Things to do in Guam with Kids – Culture and History
In my previous article Things to do in Guam with Kids – Water Adventures, I introduced you to my former island home and described various water adventures for families. Guam may only be 30 miles long but is rich in history starting with its indigenous people. Later, Guam was a Spanish colony for 200 years, then experienced a Japanese occupation during World War II, and currently has been a United States territory since 1944. Here are some attractions for families to learn about the history of Guam and for cultural immersions.
Guam’s indigenous people are called Chamorros. They used these coral pillars and capstones for structure foundations called latte stones, which are Guam’s symbol. These stones aren’t found anywhere else in the world. Latte Stone Park contains some ancient latte stones to get a unique perspective on their size and shape; however, my kids enjoyed the world’s biggest latte stone more. The 80-feet tall Latte of Freedom was built to symbolize Guam’s culture and heritage. The structure is also an observation deck for some beautiful ocean views.
Lina’la Cultural Park
One of the best ways to learn about Guam’s local culture is a visit to Lina’la Cultural Park. From a jungle setting to a replica of an ancient Chamorro village, history comes alive as locals dressed in traditional clothing demonstrate life in Guam 500 years ago. Activities such as language lessons, weaving, dancing, traditional game playing, coconut cutting and handicrafts allow visitors to experience Chamorro culture in a beachside setting. Kids can meet animals common in Guam and enjoy nature walks to view local fruits and flowers. Exhibits in the Museum Center feature ancient tools, pottery and cultural artifacts.
Plaza de España
Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer, landed on Guam’s southern shores in 1521 and introduced the country to the western world. Spain colonized Guam for 200 years. This plaza still contains remnants of the Spanish era structures, though most were destroyed during World War II. This is a lovely place to stroll and see some of the structures like the three-arch gate and the Chocolate or Summer House, which was used for social gatherings.
Two Lover’s Point
Guam’s most popular attraction is a lookout point on a cliff with stunning panoramic views. Two Lover’s Point was named after a local legend of two star-crossed lovers who leapt off the cliff so they could be together in death and eternity. Kids love looking through the hundreds of colorful, heart-shaped lovelocks left on rocks and fences here. They contain messages to loved ones and symbolize a couple’s enduring love.
One of the most popular stops in southern Guam is the old Spanish fortification overlooking the Umatac Bay where Magellan first landed in 1521. I’ve always admired the panoramic views here at Fort Soledad. My kids loved climbing on old cannons pointing towards the ocean and going into the sentry posts.
War in the Pacific National Historic Park
Guam was also occupied by the Japanese during World War II. The island played a strategic role during the war due to its location. The War in the Pacific National Historic Park has six areas scattered around the island commemorating the survival and courage of the soldiers and citizens. Asan Beach Park is a family favorite with hundreds of palm trees lining a beautiful beach where American soldiers landed to free Guam from the Japanese soldiers. Visitors can try climbing coconut trees or pick coconuts that have fallen on the ground. Sometimes, it’s the simplest things that can be memorable.
Kids can become Junior Rangers by completing activity sets as they learn about Guam’s history and ecosystems. The various historical sites include cannons, guns, bunkers and memorial walls to intrigue historical fanatics or kids playing soldiers.
One of our favorite ways to experience cultural immersion is to visit street markets. Guam had a weekly night market that felt like an island-wide fiesta or party. This was the best way to sample local food from a variety of vendors. The centrally-located Chamorro Village also had many vendors selling arts, crafts and souvenirs. Our kids saw local animals and even rode on a carabao, which is a docile water buffalo used for farming. This was a highlight for my kids.
Like Hawaiian luaus, most cultural shows in Guam are set on beachfront locations with high-energy shows featuring the Chamorro and Polynesian cultures through music and dance that include fire dancers and drums. They all come with sunset views and dinner buffets of seafood and delicious local dishes. We caught one show and it was very entertaining. Audience interaction and participation is highly encouraged. These impressive shows really make you feel like you’re on a tropical island vacation.
We stayed at Hilton Guam Resort and Spa which was conveniently located in the tourist district.
You may also enjoy:
- Hilton Guam Resort & Spa Review: A Great Family-Friendly Choice
- Things to Do in Fiji with Kids On A Short Visit
- Doing a Double-Take: Moorea with Kids?
- Top 5 Things to do in Bora Bora with Kids
Hilton Mom Voyage writers receive free night certificates to use at Hilton Hotels & Resorts worldwide. To learn more, visit our About Us page.
Mary lives in San Diego, California with her husband, 13 year-old daughter and 10 year-old son. She was born in the Philippines, grew up in the U.S. territory…