Please assign a menu to the primary menu location under menu


Adventure BookFamily Fun

12 Children’s Books and Series That Inspire Adventure


When you think back to your youth, what favorite things come to mind? If you’re like many, you remember the thrill of going to the library and checking out a book you were eager to read. Whether you’re a youngster, a senior, or you land in between the two extremes, there really is nothing like holding a book in your hands and turning the pages to see what will happen to your favorite and most detested characters next.

As a parent, you probably want your kids to fall in love with reading just like you did when you were their ages. You can help your kids crush on reading throughout their lives by introducing them to children’s adventure books at a young age. Adventure books for kids rock because they inspire children to embark on their own imaginary and real-life adventures, introduce them to faraway lands, and free their imaginations from pre-conceived notions and fears.

Although today’s children may prefer to consume adventure books in the form of audiobooks or by using their tablets instead of reading a physical, handheld tome, their preferred consumption style will not limit the potential impact the books will have. While your kids may prefer to consume books with electronic devices as they age, it’s still advisable for the youngest of readers to start their literary journey with an age-appropriate board book.

Even if your child’s first book is one of the many kid-friendly picture books that are available on Amazon or, it’s still a critical first step in your child’s possible lifelong love affair with reading. And it’s an exciting one!

Whether you have tweens or toddlers, you might be curious about the best children’s adventure books to help your kids develop a courageous spirit and become avid readers. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered in this regard with our curated list of gripping adventure books for kids.

20 Children’s Adventure Books

1. Adventures from Scratch: Family Edition

Adventures from Scratch offers a collection of adventure books for adults and children. While grown-ups may prefer Adventures from Scratch: Date Edition during times when their kids are visiting friends or their grandparents, families will enjoy the family-oriented version of the book.

Adventures from Scratch: Family Edition includes more than 50 enjoyable and exciting activities that children will want to do with their parents! It inspires kids to be adventurous without forcing them to act alone. Kids can test boundaries and discover new things as they complete challenges with their family members in a safe environment.

By introducing your children to adventures in an environment where they feel supported and protected, they’ll develop the confidence to be adventurous on their own as they enter adulthood. This tactic may also increase the likelihood that your kids will tell you about their adventures because the challenges you complete as a family will help establish strong lines of communication and a sense of teamwork among your family members.

Every scratch-off challenge in Adventures from Scratch: Family Edition is fun to take on. The adventures can often be completed with items you already have on hand. In addition, the challenges are adaptable enough for your family to do at home or a vacation destination.

If you want a book that inspires adventure in kids of all ages, the family adventure book by Let’s Roam should be at the top of your must-get list of books.

2. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien

Born Robert Leslie Carroll Conly, the author of this book was best known among children’s books’ enthusiasts as Robert C. O’Brien. O’Brien’s classic book Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH was published in 1971, and the book earned O’Brien a coveted Newbery Medal the following year.

An enduring favorite among children and adults who remember the book from their childhood, this story describes the plight of widowed mouse Mrs. Frisby who must get her family out of Mr. Fitzgibbons’ garden and to their summer residence or face certain death. The yearly trek is made complicated, however, because Mrs. Frisby’s youngest son, Timothy, falls ill with pneumonia and can’t be moved.

Luckily, Mrs. Frisby encounters a group of highly intelligent and capable rats called the Rats of NIMH. The rats develop a wildly clever solution to Mrs. Frisby’s dilemma. In return for saving her family, Mrs. Frisby performs a laudable service for the band of rats.

O’Brien’s untimely death in 1973 is one of the unfortunate events that normally prevent a wonderful book like this one from having a sequel. Fortunately, the literary bug bit one of O’Brien’s children, Jane Leslie Conly. O’Brien’s daughter penned two sequels to the author’s original book, “Racso and the Rats of NIMH” and “R-T, Margaret, and the Rats of NIMH.” Both of Conly’s books are worth checking out.

3. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

Written by Rudyard Kipling well over a century ago, The Jungle Book is as relevant today as it was when it was originally published in 1894. This book recounts the experiences a young orphan boy named Mowgli has growing up in the jungles of India.

Mowgli grows up among a pack of wolves, befriends exotic animals like panthers and bears, and ultimately hunts a man-killing tiger known as Shere Khan. The book’s compelling characters, brilliant yet digestible language and quick pace make it one of the books you’ll want your kids to read aloud so everyone can feel the thrill of Mowgli’s unfolding adventures.

The Jungle Book is a great pick for middle-grade readers between the ages of eight and 12 years old. If your goal is to inspire adventure among your children, consider this classic adventure story a must-read for your brood.

4. The Heroes of Olympus Series by Rick Riordan

This series is one you’ll want to get in hardcover form so that it can be passed from generation to generation of young readers. There are five books that chronicle the adventures of Percy Jackson, his co-adventurers, and some key Olympians plucked from mythology. The books included in this intriguing series include:

  • The Lightning Thief
  • The Sea of Monsters
  • The Titan’s Curse
  • The Battle of the Labyrinth
  • The Last Olympian

As your kids age, they can read more of Rick Riordan’s work as the bestselling author also scripted the Kane Chronicles and the Heroes of Olympus. When your children become adults, they can enjoy Riordan’s multi-award-winning mystery series, Tres Navarre.

5. The Harry Potter Collection by J.K. Rowling

The fantastical Harry Potter book series penned by J.K. Rowling tells the ongoing tale of young wizard Harry Potter and his associates as they attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and battle the dark lord Voldemort. From Harry himself to his friends Ron and Hermione, the school’s headmaster Dumbledore and professor Snapes, and many more, Rowling created unforgettable characters who left powerful impressions on readers.

When they were new releases, these children’s adventure books were met with eager, zealous anticipation from readers who simply couldn’t wait to get their hands on the next edition. Many people would line up outside bookstores the day before the novels hit store shelves to increase the chances that they’d get their hands on a sought-after hardcover or paperback.

In the years that have passed since J.K. Rowling released the last book in the series, her Harry Potter books have continued to be sold as individual graphic novels and as boxed sets. We strongly encourage you to get a boxed set so your kids won’t have to wait to move on to the next novel. These books are so captivating that waiting for the next edition proved tortuous for many as the books were originally released one by one years ago.

While J.K. Rowling has been the subject of some public scrutiny in recent months due to some unfortunate public comments, her beloved novels remain popular among young readers and older bibliophiles in equal measure. Here are the books that are part of the author’s cherished series, with each one beginning with “Harry Potter and the…”:

  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

If your kids get into the series, consider treating them to the following books that the characters presumably had access to in the Hogwarts library:

  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Quidditch Through the Ages
  • The Tales of Beedle the Bard

It’s worth noting that all the books about the young wizard were made into wildly popular movies starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and other big names. Although the films are wonderful, the chapter books are even more compelling.

6. The Hatchet Series by Gary Paulsen

With award-winning books like The Winter Room and Dogsong on his resume, it’s no wonder that Gary Paulsen earned the Edwards Award from the American Library Association for his lifetime achievements in kid-friendly literature. Among the great books Paulsen has scripted over the years are the works that are part of the revered Hatchet series.

This mind-blowing series follows Brian Robeson, a thirteen-year-old who’s left to fend for himself after a plane crash leaves him stranded in the Canadian wilderness with a torn windbreaker and a hatchet his mother had, thankfully, given him as a gift. To survive, the young teen must put away the harsh feelings he has about his parents’ divorce and use his knowledge, courage, and will to live to escape his harrowing predicament.

Five must-read books make up the Hatchet series, and they include the following titles:

  • Hatchet
  • The River
  • Brian’s Winter
  • Brian’s Return
  • Brian’s Hunt

7. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is a prolific author of children’s books who’s worked with several illustrators on titles that include Fortunately, The Milk, The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, and Coraline, among others. A midgrade book that’s a great pick for kids in the fifth and sixth grades, The Graveyard Book is a story Gaiman wrote that’s become more successful than anyone could have dreamed. A modern classic, The Graveyard Book is the only book that has earned a Newbery medal as well as a Carnegie medal.

On its surface, The Graveyard Book is a seemingly doomsday tale of a boy whose physical body is dead, but whose spirit is being raised in a cemetery by ghosts and a paranormal guardian who hails from neither the world of the living nor the realm of the dead. Nobody Owens, referred to as Bod in the book, navigates adventures in the graveyard as he matures under the watchful eyes of ghosts, ghouls, and his attentive guardian.

To avoid being threatened by Jack (or worse), the man who slew his body, Bod can’t leave the cemetery. Given his boundaries, Bod must contend with the evil Sleer and other ghastly characters within the confines of the graveyard.

Recommended by many teachers, The Graveyard Book is available as a 10th-anniversary edition. It’s worth getting a copy of that edition for your kids because it includes bonuses, such as:

  • A forward prepared by Margaret Atwood
  • Formerly unpublished sketches by the book’s illustrator
  • Copies of handwritten drafts by Gaiman
  • Gaiman’s acceptance speech when he received the Newbery medal

8. Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

Thanks to works like Because of Winn-Dixie, Kate DiCamillo has become one of the most beloved authors of children’s books in the United States. This story tells the tale of Opal Buloni, a young girl who’s just 10 years old. On a summer day, Buloni goes to a local grocery store to pick up some supplies. Buloni proceeds to return home with a dog in her wake.

After the dog enters the young girl’s life, things start to happen. Buloni begins to make friends at long last. She also musters up the courage to ask her dad about her mother, who abandoned them when Opal was just three. Eventually, Buloni realizes that nearly all the things that happen over the course of the season are because of her newly found, adventurous canine companion Winn-Dixie.

