The Top Family Activities and Things to Do in Apia
Basing yourself in the capital is certainly a smart way to do a family trip to Samoa. With all of the cosmopolitan conveniences of Apia at your fingertips, as well as a range of hotels to suit all budgets and needs, it couldn’t be easier – just see The Complete Travel Guide to Apia for Families. But what about things to do? Luckily, there’s a wide variety of experiences in Apia for families, from cultural workshops, shows and museums to wonderful waterslides, gardens and snorkelling spots. Discover some of the best to experience with the family in this list of the best things to do in Apia with kids!
1. Experience Cultural and Crafting Workshops at Samoa Cultural Village
A hands-on experience that’s excellent for curious kids, which is also free so even more excellent on parents’ wallets, the Samoa Cultural Village is a family-friendly attraction in Apia complete with Samoan crafting, tasting and dancing. Happening from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm, Tuesday to Friday, the activity starts with weaving your own plate for the umu. You’ll then be formally welcomed with an ‘ava ceremony (kids don’t have to taste this bitter drink) before seeing how a traditional umu feast is prepared. While your lunch is cooking, you’ll see how ‘ava bowls are carved and even witness a traditional painstaking Samoan tatau (tattoo) being performed (you might not want to let squeamish kids look too closely). Finally, sit down with your freshly prepared umu lunch while watching a fiafia cultural performance including fire dancing! For more cultural experiences to educate the little ones, check out the 10 Best Cultural Activities in Samoa.
Location: Behind the Samoa Tourism Information Centre, Beach Road.
2. Join a Fiafia Night
Nothing captivates the kids more than watching an epic fire show, which is just a small part of a fiafia night! “Fiafia” means “happy” and these shows aim to make you feel just that with fire dancing, cultural dancing, singing and likely an ‘ava ceremony (again, kids can skip this drink). And in true Samoan spirit, you will be encouraged to eat more than is reasonable from the buffet. Although they have traditional Samoan dishes, there are usually a few western favourites should you have fussy eaters in your tribe. See which fiafia night to book yourselves into in the 10 Best Cultural Shows (Fiafia) in Samoa.
Location: All over Apia! See the link above for specific locations.
3. Have a Stroll Through Friendship Park
A neat little area on the Apia waterfront, Friendship Park offers an attractive park for a stroll, to catch the latest community event and to let kids loose at the playground! Explore the Mangrove Tidal Garden with boardwalks and bridges to mosey over, watch locals battle it out at the sports courts, and head down to the amphitheatre to catch a free gig or event. For more free experiences like this, check out the 15 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Apia.
Location: On the waterfront behind the Government Building on Beach Road.
4. Go to Apia’s Natural Waterpark, the Papase’ea Sliding Rocks
After walking down some steps through the jungle, you’ll come across the first and biggest slide of the Papase’ea Sliding Rocks that locals call the “men’s slide”; a near verticle 5-m (16-ft) slide. Further down is the “kids’ slide”, a much less precarious slide with a little drop at the end of extra fun. Finally, at the bottom, you have the “women’s slide”. Lots of fun, lots of laughs; what’s not to love? Avoid the busiest times, which tend to be the weekends, to get optimal slide time. Note that this attraction is best for active kids; in other words, it’s unsuitable for toddlers. Check out more of Samoa’s weird and wonderful attractions in the 10 Most Unique Things to Do in Samoa.
Location: Se’ese’e, Faleata District on the outskirts of Apia. The access road turns off Maugafolau Road near the University of the South Pacific campus.
5. Learn Something New at the Museum of Samoa, Falemata’aga
A less active experience and a good way to get into the shade with some air-conditioning during the heat of the day, the Museum of Samoa, Falemata’aga hosts an impressive collection of historical Samoan and Pacific artefacts. If you don’t want to sift through it all yourself, free guided tours are available with passionate guides to show you through the six different galleries boasting 3,000-year-old Lapita pottery, ancient tribal tools and weapons that will get the kids’ imaginations running, collections from across the Pacific, colonisation history and even a small art exhibition. For more museums to scout out, check out the 5 Best Museums in Samoa.
Location: Vaitele Street (look out for the large mural on the building).
6. Snorkel at Palolo Deep
Epic snorkelling can be found even from the shores of Apia! Although the most mind-blowing displays of coral can be found 100 m (328 ft) from shore at the Palolo Deep Marine Reserve, the shallow and sheltered bay close to the coral beach provides safe snorkelling and swimming for kids. Hire snorkelling gear and pay your entry fee at the kiosk to have access to the snorkelling area with swings, picnic benches, changing rooms (although, not baby-changing facilities) and fales. The best time to visit is close to high tide. Take reef shoes for everyone if you have them – see 20 Essentials You Need to Pack for Samoa. Plus, for more sweet snorkelling spots, check out The Best Snorkelling in Upolu: Top 10 Places to Snorkel.
Location: Between the Marina and Vaiala Beach along Beach Road.
7. Tour the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum
The impeccably maintained grounds and villa of the famous author Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1895), who lived in Samoa for the remaining four years of his life, are preserved for visitors to enjoy today. While “Villa Vailima” has had a few makeovers over the years, the home has been filled with replicas to represent how this classic colonial home would have looked like. That’s not to say there aren’t a few original trinkets, books and personal belongings to admire, as well as stories to immerse in while taking the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum tour with one of the museum’s incredibly knowledgeable guides. What’s more, the museum is a great option if the weather isn’t playing ball, as are the 12 Things to Do in Apia on a Rainy Day.
Location: Signposted along Cross Island Road in the village of Avele, just south of Apia.
8. Admire the Flowers at Vailima Botanical Garden
Encompassing 12 ha (30 acres) of native, introduced and naturalised plant species, Vailima Botanical Garden offers a wonderful free space for families to explore in Apia. The information centre here provides more details about the biodiversity of the gardens, while the freshwater pool and waterfall of the Loimata o Apaula stream is a wonderful place for a refreshing dip. The walkways here are also stroller-friendly. Should you have more active or older kids, you can also start the Robert Louis Stevenson Tomb Trail from this attraction, as detailed in the 10 Best Walks & Hikes on Upolu.
Location: Follow signposts for the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum along Cross Island Road in the village of Avele, just south of Apia. Instead of turning down the lane to the museum, however, continue straight until you reach an archway and sign for Vailima Botanical Garden.
9. Make it a Resort/Hotel Day
Either stay at one of the 10 Best Family Accommodations in Apia or you can pay to visit accommodations like Taumeasina Island Resort or Tivoli Aparthotel to make use of their pool and facilities. Either way, Apia’s hotels and resorts effortlessly entertain families with swimming pools, restaurants, watersports hire and activities, some even with kids’ clubs. Learn more about Apia’s kids’ clubs in The Best Kids’ Clubs in Samoa.
Location: All over Apia! See the links above for recommended accommodations and their locations.
10. Catch the Apia Night Market
A congregation of street food and family-friendly fun await at the Apia Night Market, happening on the last Friday of the month from around 4 pm. Feast on affordable international and local staples and treat the kids to carnival food, fairground rides and bouncy castle fun. Discover more street food delights in The Top Cheap Eats in Apia & Upolu, as well as more markets to explore in the 8 Best Markets in Samoa.
Location: Samoa Tourism Information Centre, Beach Road.
More Things to Do in Apia with Kids
That’s it for our list of the best things to do in Apia with kids, but if you’re travelling with older kids or teens, you are probably open to more activity ideas which you’ll find in the following guides:
- 25 Best Things to Do in Apia
- 15 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Apia
- 10 Things to Do on Upolu with Kids