your child compiling a summer wish list of fun and excitement. Young
adventurers would probably include fantasies of swimming with dolphins
or plunging down a mountain on a cable swing at top speed. Budding
athletes might dream of scoring the winning goal of the soccer championship
or learning to master a martial art. Little nature enthusiasts would
want to discover the lifestyles of butterflies and iguanas before
hiking through mountainous trails to check out exotic plants. Whether
your child dreams of sports, books, games or the arts, Roatan has
a lot to offer families looking for summer vacation fun. Now that
school's out and your children are relentlessly asking, "Mom,
Dad, what can I do today?", you are armed with an island full
of answers. Take a ride on a glass-bottom boat, challenge the family
to a game of miniature golf or chase the legend of Carambola's chocolate
tree. Not only will your child be smiling, but come September, you
will provide some entertainment for the teacher marking the "What
I Did on My Summer Vacation" reports. Here are 17 of Roatan's
most kid-friendly activities:
Boy's soccer league:
There are eight teams playing in the 12-14 youth soccer league.
It's free to join and only soccer shoes have to be bought by the
young soccer players. Uniforms, coaches' fees, even electricity
costs are covered by teams' owners. Costs of treating injuries on
the field come from league fees contributed by each team's coach.
There are 23 boys playing for Independiente, one of the eight teams
on the soccer league. "This year we will set up a team from
15 to 17 year-olds," says Juan Carlos Chirinos, 33, an owner
of Club Deportivo Independiente.
The season begins at the end of March and goes on until November.
If you have a 12, 13 or 14 year-old, you can still ask to have him
join the league.
Most youth teams practice three times a week for 60-90 minutes and
play a match against another league team every Saturday in Los Fuertes
or Oak Ridge. "I have children poor and children of deputies
(...) all kinds of races and nationalities," says Chirinos.
The league football is a perfect place to learn football skills
and discipline of playing on a team.
Tae-Kwon-Do Lessons, West End. Kids can learn this martial art's
basics and then work their way through different belt levels. Tues./Thurs.:
5-6pm (Advanced kids), 6-7pm (Adults); Wed./Fri.: 4-5pm (Beginner
kids, ages 5-8). Cost is $25/month or if you enroll more than one
child, it is $20/month each. Be sure to wear loose-fitting clothing.
Drop in to the West End Fitness Center for more information.
Memorial Library, French Harbour. There is a growing children's
section, as well as reference books available. Open Mon.-Fri. 9-5pm;
Sat. 9-12pm. Located on the hill across the canal from Ruben Barahona
Willy Warren Beach, Coxen Hole. Cool off in the sea on the public
beach in Coxen Hole, just past the cruise ship platform.
Stone Castle Cameo, Gravel Bay. Visit the Stone Castle and watch
these professionals carve intricate designs on shells from the sea.
Free lessons for Honduran residents from 14-year veteran artist
Franco Tammaro in carving and design. Children must be at least
11 years old and lessons last three hours/day. All materials are
supplied by Stone Castle Cameo. Open Mon.-Fri 9:30-4:30pm; Sat.
9:30-4pm. Contact Vicente Gomez at firstname.lastname@example.org
or just drop in to visit.
Shell Carving at Stone Castle Cameo
Dolphin Training Presentations, Roatan Museum & Roatan Institute
of Marine Sciences (RIMS), Anthony's Key Resort, Sandy Bay.
Walk through the history of the island and learn about the evolution
of marine life at the Roatan Museum and the RIMS classroom. Afterward,
you can watch the dolphins perform in an on-site training demonstration.
Through the week, there are shows twice daily at 10am & 4:30pm
(no shows on Wednesday) and on the weekends, shows take place at
10am, 1pm, & 4:30pm. The entrance fee is $5 and covers admission
to all three activities. For information, call 445-1003.
JC's Recreational Park, Coxen Hole. The park has a pool and swings,
as well as games and a family restaurant. They also host children's
parties and family functions. For information, call 445-1549.
JC's Recreational Park, Coxen Hole. The park has a pool and
swings, as well as games and a family restaurant. They also host
children's parties and family functions. For information, call 445-1549.
Underwater Adventure, West Bay. Take a ride on the Coral Reef
Explorer Glass Bottom boat and explore the underwater world from
the comfort of your seat. There are three trips daily from West
Bay at 11am, 12:30pm, and 2pm. The cost is $20 per person for adults
and $15 for kids under 12 years old (children 2 and under ride free).
For more information, contact Jon or Sara at 978-8310 or e-mail
Roatan Canopy Tour, West Bay. An all-ages adventure Jungle ride
where participants travel to the top of a mountain and glide down
to the beach on a 200 meter cable in a harness. The cost is $35
for unlimited rides and there is a 50% discount for residents. They
are open 9am-5pm every day and you can phone 445-1003 for more information.
Carambola Botanical Gardens, Sandy Bay. Enjoy hiking, bird watching,
wildlife, and family picnics at the gardens. A nature interpreter
is available to accompany as you visit the infamous "Chocolate
Tree" and climb to the summit of Carambola Mountain. Open 7
days/week from 8am-5pm, the cost is $5 per person (ask about their
special family rate). Contact Bill or Irma Brady at 445-1117 for
Roatan Butterfly Garden, West End. The garden is home to
over 12 different species of butterflies and various kinds of exotic
plant and tropical fruit trees. Learn about the butterfly's life
cycle, anatomy and behavior through one of the garden's guides.
Open Mon.-Fri. 9am-5pm and admission is $3 per person.
Family Fun Day, Parrot Tree Plantation. Children
aged 7-12 are invited to participate in fun and games on July 13.
