

curacao for kids market food produce

Taste the culture rainbow

Most people who live in Curacao are polyglots. This means they speak multiple languages! Locals switch from their native tongue of Papiamentu over to Dutch, Spanish and English. It’s impressive to watch tour guides spin prose to an international audience. It’s also a perfect way for kids to pick up a few new words! Little ones may cheekily enjoy the quintessential Curacao word “dushi”. It means sweet or very good, used as a term of endearment or to describe some great eats.

Not only are all these wonderful languages on display, so are a variety of traditional influences from all over the world. For instance, Indonesians fled to the island during past wars, allowing many to settle and start their own businesses. Indonesian food is predominant is some areas, so bring the kids to try some flavorful and exotic dishes at Tempo Doeloe.

curacao for kids local music dining

Dine deeper downtown and sample some local grilled meats at the Marshe Bieuw, or Old Market. Kids into tunes will love a trip further out on the main road of the island to visit Jaanchie’s–a staple Curacao restaurant serving only a few signature dishes through a verbal menu. Don’t skip a small side of the stewed iguana! There’s often a trio band playing old Spanish songs, accompanied by songbirds that frequent the foliage just outside.

Get a little more out of your getaway with an experience in Curacao–curiosities, wildlife and crazy cuisine all rolled into one.

For more information visit:
Explore Curacao
Jaanchie’s
Curacao Sea Aquarium

Eileen Cotter Wright

Author Eileen Cotter Wright

Eileen Cotter is a freelance travel journalist and owner of Pure Wander. She's our resident expat extraordinaire and falls down a lot in yoga class. Follow her on Twitter @Crooked_Flight

More posts by Eileen Cotter Wright

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