As anyone with children can tell you, the weeks during school term fly by with the regular pattern of daycare and school runs, extracurricular activities, and weekend birthday parties.
There is hardly time to stop and ponder what to do. But in the summer, that routine often changes, and for anyone looking to fill a young childs time with activities and adventure, there is a surprising amount to do around the Island that doesnt cost a whole lot of money.
Obvious starting points are the playgrounds and beaches. In the West, Warwick Long Bay Playground is the perfect spot to spend an early summer morning before the sun gets too high in the sky. Close by, the peaceful pool of water at Jobsons Cove is shallow enough to facilitate young swimmers and allow for easy exploration of marine life, while the sandy, private beach provides hours of sheltered play under an umbrella.
In the East, Shelley Bay Playground offers all the fun of a variety of play equipment plus the gentle, gradually-deepening waters and kid-friendly environment of Shelley Bay Beach right next door.
Luckily, there is plenty of shade close by to keep the heat at bay. Farther east, a spot that is ideal for a budding snorkeler is Tobacco Bay Beach in St Georges. Again, relatively shallow water makes it easy for kids to have fun and to learn about Bermudas varied marine life at the same time.
If your child is showing interest in animals of every variety (as my little boy is), a great idea is Wadsons Farm, a 30-acre plot of land in Southampton. Admission is free and the site has a variety of farm animals on display for children to view. Simply park at the Wadsons Farm market store and walk along the laneway to visit the chickens, ducks, pigs, sheep and turkeys. As I can attest to from experience, the excitement a visit to Wadsons Farm elicits in a child is well worth the drive if you live outside Southampton. After seeing the animals, purchase some fresh produce from the market store and then head up the road to Whale Bay Beach Park for a picnic. One of Bermudas best-kept secrets as a great destination for children, this park has a large, open green space for uninhibited running around.
Because the beach is hidden down a hill (therefore out of sight of small eyes), you can enjoy the water view without needing to bring swimming gear along, unless you want to of course!
Located in Warwick, another fun, interactive destination for children is WindReach, a fully accessible multi-acre site offering sensory rooms, stables, paddocks, an indoor riding arena, a nature trail and pond, a petting zoo, and a playground and tree house. Carefully planned and executed, WindReachs facilities are available to both able and disabled persons, supporting the organisations core value of inclusion for all Bermuda residents. It is necessary to organise your visit to WindReach ahead of time, so call 238-2469 or visit windreachbermuda.bm for more information about scheduling and fees.
For anyone well familiar with Bermuda, it goes without saying that the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo (BAMZ) is a wonderful summertime destination for children.
Open every day of the year except Christmas Day, BAMZ brings the type of experience you would expect in a much larger community to the Island. Rain or shine, there is so much to do at BAMZ that the annual $75 fee for a family membership is worth every penny.
The Discovery Room offers hands-on activities for children aged two to seven, and seal feeding sessions every day at 9 am, 1.30 pm, and 4 pm guarantee a smile. It is also worth mentioning that the gift shop at BAMZ has an excellent selection of books for young children, and the stores varied selection of educational toys make ideal gifts for birthdays or other special events.
If youre looking for activities for a particularly energetic child, Kids Zone at Magnum Power Force Gym is a safe, indoor destination full of climbing equipment. You can purchase a ten-visit pass with unlimited time for $100, or you can organise a one-time group trip to Kids Zone for a set fee based on the number of children attending. Magnum Power Force Gym members can access Kids Zone for free during unsupervised times, or pay for the service in supervised times. Visit magnumpowerforcegym.bm for more information or call 292-7007.
Another option for the energetic child is the Botanical Gardens in Paget. This vast (by Bermuda standards) green space offers multiple play areas and loads of room to run around, ride bikes or kick a soccer ball. Also on site, a lovely, landscaped sand pit (only a mother of boys can truly appreciate how lovely a sand pit can be!) is surrounded by trees and benches, making it the perfect spot to spend a lazy summer afternoon.
When the heat gets to be too much, there is a gazebo close by, providing a shady location for a picnic blanket and a bucket of toys. If the sunny day turns to rain, or if you just need a refreshing drink, Homers Cafe at the Botanical Gardens is both welcoming and fun the cafe offers a lower level relaxation space that was designed with young children in mind.
Whatever your summer plans, Bermuda has many affordable, enjoyable options. It really is the ideal place to relax, unwind and count down the days until the next school term!