Born in Philadelphia but raised in the south, Kate DiCamillo currently lives in Minneapolis where she writes two pages per day, five days a week. Thanks to her dedication to writing kid-friendly books, DiCamillo has written other compelling works, which include:

  • The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
  • The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread
  • The Beatryce Prophecy
  • The Rising Tiger
  • The Magician’s Elephant
  • Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures
  • The Mercy Watson series

9. Whispering Alaska by Brendan Jones

A middle-grade book that’s a fantastic pick for tweens and young teenagers, Whispering Alaska is a must-read for youngsters grappling with grief or change. This beautifully written book follows two twin girls and their father as they bravely move from Pennsylvania to Alaska after the death of the girls’ mother.

As the twins settle into a new normal, they fall in love with the natural beauty that surrounds them. Tension soon takes over the girls’ new hometown, however, as the local adults find their livelihoods are threatened. Josie and Nicky are among the young townspeople who step up in a courageous attempt to save their community and all its natural wonders.

Author Brendan Jones knows Alaskan life well as he lives a subsistence lifestyle in an Alaskan community. Jones’ knowledge rings true, particularly as he tells readers about the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest. In fact, the storyteller’s detailed description of the forest is so encapsulating, your kids may swear they can hear the trees whispering, and they might embark on a real-life adventure to do just that when they’re older.

10. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg

Available as an audiobook, a paperback, and a hardcover, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. E Frankweiler follows Claudia and her miserly brother Jamie as they run away from home and take refuge in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. As they settle into living at the prestigious museum, the siblings tour the museum with other visitors during the day and sleep in an opulent 16th-century bed at night.

The kids’ daily adventures in the museum provide a glimpse of some true wonders through the curious eyes of children. Things take a turn, however, when Claudia discovers she and her brother can’t return home until they find out who made a newly received statuette the museum had recently taken in. If it weren’t for the statue’s former owner Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Claudia and James may have been stuck at the museum for the rest of their lives.

A Newbery medal winner, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is a story of childhood angst, adventurous rebellion, and familial love that’s as heartwarming as it is humorous and entertaining. It’s also a book that pre-teens and teenagers will be hard-pressed to put down.

11. The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon by Mini Grey

While The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon by Mini Grey isn’t based on a true story, it is a play on the nursery rhyme that goes “hey diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle.” That means it’s a love story that starts with the dish and the spoon running away together. During the Great Depression, Dish and Spoon make a killing as vaudeville stars. It doesn’t take long for the duo to lose their fortune and wind up in debt to a gang of nefarious characters appropriately known as evil knives.

With a nod to Bonnie and Clyde and a taste of The Perils of Pauline, The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon is a clever lesson that will teach readers that crime doesn’t pay and that love is powerful enough to conquer all challenges and challengers.

This children’s adventure book is a wonderful choice for readers in kindergarten through the third grade. At just 32 pages in length, the book is short enough for kids to read aloud in a single evening depending on how well-developed their reading skills are.

12. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

First published in 1959, My Side of the Mountain is loosely based on the author’s childhood experiences. As a kid, George enjoyed nature. Encouraged to be an independent, free-spirited child by her parents, George ran away from home at one point in her young life to attempt to live in the outdoors. Similar to many other kids who try to do the same, George returned home about 40 minutes after she initially ran away.

George used her brief experience as a runaway as fodder for the fictional tale of Sam Gribley. Unlike the author herself, Gribley succeeds in his quest for independence and self-reliance when he leaves home as a young boy to live in the Catskill Mountains. Gribley’s survivalist adventure is told in the first person through the character’s journal entries, illustrations, and notes.

The unconventional story starts in the middle. With no choice but to stay inside his treehouse during a storm, Gribley reflects on what has led him to this moment in the story. Once readers are caught up, they follow Gribley through the rest of his adventure, which eventually draws to an end when his entire family relocates to live with him in the mountains. While Gribley is initially opposed to his family’s move, he accepts their presence since he’s still a minor and his parents are required to watch over him until he’s at least 18.

Family FunHolidays

Family Holiday Traditions to Start This Year


What do you look forward to the most as it relates to the holidays? As a child, you may have looked forward to getting gifts more than anything else. Now that you’re an adult, you may be even more eager to spend time with your friends and loved ones over the holidays.

If you take a moment to reflect on holiday seasons gone by, you may realize that it’s your family holiday traditions that have made you look forward to spending time with your loved ones so much these days. While you can keep those warm and fuzzy feelings going by continuing your existing traditions, you can intensify your feelings and ignite similar ones in others by establishing new Christmas traditions this year.

What are some holiday traditions that you may want to incorporate into the season? As you’re about to find out, there is plenty for you to choose from.

Make Adventure a Regular Thing

We suggest you make completing a family adventure a new tradition. Adventures From Scratch: Family Edition includes more than 50 adventures you can do with your whole family. Whether you’re playing host or traveling to a relative’s place for the holidays, your family can do one or more of our challenges no matter where you end up.

The challenges in our family adventure book bring people closer together as they work to complete their assigned tasks as a team. To start your group adventure, simply scratch off your chosen challenge and prepare to share some belly laughs that would make Santa jealous!

Send Physical Christmas Cards

In today’s digital age, it’s easy to overlook or undervalue the sentimentality of sending physical cards that acknowledge a special event like the arrival of Christmas day. Even if you don’t send another piece of snail mail all year, you may want to make sending holiday cards a familial tradition this year.

Don’t settle for sending a generic, printed summary of everything that happened this year in the fold of a Hallmark card. Instead, make DIY cards with your immediate family members that are highly personalized. Handwrite the custom message you want to send to each recipient. Have each member of your family sign every card you make. Sending handmade, personalized cards can make the season more magical for your family and everyone who gets one of your Christmas cards.

Show Off the Holiday Cards You Receive

Do you typically receive a lot of Christmas cards? Whether you normally get a handful of cards or your mailbox is usually inundated with cards, make showing them off a tradition instead of shoving them in a drawer. When the people who sent the cards to you stop by, it will warm their hearts with holiday spirit to see that their cards meant enough to you for you to have them on display for all to see.

Celebrate Sinterklaas

One of the new traditions you may want to start this year is the celebration of Sinterklaas. Often referred to as Saint Nicholas Day, Sinterklaas is celebrated on December 5th every year. In the Dutch tradition, Sinterklaas is when “Sint” leaves a small gift of some sort in children’s shoes. The gifts Sint leaves are often disguised as something they’re not.

As it relates to your holiday celebration, look at Sinterklaas as a potentially hysterical prelude to Christmas. You can incorporate a Secret Santa arrangement into your St. Nicholas Day celebration by assigning one gift-giver to a single recipient until everyone is covered. Just be sure that recipients don’t know who their gift-givers are.

Encourage gift-givers to disguise their gifts in creative ways, telling them that the more outrageous their packaging is, the better. If someone is struggling to think of a fun way to disguise a gift, give the person a list of ideas, such as:

  • Putting the gift in a cake and covering the resulting hole with icing
  • Hiding the present in a bowl of cooled oatmeal
  • Concealing a tiny gift in an oversized box filled with recyclable packing materials
  • Covering the gift with slime in a gift-wrapped plastic container

Once everyone has opened their presents, have your family members take turns guessing who their Secret Santa was. Ask each person to explain why they chose the relative they did. You may find everyone’s responses, particularly their explanations, to be both surprising and wildly funny.

Countdown to Christmas Morning with a DIY Advent Calendar

The anticipation of the holiday’s arrival is one of the countless things that make the Christmas season so special. You can use that anticipation to make the season even more memorable by making a DIY advent calendar your family can use to countdown to Christmas.

To make a family advent calendar, get 25 boxes and fill each one with some goodies. If the boxes aren’t decorative, wrap each one in some holiday gift wrap. Label the boxes with the relevant date, from December 1st through the 25th, and stack them on a table where they won’t get knocked over. Reserve a special time every evening for your kids to open that day’s box. Take pictures as your children unwrap each box so you can create a collage or a photo book at the end of the season.

Host a Holiday Movie Night

If you want to spend time with your extended family but fear you may need a little bit of downtime while you entertain them, consider hosting a holiday movie night. Watching Christmas movies will enable you to spend time with your family while giving you a reason to remain planted in your seat. To avoid having to cater to your family, make sure you put out snacks and beverages before you dim the lights to start the first seasonal film.

Can’t think of any movies your entire family will enjoy? Consider the following Christmas movies as they’ve entertained generations of viewers for years:

  • The Santa Claus
  • A Christmas Story
  • Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer
  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
  • Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the original version from 1966)
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas
  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Scrooged
  • Elf

There are so many classic Christmas movies, hosting a movie night will be a long-standing tradition before you’ll have to repeat a flick. When you finally do run out of new-to-you Christmas classics, you can always find new holiday-themed films by navigating to the Hallmark channel.

Spread Some Holiday Spirit with the Elf on the Shelf

While you may already use the Elf of the Shelf with your own family, you can use the mischievous toy to infuse some humor throughout your extended family, too. Is your mother-in-law making a vanilla cake? Have one of the kids distract her, set up the elf on the counter with a bottle of green or red food coloring, and put a few drops in the bowl before your mother-in-law returns. Imagine her reaction when she sees what that rascal of an elf did! Make sure you get the whole thing on video for future laughs.

