Category — Activities
As I mentioned in the previous post, Our Journey to Jamaica’s South coast, we were only able to spend two days in St. Elizabeth. One of the activities we were able to enjoy was the Black River Safari. Truth be told, our “Safari” was really more like a “boat ride” up Black River.
Our hotel arranged for us to do the Black River Safari, with “two men and a boat” (my words). I really thought this little boat/canoe was taking us to the bigger Safari boating outfit we had seen on our way to the hotel. However, we soon learned that this small boat would be doing the Safari! (Much to my husband’s sudden unease and agitation). We were consoled frequently by the boatman that we would be OK. Hubby’s concern was that ”Alligators can jump” and didn’t like the idea of possibly becoming their dinner! He just would have felt safer in a bigger boat. Little did be know he had nothing to worry about.
Black River is quite long, we didn’t even go all the way to Miss Lou’s crab shack, as we understood it was quite a way up the river, and we really didn’t want any crab. I think the ride was about an hour. Along our “Safari” we saw lots of Egrets, marshlands, some very interesting mangroves and a quick glimpse of ONE Alligator, who headed quickly into the water. I have to say I was disappointed! We were expecting to see several alligators (hence Hubby’s apprehension) and other animals all along the ‘Safari’, but we didn’t! I don’t suppose the boatmen can guarantee what we’ll see as there are so many variables. Needless to say, my husband was quite OK with just glimpsing one Alligator, who I might add, was a good distance away from the boat.
We did see another Alligator, on the dock by Charles Swaby Safari. Honestly on our trip out we saw the Alligator but thought it was a fake. It was in the same position, not moving for several minutes. We argued with the boatman as to its status, as we thought he was teasing us that this was real. Lo’ and behol’, on the return leg, what do you know? The Alligator nuh turn ‘roun’ and was walking!!!! We were shocked. We were led to understand that he is tame, nothing to worry about, because his “owner” feed him chicken back!!
Overall, I am glad we did it. We had never been on a boat on the river before, our kids experienced something new, and the scenery was quite beautiful. If you are planning on taking in the Safari, just know beforehand that you may or may not see Alligators. If you see them, consider it your lucky day!
April 25, 2012 No Comments
I was thrilled to hear Guardman’s Group was taking over Hope Zoo and bringing it back to it’s former glory days! I have always lamented that children and families need a Zoo. I know we have the Jamaica Zoo in Lacovia, St. Elizabeth, which is quite nice with several exotic animals, but I always yearned for the familiar Hope Zoo I grew up with.
We visited last week and really were very impressed and happy with our experience. From the beautifully landscaped grounds, the addition of new animals, the petting Zoo, bird feeding and so much more, the New Hope Zoo is a definite must do for the family.
We saw Crocodiles, Jamaican Iguanas, Flamingos and monkeys. There is a lovely exhibit of Macaws and a Cockatoo, an Ostrich and Emu, Deer, all kinds of Snakes, Turtles, Wild Pig (Pecarrie) and all kinds of birds. We enjoyed it as much as our children, Jordan 8 and Braelan 1.5.
One of the neatest experiences was the bird feeding. You pay $J50 to get bird seeds and you enter the cage to feed the birds. My eight year old really enjoyed this. You just open your hands with the food and the Budgies come to you and eat from your palms.
The bigger animals are on the way. By about April this year you should also see Lion(s), Tiger(s) and Zebra(s).
Here are a some of our pictures, but you really need to experience it for yourself. The kids will have a great time. If you want the Petting Zoo, you will have to request it beforehand, so they can get the animals ready.
When you visit share your experience with us in the comments section below.
Admission: Adults $500, Children $300
Thank you and Congrats to Guardsman Group for saving our Zoo. The children of Jamaica thank you! This is job well done and I know you’re not finished yet!
January 19, 2012 No Comments
I just have to say this is an absolute MUST DO for your children. I may even venture to say it is a “must do” for every Jamaican. First of all did you know we had a museum in Jamaica? You are not alone, I asked SEVERAL of my friends, and no one knew we had a museum. When I told folks we were heading down to the museum I got the same confused ” museum? what yu talking about?” look from everybody. I also wasn’t aware there was a museum until a few months ago, and I did all my schooling in Jamaica. That really is embarrassing!
So on with it. When I visited (August 2011) there were two exhibitions and a display at the Museums of History and Ethnography East St, downtown Kingston. These were: “From War to Windrush…Lest We Forget”, Our People: Other Worlds and a Taino display. From War to Windrush…Lest We Forget (really 2 exhibitions combined): “From War to Windrush” is a traveling exhibition from England which provides distinct reflections on the impact of World War I and World War II on the lives of West Indians, while “Lest We Forget” pays specific attention to the Jamaican experience. This was quite impressive. Actual pictures of Jamaicans heading off to fight for England in WWI, uniforms and gas masks worn by our soldiers, letters sent home to family and so much more. There is also an interactive Education Room “Gibraltar Camp” which is a part of the Windrush Exhibitions, where children are guided into assemblying puzzles, using clues to complete map work, assuming the roles of soldiers by putting on uniforms and testing their motor skills by running through tires in true military camp fashion. I took my 7 year old son and his cousin, also 7, and they thoroughly enjoyed the “Gibraltar Camp”. Even though, there was a TV monitor (not turned on) in the exhibit, and one of the boys got excited and asked “where’s the remote?”, ready to turn on the TV! ( just shoot me!!)
