Excursion Review: Coral World Ocean Park – Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
St. Thomas was one of the stops on our 8 day Eastern Caribbean cruise with Carnival last December and although the shopping in Charlotte Amalie is quite good, we wanted to do something on the fun side that didn’t include an entire day at the beach. Coral World Ocean Park in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas is located directly across from Coki Beach on Coki Point so we thought it would be a good idea to spend the day checking out the aquarium as we could easily hop to the beach afterwards without wasting much time.
You can get a taxi quite easily from the cruise ship docks as there are plenty of cabs waiting for you as soon as you get off the ship. Our ride wasn’t too long ride and took about 20 minutes in total. We ended up paying $20 in fares (per way) or 2 adults and 3 small children. Since Coki Beach is a popular tourist spot, there are quite a few taxis waiting at Coral World for your return to your hotel or cruise ship.
Coral World is great for small kids. The park has 8 different exhibits that are all suited for toddlers and small children. My kids were very leery of the Touch Pool, but after chatting with the aquarist on hand, they mustered their courage and took advantage of the opportunity to hold the starfish and pet the sea cucumbers.
It was an incredible experience for them and the had a one-on-one with the aquarist who did a great job teaching them about the creatures.
The Lorikeet Garden is a fun spot where Rainbow Lorikeets are in abundance. You can buy nectar for a small fee and these beautiful birds will jump on your arms, hand (or head) to lap up the sweet stuff.
Jawfish, seahorses and exotic fish and marine creatures can be found in the 21 jewel tanks located in the Marine Gardens. My youngest daughter adored this exhibit!
The Turtle Pool is just that and is located close to the Undersea Observatory Tower. This air conditioned building stands 100 feet offshower and allows you to go 15 feet under the sea and observe the reef and creatures swimming in the open ocean. You can also sign up for Sea Trek, a helmet diving experience, however our kids were too young to try this one out.
Sharks, Stingrays and other marine life have their own exhibits as well. Check the daily schedule for feeding, encounter opps and show times as they tend to have opportunities throughout the day.
There are two eateries located at Coral World and we were happily surprised to find that The Beach Cafe offered veggie burgers in addition to their regular beef burgers! It may not sound like the biggest deal, but when traveling to the islands, meat and seafood reign supreme, so this was a refreshing welcome for us. This eatery serves breakfast from 8:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m., so if you visit the park early, you can enjoy a hot meal before the park opens. Lunch is served from 11:00 a.m. and on. The Shark Bar is the second dining option and offers a good selection of salads, sandwiches and fast food.
Tip: There are LOTS of iguanas on site, so keep a very, very close eye on your food and your kids. They don’t usually bother the little ones, but you will find a few that have no fear of humans whatsoever and are quite…persistent.
Conclusion: Coral World is not a very large ocean park and compared to the aquariums we’ve visited in the past, it is definitely on the ‘older’ side. I would say it’s more suited to younger kids and tots. Ours loved it and we really enjoyed the slow, relaxed pace. It makes for a great day trip combined with Coki Beach located just across the street!
Disclosure: Coral World provided our family with full access media passes to the park. All thoughts and opinions are my own as always.