It has been almost exactly 4 years since my last post, but not because I’ve been being lazy! Atticus turns 4 this week and my daughter, Isla, is two-and-a-half (and we’re starting potty training)! Having 2 kids and going back and forth between Arkansas and Puerto Rico while maintaining full-time jobs leaves little time for blogging- yet here I am, attempting to get it going again. 🙂
Lately, my world has revolved around the question “what can we do with our kids this weekend” and it’s been thrilling to discover so many new secrets la Isla del Encanto offers us! Having lived in Puerto Rico the past 8 years, I don’t think there’s a beach on this island we haven’t explored, and thankfully my kids are really starting to love the ocean and sand. However, it’s always such a chore to load up the chairs, ice chests, snacks, toys, floaties, towels, sunscreen, etc and by the time we get to the perfect destination, it’s almost naptime! I will eventually do a post about my favorite kid-friendly beaches on the island, but this post is dedicated to all the amazing places we’ve found that are NOT a beach- and they’re honestly just as fun and way less work.
Parque Luis Muñoz Marín
One of the absolute best parks we’ve discovered is Parque Luis Muñoz Marín, located in the Gobernador Piñero district of San Juan, close to Plaza Las Américas (and not to be confused with Luis Muñoz Rivera Park which is on the way to Old San Juan).
I was simply blown away by how beautiful, clean and massive this urban park is, and right in the heart of the city. We first visited it for a dinosaur exhibit but had to stay in our car so I didn’t get the full experience. (And by the way, if they ever have that tour again we will be the first to get tickets!) AH-MAYYYY-ZINNNNG.
But even without an exhibit going on, the park itself is so cool for kids! It has a giant splash pad, rope/climbing mountain, and several different play areas. We took the scooter and balance bike and the kids rode around for hours. Such a great afternoon and next time we want to bring a picnic lunch. (You can also rent bicycles and gazebos if you wanted to have a party there.) It’s $11 for a family of 4 to enter and park and tons of people are there keeping the grounds clean and well maintained, 100% worth the small fee!
Museo del Niño
The Carolina Children’s Museum or El Museo del Niño is absolutely incredible! I’m obviously not a big kid’s museum connoisseur so I don’t have anything to compare it to, but this place is way more than I ever expected. We went ahead and bought season passes (I think it was $99 for a family of 4 vs $30 for a one-time visit) b/c there was way too much to experience in one visit. My kids are obsessed with airplanes so a giant real-life American Airlines plane being parked out front set expectations pretty high (but ironically was the most underwhelming part of the tour)…
The 2-story museum has hundreds of interactive stations including a huge volcano that “erupts” every 15 minutes or so, tons of dress-up and pretend “career” rooms (astronauts, police, a grocery store, dentist, bank, etc) and scientific experiment stations ranging from music to magnets to electricity. There’s no way I can describe how cool each and every area was- I was into it as an adult and could’ve spent hours there myself if I wasn’t chasing 2 very excited toddlers the whole time. And the outside is a whole experience in itself, with a gigantic playground, petting zoo, go-cart track- even a “jungle boat” tour! We spent almost 3 hours there and barely scratched the surface of things to do!!!
Another great option for kids is the impressive T-Mobile District, or Distrito T-Mobile, which I only just found out about a few months ago and have been back at least 5 times. It’s an open air events and entertainment venue with great restaurants and a fun and vibrant atmosphere. There’s a huge green space right in the middle that is perfect for kids to run around, play games and interact with other kids in and the music (either live or blasted from multiple speakers) and lights show makes you feel like your at an outdoor concert the whole time. If you have older kids, check out the ToroVerde Urban Park which has a massive outdoor zip-line, rock-climbing wall and other cool activities, or the Medella Arena, with pool tables, arcades and huge screens playing every sports game imaginable.
Kite Flying at El Morro
And of course, you can’t visit Puerto Rico without checking out El Morro on the weekends. It’s at the tip of Old San Juan and while the cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, vibrant restaurants and historical forts and impressive enough, having a few acres of green grass and the best ocean breeze makes it the prefect place for kite flying! We usually go early on Sundays to avoid as much of the crowds and traffic as possible but it’s still a bit hectic finding a parking spot so be prepared to walk!
Ferry to Cataño
If you’re looking for something a little more laid back, I highly recommend taking the 12-minute ferry ride across the San Juan Bay to the quaint little town of Cataño, Puerto Rico, home of the Bacardi Rum Plant.
Obviously we didn’t partake in the rum tour (unfortunately) but the town itself is a colorful, laid-back and well-maintained waterfront Mecca of playgrounds, painted piers and wide sidewalks for kids to ride, skate or scoot their little hearts out! We went on a Saturday morning so not a whole lot was open but there were tons of little kiosks offering a menu of drinks and fried foods, outdoor music stages and an impressive collection of lights outlining all the street poles and art exhibits sprinkled throughout the city center. The restaurants also looked very modern and hip so we can’t wait to visit at night!
These are just a few of our favorite things to do with kids in Puerto Rico, that isn’t the beach! Coming up in the next few months includes a Disney Cruise (from San Juan to the Caribbean), visiting different barrios throughout the island and of course, lots of beaches!
Megan & family