When your kids are young, you want to expose them to all of the amazing and exciting things life has to offer. Whether your kids are interested in sports, adventure or art, the United States is filled with countless places to visit. From baseball parks and roller coasters to virtual reality and historic museums, here are 10 trips to take with your kids while they are still young and happy to take long car trips with their super cool parents.
1. Walt Disney World & Disneyland — Orlando, Florida & Anaheim, California
One of the greatest places to take your kids is of course, Disney. Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida is a spot that appeals to everyone. This location features The Magic Kingdom, which is known for their beloved Disney character parades and breathtaking nighttime firework shows. You can visit a comedy show put on by the Muppets, or spend the day as a princess with Cinderella herself. Also featured at Walt Disney World is the unbelievably unique Epcot, featuring under the sea adventures with Finding Nemo and Frozen’s icy wonderland. On the west coast, Disneyland in Anaheim, California offers just as many exciting attractions based off of our favorite movies — pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion and Indiana Jones to name a few.
© Aaron Fulkerson
2. San Diego Zoo — San Diego, California
If you’re an animal lover looking for something a little bit more on the “wild” side, the San Diego Zoo is absolutely perfect. Dedicated to providing the best possible care for wildlife, this zoo features over 600-different species of animals. There are hundreds of birds from all over the world that can be seen in their aviary exhibits, with other areas of the zoo featuring apes, gorillas, pandas and elephants, as well. You can even take an “Inside Look Tour” to learn even more about the animals surrounding you. Early risers can take the “Sunrise Surprise Stroll,” a 90-minute walking tour around the facilities first thing in the morning.
3. The Crayola Experience — Easton, Pennsylvania, Minneapolis, Minnesota & Orlando, Florida
A little bit more on the artsy side? Then you need to try The Crayola Experience for a colorful and interactive day of fun. The experience is located in a giant warehouse with all different types of activities. Here, your kids can design their very own crayon color using melted crayons, “doodle in the dark,” and you can even transform your drawings into 4-D art. They even have an area for toddlers where they can explore a fun ball maze. Open year round, this is an awesome place for a spontaneous day trip, party or school field trip. Each of the three-different locations offer a few unique artsy areas, so make sure to check them out for more information.
4. Sanibel & Captiva Islands — Florida
Sanibel and Captiva Islands are the perfect places to visit if you’re looking for a little paradise right here in the United States. Located in Southwest Florida, Sanibel and Captiva feature beautiful beaches filled with seashells to gather and stunning views of dolphins near the shore. The islands also have museums and theaters, as well as the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge that includes children’s interactive exhibits. The Sanibel Sea School is another great place for visitors of all ages to visit and learn about marine life and ecosystems.
© Jeremy T. Hetzel
5. Cedar Point — Sandusky, Ohio
Adrenaline junkies will love taking their kids to Cedar Point, in Sandusky, Ohio. This amusement park is filled with some of the worlds most exciting and thrilling roller coasters and rides. Known as “America’s Roller Coast,” this Ohio attraction has something to offer all who visit. From wooden and steel roller coasters for the adults and big kids, to the children’s Dune Buggies and Snoop’s Space Race, there really is something for everyone. Also popular within Cedar Point’s family rides area are two theme-park classics, a Ferris wheel and carousel.
© Jeremy Thompson
6. AT&T Park — San Francisco, California
The next place on our list, offering a full day of fun, is for all you baseball lovers — AT&T Park on the San Francisco Bay. This won’t be your typical baseball game. Instead, it’s a ballpark filled with a bunch of different activities the whole family will love. At the AT&T Park Fan Lot there’s a photo booth, mini baseball games at the accompanying Little Giants Park and a giant Coca-Cola Superslide. The ballpark also has amazing food, ranging from the classic hot dog to sushi, burritos and everything in between.
© Randy Chiu
7. Legoland Discovery Centers
With nine locations in the United States, taking a trip to one of the Legoland Discovery Centers is made easy. This indoor attraction is great for families looking for a day filled with creativity and adventure. The Legoland Discovery Centers are home to the Lego 4-D Cinema, Lego Jungle Expedition and a Lego City Builder, among many other options. There is even a Duplo Village for all of your little builders.
8. Washington D.C.
From museums and monuments to gardens and galleries, Washington D.C. is a great, wholesome family spot. At the National Museum of Natural History, your kids will be able to perform their own fun science experiments, while learning about the world around them. You can stroll through the U.S. Botanic Garden for scavenger hunts, or for a bit more mystery head over to the International Spy Museum. D.C. visitors can stop at the many art galleries, and should stop at the Newseum, where your kids have the chance to act as television reporters in the NBC Interactive Newsroom.
© John Haslam
9. Monterey Bay Aquarium — Monterey, California
Get ready to explore the exciting, underwater world that is the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California. While at the aquarium, visitors are able to learn about marine wildlife, while viewing daily penguin and sea otter feedings. Visitors can visit the grounds’ auditorium to look behind the scenes of the animals and sea creatures surrounding them. Family activities include creating Shark Totem Poles, making a Shark Mask and going on Marine Missions.
© Justin Ennis
10. Hershey Park — Hershey, Pennsylvania
For a family trip full of sweet fun, head to Hershey Park in Hershey, Pennsylvania. At this family theme park, you can enjoy roller coaster rides such as the Cocoa Cruiser and the Laff Trakk, as well as family water rides within the park. Next try Hershey Gardens to stroll with butterflies, or ZooAmerica to see hundreds of animals. Don’t forget to stop at Hershey’s Chocolate World before you leave to handpick treats, hit their photo studio or help solve a 4-D Chocolate Mystery!
© Kate Hopkins
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Cover photo © Asparukh Akanayev