Does your uncle love pecans? Order a fake canister of nuts that’s really filled with something that will spring out when the jar is opened. Wrap the canister and set the present next to your relative’s favorite chair with a note explaining that it’s an early Christmas gift he’s to open today. Sit the elf on top of the present with his legs crossed and arms extended with glee. Get your camera ready so you can capture your uncle’s hilarious reaction when he opens the container of “pecans.”

To avoid being a victim of one of the elf’s pranks, make sure you stow your Elf on the Shelf in a secret place no one else knows about. You don’t want to be pranked by your own toy, after all…or do you?

Take a Field Trip to a Tree Farm

Did you settle for an artificial Christmas tree last year? While a pre-lit artificial tree is convenient for many, there’s nothing like having a fresh, live Christmas tree to put gifts under. With that in mind, why don’t you take a field trip to a tree farm with your whole family?

If your family consists of several households, your brood may end up returning home with more than one tree. To make sure you can get all the trees home, consider traveling to the tree farm in a caravan, or if your vehicle is rated to tow, bring a trailer along to haul the trees to their respective homes.

Depending on the farm you choose to visit, you might be able to cut down your own tree. If you haven’t been to your chosen farm before, call ahead to see if you need to bring a handsaw to cut down the tree you want to get.

Make Decorating Your Christmas Tree an Event

In many homes, the Christmas tree is the focal point of a lot of activities. From opening presents on Christmas morning, to taking family pictures, and more, the tree is the place to be for various and sundry things.

With the tree being the equivalent of Grand Central Station for holiday activities, we encourage you to make a big deal out of decorating it. Set up a crafting table where kids can make handmade Christmas decorations. Encourage the kids to make a new decoration every year and have them sign or initial the backs of their creations. As time goes by, you’ll be amazed by the size of your custom-made ornament collection and the kids will enjoy seeing what they made in prior years as they grow up.

Invite family members to help you decorate the tree. Get more adults involved by telling everyone that each non-designated driver will need to take a shot of peppermint schnapps or eggnog every time a certain relative hangs an ornament.

Blast some Christmas music in the background. Serve “reindeer food” that your guests can eat with their hands, so you won’t have to spend hours cleaning up when your decorating event draws to an end. What are some reindeer foods that you can serve? Corn fritters and mini apple tarts are just two ideas.

Sing Christmas Carols

Christmastime is the time of year to give your vocal cords a workout by singing Christmas carols. Whether your family gathers around the piano and sings together at home or you hit the streets as a group to sing carols house to house, spreading some Christmas cheer through song is a fun way to make the spirits of others feel light or lighter at least.

Is your entire family tone deaf? While we doubt that’s the case, you can find other ways to entertain your neighbors with some Christmas tunes. For example, you can make a playlist of songs and go door to door mouthing the lyrics while the music and lyrics emanate from a mobile device. To make things even more enjoyable for onlookers, give the kids some toy instruments and have them pretend to play them or get everyone to play the air guitar to the delight of your neighbors.

Give Back

Just like Christmas is a great time of year to belt out some holiday tunes, it’s also a wonderful time to give back to your community in some way. If people are in need in your area, consider making a donation of non-perishable goods to a food bank. You can get all your relatives involved by asking them to make a contribution to a box you have set up in the hall that you’ll eventually take to the food bank or ask them to visit the facility with you to make a direct donation.

Will a local soup kitchen or shelter serve a holiday meal to the less fortunate? Maybe your family can volunteer to serve or prepare the food.

What are some other ways you can give back during the holiday season? Here are a few ideas:

  • Have the kids make DIY Christmas ornaments and drop them off at a senior center or an assisted living facility
  • Pull out your favorite cookie recipe, bake cookies, pick up a gallon of milk and drop them all off at your local police station or firehouse
  • Offer to hang holiday lights for an ailing neighbor, and let the person know your family will be back to take the lights down after Christmas or New Year’s Day, whichever they prefer
  • Gather old towels and blankets and drop them off at an animal shelter or rescue
  • Collect a few dollars from each one of your adult family members and use the pooled funds to sponsor a zoo animal
  • Dress up as Santa and have your relatives dress as elves, and visit a homeless shelter to entertain the kids

You don’t need to do the same charitable activity year after year to make giving back one of your family’s Christmas traditions. The key is simply to do something, anything, kind and giving of yourself to someone else during the Christmas season. Being generous with time and resources will be a family legacy you and your relatives will be proud to establish and keep going.

It’s particularly rewarding when you see the members of an up-and-coming generation of family members adopting a charitable mindset by following your example. When you get children involved with charitable acts at an early age, it greatly increases the likelihood that they’ll keep up the act of giving throughout their adult lives.

Bake Christmas Cookies with the Kids

Any time of year is the right time to indulge in some yummy cookies, but a strong case can be made for Christmas being the best time of all for cookies. Think about it. If Christmas wasn’t the best time for cookies, why do so many people leave cookies and milk out for Santa on Christmas Eve?

Don’t settle for store-bought cookies at Christmastime. Instead, enlist the kids to help you make some Christmas cookies. If your kids, nieces, and nephews are old enough, divide them into small groups and have each group make a different type of sweet treat. Are the kids too young to make separate batches on their own or did too few of them show up this year to make groups? If so, make one giant batch of cookies altogether.

Whether you’re using one cookie recipe or several of them, it’s likely you’ll need to bake the resulting treats in waves. As you bake cookies and let them cool, have the kids decorate some paper lunch bags with holiday-themed images. Once the cookies cool entirely, instruct the kids to put a few in each sack. As the sacks are filled, tie them with some string or twine.

After the bags are done, you can lead a veritable parade of your mini-me relatives around town to hand out cookies to your neighbors. Of course, you’ll want to leave a reserve of goodies behind so you and your relatives can enjoy some delectable cookies, too.

Slurp Some Homemade Hot Chocolate

What’s better than freshly baked holiday cookies? A pairing of cookies with some homemade hot cocoa, of course!

If you’ve never made homemade hot chocolate before, there’s no reason to worry because it’s a breeze to whip or whisk together. The ingredients you’ll need to get together include:

  • Four cups whole or two percent milk
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips or one standard-sized, nut-less Hershey’s bar chopped up

To make the cocoa, combine the milk, cocoa powder, and sugar in a pot. Heat the mixture over medium-low heat. Whisk the mixture over the heat, but do not let it come to a boil. When the mixture is warm, add the chocolate and whisk non-stop until the chocolate melts. After the chocolate distributes itself evenly throughout your original mixture, take the pot off the heat and serve the hot chocolate immediately.

A lot of people will add a shot of vanilla and/or some marshmallows to their drink, but you can get even more creative. To take your hot cocoa to the next level, make trying a new ingredient in your base mixture or a few of them one of your annual holiday traditions. Some ingredients you may want to try out include:

  • Tahini
  • Buttered rum
  • Cayenne pepper and cinnamon
  • Malted milk powder
  • Dark chocolate and maple syrup
  • Peanut butter and whipped cream
  • Nutella

If you really want to shake things up, consider using white chocolate and cream instead of semisweet chips and milk to make your hot cocoa. If you pair the new drink with peppermint candy canes, the result will be one of the best gifts you’ve ever given to your taste buds.

Take a Tour to See Holiday Decorations

Christmas decorations can vary widely from one house to the next. To see how other people decorated their homes for the holidays, take your family on a walking tour of the neighborhood. If your neighbors tend to avoid decorating, pile your relatives into the car and go for a drive so you can cover more ground.

Do you have to drive a considerable distance to get to a neighboring town? You can keep everyone entertained by playing some Christmas music. Alternatively, you can play a game that will keep kids of all ages entertained. I Spy is a good game to play during the Christmas season because there are so many things on display that you won’t see during other parts of the year. For that reason, you may want to play a holiday-themed version of the classic game.

Plan to Make an Item on an Older Relative’s Bucket List a Reality

Does your family have an aging patriarch or matriarch in your family tree? Has that person always wanted to do something, but was always too concerned with caring for the family to make their dream come true? If so, why don’t you conspire with your other younger relatives and make the plans required for your older relative to check off one of the things on their bucket list?

The great thing about doing this is that it’s a repeatable tradition. Every member of your family will be a year older by your next holiday celebration, so “new” older relatives will always be working their way through the ranks.

You don’t have to reserve this sort of thing for your older relatives, by the way. It’s possible to make a chosen relative’s dream come true for the holiday regardless of the person’s age.

After you do this once, you’ll find it’s hard to stop because realizing someone else’s dream is often just as fulfilling and satisfying for the giver as it is for the receiver. With that in mind, we hope you have a big family!

Construct a Gingerbread House

Even if your family Christmas celebration will only involve adults, we still recommend you all work together to construct a gingerbread house. Open the bar and have everyone take a seat around the construction table with the adult beverage of their choice. Encourage everyone to uncork their creativity as you team up to put the house together just like you uncorked the wine.

To ensure your family’s finished house is truly unique, order a separate gingerbread house kit for each individual who’ll participate in the construction process. Kits are readily available on Amazon, so ordering them is a cinch. Just remember, the kits don’t necessarily have to be all the same.

With everyone having their own kit to add to the shared construction project, your family can put together a monster, multi-level edible house while you share some laughs. If that’s your plan, put a board down before the build starts so you can move the house to another location when your team is done working its magic. Just make sure the board is strong enough to support the weight of your sweet structure once it’s done.

Enjoy a Family Reading

No, we’re not talking about a psychic reading or a tarot card reading. What we’re suggesting is that you make a reading of a Christmas tale one of your new traditions. You can designate one relative to read the story every year or you can alternate readers from one year to the next. If you don’t want to pick someone, put the names of all eligible readers in a hat and have one of the kids pull out the name of the person who’ll read the story to the rest of the family.

