If you’re vacationing in St. Thomas or looking for activities close to port when on a cruise, here are some ways to spend the day in St. Thomas in Charlotte Amalie, where the cruise ships dock.
Day Two St. Thomas With Kids
St. Thomas with Kids on Day Two: On our second day in St. Thomas, USVI, we drove down to Charlotte Amalie. This post is part three of my series on what to do in St. Thomas with kids, in which I share what our family with Ella, age 7, and John, age 3, did in St. Thomas. You can read here about our Travel Day and our first day, Beach Day.
Sky Ride to Paradise Point
The SkyRide to Paradise Point may very well be the most popular attraction in St. Thomas. It’s a tram ride that takes you to the top of Paradise Point, where you have a spectacular view of the ocean and island. It’s really a very simple attraction. Once you take the tram to the top, you step out and explore. There are some gift shops, a restaurant, and on some days, a bird show. For the kids, the tram ride and bird show are the most exciting parts. For the adults, the amazing view is the reason to go here.
5 Things to know:
- There are very steep stairs to climb to get to the tram and to get to the shops/restaurant. There are no elevators. Don’t bring a stroller to this attraction. If anyone in your group has difficulty with stairs, you might want to consider skipping this attraction.
- The bird show no longer follows the schedule you find posted online and in brochures. Shawna, who does the bird shows, is now performing at the Casino of Dreams Sugar Bay in addition to her shows at Paradise Point. The schedule is intermittent, so it’s best to not tell the kids about it until you get there to confirm there will be birds and a show that day. We have visited Paradise Point every year for at least the last five years, and every time we go, Shawna, the “bird show lady”, says she’s not likely to be at Paradise Point for much longer. So just be aware that the bird show may or may not be there when you arrive. The day we visited she was there with the birds, but canceled the show since we were the only tourists there. She still let us pay for photos with the birds, though ($20 for an 8×10 print plus she will take many photos with your phone or camera for you to keep). This was the highlight of Ella’s day!
- Don’t forget to apply sunscreen and bug repellent for this excursion. There are lots of shaded areas but you will still be in the bright sun a lot, and this attraction is outdoors.
- Bring your camera. The view is spectacular!
- Bring drinks or buy some at the restaurant to stay hydrated.
Very steep stairs, no elevator:
Ella just adored the birds!
Family Portrait with some birds. A yearly tradition for us.
The amazing view from the bar/restaurant area.
John got a little grouchy being so hot and tired.
There are a number of restaurants where you can eat for lunch, but we drove over to Senor Frogs. This was a fun restaurant. When we went it was practically empty, so it was a nice relaxed meal for us. But it is obviously set up as a party restaurant, with a huge bar (with room to dance or hula hoop on it!), a swimming pool, loud music, and balloons. I’m not sure it would be our style of restaurant in a crowd, but we enjoyed it when it was quiet. We tried the Chicken Nachos, Chicken Burrito, Chicken Salad, and Cheese Quesadillas and Fries. Any of you who are from Texas, like me, will be as alarmed as I was to find Swiss cheese in the burrito! In my mind Swiss cheese has no place in Mexican Food. The portions were very large, and it was overall an “okay” meal. I wouldn’t say it was impressive, but with the exception of the Swiss cheese in the burrito, it wasn’t disappointing. The kids really enjoyed the balloons that the hostess made for them, and when John’s balloon sword popped and he was devastated, they quickly made another for him. The main reason we chose Senor Frogs for lunch is that it is right across the parking lot from the Butterfly Garden, our next stop.
Balloon Hats gave fun entertainment while we waited for food.
The Butterfly Garden was a nice spot to relax with the kids…theoretically…Keeping John up through his nap time made him a crazy-hyper little guy, so he required full attention from one adult the whole time to keep him from running (and potentially squashing a butterfly) and climbing through the landscaping. Ella had a fabulous time walking around and observing the butterflies. We were there at around 2pm. The butterflies are more active in the morning, when it is cooler. I didn’t feel there were that many butterflies in the exhibit, but this can change week to week, depending on when they emerge from their cocoons. Before entering the exhibit, the employees gave a nice introductory talk with some interesting facts about butterflies. I observed many butterflies in this exhibit with damaged wings, which was very sad. Be sure to keep an eye on your children and make sure no one is touching the butterflies’ wings.
Ella enjoyed walking around for nearly an hour, observing butterflies, lizards, and foliage.
After these three activities we were ready to go back to the condo to relax. My husband Wally and Ella went to the beach for a quick (and cold!) swim, and John was so exhausted that I put him to bed at 5:30pm. I wasn’t sure if this would be a late nap or early bedtime. When he stayed soundly asleep, I decided to let him sleep through, risking a middle of the night awakening. I was amazed that he slept until 7:30am!
That was our day two in St. Thomas. Does this sound like a fun day to you? Would your kids enjoy the SkyRide or the Butterfly Garden more?