Cancún has a reputation for being party central, but many visitors to the Riviera Maya resort hub are much younger than 18-21 year olds on Spring Break. Families with younger kids don’t have to shy away from Cancún.
Resorts, theme parks, archaeological sites, and private operators offer all kinds of activities for kids, whether it’s their first time wearing water wings or they’re planning to take their next Spring Break vacation on their own.
Theme Parks for Fun-Seeking Kids and Kids at Heart
Ventura Park in Cancún has a waterpark and fair rides, including a roller coaster and a carousel, plus zip lining, bungee jumping, and a ropes course. There are a dolphin experience and go-kart tracks, too. Ventura Park even has an “Underworld” indoor section where you’ll find virtual reality and video games, Star Wars simulators, and plenty more to play with.
There are other theme parks beyond the main tourist area of Cancún. Xcaret is a popular one that’s located between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. Among its many activities are a safe snorkeling inlet, an archaeological site to explore, and a “Children’s World” playground section for the youngest adventurers.
You’ll see all sorts of animals and other coastal life: deer, flamingos, manatees, sea turtles, horses, bats, jaguars, pumas, jungle birds, stingrays, dolphins, sharks, and a coral reef aquarium. You may even see a monkey or a coatí on the jungle walking path!
Heading out to Isla Mujeres? There, you’ll find Garrafón Natural Reef Park, which has a kids’ playground area and an archaeological site, along with a pool, snorkeling, kayaking, and zip lines. When the kids get tired, you can all take a nap in the hammock garden.
In early 2017, there were rumors of a DreamWorks park coming to Cancún, but the government has instead approved the building of the Amikoo Resort, a 300-acre Mayan-themed educational adventure and fun park, which will also include a convention center, shopping center, concert arena, museum, and submarine simulator. The full park should be finished sometime in 2020
Kid-Friendly Activities for Seafarers and Science Geeks
Cancún’s Interactive Aquarium is the perfect place to take the family, as it offers installations that cater to kids of all ages. Get up close and personal with a variety of sea creatures while learning about the oceans and the things that live in it.
Even if you don’t visit any of the Riviera Maya’s theme parks, you can still enjoy swimming with dolphins. Delphinus World has five locations (including at Xcaret and the Interactive Aquarium), and Dolphin Discovery has several as well, one of which is on Isla Mujeres. They offer encounter programs for all ages, so the whole family can enjoy.
Glass bottom boat tours are a great opportunity to check out some sea life without getting wet. Take the boat from MUSA, the “underwater museum,” and you’ll get to see some fascinating underwater statues as well.
If your resort doesn’t have its own jet pack activity, check out Jetpack Adventures, which offers a variety of cool water jetpack toys, and even has tandem jetpack experiences for kids who are old enough to fly through the air with a lifejacket on, but not quite old enough to do it alone.
Tours and Day-Trips for Your Young History Buff
Cancún is an ideal base from which you can head out to explore numerous archaeological sites and museums. The big ones include Chichén Itzá, a massive site, and is arguably the most important to the Mayan people. The watchtowers at Tulum mark the changing of the seasons by aligning with the sun, and you can swim on the beach where ancient trading once occurred.
Cobá is a less developed jungle site, and is home to the largest pyramid on the peninsula. Once you’ve taken in all the ancient Mayan cities, visit the Museo Maya in the Cancún Hotel Zone, so you and your little explorers can put it all in context.