Christmas Eve is normally a wonderful time for the reading of a Christmas story. “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement Clarke Moore is a popular choice for holiday storytimes, although it’s better known by a portion of its first line, which reads “’twas the night before Christmas.”

If you’ve heard “A Visit from St. Nicholas” a time too many, you may want to consider an alternative read-aloud story, such as:

  • “The Snow Queen” by Hans Christian Andersen
  • “Home for Christmas” by Jan Brett
  • “The Reindeer Wish” by Lori Evert
  • “How Far to Bethlehem?” by Norah Lofts
  • “The Birds of Bethlehem” by Tomie DePaola
  • “Santa’s Favorite Story” by Hisako Aoki
  • “The Smallest Gift of Christmas” by Peter H. Reynolds

Arrange a Sibling- or Cousin-Only Sleepover

Now that you’re an adult, you probably don’t sleep with your siblings or cousins anymore. Well, the holidays are a fantastic time to make up for lost time by arranging a cousin- or sibling-only sleepover.

Get matching PJs for everyone who’ll participate in the sleepover. Take plenty of goofy pictures of everyone in their ridiculously funny PJs. Play games like Pictionary or classic board games like Monopoly or Sorry! Find some cheesy movies from your childhood and have them on standby so you and your relatives can watch them as bedtime, or in this case, sleeping bag time approaches.

Since decades may have passed since you planned your last sleepover, we need to tell you that times have changed. Now that you’re all adults, you can stock the bar without being afraid that your parents will find your stash of forbidden contraband. Although, you might still have to worry about that if your parents enjoy the same adult beverages and they plan to stop by before your sleepover kicks off.

Hold a Kid-Friendly Sleepover

If your holiday celebration includes a bunch of kids who don’t get to see each other regularly, you can bring all of them together for a kid-friendly sleepover. While you don’t have to schedule every minute of the sleepover, you should make sure there are plenty of age-appropriate activities for the kids to do.

Teenagers may enjoy some screen time during a video game session with their similarly aged relatives. Younger children may want to go outside to build a snowman or woman while they pretend they’re at the North Pole. All attendees will eventually want to eat, so it’s wise to plan for a big meal ahead of time.

Cook a Family Meal for Christmas Day

Preparing a holiday meal as a family is one of the Christmas traditions that a lot of people look forward to every year. Even if you’re not a professional chef like Gordon Ramsey, you can still playfully aggravate your relatives by pretending to bark corrective instructions at them when you’re really telling them the opposite of what they should be doing.

The confusion that will result along with the pushback will be entertaining for all, until your mom starts waving her wooden spoon in your direction. That’s about the time you should stop barking and start chopping the nearest vegetable.

Rubbing elbows with relatives in the kitchen is a cool way to get kids involved with the meal prep. It’s also a great way to pass down cooking methods and recipes from one generation to the next. If you’ve never had an interest in cooking, send your kids into the kitchen to cook with your mom or dad so their secrets won’t go unknown just because the cooking bug skipped your generation.

Do you have new family members who are joining in on the fun this year? Invite them into the kitchen to be a part of the fun- and laugh-filled melee. By doing so, you may pick up some new culinary skills and learn about different cuisines and cultural traditions.

Whether you’re making breakfast on Christmas morning or your family is preparing a feast for the latter part of Christmas day, you can make lasting memories by cooking with your relatives. Soak up every moment along with anything you spill in the kitchen and take plenty of pictures you can share with your co-cooks later in the day.

Before the meal is served, take a few minutes to hang some Christmas lights above the dining table. Decorate the table with some pine cones and festive décor. When everyone is seated and the food is on the table, take a few pictures before anyone dives into the food. As you reflect on holidays gone by, you’ll be glad you did.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some popular family holiday traditions?

The best traditions are those that suit you best. Tried and true family holiday traditions include tree decorating, gingerbread house building, caroling, Elf on the Shelf, and special Christmas meals.

What are unique family holiday traditions?

Unique family holiday traditions can be twists on common favorites. Volunteer for a cause that’s near and dear to your hearts, or choose a new family adventure and make it a yearly thing!

What are the best holiday traditions for a family with young children?

There are many family holiday traditions perfect for children and the young at heart! Start a holiday movie night with homemade hot cocoa, then send the kiddos off to bed with a favorite festive tale.

Family FunHolidays

The Most Fun Holiday Decorating Ideas for Your Family


A typical holiday season makes everyone look forward to various things. From big meals shared with family and friends, gift-giving, holiday parties, classic Christmas music, shopping, wintry weather, and more, there’s plenty to get excited about this time of year.

If you’ve ever seen “Christmas Vacation,” then you know that Clark Griswold certainly got worked up about Christmas decorations, more specifically holiday lights. Once you look over our decorating ideas, we think you’ll be just as enthusiastic about Christmas lights, holiday decorating, and all the other things that make the holiday season so special.

Add a Scratch-Off Adventure Book to Your Mantel

Whether Santa thinks your kids have been naughty or nice this year, we suggest you get them a copy of Adventures From Scratch: Family Edition. It’s full of activities that are fun for kids of all ages. No matter which adventure you scratch off, you and your family are sure to make new discoveries, share plenty of laughs, and enjoy quality time this Christmas season and beyond!

Make What’s Old New Again

Do you plan to transform your home into a winter wonderland that oozes holiday cheer? If so, we applaud your plan! Before you start your holiday decorating, take inventory of the Christmas decorations you already have. You might be surprised by all the decorations you’ve collected over the years, and you might discover that you’re tired of using the same ‘ole tree topper and lawn figurines.

Don’t despair! Get creative instead. You can breathe new life into old decorations so they look and feel as if they’re new. Here are some DIY holiday decorating ideas you can use to refresh the decorations you’ve used in years past:

  • Add a colorful bow and some solar lights to an outdoor Christmas wreath
  • Use sprigs of colorful herbs to brighten up a gingerbread house
  • Outline your tree skirt with some fragrant eucalyptus branches
  • Arrange your existing decorations so they match the color scheme of the art and furniture nearby rather than following a traditional Christmas color scheme

Create a Personalized DIY Tree Topper

Does the idea of using the same old tree topper keep you up at night and haunt your dreams during the few minutes you’re able to grab some shut-eye? If that’s the case, we suggest you make a new one.

To make one on your own, visit your local craft store and pick up some curly, shiny sticks, twine, and wire. Bundle the sticks together and tie them together at one end so that their tops flop in any and all directions like a pom-pom. Use the wire to affix your creation to the top of your Christmas tree. Use equally nifty and bright string lights and Christmas ornaments on your tree as you continue decorating.

Upgrade Your Christmas Lights

If you want your Christmas decorations to literally alight with the holiday spirit, we suggest you upgrade your Christmas lights. Replace your old lights with colorful LED string lights. Don’t just light up your tree. Consider running festive lights of all colors throughout your home.

Just be sure you get lights you can control using your smartphone. Make sure the lights you get are compatible with Twinkly Music Dongle so your kids can make your string lights “dance” to some holiday music all season long.

Ditch the Tree Skirt in Favor of a Planter or Fishbowl

Putting a skirt around the tree is traditional in many households, but it can create a trip hazard if the skirt extends into a pathway and it bunches up. To keep everyone safe and upright, why don’t you replace your skirt with a vintage planter or fishbowl? Doing so will heighten your tree, which will make cleaning any debris that falls from the tree a cinch to clean up.

Put Together a Pretty Tablescape with the Kids

Making an eye-catching tablescape doesn’t have to be a taxing endeavor. Grab a serving tray or platter, stack some Christmas ornaments on the tray, and then ask your kids to tuck some fresh greenery in the gaps between the ornaments.

Alternatively, you can cut some greenery into branches that measure 5 – 8 inches. When you’re done, ask your kids to arrange the branches so that they look like live, miniature trees. Put each “tree” into an egg cup or a short water glass that’s covered in wrapping paper. Place the trees on your platter and run a string of lights through the “forest.” The result will be an attractive centerpiece you’ll be proud to show off in your dining room during Christmas dinner.

Come Up with a Holiday Decorating Advent Calendar

Enlist the help of your significant other to create an age-appropriate holiday decorating advent calendar for your kids. Each day covered by your calendar should task your kids with a decorating chore they’ll enjoy doing as the holiday draws nearer. Once you’ve come up with at least 25 tasks your children can do on and between December 1st and Christmas day, supersize your final Advent calendar so you can hang it in a prominent location in your home so it can be one of your many holiday decorations.

Set aside some time each day for your kids to reveal their assigned tasks. Take pictures of your kids doing each chore. Have special treats lined up so they can indulge in some well-deserved sweets after they finish their daily decorating assignment. At the end of the season, you can make picture books using your photos and give one to each child.

Display Your Mini Figurines Throughout Your Home

A lot of people collect figurines, which turn into an entire Christmas village over time. If you already have a sizeable collection, consider displaying parts of it in different locations throughout your home instead of cramming the whole village on one table in a single room.

You can then connect the different parts of your holiday village with a toy train track. If some of your village is located on an upper floor, you can connect your spread-out village by converting your stairway into a chair lift for skiing villagers using garland and lift chairs made with colorful pipe cleaners, twine, and small strips of cardboard covered with some festive gift wrap.

