The sun is warm and inviting. The ocean laps gently at your feet, the seagulls squawk above, you dig your toes in the sand and let the cool ocean breezes carry your worries away …
Your kids have other plans.
Childhood, as you may remember, is a time of discovery, awe and wonder and what better place can offer your child an educational, exciting and adventurous experience like the Turks and Caicos Islands?
Indeed the Turks has bright crystal-clear turquoise water, caves and ruins for exploring and lush mangroves and other vegetation to excite the imaginations of many a curious youngster.
But probably the best and most popular activities for children in the Turks all center around the discovery of exotic marine life and mammals. Indeed these beautiful and pristine Islands are teeming with wildlife and children of all ages will delight in experiencing these most interesting and extraordinary creatures.
Below are the Top 5 animal activities for children:
1. SNUBA or snorkeling – What is SNUBA you may ask? SNUBA is a more lowkey, age-appropriate activity for children. It is not as intense as deep sea diving, but does allow for a child to dive lower than the shallow 20 feet of snorkeling. Obviously, the further into the ocean you dive, the more marine wildlife you will
SNUBA is recommended for children 8 and above. For younger children, snorkeling is a great option for them to experience the water, to see the bright coral reefs and to see brightly-colored schools of fish swimming by.
SNUBA divers will have the opportunity to see many exotic marine life species. Indeed, a dive in the Turks may unearth the many mysteries of the shallow depths below and these may include; yellowtail snappers, lion fish, barracudas, jolt head porgies, sand-sifting mojarras, hawksbill turtles, stingrays, manta rays, starfish, sea urchins, conch shells, green moray eels, lobsters and maybe even the occasional octopus!
With crystal clear visibility, gentle seas, clean, temperate water and an abundance of colorful rare, unusual and exotic marine life, the Turks and Caicos is the ideal place to dive or snorkel.
2. Provo Ponies – For a true experience of a lifetime, be sure to check out Provo Ponies and take a pony ride right on the beach! These gentle and wellbred horses are well-trained and easy to ride. Included in a guided tour with Provo Ponies is a ride down quiet dirt roads and many views of canals, bays and secluded coastlines. Finally comes the best part of all, and the part that the kiddies truly will love…… towards the end of the trip the horses wade into the shallow waters along tranquil Long Bay Hills! The kids will also love getting to know some of the horses and ponies, each with their own unique personalities and habits, like Dreamer, a gorgeous white Arabian horse and Romeo, a stately standardbred and former racehorse from Pennsylvania. Romeo is quite a character and is always a favorite amongst guests. And there are also many native horses that hail from Grand Turk and South Caicos, such as Skittles, a sweet and beautiful red mare who is gentle with the little ones; a great choice for a child’s first ride. Indeed a ride with Provo Ponies will not soon be forgotten.
3. Potcake Place – Potcake Place is a local charity, located right in the heart of Providenciales, that specializes in saving and caring for homeless dogs. These dogs and puppies are called potcakes because decades ago, native Islanders used to feed them the caked leftovers from the bottoms of their pots. The wonderful volunteers of Potcake Place clean the pups up, de-worm them, vaccinate them, socialize them and then foster adoptions. Indeed adoptions have taken place all over the world, and should a visitor to the Turks wish to adopt one of these adorable and friendly pups, PP will even deliver the pup to the airport!
Visitors that cannot take one of these pups home can still help and engage with these lovely animals. A fun activity for kids is to take these puppies on a walk along the beach and let them play, frolic and romp in the warm waters. Indeed children of all ages often love to run, jump, pet and bond with these adorable pups. It can be hard to say goodbye at the end of the day, but a day spent with these lovely dogs creates a wonderful memory and also teaches children about the importance of caring for those less fortunate.
4. JoJo the Dolphin – As if the Turks were not magical and mystical enough, there is a free-roaming dolphin that visits the waters off of Grace Bay Beach, Pine Cay and Coral Gardens named JoJo. JoJo is an Atlantic Bottlenose dolphin that is considered a “National Treasure” and he has his own warden appointed by the government to protect him. What is so extraordinary about JoJo is that he playfully interacts and swims with people voluntarily…..meaning in his own habitat…….a rarity amongst sea creatures to be sure. Some believe him to be an Ambassador dolphin; meaning a sea mammal sent from his own tribe to learn about and interact with other species that dominate the nearby waters. Whatever the reason, a play in the ocean with JoJo will delight any child of any age…..and any adult, also!
5. Donkeys – The free-roaming donkeys of Salt Cay are another delightful addition to the fun and friendly Turks and Caicos Islands. Salt Cay is a tiny, remote island way out past Grand Turk. It is accessible by plane. A visit to Salt Cay is like a trip back in time….with less than 70 people, the crumbling ruins and remains of salt plantations, derelict windmills, and hardly any roads, Salt Cay is a relaxing day trip where history and tradition collide to provide a fascinating glimpse into the Turks and Caicos’ past. Ask the Islanders to regale you with stories about midnight pirate raids back when Salt Cay was a thriving Port of Call and back when the saltines were wealthy and flourishing. After hearing the fascinating pirate tales, the wee ones will love to become acquainted with the friendly donkeys that roam about the island unencumbered; indeed they were left behind when the salt plantations were abandoned. A few donkeys can also be found on Grand Turk, the capitol of TCI.
So, as you can see, there is no shortage of fantastic opportunities to see animals in their natural habitat in TCI. Also worthy of mention, are glow worm tours, which are tours that depart at sunset, where children can see dozens of tiny glow worms explode in bright colors while they mate in the dark waters, and the Undersea Explorer submarine tour, which not only features brightly colored coral reefs and marine mammals, but also features…..a mermaid? Is she real? Is she a figment of your imagination? You will have to come and see for yourself. But one thing is for certain; the Turks and Caicos Islands is a magical and enchanting place for children and youngsters of all ages.