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While St. Martin/St. Maarten is generally thought of as a playground for adults thanks to its nightlife, casinos and nude beaches, there’s still plenty of fun to be had for the whole family. Here are the top five ways to keep kids entertained on the island:
1. Visit a zoo with Caribbean flair. You won’t find elephants and zebras at the St. Maarten Zoo. Instead, check out the local animals like the red-footed tortoise and the green iguana. Your kids will love the zoo’s monkeys, and children can even feed the parrots, who are surprisingly gentle as they eat from your hand. The zoo also boasts a large playground.
2. Enjoy ice cream and a ride. The Carousel Gelateria combines two childhood favorites: ice cream and carousels. Located on St. Maarten's Simpson Bay, the shop features pretty landscaping and a working merry-go-round.
3. Check out The Butterfly Farm. This lush tropical space is home to hundreds of exotic butterflies from across the globe. Tour guides are both funny and informative, and visitors are given a sweet juice to put on their fingers, attracting thirsty butterflies for unforgettable close encounters.
4. Horseback ride. Lucky Stables at Seaside Nature Park on the Dutch side offers lessons for first-time riders, and tours culminate in a swim in the sea with your horse. The scenic overlooks make for an incredible family bonding experience.
5. Log some beach time. St. Martin/St. Maarten offers plenty of shoreline for building sandcastles, swimming and body surfing. Try Maho Bay, where in addition to the usual beach fun, your little ones can watch airplanes soar mere feet above their heads as the planes come in for landing at the Princess Juliana International Airport just across the street. For a quieter experience, try Le Galion Beach, where a fringing reef makes for calm waters and excellent snorkeling.