Accent Year-Round Collections

Do you have things that you keep on display all year, such as an antique decanter and period drinking glasses? You can keep them in place and incorporate them into your Christmas decorations. One simple idea is to hang a Christmas wreath above a collection. Next, you can pick up some American cranberry bush berries to dress up your collection in red. Cranberry bunches are normally best if you want to draw the eyes of onlookers to certain pieces.

To offset the red, have your kids place some greenery in a few select vessels that are part of your collection. You can also use some garland and complementary ribbon to create a colorful endpoint that defines your collection’s border. For an added effect, make a few pinecones part of your holiday display.

What type of greenery should you use? Consider these varieties:

  • Magnolia
  • Winterberry
  • Pine
  • Fir
  • Boxwood
  • Winterberry

Slap a Bow on Hanging Lights

While some people will advise you to decorate your hanging lights with some garland and berries, we suggest you spruce up your chandeliers with bows instead. Using bows hung on the lights’ exterior cages or the wire that suspends the chandeliers overhead is a safer alternative to garland because you don’t have to twist the decoration through a given light’s cage, which could land the garland dangerously close to the bulb.

Craft a Holiday Topiary with Some Poinsettias

If you already have an ivy topiary, you can use it as the base for a holiday topiary. Get some poinsettias and cut off the large blooms, leaving around six inches of stem attached to each one. Sear the stems using the flame of a candle until the stems turn black. Have your kids insert the large blooms into florist tubes near the base of your topiary. Repeat the process with your medium and small blooms as your children work their way up the topiary until it’s completely covered with poinsettias.

Once all the poinsettias are in position, move your topiary to a spot that sees high foot traffic so it can ignite the holiday spirit in everyone who passes it by. To make your decorative topiary last, remember to refresh the water supply in the florist tubes every few days.

Bring Wintry Weather Inside

Depending on where you live, you may have to deal with snow, ice, frost, and blustery winds during the holiday season. While you may not want the actual elements inside, you can make facsimiles of them to transform your home into a winter wonderland.

You can use a sound machine to mimic the sound of the wind. Ask your kids to make some Christmas crafts like snowflakes made with white paper and scissors. You can run string through the holes they cut out and hang the snowflakes all over. Instruct your kids to make snowballs using cotton balls and leave stacks of them in strategic places so it looks as if a snowball fight could break out at a moment’s notice.

The possibilities for bringing faux wintry weather into your home are nearly endless. For more ideas, ask your kids for some suggestions. If they can’t think of anything off the tops of their heads, encourage them to research Christmas decoration ideas that portray winter weather indoors online.

Recreate Snow Days Using Apothecary Jars

If you want to do some Christmas crafts with your kids, you can do so with just a few supplies. Pick up some apothecary jars, a few toy reindeer, a can of gold paint, a container of Epsom salt, and a couple of bottle brush trees. Before you involve your children, spray-paint the toy deer gold and let them dry.

Once the paint on the deer has dried, put all the supplies on a table and give each child an apothecary jar. Instruct your children to:

  • Pour Epsom salt into their jars so it looks like a snow-covered field
  • Place a few deer and some bottle brush trees in their jars
  • Reposition some of the salt so it looks as if the “snow” has mounded in a few places
  • Put the lids back on their jars

As you’ll see, each jar will be an enviable representation of an idyllic winter day. Once they’re done, you can use the DIY Christmas creations as holiday decorations. You can make the jars even more eye-appealing by wrapping the lid of each jar with a small piece of burlap so it hangs just slightly over the container’s glass.

Hang Stockings with Oversized Candy Canes

Rather than hang your stocking the way you always have, consider spicing things up this year. You can order oversized hangers in the form of candy canes from Amazon and use them to hang your family’s stockings along your mantel. The candy canes will be eye-catching on their own, but they’ll be even more so once your family members hang their stockings on them.

Wrap Faux Gifts and Your Front Door

No list of decorating ideas would be complete without recommending that you wrap your front door with some holiday-themed gift wrap. Similarly, you should use some colorful wrapping paper to wrap some fake gifts so the space under your Christmas tree doesn’t look depressingly barren in the weeks leading up to Christmas. There’s no reason to stick with wrapping that shows off traditional Christmas colors exclusively. You can also use paper that matches your home décor.

Wrapping paper isn’t your only choice for wrapping faux gifts or your front door. You can use other materials, such as aluminum or gold foil, sheer wrap, or even burlap if you want to create an old-timey look.

Of course, wrapping anything may go against the grain of your Christmas decorations if you’re not a talented wrapper. A lack of wrapping skills isn’t a reason to give up on this holiday decorating idea, however. That’s because you can take a gift-wrapping tutorial online. You can even have your gift-wrapping-challenged children take the tutorial with you.

Craft a Homemade Holiday Wreath

Wreaths made with natural materials only last one season before they end up in a landfill. If you want to make a reusable holiday wreath, you can do so with some red and green sandwich bags. Get a wire hanger and shape it into a circle while leaving the handle intact. Slice off the resealable portions of the bags and then cut them along their sides.

Tell your kids to tie the spliced bags in knots along the round portion of the hanger, alternating red and green bags. When your children finish, you’ll have a festive wreath that will last for years to come.

Dress Up Your Holiday Table

This time of year is a wonderful time to keep your holiday table dressed up, even when you’re between meals. Have your kids pick out some mismatched table settings and order them online along with a pattern-packed table overlay. Cover your table with your holiday tablecloth and then put the table settings into position.

Put out some small bowls filled with cinnamon candies, too. Get some red carnations from the local grocery store or a nursery and use them as the centerpiece on your festive tabletop.

Incorporate Fragrant Décor

You can even incorporate some fragrant décor into your dining area. For example, you can get some herb sprigs, tie them together with string, and hang them upside down on the backs of your dining room or kitchen chairs.

What are some sprigs that will go well together? Here are a few that complement each other well:

  • Marjoram
  • Rosemary
  • Bay leaf
  • Thyme
  • Basil

Your bundles of herb sprigs will eventually dry out. That’s okay, however, because you can still use them to season a holiday meal when they’re no longer fresh, which means you can repurpose these fragrant Christmas decorations instead of wasting them.

Spruce Up Your Front Porch

If you want to spruce up your front porch without breaking a sweat, you’ll appreciate this decorating idea. Visit a nursery and pick up two seven-gallon magnolias and two ornamental planters. When you get home, place one planter on each side of your door and then replant the magnolias in the planters.

You can flush out the appearance of each plant using some spray-painted branches and some seeded eucalyptus. Red, gold, and silver are some of the colors that work well in this sort of holiday display. If you can’t find magnolias, consider another type of plant that will hold up well in wintry weather.

When the holidays are over, you can replant the magnolias in your garden or yard. By doing that, the plants will serve as year-long reminders of all the holiday fun you had.

Adorn Your Christmas Tree with Ribbons

Do you want to shake things up this year? Consider skipping the tinsel in favor of colored ribbons when you’re decorating your Christmas tree. Ribbons are readily available in a veritable rainbow of holiday colors. You can wrap the ribbons around your tree by weaving them between your tree’s branches. Alternatively, you can let the ribbons cascade downward to create a completely different visual effect.

Be sure you put the lights on your tree before you decorate it with ribbons. By stringing the lights first, you can ensure that they’ll illuminate the ribbons from behind in a pleasing manner once your Christmas tree is fully decorated.

Replace a Conventional Tree with a Wooden Alternative

If you really want to push the figurative envelope with your Christmas decorations, consider replacing your conventional Christmas tree with a wooden one. You can find a DIY Christmas tree kit on Etsy that consists of wooden dowels. This tree is a cinch to assemble with minimal effort even if you’re not known for your handyman or woman skills.

This tree is a great alternative for people who want to pull off a minimalist Christmas. You can add some garland, spray-painted branches, and ribbons to the tree to make it more festive. Of course, you can hang an ornament here and there, too.

Ensure Your Bar Cart Is Put to Good Use

Using a bar cart to serve adult beverages during the Christmas season is a good way to ensure everyone has a stout beverage in hand during holiday parties. Your cart can do more, however, if you dress your bar cart up with some holiday decorations.

What can you use to guarantee your cart will spread some holiday cheer as you dole out tasty drinks? You may want to use:

  • Garland
  • Ribbons
  • Colorful fruits
  • Tinsel
Family FunTravel

Family Road Trip Ideas for Your Next Vacation


In the decades since cars became accessible assets, the quintessential family vacation for many has become a road trip. Even today, with discount airlines offering affordable flights to an array of desirable destinations, many families still choose road tripping for their vacations.

Why have road trips been the vacation of choice across generations of families? In large part, it’s because a family road trip is as much about the journey as it is about the destination. While kids may remember the great time they had at the beach, they’ll likely recall the drive to that destination just as readily as they age and retell stories about their childhood vacations.

While a staycation may seem like an affordable alternative to a road trip, the fact remains that a well-planned road trip generally won’t break the bank. Although you’ll have to pay for fuel and accommodations, a road trip with the kids will create lasting memories that far outweigh the cost of the trip. To set you on the right path, let’s uncover some of the most exciting and enjoyable family road trip ideas!

While preparing for your family road trip, don’t forget to pack Adventures From Scratch: Family Edition. This scratch-off book includes over 50 creative activities you can do just about anywhere. The kiddos will love revealing your next surprise adventure and everyone in the family will have a fantastic time conquering challenges, one by one. Pick up your copy today!

Family Road Trip Destination Ideas

With the destination and journey being equally important to a memorable family vacation, it’s vital that you pick a destination that has a lot of kid-friendly activities and attractions. It’s just as important that you make the ride to that destination as pleasant as possible. The United States has plenty of kid- and family-friendly vacation ideas for you to explore and experience.

