Today I am thrilled to have Jessie Voigts from the Wandering Educators sharing the Top 5 Things to Do in St. John’s, Newfoundland with Kids. Jessie is the publisher of Wandering Educators, a travel library for people curious about the world. She is constantly looking for ways to increase intercultural understanding, and is passionate about family travel, study abroad, and international education. She founded and directs the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program, teaching teens all around the world. As an educator, I love following her site and always enjoy reading her articles. Hopefully you will enjoy her adventures as much as I do!
St. John’s, Newfoundland is a storybook place – filled with jellybean-colored houses, set on a windswept rock, and called the City of Legends. It’s the perfect place for family travel, because there’s so much that is unique to the area, while some things are familiar. The food is amazing and kid-friendly (Fish cakes! Ice cream! Swampwater! Chocolate!), and the people are oh, so welcoming. Here are my top 5 things to do in St. John’s for you and your family.
Jellybean Row Houses
Lining the streets leading down to the harbor are scores of brightly colored houses, called Jellybean Row Houses. Legend says that the families of men who worked on the sea painted their houses in different bright colors, so that they could come home through the fog or storms. You will enjoy walking the hills, spotting cool colors, and perhaps having a photography challenge within your family for best photo of these beautifully painted houses?
So much history packed into one hill! Here, the very first transatlantic wireless signal was passed, military history abounds, challenging walks await, and the view stuns. You’ll need to go both in the daytime, when you will either see far away (lighthouse!), or are banked in by fog (which is very cool), and at night, when the lights of St. John’s twinkle for you. It’s the best view in town, and also offers places to explore and pretend you’re back in history, watching the coast for enemies.
Where else but on the Rock can you visit a science museum that is all underground? You can explore the Titanic exhibit, including replica items from the Titanic and an iceberg model that really shows what happened. You can also see, in this geological education masterpiece, what rocks (and glacial deposits) are like – and how they change over millions of years. This is, by far, the best science exhibit I’ve ever seen. Plan on a few hours here, at the least – it’s that interesting.
Of course, there are no guarantees of seeing a whale, but the whale watching cruises from O’Brien’s offers much more – puffins! You’ll boat by Puffin Island, seeing a variety of birds, including the very cute (and small!) puffins. The best part is seeing juvenile puffins trying to fly right from the water – it’s interesting to see their learning process and how they persevere. Compliments to the host of the whale watching tour, who peppers the talk throughout the 2-3 hour cruise with humor and interesting facts – it’s a great way to learn, for the whole family.
Immerse yourself in the haunted stories of St. John’s. You’ll meet at an old church, and listen to costumed storytellers recite gruesome tales whilst hiking around the hilly streets of St. John’s. “Highly recommended!” says my 13-yr old daughter!
Of course, there is so much more to see and do in St. John’s – what is your favorite thing there?
Jessie Voigts has a PhD in International Education, has lived and worked in Japan and London, and traveled around the world. She’s published six books about travel and intercultural learning, with more on the way. You can find her on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest if you’re interested in learning more!