By Noelle Khalila Nicolls
December 17, 2014
James Quine / Alamy

If you ask my mother, she will say I am still a child. So for the purpose of this article, considering I have no children of my own, I will accept the claim to establish street cred. The Bahamas is an exciting destination for children who love the outdoors and know how to entertain themselves. That means you should expect sand fights—the occasional sibling prank that involves a big brother burying his little sister in the sand and leaving her defenseless. Generally speaking, when it comes to travel, adults are happy when kids are happy. And one guaranteed way to have fun is to engage in an animal encounter. Choose from swimming with pigs, hand-feeding wild stingrays or iguanas, and belly rubbing a dolphin in captivity. The other no-fail way for your children to have fun is to find things for them to slide down, like the inflatable waterpark at Blue Lagoon Island or the body slides, raft slides and rapid river rides at AquaVenture. 

AquaVenture

Check back with me after nurse sharks become friends with sea urchins and I will tell you if I ever met a child who did not like AquaVenture, the water park at Atlantis Paradise Island.  It is not uncommon for parents to let their children loose with the stipulation that they check in every now and then. The Serpent Slide tunnels through a shark infested pool, but don’t worry, the sharks are safe. 

Blue Lagoon

The last time I visited Blue Lagoon island there was an inflatable slide that read children only. I sweet-talked my way onto the slide and the ride turned me into a giddy adolescent. The inflatable water park, which also includes a floating trampoline and sea saw, is one of the five activities that make a day away on the private Blue Lagoon Island an ideal attraction for children. The other activities: dolphins, sea lions, hammocks and bowling with coconuts.

Pirates of Nassau Museum

The name museum throws off some visitors, because this pirate attraction is thin on actual historical artifacts. That does not detract from it being a fun and education experience that will spook the imaginations of some children. Half of the self-guided tour takes place in a replica wooden ship with wax models, mock displays and live animated scalawags. The total experience is a highly animated journey through the world of pirates.

Dolphin Cay

I never imagined an animal with more charisma then a dolphin, but sea lions truly top the list. And if you like wet and sloppy kisses you definitely need to put a sea lion encounter on your budget list or live vicariously through your child. Children will love making friends with the sea lions and dolphins at Atlantis Paradise Island’s Dolphin Cay. 

Bimini Under the Sea

There are few places in the world where you can have a guaranteed experience with wild dolphins and Bimini, in the northern Bahamas, is one of those spots.  You will not be kissing and high fiving these wild animals, only swimming along the dolphin freeway in your designated human lane. Making friends with the wild Atlantic Spotted and Bottlenose Dolphins that call Bimini home will fill you with overwhelming sense of connection to the underwater water. 

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