National Park Tour

America is home to 423 national parks that stretch across more than 84 million acres. Every state in the country has at least one national park within its borders as do the following American territories:

  • Puerto Rico
  • The Virgin Islands
  • American Samoa
  • Guam

With so many federally funded parks scattered across the country and its territories, you could use these natural areas as the basis for every vacation you take with your family and never come close to exhausting your possible v-kay destinations. While that’s the case, you can knock a few parks off your bucket list by taking a national park tour that starts in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Zion National Park

Despite its history as a gambling mecca, Sin City pulls double-duty as the gateway to several southwestern national parks. Just three hours or so northeast of the city, you’ll find Zion National Park in Utah. This park has red cliffs, slot canyons, and a river you can dip your toes in to stay cool on hot summer days. If you want to avoid crowds, you should head to the park’s Kolob Canyons to hike and enjoy beautiful landscapes.

Cedar Breaks National Monument

About 80 miles north of Zion you’ll come upon Cedar Breaks National Monument. Situated 10,000 feet above sea level, this park typically has a comfy temperature that provides a nice break from the oft-sweltering heat experienced at lower elevations. This park is a renowned dark sky preserve that’s a wonderful choice if you want to engage in some stargazing. Dark Rangers are quick to point out constellations for curious onlookers when it’s dark out.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park is located approximately 60 miles east of Bryce Canyon. This park is widely celebrated for having the largest number of hoodoos in the world. What is a hoodoo? The word itself means “to bewitch.” As it applies to this park, “hoodoo” refers to the tall, skinny shafts of rock that rise out of the park’s barren basins only to bewitch park visitors. To get a better idea of what hoodoos look like, it’s helpful to think of a totem pole made with rock rather than wood.

Grand Canyon National Park

Around 160 miles south of Bryce Canyon, you’ll come across the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. While not as popular as the canyon’s South Rim, the North Rim still provides incredible views of one of the world’s seven natural wonders. If you want to explore the Grand Canyon by air, water, or land, it’s wise to book a tour months ahead of time. Guided excursions into the canyon typically sell out quickly far ahead of time, so you shouldn’t wait until the last minute to try to schedule a tour.

Las Vegas, Nevada

As a parent, you might be perplexed by any recommendation for a family trip that involves taking your kids to a metropolis with the irreverent nickname of “Sin City.” While it may seem like a quizzical suggestion, taking the kids to Vegas is a great idea if you want to experience some good ‘ole family fun.

Over the years, Sin City has evolved from a gambling city known for overindulgence into a family-friendly vacation destination. Today, the city has a nearly countless number of kid-oriented activities and attractions that are sure to delight children of all ages.

Pinball Hall of Fame

Do you want to introduce your kids to old-timey games that predated today’s video games? If so, we suggest you take your children to the Pinball Hall of Fame.

Located directly across from the iconic “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign and the Mandalay Bay resort, the Pinball Hall of Fame occupies 25,000 square feet of real estate on the Strip. The museum is home to pinball machines that date from the 1950s through the 1990s. All the machines belong to one club member, Tim Arnold. As a non-profit organization, the museum donates its excess revenue to various non-denominational charities.

The pinball machines aren’t just display pieces at this location. Museum visitors are encouraged to play them, meaning they’re all interactive exhibits of sorts. Older machines cost 25 cents per game while newer ones cost 50 cents to play. With such low per-game fees and free admission, the Pinball Hall of Fame is an affordable place to bring the kids for a nostalgic day of family fun.

CBS Television Research Center

Have you ever wanted to have a say about what shows get aired on TV? You can let your opinions be known with a visit to the CBS Television Research Center located in the MGM Grand. This center is where visitors can watch a show and rate it using touchscreen devices. In addition to rating prospective television shows, the center has tested various products in the past, such as Nintendo Wii, Dell computers, and Xbox 360.

To remember your family’s visit to the CBS Television Research Center, you can pick up some souvenirs in the on-site gift shop. Most of the items in the shop are reasonably priced at $20 or less. Don’t forget to enter the drawing for a state-of-the-art home theater system before you leave the facility. Drawings for a theater system are held every three months, and you just might win!

If you want to share more of your opinions, sign up for the center’s entertainment panel. As a member of that panel, the center will send you commercials and pilot episodes for you to review at home.

The Midway at Circus Circus

The Midway at Circus Circus should be your family’s destination if you want to play carnival games, classic arcade games. and the latest video games as you try to win prizes, prizes, and more prizes. The Midway surrounds the hotel’s circus stage, which features circus acts every day. The circus acts start at 1:30 pm and there’s no fee to view the world-class performances.

Big Shot at the Stratosphere

If your children are at least 48 inches tall and they love thrills, take them over to the Strat to ride Big Shot. This ride “shoots” people 160 feet into the air above the surrounding valley at 45 miles per hour. Then the ride catapults riders from the 921-foot high platform up a mast to a height of 1,081 feet. Next, the ride drops riders down only to shoot them back up again before anyone has a chance to catch their breath.

You’ll find Big Shot to be terrifyingly exciting as you experience four Gs of force going up and negative Gs as you drop down. If you want your kids to enjoy the ride, but don’t want to experience it yourself, you should know that kids under the age of 15 must be accompanied by an adult. If your kids are under 15, you may want to bypass the ride unless you’re willing to strap in with your children.

Hershey’s Chocolate World Las Vegas

When you’re in the mood for something sweet, take your family over to Hershey’s Chocolate World in the world-renowned New York-New York Hotel & Casino. Occupying 13,000 square feet of retail space, Hershey’s Chocolate World sells more than 800 Hershey’s chocolates and candies, and it gives visitors the chance to make their own signature sweet treats.

When you visit the shop, you can take a selfie or a family photo with a sculpture of the Statue of Liberty that was constructed with nearly 800 pounds of Hershey’s milk chocolate. You can even star in a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup television ad with your kids when you visit the store.

Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina

Commissioned during the Great Depression in the 1930s, the Blue Ridge Parkway took decades to complete. Today, the corridor connects Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to North Carolina’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The parkway represents a laudable conservation effort as there are no gas stations, billboards, eateries, or accommodations on the side of the elongated roadway.

If you’re worried about finding activities and attractions your whole family will enjoy during an upcoming vacation, your fears will melt away as you travel along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Your brood can enjoy breathtaking views at Blowing Rock. At 4,000 feet above sea level, this rock formation hangs over the John’s River Gorge and offers spectacular views of neighboring mountain peaks and lush forests.

Asheville is just 120 miles to the south of Blowing Rock. A hipster city, Asheville is known for its art galleries, varied retail shops, diverse restaurants, and outdoor activities. The city is also recognized as the home of the Biltmore Estate, which is the former home of industrialist George Vanderbilt. You can take a guided tour of the estate that will take you through the property’s storied gardens and opulent rooms. If you want to give your family a treat, you can book a stay at the Biltmore Estate.

When you leave Asheville to make your way to the parkway’s end in Cherokee, NC, you’ll have many opportunities to engage in outdoor activities, such as:

  • Kayaking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Ziplining
  • Rock climbing
  • Camping
  • Nature watching

As you make the 100-mile trip from Asheville to Cherokee, keep an eye out for the Oconaluftee Indian Village. This village is a recreation of a Cherokee community from the 1750s. When you visit the village, you can see how indigenous people from that era did things like live off the land and make baskets and canoes.

Boston, Massachusetts

No road trip with kids through the northeast would be complete without a layover in Boston, Massachusetts. Boston has a ton of things that are both kid-friendly and family-oriented. Whether you want to visit museums, historic sites, or a restaurant that serves yummy lobster rolls, you can do it and a whole lot more during a vacation in Beantown.

New England Aquarium

Located on the edge of the city’s striking harbor, the New England Aquarium is a must-visit attraction. The aquarium has a unique central tank that’s four stories high. As you’ll see, the tank holds marine life that typically lives along the Caribbean coral reef, with inhabitants including small sharks, a variety of fish, and a monstrous sea turtle.

All in all, the aquarium’s exhibits are home to more than 8,000 marine creatures. Those creatures include over 80 penguins who’ll delight you with their silly antics the moment you enter the building. As you view the penguins, keep an ear out for the call of the African penguins as it sounds almost exactly like the braying noise donkeys are known for.

You can catch a kid-friendly film on the largest I-Max screen in New England during your visit to the aquarium. In addition, you can attend some special presentations, such as penguin feedings and seal training sessions.

Public Garden

Boston’s Public Garden should be on your radar if you want to take your family on a swan boat ride. The paddle boats used to provide rides at this location are the only ones of their kind. Even some Boston natives don’t know that the swam boats in the Public Garden were inspired by the opera entitled “Lohengrin.” Each paddleboat ride lasts about 15 minutes or so, which will leave your family plenty of time to enjoy some of the city’s other attractions.

Old Ironsides and the USS Constitution Museum

Located just outside of Boston, the USS Constitution is docked in Charleston, MA. Guests are welcome to take a free tour of the venerable war shop, and they can even go below deck to see where sailors slept more than 200 years ago.

Mere steps across the shipyard, you’ll find the USS Constitution Museum. This museum’s collection includes more than 3,000 original artifacts related to Old Ironsides. Your kids can participate in some hands-on activities in the museum in addition to viewing the exhibits.

