Aruba is a fun Caribbean island where you and your entire family can find virtually endless things to do exploring history, adventure, and the great outdoors. Tropical shores and temperatures can be refreshingly relaxing, but it's easy to get active on the island as well.

    Whether you're visiting for the first time or looking to continue an Aruba vacation tradition, your family will never run short of things to do. Take a look at the 10 best family things to do in Aruba to determine how you can create the ultimate vacation itinerary for this Caribbean island.

    1

    Aruba Donkey Sanctuary

    Meet friendly animals

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    The Aruba Donkey Sanctuary is home to a population of donkeys that you and your family can meet up close and personal, putting a twist on an old Dutch practice. In the Netherlands, there's an old practice called koe knuffelen, which is basically cow hugging. Here, you can enjoy an Aruban twist where you and your family hug donkeys instead.

    The donkeys here are remarkably friendly and absolutely adorable, making them perfect for this stress-relieving activity. When you visit the sanctuary, you can enjoy a 30-minute session with the donkeys, doing as much petting and hugging as you like. You'll find it all in Bringamosa near the island's center.

    Location: Bringamosa 2-Z, Santa Cruz, Aruba

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 4 pm

    Phone: +1 297 593 2933

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    2

    Aruba Ostrich Farm

    Discover large flightless birds

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    Aruba Ostrich Farm is home to several fascinating ostriches and is where you and your little ones can learn all about these animals and even interact with them up close. Ostriches and emus both live at this farm, and the local guides at the farm can teach you all about these birds.

    When you visit, you'll not only be able to interact with the birds but feed them as well. Keep in mind, however, that there's not much shade here, so you may want to pack an umbrella. You can get to this farm by heading to Matividiri around the island's northeastern coast.

    Location: Matividiri 57, Paradera, Aruba

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 4 pm

    Phone: +1 297 585 9630

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    3

    Aruba Butterfly Farm

    Step into a nature encounter

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    Aruba Butterfly Farm is home to an array of natural beauty and diversity where you'll not only find butterflies but a tropical garden as well with vibrant greenery. The local butterflies are composed of many different colors, and you'll find them flying about throughout the farm.

    One of the more interesting aspects of the butterflies is their metamorphosis. You can find caterpillars and chrysalises around the farm too. Arrive early enough in the day, and there's a good chance you can see butterflies emerging from their chrysalises for the first time. See it all for yourself by the western coast by Salina Lake.

    Location: J.E. Irausquin Boulevard, Noord, Aruba

    Open: Daily from 8.30 am to 3.30 pm

    Phone: +1 297 586 3656

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    4

    Philip’s Animal Garden

    See exotic animals

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    • Unusual

    Philip’s Animal Garden is home to several exotic animals from around the world that you and your family can interact with via pets and even feedings. More than 50 species of animals from around the world have a home here, and you can see them all.

    Among the animals, you'll find friendly creatures like pigs, ponies, and cattle. It's not just farm animals, however, as you'll also find kangaroos, skunks, jaguars, and monkeys. See it all for yourself near the eastern coast by Alto Vista.

    Location: Alto Vista 116, Noord, Aruba

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +1 297 593 5363

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    photo by Michelle Callahan (CC BY 2.0) modified

    5

    Atlantis Submarines Aruba

    Explore the depths

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    • Adventure

    Atlantis Submarines Aruba lets you and your family explore below the surrounding waters of the island in a submarine with stunning views of animals and shipwrecks. Reaching depths of up to 130 feet, you can see an array of fascinating sights including fish, coral, and shipwrecks.

    Throughout the process, you can enjoy educational information from guides on the submarine offering valuable insight into what you're seeing out the windows. Give it a try for yourself along the western coast south of Rancho.

    Location: L.G. Smith Boulevard 82, Oranjestad, Aruba

    Open: Daily from 8.30 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 297 522 4500

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    photo by Michelle Callahan (CC BY 2.0) modified

    6

    Mangel Halto Beach

    Find fun in the sun

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    • Adventure

    Mangel Halto Beach offers watersports and beachfront adventure for the whole family with plenty of activities as well as room to relax and watch the sunset. Snorkeling, kayaking, and paddleboarding are especially popular here with plenty of equipment available for rent nearby.

    Given the fact that the beach faces west, it's one of the best spots to take in a sunset. You'll find several shaded areas and huts if you're looking to relax, but nothing's stopping you from having a beach picnic if you prefer. You'll find this beach on the western shore by Pos Chiquito.

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    7

    California Lighthouse

    Enjoy stunning views

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    • History
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    The California Lighthouse is a towering opportunity to take in a 360 degrees view of the island all within an impressive historic structure dating back more than a century. You and your family can climb to the top of the lighthouse for impressive views all day long. Sunset is especially appealing, as the angle from the top often lets you see the green flash, a meteorological phenomenon that sometimes occurs at sunset.

    The lighthouse itself dates back to 1910, so you enjoy being in a piece of history during your visit. Finding the lighthouse is easy, as you just have to head to the north side of the island less than a mile in from the western coast.

    Location: Hudishibana 2, Noord, Aruba

    Open: Thursday–Saturday and Monday–Tuesday from 9 am to 6 pm, Wednesday from 9.30 am to 6 pm, Sunday from 9 am to 3 pm

    Phone: +1 297 699 0995

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    8

    De Palm Island

    Visit an all-inclusive paradise

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    • Luxury

    De Palm Island is packed full of luxurious activities where you can find fun and relaxation in equal measure with boat rides, slides, snorkeling, and much more. If your family is looking to take it easy, you'll want to make a stop by the spa where you can enjoy a massage and pampering.

    For a more active experience, be sure to check out the body drop slides that adults and kids alike can enjoy. Snorkeling is also popular here given just how clear the water is. To see it all for yourself, you'll need to head by boat to a small island just off Aruba's western shore a few miles south of Oranjestad.

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    9

    Baby Beach

    Relax at Baby Beach

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    • Adventure

    Baby Beach is a fun white sand beach that's relaxing and notably family-friendly with calm and shallow waters that are perfect for swimmers both big and small. Families with toddlers will especially enjoy this beach thanks to the safe swimming conditions you wouldn't normally find at a Caribbean beach.

    When you visit this beach, you'll find a variety of activities other than swimming. Snorkeling is especially popular thanks to the local population of fish and turtles. Additionally, several local restaurants are at this beach, so you won't have to go far when your family gets hungry. You'll find this beach in San Nicolas on the southern tip of the island.

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    10

    Arikok National Park

    Check out Aruba's national treasure

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    • Adventure

    Arikok National Park is a protected natural space that encompasses about 20% of the entire island with a rich history, vibrant plant life, and fascinating animals to see. Throughout its 7,907 acres, you can spend the entire day exploring its dramatic landscapes. As well, educational programs are available that offer insight on local animals.

    To learn more about the local history, be sure to stop by the cultural heritage sites. You'll not only find spectacular caves in the park, but they hold drawings and petroglyphs inside as well. See it for yourself on the eastern side of the island southeast of Santa Cruz.

    Location: San Fuego 70, Santa Cruz, Aruba

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 4 pm

    Phone: +1 297 585 1234

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