Young children will enjoy scampering on paths through this walk-through aviary and zoo-like reserve while green monkeys scamper overhead.
For a very different experience from beach activities and watersports, visit the Barbados Wildlife Reserve in St. Peter parish on the northern part of the Barbados west coast. While kids will think of it as a trip to the zoo, adults will appreciate the Barbadian effort to provide a protected habitat, mostly without cages, for numerous species.
Find a variety of animals, some native to Barbados and others imported. While Barbados beaches offer the colorful array of white coral sand, lush green foliage, and azure sea and sky, the wildlife reserve brings in the rest of the colors of the rainbow in its birdlife. Watch pink flamingos standing on their delicate legs, multicolored parrots chattering in the trees, and strutting peacocks with plumage as blue as the sea. The walk-through aviary is a favorite for young and old alike. Have a family contest to see who can spot and correctly identify the greatest number of birds.
Then move to the reptile collection where even those who are squeamish around snakes can enjoy watching turtles, tortoises and iguanas. Calm your fears; the snakes are in cages.
Many of the other animals have been imported to the island. Look for the alligator-like caiman and the plated armadillo, very much at home on their rocky habitat. Spot the small rodent that looks like a squirrel without a tail and learn that it is an agouti.
Plan to arrive for afternoon feeding time for the Barbados green monkeys. Young children will enjoy watching the almost-human antics of these playful creatures. The monkeys live in the reserve but can freely roam away from the area.
There is an entrance fee to the reserve and plenty of free parking. While you are in the area, visit the Grenade Hall Forest and Signal Station, which is included in your admission.
Bring a picnic lunch and eat at the reserve or across the road in the Farley Hill National Park.