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Exploring Jordan with Kids: A Guide to Family-Friendly Adventures in an Underrated Gem"


Jordan is an often overlooked but excellent destination for family travel, especially for those who enjoy adventurous and outdoor activities. The country offers numerous open spaces for running, hiking, and cycling, alongside ancient ruins that are accessible for exploration.

A key aspect of Arab culture is the importance of family, which means there are plenty of activities suitable for children of all ages. Jordanians are accustomed to children and are generally very friendly, so it is common for locals to offer sweets or small gifts to kids.

Is Jordan child-friendly?

Yes, Jordan is very welcoming to families. Family is highly valued in Jordanian culture, and people are typically open and relaxed around children. Respect, assistance, and space are often provided to pregnant women and families. However, traveling in Jordan with kids does come with certain challenges, such as a lack of public transportation and sidewalks, variable road safety, and indoor smoking. On the positive side, restaurants legally have non-smoking areas and often offer outdoor seating to take advantage of the beautiful weather.

It's also worth noting that public breastfeeding is discouraged and the country is generally not stroller-friendly due to uneven roads.

Despite these challenges, many places in Jordan go out of their way to accommodate families and ensure a comfortable stay. Don’t hesitate to ask for whatever you need. Many attractions offer free entry or discounts for children, and most restaurants have kid-friendly menus.

Best places for kids in Jordan

The capital city, Amman, offers a few fun museums and ruins, but the most exciting activities for children are found off the beaten path. From snorkeling and scuba diving to cable car rides and stargazing in vast deserts, Jordan has much to offer just below the surface.

Best activities for kids in Jordan

Amman's museums

In Amman’s Al-Hussein public parks, the Children’s Museum and the Royal Automobile Museum are located next to each other. The Children’s Museum is a favorite among local families, providing a safe, fun, and stimulating environment for young children. The Royal Automobile Museum, on the other hand, is popular with both kids and adults for its unique collection of classic and sports cars.

Roman amphitheater in Amman

The Roman Theater in Amman is a must-see. This ancient 6000-seat theater is fully accessible and free to explore. The surrounding Al-Hussein Plaza is one of the largest open spaces in the city, making it an ideal spot for a picnic or a game of soccer, a popular activity among locals.

Ajloun's natural beauty

The northern city of Ajloun is home to the serene Ajloun Forest Reserve, which boasts some of the greatest biodiversity in Jordan. The reserve offers cycling and hiking trails, as well as a cable car ride through the forest. From March to November, the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature operates forest lodges that are perfect for nature watching and relaxing.

Activities for teens and tweens in Jordan

Cycling safari in Al-Shaumari

The Shaumari Wildlife Reserve, located in the eastern desert, is one of the few places in the world where you can see the Arabian oryx. It is also likely the only place where you can cycle among these majestic animals. Bikes can be rented on-site, and the rides are unique, safe, and not too strenuous.

Stargazing in Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum is a staple destination for travelers to Jordan. There are various camps to choose from, ranging from luxurious bubble tents to more traditional Bedouin experiences. Activities include rock climbing tours, sand dune rolling, and even hot air balloon rides, though the latter can be quite expensive.

Exploring the Red Sea

A trip to Aqaba, staying at the Ayla or Tala Bay compounds, offers the complete Jordanian vacation experience. Whether you choose a luxurious resort or rent an apartment, you can enjoy the beauty of the Red Sea. Aqaba’s reefs, water clarity, and marine life make it perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving. Families can also enjoy various water sports, from pedal boats to paragliding.

Planning tips

The Jordan Pass, which includes the on-arrival visa and access to most historical attractions, is worthwhile if your children are over 12 years old, as younger kids enter for free. For parents and teenagers, the pass is a good investment.

Visiting Petra can be demanding due to the long walk and hot weather. The route is not stroller-friendly, and rides on club cars and donkeys can be expensive. Consider visiting Petra by Night, which offers a cooler and less crowded experience, though it is not covered by the Jordan Pass.

The Dead Sea, while iconic, is not ideal for young children due to the painful and potentially dangerous effects of getting the water in their eyes.

In general, it is advisable to bring your own water and snacks, as they are not always available and can be overpriced. Driving in Jordan can be challenging, but it offers flexibility for off-the-beaten-path exploration. Consider hiring a personal driver. For shorter stays, the Jett Bus is a comfortable and economical option that connects many major locations. Within Amman, ridesharing apps like Uber and Careem are recommended.

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