There will be prizes for the winners of the biking, swimming, and
kayak races. The activities are free and a BBQ will follow at a
reasonable price. For information, phone 967-4131.
Iguana Farm, French Cay. The Iguana Farm is home to over 3000
iguanas, 200 lobsters, 200 conch fish, 36 tarpen fish and 14 turtles.
Visitors can learn all about the habits and behaviors of the animals
as well as watch them during feeding time. Admission is $3 and $1
for children below the age of eight. The farm is open Mon-Sun from
10am-4:15pm. For more information, call 455-5114.
Dolphin Discovery SCUBA Camp, Anthony's Key Resort, Sandy Bay.Be
forewarned that if you send your children to the Dolphin Discovery
SCUBA Camp (DDSC) at Anthony's Key Resort, they may never want to
leave. An ex-camper explains: "When I was younger, I attended
this camp and I told my parents 'I am going to come back and work
here' and that's exactly what I did," said Maggie Shank, who
has been teaching the DDSC for the last three summers.
Throughout the week-long camp, kids of all ages learn how to interact,
train and care for dolphins and also are introduced to SCUBA diving
basics by a PADI instructor. Campers put on their swim gear and
head into the sea for three dolphin encounters where they can touch
and interact with them; two of the encounters include full dolphin
swim and snorkel sessions. Each child then moves to a floating platform
to practice hand signals and training techniques with two experienced
dolphins. One morning during the program, the campers thaw and sort
fish for the resident dolphins- a messy but key task in dolphin
care. "My favorite part is actually the fish sorting. You have
to make sure the fish are good enough for the dolphins to eat and
you feel really important," explains 14-year old Shanda Larson.
Larson is attending DDSC for the third consecutive year.
Every day, there is a class in marine education at the Roatan Institute
for Marine Sciences where topics include: conservation and environmental
awareness, dolphin anatomy, evolution and behavior, whale evolution,
and a turtle presentation. Classroom activities range from videos
and slide shows to microscope labs and training games. "It's
so important to balance the dolphin encounters with the theory aspect
because it creates the respect for the animals that's necessary
to interact with them," emphasizes Shank
The diving component of the DDSC varies between age groups. Children
ages 5-7 partake in the SASY (Supplied Air Snorkeling for Youth)
program. They learn to breathe with a regulator. They also wear
a Buoyancy Control Device (BCD), life jacket and small tank, but
don't go underwater. Eight to ten year olds graduate to the Bubblemaker
level where they descend to six feet with a standard BCD, regulator,
and tank. Kids aged ten and up are certified as Junior SCUBA divers
which allows them to dive to a maximum of 40 feet with a PADI professional
upon completion of the camp.
Campers also embark on several island field trips during the week,
including: horseback riding, a West Bay Beach picnic, Iguana Farm
and Paradise Bird Park.
The DDSC operates each week on Monday to Friday from 7:45-12:00
and 1:30-4:30 and costs $400 US, plus 12% tax. For further information,
contact Anthony's Key Resort at 445-1003.
Forrest Fun Park, Sandy Bay. Featuring an 18-hole miniature
golf course, Forrest Fun Park welcomes families with children of
all ages. They also have two batting cages (not appropriate for
young children) with machines throwing pitches from 40-96 miles
per hour. The cost for mini-golf is- 11 years & under: 25 Lps.,
ages 12-17: 35 LPs and 50 LPs for adults. The batting cage costs
250 LPs For a half hour or 40 LPs For 16 balls.
School, West End. A play group for 3-5 year olds, parent can
drop off their children at the West End Fitness Centre on Mon.,
Wed., & Fri. from 8:30am-12:00pm. Kids play games and take part
in educational activities as well as take supervised swims and walks
along the beach. Cost is $5 per day and parents should pack sunscreen,
bug repellent, a swimsuit, towel and a snack for their child. Contact
Marian or Maritza at 445-0339.
Your child can learn how to administer first aid, play a sport or
lend a hand toward a community project. Every Sunday morning, it's
something different for the Pathfinders of the Seventh Day Adventist
(SDA) Church in Coxen Hole. The Pathfinders group is similar to
the Boy Scouts organization in the United States; they meet each
week and operate on a badge system where members complete projects
to earn different honors.
Promoting character development and community service, the Pathfinders
made its way to Roatan through an American group who made a presentation
last year in Punta Gorda to several areas churches. The SDA Church
then elected members from their congregation to serve as group leaders
for the kids and, a year later, they have 18 Pathfinders, ranging
in age from 6-14 years old.
"We think it's good for kids to have something to do in this
area- it's important to get them involved," said Pathfinder
leader, Orva Webster.
The Pathfinders welcome any child and youth to join their group.
Every week, they work on a new task- some academic, some recreational-
and each child is assigned something for the next week. Sometimes
it involves doing good deeds at home, a mini-science project or
maybe just practicing how to tie a certain knot. The range of activities
keeps the children entertained and eager to advance through the
badge system. The Pathfinders hold monthly craft days and also organize
fitness activities for the group. Every activity is designed to
foster new skills and, as members earn different badges, it creates
a sense of personal achievement for each individual.
This group has a strong presence in the community. Pathfinder leaders
and troops brought homemade food to the local jail. They also visit
the hospital in Coxen Hole where they sing songs and participate
in prayers for the patients there. Webster advised that they have
discussed other projects with municipal officials, as humanitarianism
is to integral to the Pathfinder program.
The Pathfinders meet every Sunday morning from 8-9:30am in the Seventh
Day Adventist Church in Coxen Hole. There is a 10 LPs weekly fee
to cover supplies and badges. For further information, contact Barbara
Woods at 445-1169.