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What to do for active family


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We will be heading there in September and looking for an excursion to do and totally at a loss.  Our original plans were to do a day pass at the hotel with the private island and enjoy the flamingos and beach but didn't know it was adult only island (other than 1 hour in the morning) so now searching for the next best idea. 
We will be traveling with our 5 year old son who is busy, busy, busy and enjoys a thrill (he's my adrenaline junky) so doing an all day beach thing doesn't really interest him too much (he gets board quickly).  He is also on the autism spectrum and has severe ADHD behaviors so a guided sit down tour bus to learn history or walking and looking at shops is totally out of the question - however something like an ATV or off-road jeep he would love.  

I have been looking at RIU but not sure if its worth $400 to visit.  I have also been looking into De Palm Island (he would love the water slides) but it seems like it gets hit and miss reviews and to be honest the pictures don't really scream "visit me, I'm gorgeous" but again pictures don't always tell the whole story.  
I have read that Eagle / Manchebo beach is beautiful as is Palm Beach but again not sure if we can kill all day at one place.  

We will be in Aruba from 8am-9pm and struggling to find something to do. 
Any insight to any of these places - or ideas of what would be good to see/do?

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We rented a car back in april. We visited the donkey sanctuary, Philip's garden with the animals, 2 beaches for snorkeling and the mines. We were there for about 8 hours.  If your son likes animals he'll like philips.

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I've read several of your posts and I understand your dilemma. I worked with children with autism and also kids with adhd for 30 years. I know that you need to keep your son busy, but do something that's not going to be so challenging that none of you enjoy your day. 

 

My first suggestion would have been Depalm Island but I read your post about the water park being closed. My next suggestion would be to look at Depalm Tours. They list an off-road tour on their website that stops at the ostrich farm, donkey sanctuary, some cool caves, and goes to Baby Beach. The water there is shallow and perfect for kids. You can also snorkel there, just make sure that you stay in the protected area. I'm not sure if this tour is available through your ship. If not,  see if you can rent it on your own. 

 

Another suggestion would be to take a taxi to Splash Park Aruba. You can google it and see pictures.  There are chairs and umbrellas there, along with a restaurant.  It is located on Surfside Beach,  not far from the ship, and close to the airport.  We enjoy watching the planes coming and going. 

 

Lastly, I suggest taking the bus or taxi to Palm Beach and renting chairs and an umbrella for the day. The water there is consistently calm, and there are lots of restaurants and shops right there.

 

You might enjoy spending some time walking along the harborfront, near the ship. There are lots iguanas just past the walkway, and restaurants and some shops.

 

Edited by Hatteras51
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On 7/15/2019 at 12:51 PM, Hatteras51 said:

I've read several of your posts and I understand your dilemma. I worked with children with autism and also kids with adhd for 30 years. I know that you need to keep your son busy, but do something that's not going to be so challenging that none of you enjoy your day. 

 

My first suggestion would have been Depalm Island but I read your post about the water park being closed. My next suggestion would be to look at Depalm Tours. They list an off-road tour on their website that stops at the ostrich farm, donkey sanctuary, some cool caves, and goes to Baby Beach. The water there is shallow and perfect for kids. You can also snorkel there, just make sure that you stay in the protected area. I'm not sure if this tour is available through your ship. If not,  see if you can rent it on your own. 

 

Another suggestion would be to take a taxi to Splash Park Aruba. You can google it and see pictures.  There are chairs and umbrellas there, along with a restaurant.  It is located on Surfside Beach,  not far from the ship, and close to the airport.  We enjoy watching the planes coming and going. 

 

Lastly, I suggest taking the bus or taxi to Palm Beach and renting chairs and an umbrella for the day. The water there is consistently calm, and there are lots of restaurants and shops right there.

 

You might enjoy spending some time walking along the harborfront, near the ship. There are lots iguanas just past the walkway, and restaurants and some shops.

 

I checked the Splash Park out and that's so up his alley.  We did something like this in Cozumel at Play Mia (he was only 2.5 at the time and he LOOOOVED it).  I just emailed them to see if there are any height requirements - crossing my fingers there are not.  

Is the Splash Park near Palm Beach? 

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Splash Park is in the opposite direction of  Palm Beach. It is closer to the port, and about 15 - 20 minutes from Palm Beach. The umbrella rentals and restaurant are right there by the inflatables. You could easily spend the day there,  and it's not at all crowded like Palm.

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Hatteras-where does it say that the water park is closed at DePalm?

 

I personally think DePalm is a great place and have went there a few times. There's just so much to do there!! The price of admission includes your breakfast and lunch and drinks all day!

 

There's the waterpark, there's ziplining, there's the trampoline bouncy thingy, there a few small lovely cove beaches and then there's snorkeling as well. Most places you would be able to take him and stand up and I'm not sure if he's ever tried putting a mask on (or if that's something that would freak him out) but he could stick his head under the water and see all the fish...and boy is there a lot! They also have some games and stuff there as well. There's plenty to keep him busy.

 

A tour to see the animals is always fun. We've went to the Donkey Sanctuary, Ostrich Farm (really fun to feed them as they reach over your shoulder), Philips Animal Garden (tons of animals like a mini zoo and you can feed them) and the butterfly farm.

 

Splash Park is neat and on the beach, but we didn't personally try it since we only went for a little while (on our way back from beach hopping different places along the coast) and to have some lunch. But if he enjoys Playa Mia, he would probably like this too (although I'm not sure it's quite as big).

 

I have a link in my signature line to my website and you can go there and go to the ports: Aruba, then look at my pictures. There's TONS of them of all the places mentioned. That might help you picture it a little more. I'm the queen of photos and reviews around here...so there's a lot. LOL

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Google Aruba...find out ALL there is.. You can probably keep your little one entertained without any excursion at all.  The more you know, the better time you can have.  And remember, you don't need to spend every minute ashore.  Perhaps, go ashore, do one thing...head back to the ship for a pool dip and lunch, then back out later!

