Sri Lanka is an exciting place for families to explore together and a great place for kids to learn new things and have fun at the same time. Sri Lanka is the home of some of the best beaches in the world and there is plenty of wildlife, adventure, and culture that will fascinate children of all ages.
Sri Lanka is small enough that it doesn’t take hours of sitting in a car to get from one place to another. Another reason for families to visit Sri Lanka is that it is a very kid friendly country: kids are made to feel welcome here.
Here is a list of top twelve things that kids will enjoy doing in Sri Lanka, and parents will have fun too!
Beaches: Fun in the Sun
The best beaches in Sri Lanka are on the west and south coasts of Sri Lanka. Kids will love splashing in the crystal clear water, boogie boarding, and making sand castles. Fringed with palm trees, the long stretches of golden sand are perfect for running and playing and using up some of that excess energy! Beaches like the one at Unawatuna are shallow and safe for kids.
Meet the Elephants
The Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage is high on the list of fun things to do. This orphanage has the largest herd of elephants in captivity in the world. Kids can learn and have fun at the same time as they watch how the elephants are taken care of and nursed back to health. They can watch these magnificent creatures being fed and bathed: there are also opportunities for kids to help to feed the elephants.
Ride a Train through the Mountains
There are many scenic train rides in Sri Lanka and one of the best is between Nuwara Eliya and Ella. Riding the train is fun and the scenery is outstanding with waterfalls, tea plantations where kids can see how tea is picked on the hillsides, and more than 20 tunnels as the train snakes its way through the hilly countryside.
Hold a Baby Turtle
On the west coast of Sri Lanka is a town called Kosgoda located south of Bentota between Colombo and Galle. There are turtle hatcheries here where kids can learn how baby turtles are hatched. It’s an exciting and educational hands-on experience: kids are able to hold a turtle egg and release a little baby turtle back into the ocean. An unforgettable experience!
Check out an Ancient Fort
The 17th century Dutch Fort in Galle is well-preserved and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take the train down from Colombo and then walk through the city of Galle with its old houses and churches. The fort is fun to explore: there are ramparts along the sea, a lighthouse, and great views. Make sure to look for the locals who jump off the ramparts down to the sea below.
Sri Lankans traditionally sit on stilt poles called riti panna to go fishing. There are not as many fisherman as in the past but you can still see them perched on their poles along the south coast of Sri Lanka. There is a small bench attached to the poles which are placed in fairly shallow water. Kids will enjoy watching local fisherman or they can give it a try themselves. The locals will help kids get set up on the poles.
Climb a Famous Rock
Sigiriya, or Lion’s Rock, is an ancient rock fortress and a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Central Province. It is an amazing site from down below, but kids will have fun getting to the top of the rock and seeing interesting things along the way. On a plateau about halfway up, there is a gateway in the form of a gigantic lion with huge paws.
Take an Elephant Safari
Habarana is the best place to go on an elephant safari. Kids will love this experience: they get to sit on a platform on the elephant’s back. A trained mahout rides the elephant and guides the safari. There are many elephants in this area as well as other kinds of wildlife. Safaris go through jungles, swamps, villages, and rivers. Hold on: a ride on an elephant can be very bumpy!
Take a Surfing Lesson
Sri Lanka is famous for its surfing, Along the south west coast of Sri Lanka, small beginner waves consistently roll in to shore. There are many surf schools here and Weligama is the perfect place to learn how to surf. This is a sheltered bay and is protected from the wind. Kids can take surf lessons here, or they can just rent a surfboard and try it on their own.
Visit the Caves of Dambulla
The Dambulla Cave Temple is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla. Kids will have a fun and educational experience as they explore the series of five caves. Inside the caves they will be amazed at the number of paintings and statues. There are more than 150 statues of Buddhas as well as statues of famous kings from Sri Lanka.
Spot a Whale
The elephant is the largest land animal in the world, and the blue whale is the biggest marine animal in the world. Sri Lanka is one of the few places where you can see both of these animals in the same day! The south coast of Sri Lanka is a good place to take kids to see blue whales because it is close to the deep waters where these huge animals live.
Kayak through a Jungle
Kids will enjoy taking a kayak trip on the Bentota River. The river is calm and wide and perfect for kids and families. The river flows through mangroves and jungles towards the Indian Ocean. There is a variety of wildlife along the river, and kids will have fun spotting birds and mammals. A kayaking tour includes all of the equipment and often includes lunch as well.
This post is brought to you by Edward from Srilankavisa.org. Srilankavisa.org was founded in 2012 by migration lawyers. Srilankavisa.org is responsible for the Sri Lanka visa application process for its clients. Edward is an enthusiastic traveler who has been to 97 countries. He loves photography, tasting new food and experiencing different cultures.