Kingston with Tweens: A Perfect Family Day

by Margeret Bailey, an AOL Travel ContributorPosted Aug 27th 2010 02:44 PM

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Kingston with Tweens: A Family Vacation

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A tropical paradise awaits you as you plan your family vacation in Kingston, Jamaica. Your vacation itinerary will be bursting at the seams as you explore the sights and culture of Kingston with your tweens. With so many things to do in Kingston, even the pickiest tweens will find themselves enjoying their family vacation!


Morning

Our perfect vacation day in Kingston with our tweens started at the Island Grill, located near New Kingston. Tweens will often wake with an insatiable appetite, so a delicious breakfast is a must! When we arrived at the Island Grill, we were greeted by the friendly, accommodating staff that immediately made us feel welcome. The children enjoyed a Jamaican breakfast of authentic ackee and salt fish with johnny cakes. They even had a menu for the less adventurous children, which included French toast served with Ovaltine or Milo, similar to chocolate milk. With something for everyone, this was a delicious start to our day!

The first stop on our Kingston family vacation with the tweens was the Bob Marley Museum located at 56 Hope Road in Kingston (876-927-9152). We grooved to excerpts from Bob Marley and the Wailers' greatest hits and marveled at memorabilia from the renowned singer's life, including instruments and artwork. The tweens got a little first-hand music history and learned that they actually share a taste for reggae music with their parents (who knew tweens and parents could share taste in music?). The Bob Marley Museum offers one-hour tours Monday-Saturday, beginning at 9:30AM. The last tour departs at 4PM. Admission is $20 for adult non-residents and $10 for child non-residents ages 4-12.

Next, we visited the Old Jewish Cemetery, the only Jewish cemetery in Kingston, located at Hunt's Bay in St. Andrew. Taking South Camp Road, we stopped off at Up Park Camp, home of the Jamaica Defense Force. Criminals are tried in the Jamaican "Gun Court" at this location, as well.

Once at the Jewish Cemetery, we strolled through the ancient burial grounds of the early Jewish settlers of Jamaica. Graves date back as far as 1672. The tweens not only learned a little about the Jewish heritage and burial customs, but they also enjoyed the gardens of exotic flowers in the nearby park.

If you're visiting Kingston with tweens, you can't miss the Grosvenor Galleries, located at Grosvenor Terrace, which will give your tweens a taste of the local Jamaican culture and art. We found a few local treasures for ourselves that our tweens helped to select. The arts are a way of life in Jamaica, and the local talent is exceptional.

Afternoon

After a morning filled with local heritage and culture, we were ready for lunch. We stopped at Café Whatson (876-929-4490), an Internet Cafe located at the Devon House (876-929-6602). This historic Jamaican national monument is a beautiful setting for regal events and weddings. At Café Whatson, the tweens were excited to have a moment to catch up with their friends from home on the computers while sipping on cappuccinos and munching sandwiches and pastries. Café Whatson is located at Shop #5 and 6, Devon House, 26 Hope Road, Kingston. It is open 9AM-9PM Monday-Thursday, 9AM-10PM Friday, and 10AM-10PM Saturday and Sunday. The Devon House offers tours 9:30AM-5PM Monday-Saturday. Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for children under 12.

When planning the best family vacation in Kingston, be sure to allow time to enjoy the abundance of afternoon activities the city has to offer. We gave our tweens a choice of going to Blue Mountain, which is the highest point in Jamaica and one of the best spots for coffee, going rafting at Mountain Valley, where there are beaches and gardens, or visiting Lime Cay Beach, which is close to Morgan's Harbour Hotel at Port Royal.

With adventurous spirits, the tweens enthusiastically chose to spend the afternoon at Lime Cay Beach. Port Royal was once a stomping ground for pirates seeking treasure. The tweens, of course, were certain that sunken treasures awaited them in the depths of the ocean waters. With a quick stop at Five Star Water Sports for floats, blow-up rafts, beach balls, snorkeling and scuba diving gear, the tweens were armed and ready for an afternoon of treasure-seeking!

Beautiful weather and crystal clear water complete the picturesque image of what paradise should be! Sailboats dotted the ocean waters, snorkelers dove into the depths, and the adventurous glided through the blue sky on parasails. What family vacation with tweens in a tropical utopia like this would be complete without water sports?

Although we didn't come home loaded down with treasure, we did make memories that will last a lifetime. The tweens enjoyed their family vacation in Kingston, Jamaica so much that they were already planning a trip for the next day to James Bond Beach, where they could go swimming with the stingrays. You know your family vacation has been a success when your tweens finish the day begging for more!
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