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16 hours ago, mitsugirly said:

Hatteras-where does it say that the water park is closed at DePalm?

 

I personally think DePalm is a great place and have went there a few times. There's just so much to do there!! The price of admission includes your breakfast and lunch and drinks all day!

 

There's the waterpark, there's ziplining, there's the trampoline bouncy thingy, there a few small lovely cove beaches and then there's snorkeling as well. Most places you would be able to take him and stand up and I'm not sure if he's ever tried putting a mask on (or if that's something that would freak him out) but he could stick his head under the water and see all the fish...and boy is there a lot! They also have some games and stuff there as well. There's plenty to keep him busy.

 

A tour to see the animals is always fun. We've went to the Donkey Sanctuary, Ostrich Farm (really fun to feed them as they reach over your shoulder), Philips Animal Garden (tons of animals like a mini zoo and you can feed them) and the butterfly farm.

 

Splash Park is neat and on the beach, but we didn't personally try it since we only went for a little while (on our way back from beach hopping different places along the coast) and to have some lunch. But if he enjoys Playa Mia, he would probably like this too (although I'm not sure it's quite as big).

 

I have a link in my signature line to my website and you can go there and go to the ports: Aruba, then look at my pictures. There's TONS of them of all the places mentioned. That might help you picture it a little more. I'm the queen of photos and reviews around here...so there's a lot. LOL

Hi Kim!!!  It's so great to see you back on this board. I read all of your last cruise report. I hope that you are doing well. I sent you a private message on Facebook about a month ago.

 

Someone on this board said that Royal Caribbean told them that the water park was going to be closed. I looked on Depalm Island's website and it says that they will have a new water park for kids and adults opening in December. I'm going to try to get confirmation that the kids water park is indeed closed right now while they are doing the reconstruction. 

 

I hope that things are going well for you. I know that you are going on another cruise in August.  We are cruising on Summit in August to Bermuda. I've been re-reading your Bermuda report for ideas. As always, your trip reports are a source of invaluable information!  Dianne

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4 hours ago, Hatteras51 said:

Hi Kim!!!  It's so great to see you back on this board. I read all of your last cruise report. I hope that you are doing well. I sent you a private message on Facebook about a month ago.

 

Someone on this board said that Royal Caribbean told them that the water park was going to be closed. I looked on Depalm Island's website and it says that they will have a new water park for kids and adults opening in December. I'm going to try to get confirmation that the kids water park is indeed closed right now while they are doing the reconstruction. 

 

I hope that things are going well for you. I know that you are going on another cruise in August.  We are cruising on Summit in August to Bermuda. I've been re-reading your Bermuda report for ideas. As always, your trip reports are a source of invaluable information!  Dianne

 

Hi Diane. I'm back on here and there...whenever I get a free moment...or just a moment that I don't want to adult. :D

 

I'm doing ok. Preparing for my upcoming cruise in less than 2 weeks. Eek! I deleted (put on hold) my fb back last august because it was just too time consuming. When I reactivated it, I didn't get the messenger. I've had several people say they sent messages but of course I don't get them since I don't have it. Sorry about that.

 

New waterpark for kids "and adults"...woo hoo. I'm good with that. lol Everyone knows I'm a kid at heart. hehe. I didn't realize that portion was closed and couldn't find it in the OP post. We're not going to Aruba for a land vaca this year due to having to use up our NCL cruise certificates because they are expiring. Eek. I'm so sad about not doing a land vaca this summer. But, I guess a cruise will do! We almost decided on a Bermuda cruise in August as well. I would love to get back to Bermuda since it's been awhile and I absolutely LOVE being in port for a few days and coming and going as we please. I've been working on my Bermuda portion of my new website lately and those memories are just wanting me to go again.

 

Take care.

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On 7/23/2019 at 1:05 PM, mitsugirly said:

 

Hi Diane. I'm back on here and there...whenever I get a free moment...or just a moment that I don't want to adult. 😄

 

I'm doing ok. Preparing for my upcoming cruise in less than 2 weeks. Eek! I deleted (put on hold) my fb back last august because it was just too time consuming. When I reactivated it, I didn't get the messenger. I've had several people say they sent messages but of course I don't get them since I don't have it. Sorry about that.

 

New waterpark for kids "and adults"...woo hoo. I'm good with that. lol Everyone knows I'm a kid at heart. hehe. I didn't realize that portion was closed and couldn't find it in the OP post. We're not going to Aruba for a land vaca this year due to having to use up our NCL cruise certificates because they are expiring. Eek. I'm so sad about not doing a land vaca this summer. But, I guess a cruise will do! We almost decided on a Bermuda cruise in August as well. I would love to get back to Bermuda since it's been awhile and I absolutely LOVE being in port for a few days and coming and going as we please. I've been working on my Bermuda portion of my new website lately and those memories are just wanting me to go again.

 

Take care.

Kim, have a wonderful cruise. Aruba will waiting for you whenever you get the chance to return.  We are going for our usual February trip. We'll be there for three weeks, to escape some of the dreary winter. I'd love to read you new website.  When you get a chance,  can you send me the link?  Thanks,  Dianne 

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On 7/13/2019 at 6:59 AM, jean87510 said:

We rented a car back in april. We visited the donkey sanctuary, Philip's garden with the animals, 2 beaches for snorkeling and the mines. We were there for about 8 hours.  If your son likes animals he'll like philips.

If you don’t mind my asking, how / where did you rent the car?  Pre-arranged before the trip? Or did you “wing it” and rent after you got off the ship?  TIA. 

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