8 Places to See With Your Kids Before They Turn 18
For children, every experience is new and exciting, which is why family travel is so rewarding. Your children get the chance to explore new places, while you make lifelong memories as a family. As you consider where to visit this summer with your kids before they leave the nest, take a look at these eight destinations. Each of these family vacation ideas fits the bill for the best places to travel with toddlers and teens.
Walt Disney World Resort
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We must begin with the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort as one of the best places to travel with kids. Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald Duck, and princesses abound are just a few of the magical characters that bring Disney World to life. Any kid on Earth would be excited to experience the wonders of Walt Disney. Best of all, this vacation destination is built with children at the forefront of Disney’s mind. However, if you wait to take your kids to Disney World as teenagers, you are wasting your family travel time. So set aside a week this summer to travel to South Florida to experience all the glory and magical goodness that is Walt Disney World Resort.
Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium
Accredited by TripAdvisor as being the No. 1 World’s Best Zoo, the Omaha Zoo is certainly a standout. Located in Omaha, Nebraska, the zoo had more than 2 million visitors in 2016 alone. As a parent, if you want to avoid the summer crush, plan your family travel to this zoo during the winter months. Sounds odd, but this zoo is most famous for its desert dome, indoor rainforest at Lied Jungle, and underground ‘nocturnal’ exhibits in Kingdoms of the Night. You can stay indoors in climate-controlled buildings while seeing and interacting with animals in their native habitats. From monkeys swinging freely in the indoor rainforest to birds flying around you in the desert dome, it’s like being in another world. Children are immersed in a total habitat from the sounds and smells to the near encounters with wild animals.
The Grand Canyon
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The Grand Canyon is one of the greatest US destinations for family travel. Geological marvel aside, the canyon is a wealth of learning lessons. From geography to American history, you can fit in plenty of educational enrichment on this adventure. However, the real excitement will come from the sheer size of the Grand Canyon, which is sure to be awe inspiring for the little ones in your family.
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Deep in the South in Atlanta you will find the largest aquarium in North America, as well as the Western Hemisphere. That’s right, Hotlanta is home to the cool Georgia Aquarium with 10 million gallons of water and thousands of marine creatures. Step inside the aquarium to walk through tunnels beneath whale sharks and belugas. Then get up close and personal with penguins, otters, seals, and jellyfish. But that’s not all. As a parent with a toddler try to plan your family travel during one of several Toddler Time days at the aquarium. This special exhibit gives you 1.5 hours of educational time in the Oceans ballroom. Toddler Time includes story time, a snack, and a craft, along with a special visit by a costumed marine character. The kids also get the opportunity to meet and greet an approachable animal during this time.
Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills
If you want to instill some true American spirit into your child, take them to see Mount Rushmore. This national treasure can be found in western South Dakota in the Black Hills. For family vacation ideas a trip to Mount Rushmore is much more than a bunch of famous heads carved out of granite. In addition to exploring the visitor’s center and walking trails at the site of Mount Rushmore, pitch a tent for camping at nearby Custer State Park. Take the wildlife loop through the park and cruise past free-roaming bison, antelope, and burros. Just don’t let your kids roam freely over these Great Plains as the animals are as wild as they should be.
Washington, DC Museums
Going to the nation’s capitol is a pilgrimage for most Americans who are passionate about politics. When it comes to the best places to travel with tweens and teens who are nearing 18, it is the perfect time to visit Washington, DC. At this age, kids are starting to get interested in history and the world around them. Enlighten them with excursions to the most kid-friendly museums in the district. The National Museum of Natural History is a top winner, followed by the National Geographic Museum and the International Spy Museum. For kids interested in nature, opt for the US Botanical Garden, while the National Gallery of Art is more stimulating for children with an artistic side.
Yellowstone National Park
As the first national park in the US, Yellowstone certainly holds its own quite well. From the largest group of geysers on Earth to wildlife encounters with bears, moose, bison, and eagles, Yellowstone National Park is simply amazing. When planning your family travel to this famous park, be sure to clear your schedule. One aspect that most people don’t realize about Yellowstone is the park’s size. It takes more than a day to drive through the park, and you’ll need to visit more than once to experience everything Yellowstone has to offer.
Pike Place Market
Located in Seattle, WA, the Pike Place Market is more than just a place to buy freshly caught fish. The market serves as a lesson in social studies and economics in a backdrop that is both tasty and electric. Your kids will have a blast watching fishmongers throw salmon, while expanding their knowledge of florists and farmers hoping to sell their wares. Plus, there’s the Seattle Great Wheel you can ride with your kids to see a bird’s eye view of Seattle and the famous Space Needle. That being said, after you explore the market and ride the Great Wheel, go downtown and explore that Space Needle, which is symbolic of Seattle.