Legoland Discovery Center

Located in the Assembly Row shopping complex, Legoland Discovery Center is a wonderful way to keep the kids entertained on a rainy or exceptionally hot or cold day in Beantown. When you visit, your kids can play with LEGOs to their hearts’ delight. Your family can also catch a 4D movie and see a LEGO miniature of the city of Boston that was created by true LEGO masters. If your children have some pent-up energy, you can let them play in the climbing-wall area to blow off some steam.

Paul Revere House

The Paul Revere House is the oldest private home still standing within Boston’s city limits. Today, the house is a museum that boasts a genuine colonial style. A guided tour of the museum only takes 30 minutes, so it’ll wrap up before anyone has the chance to misbehave or complain. The museum only charges a nominal fee for admission, and it’s worth noting that the facility operates on a cash-only basis.

Old North Church

The Old North Church is noteworthy thanks to Paul Revere’s “one if by land, and two if by sea” ride through the city from centuries ago. Constructed in 1723, the church boasts Boston’s tallest steeple, which measures 191 feet. Located in the city’s North End, the church is surrounded by fantastic Italian eateries and some of the best bakeries you’ll find anywhere.

Los Angeles, California

Also known as the City of Angels, Los Angeles is the second-largest urban area in the United States. If you’re compiling a list of family road trip ideas, you should put “visit LA” at the top. This city has something that will appeal to even the pickiest of petite travelers, so you won’t have to worry about hearing “I’m bored” or “there’s nothing to do” during your stay in the LA area.

Wildlife Learning Center

Located in the suburb of Sylmar, the Wildlife Learning Center is a wonderful place to bring children. The center is home to an array of animals that include mammals, birds, amphibians, and arthropods. Although walking through the center and taking pictures of the animals are fun things to do on their own, you can make a visit to the Wildlife Learning Center even more memorable by scheduling a close encounter with an animal.

The center offers two kinds of close encounters, the Zoofari Tour and the Adventure Tour. The Zoofari Tour consists of a guided 45-minute tour of the facility and the opportunity for up to five family members to meet one of the following animals:

  • Giraffe
  • Owl
  • Armadillo
  • Porcupine
  • Snake

If you have more than five family members, you can add two more to your Zoofari Tour for just $16 per head. You also have the option to meet two more animals during the tour for an additional fee.

The Adventure Tour is the center’s most interactive option. During this 90-minute tour, you and your family will get to meet a sloth, a giraffe, a reptile, a porcupine, and a tortoise.

Bob Baker Marionette Theater

As the longest-running marionette theater in America, the Bob Baker Marionette Theater has entertained more than one million children since it opened its doors in 1963. Named an official Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 2009, the theater puts on live puppet shows that simply delight onlookers of all ages.

After a puppet show ends, kids have the chance to enjoy some free ice cream. Audience members can also go on a behind-the-scenes tour of the facility. You can feel great when you buy tickets to a show at this iconic theater because 25 percent of all ticket sales go toward supporting field trips for kids living in the City of Angels.

Scavenger Hunt

Do you want to make your upcoming vacation one of the best road trips ever? If so, we encourage you to sign your family up for an outdoor scavenger hunt for your stay in LA. Let’s Roam has several hunts and tours in Los Angeles, and each one is a blast. If you’re not yet sold on the idea, look at our info on how a scavenger hunt works and read up on what to bring. We’ve got you covered!

If you’re concerned you might not have time for a full-blown scavenger hunt, you can rely on Adventures From Scratch: Family Edition for an alternate activity. Read the descriptions for the adventures in this wonderful scratch-off adventure book to find a family activity that will fit into your schedule perfectly while you’re in Los Angeles.

Pacific Coast Highway, California

Officially known as State Route 1 and informally referred to as Highway One or The One, the Pacific Coast Highway in California offers families the chance to have days of fun as they take in breathtaking views during their road trip. The Pacific Coast Highway has lots of roadside attractions that are as diverse as the terrain you’ll cover if you drive the thoroughfare from start to finish.

Here are some of the places you won’t want to miss during family travel along the Pacific Coast Highway:

  • Big Sur: Situated just 25 miles south of Monterey, Big Sur is home to deep gorges, rugged mountains, pine forests, and a unique beach named Pfeiffer State Beach. That beach is where you can see purple sand and azure-colored waves. Just a short drive from the beach, you’ll find Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park which offers hiking trails, shaded by stunning Redwoods. It’s often referred to as “mini Yosemite!”
  • San Simeon: San Simeon is a small town where you can visit two popular attractions—Hearst Castle and the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Colony. Situated about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, it’s a perfect village for a day trip or a family getaway.
  • Santa Cruz: When you visit Santa Cruz, you’ll be able to soak up some rays, swim in the Pacific Ocean, shop, eat delicious food, and visit a theme park that’s home to an old, wooden roller coaster that’s been in operation since 1924.
  • Greyhound Rock Beach: This beach is an oft-overlooked oasis of sun, surf, and marine life that includes elephant seals and dolphins. A lot of people drive right past this beach presumably because they have to manage a steep walk down a cliff to get to it, but don’t make that same mistake or your family will miss out on what’s sure to be a good time.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a good family road trip?

If you’re looking for family road trip ideas, consider a national park tour, a ride down the Pacific Coast Highway, a journey through Boston, or a trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

What can families do on a long car ride?

Family road trips can turn stressful if you’re not well prepared! Pack road trip snacks, learn some travel games, and keep a scratch-off adventure book or a scavenger hunt app at hand for pit stops!

How do you make a family road trip fun?

Try family road trip ideas that have stops designed for everyone! When creating your itinerary, cater to different ages and personalities. Plan fun travel games, and make time for city scavenger hunts!

Family FunParenting

The Importance of Family Bonding


Author of New York Times bestseller The Silver Linings Playbook, Matthew Quick, once advised, “You need to make time for your family no matter what happens in your life.” Tapping into a similar vein, Princess Diana is credited with saying, “Family is the most important thing in the world.” Before his death in 2019, Lee Iacocca asked, “No matter what you’ve done for yourself or for humanity, if you can’t look back on having given love and attention to your own family, what have you really accomplished?”

Clearly, bright minds, like those just mentioned, recognize the importance of family members and bonding with them. Family bonding is vital as it has the potential to yield benefits that last a lifetime.

It’s important to distinguish between spending time with family members and bonding. It’s easy to spend time with others doing mindless things like watching television. By contrast, family bonding time requires participants to be engaged and to actively interact with one another. Let’s take a closer look at family bonding activities and their potential benefits!

Bond With Your Family Through Adventures

When it’s time for a family day or night, it can be difficult to come up with creative ideas—but it doesn’t have to be! Adventures From Scratch: Family Edition was written by exploration experts and features fun activities for everyone. Each scratch-off book includes over 50 creative challenges to keep you on your toes. The kids will love scratching the book’s pages to uncover each new adventure! Grab your copy today.

Benefits of Family Bonding

As we just mentioned, investing yourself in family bonding time can produce lifelong benefits for family members of all ages. For starters, bonding can strengthen your relationships with your loved ones. It can also help the kids in your family develop more meaningful relationships with people outside your home, such as their coaches, classmates, and teachers because your children will mimic the interactive behavior they participate in at home in other environments.

Here are some of the other benefits that often accompany family bonding activities:

  • Improved communication: When you actively engage in bonding, it can help your loved ones communicate better. Participants will understand each other more readily, develop improved listening skills, and acquire an appreciation for perspectives and viewpoints other than their own.
  • Better conflict resolution: Family time provides a safe space for participants to express their true feelings, and it creates a peaceful time for people to resolve their disagreements without judgment or lingering negative feelings. As your family learns to resolve their differences, those conflict resolution skills will carry over to challenging situations that occur outside of your home.
  • Greater Self-Esteem: Quality family time has the proven ability to increase children’s self-esteem. When you spend quality time with your kids, they’ll feel loved and accepted, which can greatly increase their self-image and self-worth.
  • Deeper connections: The rigors of daily life sometimes get in the way of family time, but you should actively take steps to prevent that from happening. Even if you have a tight schedule, you should pencil in family time several times per week. By doing so, you can reconnect with your family and strengthen your family relationships, which will increase the likelihood that your kids will come to you if they’re experiencing problems.
  • Mutual Respect: When you spend time with your own family, you’ll see that your partner and your kids will start to appreciate each other’s individual personalities, quirks, and opinions. That appreciation will help to foster an environment that rests on the mutual respect the members of your household have for each other.
  • Unity: Spending time together helps families feel united. When you nurture your familial relationships through bonding, it will help your family to stick together through thick and thin no matter what.

Family Bonding Activities

If you’re eager for your entire family to enjoy the benefits that accompany bonding with each other, you might be trying to think of some bonding ideas your whole family can get behind. Luckily, bonding activities run the gamut from board games like Monopoly to annual retreats, family vacations, and ice cream socials, so finding things to do that everyone will enjoy or at least find tolerable is a fairly easy task.

Host a Family Game Night

Does your whole family live in one home or do you share the same hometown? If your whole family lives with you or they reside nearby, you may want to host a traditional game night involving board games, video games, and physically interactive games like charades.

Hosting a game night might be a little trickier if your family is scattered throughout the country or around the world. While that may have been true at one time, it’s not necessarily the case any longer thanks to digital platforms like Let’s Roam. Let’s Roam makes planning a virtual family game night a breeze no matter where your relatives are located.

