Aruba may be best known for its beautiful beaches and perfect weather, but venture off the sand and you’re sure to be amazed by an incredible set of new and exciting things to do. Your kids will love this and thank you later.
Spend Time at a Donkey Sanctuary
As a Dutch island, Donkey Sanctuary has put an Aruban twist on the Dutch practice of ‘koe knuffelen,’ or cow hugging, with their friendly and loving donkeys.
Donkeys have been a part of the island’s culture for 500 years and are extremely affectionate creatures with a gentle nature, making them perfect companions for those seeking a stress-relieving activity. Visit the sanctuary for a private 30-minute hugging and petting session with their friendliest, loving donkeys.
Once the major mode of transportation for island residents, donkeys were left adrift in modern times, with cars now trundling down the same cactus lined pathways where they once traveled, carrying passengers and pulling carts. The idea for a sanctuary, where these beloved animals can live out their lives in a protected environment, became a reality in 1997. After almost 20 years at Santa Lucia, the Donkey Sanctuary moved to a new, and larger location in Bringamosa to house its 130 donkeys.
The distinctive call of the donkey rings out in a welcome salute as visitors approach Aruba’s Donkey Sanctuary. Warm muzzles close in to inspect new arrivals and to offer an additional greeting. The Bringamosa-based sanctuary welcomes guests, offering information and tours of the grounds. Guests can enjoy a cozy visitor center, a cold drink on the covered porch or buy original donkey-themed gifts and souvenirs in the gift shop.
Visit Aruba Ostrich Farm
Although Africa is the native land of the ostrich, this intriguing bird finds a perfect home in Aruba’s rugged landscape. At the Ostrich Farm you can meet over 80-count farm animals including Ostriches and Emus. Guided tours provide the opportunity to learn about the natural behavior and survival instincts of these amazing creatures through detailed information as well as personal encounters with the birds.
Before or after the tour, guests may peruse the Art Shop, a collection of local art and craft. Perhaps simply relax in the shade of the sprawling Savanna Lodge Bar & Restaurant and sample a delicious home-cooked meal or enjoy the panoramic views of the island’s northern coast while sipping on a fruity shake or frosty beer from the bar.
Climb at Hooiberg
Hike up Aruba’s Hooiberg and experience a unique workout with a view. Hooiberg is the direct Dutch translation of the word haystack. The mountain is cone shaped and rises 540 feet up from the center of the Island. Hikers can take about 600 steps to the top, and reaching the summit is extremely rewarding. Enjoy the panoramic views at the top, and take in the encounters with wild goats, parakeets, and colorful lizards on your way up.
Relax at Baby Beach
Take in spectacular ocean views and indulge in shallow, crystal clear water at Baby Beach in the southern part of Aruba, close to San Nicolas. This gorgeous half-moon sandy expanse in a calm lagoon is ideal for families with small kids. The shallow waters make it a prime beach destination for swimmers who like to wade out for a long distance and still touch the sea bottom. Where the bay opens out to the ocean, Baby Beach also offers the perfect location for snorkeling (For your safety, please stay within the marked snorkel area.)
Baby Beach offers a refreshment stand where you can also enjoy a hamburger or hotdog whilst mingling with the locals. Big Mama’s Grill offers barbecue, as well as seafood platters, for those with bigger appetites. Beach beds, windscreens and snorkel gear are available at a rental fee. Complimentary huts are placed throughout the beach to protect you from the sun. A nearby dive shop offers snorkel and dive gear rentals.
Baby Beach is about a 45-minute drive from the Palm Beach hotels.
You can fly direct to Aruba aboard United Airlines from NYC/ Newark ( EWR ), Chicago ( ORD ), Houston ( IAH ) and Washington Dulles (IAD). To book your flight, click here.