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What To Do In Matara With Your Kids

Matara is a booming town on the southernmost tip of Sri Lanka. Matara has a beautiful strip of beach and some interesting historical and cultural attractions that the whole family can enjoy during your holiday here. From strolling around the Star Fort to visiting the eerie, snake farm; home to the island’s most exotic slithering creatures, your kids are sure to find a plethora of fun and exciting things to do in Matara. 

Star Fort

The Star Fort is a unique structure, being the only fort in Sri Lanka built in the form of a star. The fort was constructed by the Dutch in 1765 to protect the Dutch Fort, after the 1762 Matara Rebellion. The Star Fort is a much-visited site due to its unique architecture. Today, the fort houses the Archaeology Museum of the Matara District, making this an interesting and educational excursion for the whole family. Check out the other forts on the island too! 

Tip – Wear sunscreen and sunhats when you’re walking around the fort.

Polhena Beach

Close to the city centre lies Polhena Beach, a beautiful relatively untouched beach. This beach is ideal when you’re travelling with young kids, because it is a small sandy cove that is sheltered by an offshore reef, which forms a natural pool with calm waters – perfect for swimming! The reef is also an excellent snorkelling location, where you and your family can enjoy the underwater world teeming with colourful fish and even the occasional sea turtle! 

Explore the other family-friendly beaches on the south coast too.

Tip – Take extra care when snorkelling with smaller kids.

Dondra Head Lighthouse

Dondra Head Lighthouse is Sri Lanka’s tallest and one of the oldest lighthouses. The lighthouse is another remnant from the colonial era, built by the British in 1890. Standing at a height of 49m, the Dondra Head Lighthouse is found in the village of Dondra, which is also known as Devi Nuwara, translating to ‘City of God’. Although you can’t climb to the top of the lighthouse without special permission, the surrounding area is beautiful; the golden beach is dotted with swaying palm trees, while the azure ocean laps against its shores.

Loved Dondra Head Lighthouse? Here are the 5 insta-worthy lighthouses to add to your travel list.

Tip – It’s the perfect place for a family photo!

Snake Farm

Visiting the snake farm in Matara is one of the most exciting things you can do here. It is more of a temporary home and conservation site for endemic snakes found in neighbouring villages, farms, etc. The owner of the Snake Farm captures snakes that have been caught in the area, before releasing them back into the thick jungles. This small conservatory houses 20 – 40 snakes of different species. Visitors are allowed to watch the snakes in a controlled environment, and you can hold the non-venomous ones too! A thrilling and exciting experience for people of all ages – especially if your kids are daring and adventurous! 

Tip – It’s certainly not for the faint-hearted!

If you need some help getting around the island; our guide on travelling in Sri Lanka with kids.