St. Thomas has so many family-friendly attractions that it's not possible to squeeze them all into a half day. Between the beaches, the marine park, the mini-golf, the cable car and the zipline, you'll be hard-pressed to pick just one – but one is likely all you'll have time for!
The dock area at Havensight has two great family-centric activities which cater heavily to cruise ship passengers. The first is the Skyride to Paradise Point, a cable car that makes a 7-minute, 700-foot trip up the side of Flag Hill, giving riders a bird's eye view of Havensight Mall and the adjacent areas on the way up. Once you're at the top you'll be awed by panoramic views of the entire harbor and town while you eat lunch, shop in the gift shop, hike the nature trails or watch a bird show. Allow about two hours for the whole experience.
Cable car to Paradise Point — Photo courtesy of Paradise Point Skyride
Havensight's other main family fun spot is the Butterfly Farm. Here kids can frolic among 1,000 brilliantly colored butterflies which inhabit the 10,000-square-foot, mesh-enclosed, walk-through garden. Breeding boxes teach children about the process of metamorphosis from egg to caterpillar to butterfly. Both this attraction and the Skyride are only open on days cruise ships are in port.
Adrenaline junkies can spend an afternoon catching some air at St. Thomas's most popular new attraction, Tree Limin' Extreme Zipline. Though it may seem dangerous to whip through the trees attached to a narrow wire, kids as young as six and adults as old as 86 have all managed to live to tell about it.
Soaring over St. Thomas — Photo courtesy of Tree Limin' Extreme Zipline
Coral World, St. Thomas's 4.5-acre marine park and aquarium, is the island's most popular man-made family attraction. Kids love the shark tank, the sea lion show, the turtle pool, and the touch pool, where they can feel starfish and stingrays. The underwater observatory gives visitors a stay-dry chance to view local marine life such as sea lions, stingrays and sharks. The "semi-submarine" allows you to explore the surrounding Coki Point reef without getting wet, while "SNUBA" (SCUBA without a tank) offers a full-immersion experience.
If goofing around is on the cards, Winners Miniature Golf and Amusements inside Sugar Bay Resort is the place to go. This recreation center offers not only a 9-hole mini golf course, but also bumper boats, an arcade, tennis courts, a food concession stand and an activities room with television. There's plenty to keep kids and adults of all ages occupied.
And last but not least is the incomparable Magens Bay, one of the most family-friendly beaches anywhere in the Caribbean. Calm surf, a snack bar, picnic tables and watersports equipment rentals can all be found on this gorgeous mile-long stretch of sand.
Magens Bay, St. Thomas — Photo courtesy of Karen Elowitt
All of the above activities will take up a full morning or afternoon, but if you do manage to find yourself with a few minutes to kill, consider popping into Magic Ice. This one-of-a-kind ice bar and sculpture gallery will help you cool down after a few hours in the sun. The sub-zero room offers a wild array of figures with Caribbean and Scandinavian themes, plus an ice slide for the kids, a bar for the adults, and a gift shop for all. Plan to stay about a half hour before frostbite sets in (parkas and gloves are provided).
A Viking Ship at Magic Ice Gallery — Photo courtesy of Karen Elowitt