by Denise Stern
The Bahamas and Atlantis are one of the most family friendly and easy to get to destinations we can think of! In fact, my husband and I have laughed many times that going to the Bahamas, including the drive to National Airport, takes us less time than driving up the Jersey Turnpike to visit Long Island family. Since you’ve read all the reviews and websites already, here are 5 tips you’ll only find here:
1. They are very serious about kids being 48” tall to ride the large waterslides.
This is non-negotiable and they measure each kid multiple times. While there’s plenty to do otherwise with the pools and the beach, if you have one child who is tall enough and one who isn’t, parents should be prepared to divide and conquer with one going to the big slides and the other going to the smaller areas.
2. Pack your own food.
I know, I know…you can get a wristband and a meal plan or something and be done. We love eating out too but with 3 kids, it can be a bit of a production to stop what we’re doing 3 times a day to have a sit-down meal. There are also no grocery stores on Paradise Island, only small sundry shops so you must leave the resort to find a proper food store. Driving off the island into town is a time commitment and also means using a cab. This is easy enough from your hotel but can be a real pain returning from the local town when you’re finished shopping.
Also we are those people who keep saying things like “$7.50 for a jar of peanut butter?! Are they crazy?!” So we packed a small suitcase with cereal, bread, snacks and other non-perishables to get us through the day.
3. Just take the map with you.
You’d think that finding your way around Atlantis would be simple because giant water features and pools are easy to spot. However the architects and designers do a great job using the natural landscape of palm trees and gorgeous florals to hide the mechanics of the grounds. It’s easy to turn a corner into a giant pool you had no idea was right in front of you.
While you can certainly wing-it and be perfectly happy walking wherever the paths take you, you might needlessly add minutes onto a walk that little ones could already find difficult.
4. The Lazy River is not Lazy!
Be advised that the long tube ride has a ¼ mile of easy riding but then turns into 1 mile of rapids, rolling waves and the “water escalator.” There are several points on the ride where you can enter or exit, and it’s easy enough for older kids (9 or 10?) to negotiate, but my vote is to use the 2-person tubes for parent/child whenever possible because when it is crowded it’s easy to get separated or flip over.
5. Kids are not allowed in the casino. Seems obvious but security is very serious about this one. Sidenote: They don’t agree that it is hilarious to have a photo of your 5 year old playing slots.
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