Go Wild in Aruba at These 5 Animal Attractions
Aruba may be best known for its beaches, perfect weather and warm people, but as we described in our last post – 3 Caribbean Islands We Can’t Wait to Visit for Experiences We’re Craving Right Now – the island offers so much more. Along with international cuisine, arts, culture, natural wonders and shopping, there are also organized encounters with animals that should not be overlooked. Here, we share six that kids of all ages will enjoy along with some helpful tips to help you plan your visit to each.
Ten years ago we chose the private island owned by the Renaissance Aruba Resort for our wedding venue. At the time we had no idea how famous it or its resident flamingos would eventually become. The birds have since reached celebrity status on social media and snagging a photo op with them will require some extra planning (and possibly luck) on your part.
Access is granted from one of two ways: as a guest of the hotel or by scoring an island pass from the resort’s online site the day before ($125 per person).
What you should know: Renaissance Island can only be reached by boat departing from Renaissance Mall every 15 minutes.
Children are only permitted entry to Flamingo Beach between 9:00AM and 10:00AM.
If you want guaranteed access, then book a room – even if only one or two days at the beginning or end of your trip – at Renaissance Aruba Resort.
Day passes (island passes) are only offered if the hotel is below 80% capacity and then only at 7:00AM the day before. They sell out quickly so be prepared to try for several days before you (hopefully) succeed. Click here for the link.
For us, no trip to Aruba is complete without making at least one stop at the Butterfly Farm. This tropical oasis is filled with lush foliage, a koi pond, colorful birds and an international crowd of vibrant butterflies and moths. Seconds after stepping foot inside, we know why there’s an “aaaahhhh” in Aruba.
Price of admission includes a guided tour where you’re sure to pick up some interesting facts about the butterfly life cycle. For example, did you know tropical butterflies often get drunk from sticking their proboscis into fermented nectar deep in the flower?
What you should know: Located near the high rise hotel strip across from the Aruba Divi Phoenix Resort. Your admission ticket is good for the entire duration of your Aruba vacation so visit early on in your trip if you plan to visit repeatedly. Make sure you stop by the souvenir shop to purchase butterfly-themed goodies.
How many people can say they’ve looked the world’s largest bird in the eyes? If you’d like to be part of that club, be sure to include a stop at the Ostrich Farm on your Aruba travel itinerary.
The interactive experience ($14 for adults and $7 for children) includes a 30 minute guided tour of the ostrich and emu enclosures, infants and hatchery; hand-feeding these voracious eaters and the option to hold an ostrich or emu egg. An art boutique and restaurant are also on site.
What you should know: Located on the East Coast of Aruba on the road to the Natural Bridge. There’s not much shade where you’ll interact with the birds so bringing your own sun protection is a must.
4. Donkey Sanctuary Aruba
Donkeys were originally brought to Aruba in the 1500s as a means of transportation. Now more than 100 of their descendants are ready for a meet-and-greet at this popular attraction. While there, wander the grounds, feed donkeys from the shade of a covered porch, learn some information about these curious animals and visit the store.
There’s no admissions fee, but donations are welcome and support the sanctuary’s efforts to care for their residents and promote public awareness. And wouldn’t you know – there are opportunities to sponsor donkeys from afar as well.
What you should know: Located to the east of the airport. Bring carrots and apples – they’re favorite treats for your soon to be best friends.
5. Bubali Bird Sanctuary
As much as a sanctuary for visitors as it is for local and over 80 migratory bird species, the Bubali Bird Sanctuary is worth a stop even if just for a few minutes on your way to the beach or downtown Oranjestadt.
From your perch at a spacious watchtower, breath easy and watch birds in flight, wading through the surrounding wetlands or resting in the surrounding foliage. This is a nice break from the buzz of Palm Beach.
What you should know: Located near the high rise hotel strip. Visit at dawn or dusk when temps are more comfortable and the birds more active. For all you birdwatchers, pack a pair of binoculars.
We hope this post has provided you with some tips for enjoying off-the-beach, animal attractions during your next trek to Aruba. We’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section below.
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