In order to satisy students’ need for historical data and material culture ( especially owing the closure of the Taino Museum in White Marl, St Catherine) a Taino display aligned to the Csec Social Studies, History and Cape History syllabi has been mounted. This display offers a brief account of the history of the aboriginal Taino population from the time of European arrival in the 15th century. It is an arrangement of some fifty artifacts for students contextualized under the categories Social and Economic Life and Religious beliefs.
I understand from our tour guide, Meeckel,who was awesome , that the basement houses a lot of our historical artifacts, there just isn’t the space to have a permanent display, which is quite unfortunate. The building itself is quite historic and architecturally beautiful, with several original fixtures. I left our museum with my heart racing with excitement. It is such a fantastic experience to see our history cataloged and displayed so professionally. The exhibit was quite engaging, each piece more captivating than the previous. I remember saying “Wow” “this is awesome” “incredible” over and over. I was so proud, to know that this caliber museum existed in Jamaica. I immediately called friends, family and everybody I knew who had children to share this “well kept secret”.
Well kept secret
So now for my soapbox. Why is the Institute of Jamaica (IOJ) such a “well kept secret”? Why do we have a world class museum, that is quite impressive, educational, engaging and nobody knows about it? Speaking to some persons in the “know”, they say there are a few “challenges” with IOJ as it is now. It is located downtown, Mondays to Thursdays, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Fridays, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m, no weekends and parking may be a problem. Let me handle these “challenges” one by one. 1) The downtown location should not be a problem. It is located on East St. in the same area as large companies, law firms, banks etc.,we not talking about some obscure lane. 2) The parking, IOJ “has (rents) a few spots” in a lot at 31/32 East St.-just above the entrance. When we went the lot was EMPTY! (so no problem there). However, 3) No weekends is a problem. They really need to be open on Saturdays, if not every Saturday, then every other. I understand to implement a change in opening hours needs cabinet approval (or something similar)!! Really? Gimme a break!
OK, until the hours change, let’s work with what we have. Why don’t schools take children to the museum for their field trips? I think it should be mandatory that every school child visits the museum. It is one thing to learn history in books and quiet another to see the history. I understand Prep schools (parents) don’t want their children to go downtown? Are you kidding me? We have to get past this uptown vs. downtown mentality in Jamaica. The IOJ is a phenomenal resource for our country that we need to take advantage of and enjoy.
Have you visited the IOJ? What are your thoughts? I would love to continue the conversation so please leave a comment below.
For more information on the Institute of Jamaica and the museums across Jamaica, visit their website. A great site with really good information on Jamaican history. You can also get involved with the museum by becoming a Friend of the Museum.
December 15, 2011 No Comments
Always on the look out for fun, educational, and engaging places to go and things to do with my eight year old son, over the summer holidays we headed to the “Money Museum” at the Bank of Jamaica. Have you heard of it? Did you know we had a money museum right here in Kingston? I am embarrassed to say I just recently heard about the museum, even though it has been around since 1999!
There are so many neat and educational places of interest and fantastic cultural experiences to be shared with the kids here in Jamaica. This is one of the main reasons I started this site, to share information on all the hidden gems we take for granted or may not even know about, that exists right under our noses.
The Money Museum is quite impressive. The monetary artifacts take us on a journey through our rich history, which was most educational. From the very first “coins”/trading items from the Taino people, through the British influence of the Shillings and Pounds, to our present day colourful banknotes. They have all been captured, preserved and beautifully displayed for all to enjoy.
The Money museum, in addition to being educational for the kids (and us), also provides a great opportunity for us to reminisce and share stories with our children, about how we used money when we were children. Seeing the $1, $2, $5, $10 and $20 bills, brought back great memories of my childhood. We spoke about how much lunch money I used to get and what we would buy for lunch from Fudgie and Chippie, and the lady at the gate with the Chinese sweetie (sold singly)-oh my! Oh what great memories for me, and even better conversations with my son about how things change, the value of money, technology-with ATM cards and so many other advancements. The conversation can go in so many directions depending on the age of your child.
They do offer guided tours for groups of 10 or more. So plan your trip and schedule a tour. It was only 4 of us so no guide, but we did get to experience “the light show”. This was truly the highlight of the visit for the kids. I am not sure how often the show happens per day, but we were happy to see it. The “light show” is seeing bills of different denominations under the UV light. You are able to see all the anti-counterfeiting technology that goes into each bill, which is quite neat. Each of our Jamaican bills has some pretty spectacular images under the UV light.
I strongly recommend The Money Museum for kids 8+, however I think kids a little older about 10+ would appreciate more fully the history that has been preserved and the entire experience.
The Museum is open Monday t0 Friday, 10am-4pm and closed on weekends and public holidays. I know, tough to get there during these hours, but how about planning a school trip and tying it into some portion of the curriculum?
Have you visited the Money museum? Share your experience with us. If you haven’t visited as yet, will you plan a trip now? I would love to get your feedback and thoughts. Just fill out he comments section below.
Visit their website for more information.
Photos: Taken at The Bank of Jamaica Money Museum
November 14, 2011 1 Comment
I heard about the Jamaican Playing cards and just had to speak to the creator, Empress Mullings. I think they are brilliant. I can see so many variations of traditional card games, plus using them as a learning tool for literacy, numeracy and trivia with children.
Watch the video to see Empress speak about these playing cards. I am sure you will find them awesome too.
Visit the website for a full explanation of how to use the deck and to see the games that can be played. You are encouraged you to make up your own games and share them. Why don’t you and the kids try out Go Fish, Old Maid or Rummy with your Jamaican playing cards? I would love to hear about the fun you’re having. Just leave your comments below.
November 1, 2011 No Comments