Do Some Adventures from Scratch

Adventures from Scratch is a series of books that consist of fun-filled, scratch-off adventures. “Adventures from Scratch: Family Edition” includes more than 50 family-friendly adventures you can do at home or while your family vacations in a far-away location. No matter which challenge you choose to undertake, your adventure will strengthen the bonds you share with your loved ones as you work together to tackle the challenge.

If your family consists of you and your partner, you’ll want to check out “Adventures from Scratch: Date Edition.This book includes 55+ challenges that fall into an array of intriguing categories. You can’t go wrong with any of the adventures in this book if your goal is to be closer to your significant other.

Plan a Family Dinner

Food brings people together across many cultures. If you want a strong family, we suggest you plan regular family dinners. A family dinner doesn’t just give you the chance to break bread with your family. It also gives you the opportunity to talk, laugh, reminisce, and cook together.

While some people wait for a special occasion like a holiday to plan a dinner for their extended family, there’s no reason to do so. To strengthen your familial bonds, plan family meals monthly or, better yet, weekly. When you break bread with family members often enough, the meal itself becomes a regular special occasion everyone will look forward to.

Even if your relatives live in different locations, you can still involve them in an upcoming family meal. Depending on where they live, you can use a service like Amazon Prime Now, Schipt, or Instacart to have the ingredients your loved ones will need to make the food you plan to serve. Then, you can get everyone together using a platform like Zoom so you can all cook together.

Schedule a Family Movie Night

Do you want to have some family fun, but you want to unwind during some downtime at the same time? If that idea appeals to you, we suggest you schedule a family movie night. Movie nights are a great way to spend time with your family unit without requiring much effort from you. To plan a movie night, you simply have to pick a movie everyone will like, throw some popcorn in the microwave, and sit back and enjoy the flick with your family.

While watching a movie isn’t particularly interactive by nature, you can use the flick as the basis for a post-film family discussion. You can also encourage viewers to share their thoughts and observations during the film. In fact, doing so can make comedies even funnier if your loved ones add onto jokes with their own funny comments.

Establish Family Traditions

Many people think of events like annual family reunions when the notion of establishing family traditions comes to mind, but traditions don’t have to be big functions involving extended family. While you might want to plan a big event that will repeat itself every year, you can also establish traditions on a much smaller, more manageable scale.

Here are some of the smaller-scale family traditions you may want to consider:

  • Monthly family days out
  • Attending a cultural event every two or three months
  • Reading aloud or telling family stories every week
  • Seasonal family picnics

Volunteer Together

Volunteering as a family is a fun way to give back to the community you share with your neighbors. To get everyone involved, pick a non-profit that has a cause with a purpose that resonates with your whole family. When you volunteer as a family, your relatives will have the chance to flex their teamwork muscles as they work together on behalf of a good cause.

If you have young children, their ages may prohibit them from volunteering at certain charities due to liability reasons. In that case, you may want to volunteer online. Even if your kids are too young to actively participate, they’ll see that you’re dedicating time to helping others, which will make it more likely that they’ll follow your example as they age.

Here are some online volunteer opportunities you may want to consider, including some kid-friendly options:

  • Smithsonian Digital Volunteers
  • Cards for a Cause
  • Writing Wonders Organization
  • Caring Calls
  • Be My Eyes
  • The Trevor Project
  • Distributed Proofreaders
  • Lifetime Connections Without Walls

Do you want to volunteer, but don’t want to make a lengthy commitment to just one organization? Your family can still volunteer online. You can choose a charity and conduct a fundraiser to benefit that organization using your social media pages, for example. Hosting a silent auction online is a fun way to help yet another non-profit.

Put Family Meetings on Your Calendar

Scheduling family meetings and setting expectations for attendance is a smart way to ensure your family will show up for the get-togethers. While meetings at work are often formal affairs, get-togethers with family members can as fun and riotous as you want them to be.

Although it’s common to bring family together when you need to discuss a serious subject, regular meetings can simply represent occasions when you catch up with your loved ones. By getting together often, your family can develop improved social skills, strengthen their family bonds, share some laughs, and demonstrate that they care about each other’s physical well-being and mental health.

Organize International Nights

In today’s increasingly global, connected society, it’s more important than ever for people to have an appreciation of and respect for other cultures. With that in mind, you may want to put together some international nights, with each one celebrating a different nation and its culture.

Ask each member of your family to find a fact or two about the culture you choose so they can present their findings during the relevant international night. To take things a step further, consider making culturally appropriate food so your family can have an even more immersive cultural experience. If possible, ask your family to dress in culturally relevant clothing, and plan some light programming that represents the culture your family will learn about.

Go on a Family Scavenger Hunt

The only thing that’s better than a scavenger hunt is participating in a hunt with your family. Let’s Roam offers in-home family scavenger hunts and we’ve arranged outdoor scavenger hunts in more than 400 cities around the world. Schedule an in-home family scavenger hunt or an app-led onsite scavenger hunt today.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should my family bring to an outdoor scavenger hunt?

If you’re going to use an onsite scavenger hunt to bond with your family, refer to our blog post that tells readers what to bring on an outdoor scavenger hunt. Don’t forget to share the post with your family so your loved ones will know what to bring, too.

Can you recommend some kid-friendly movies for an upcoming movie night?

We’ve created a curated list of 21 must-see movies for kids that will help you choose an age-appropriate film for your next movie night with the family.

What should I expect from an in-home family scavenger hunt?

If you’ve never done an in-home family scavenger hunt before, you might be wondering what to expect. Our team created the ultimate guide to virtual scavenger hunts that will help you understand how your hunt will enable your family to bond.

Family Fun

The Best Family-Friendly Things to Do in Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs

If you’re looking for a vacation destination with tons of entertainment for both kids and adults, the city of Colorado Springs should be at the top of your list. Whether you prefer indoor or outdoor activities or a mix of both, there are plenty of family-friendly things to do in Colorado Springs and its surrounding areas. Let’s have a look at some of the most appealing attractions!

Take the Family on an Adventure

If you’re craving fun activities, Adventures From Scratch offers unique ideas to help you create new experiences for the whole family. With categories like “Get Silly,” “Explore,” and “Move,” our scratch-off book, Adventures From Scratch: Family Edition, allows you to uncover over 50 different challenges. Learn about each other, bond, and make memories in Colorado Springs, or anywhere in the world!

Family-Friendly Fun in Colorado Springs

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Occupying 146 acres on a picturesque mountainside resting at an elevation of 6,714 feet, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is home to more than 800 animals representing over 200 species. This award-winning zoo has multiple exhibits that are sure to delight children and adults in equal measure, including:

  • African Rift Valley
  • Australia Walkabout
  • Water’s Edge: Africa
  • Monkey Pavilion
  • The Loft
  • Asian Highlands
  • Making Waves
  • Primate World
  • My Big Backyard
  • And more!

While viewing animals in facsimiles of their natural habitats can take up a whole day on its own, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has plenty of other things to see and do. You can take a ride on a carousel or a ski lift, for example. You can also arrange for your family to have a personal, custom animal experience.

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo hosts camps, classes, field trips, and special events throughout the year. From date night safaris to stroller safaris, VIP group tours, and private animal encounters, you can do them all and more at the zoo. Even if you can’t visit the zoo, you can still experience the zoo online from any location with an internet connection. You can even adopt an animal and enjoy a lifetime of amusement with your newest family member.

If one of your kids will celebrate a birthday during your stay in Colorado Springs, you may want to take advantage of one of the zoo’s birthday party packs. Animal feedings, gift bags, and a personalized birthday button are all included in each birthday party pack, and more amenities are added to each higher celebratory pack. With each pack including admission for 15 or 30 people, celebrating a birthday at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is an affordable way to make your child enjoy their special day.

The North Pole – Santa’s Workshop

Do you love the holiday season? If you enjoy the holidays, we suggest you visit the place where the celebration of Christmas starts long before the holiday itself rolls around, The North Pole – Santa’s Workshop. Located at the base of Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs, The North Pole – Santa’s Workshop is home to Santa’s Village and Kris Kringle himself.

The spirit of Christmas is alive and well at The North Pole year-round. Nestled at 7,500 feet above sea level, The North Pole is a holiday oasis for kids of all ages. Entertaining families for more than six decades, The North Pole boasts more than two dozen rides.

When you arrive at The North Pole, you’ll see rides that can be broken down into several broad categories. The park’s child-only rides include Kiddie Commander, Kiddie Wheel, Midge-O Racers, and Pony Carts. Family rides include Candy Cane Coaster, Carousel, Dive Bombers, Paratrooper, and Peppermint Slide. Granny Bug, Sky Ride, and an antique car ride are some of the park’s infant- and toddler-friendly rides.

While you don’t have to pay to visit The North Pole – Santa’s Workshop, you do have to purchase a wristband to ride the rides. Although the rides are exciting, it’s the park’s boutique shops are equally enticing. Stop by and find some unique gifts and keepsakes! Similarly, the park’s eateries are great choices to grab a yummy meal, snack, or beverage.

Garden of the Gods

If you want to visit one of the area’s most visited attractions, you should take your family to the Garden of the Gods. This breathtaking park offers gorgeous views of towering sandstone rock formations that rest against a backdrop of oft-blue skies and the perennially present Pikes Peak.

Fun things abound at Garden of the Gods Park! It has more than 21 miles of hiking trails that range in both difficulty and length. You can take an electric bike tour, or you can go biking on a more traditional bicycle. Alternatively, you can sign up for a guided Jeep or Segway tour through the park. If climbing is your thing, you can go front range climbing during your visit. Front range climbing trips kick off every thirty minutes at the park’s visitor center.

Garden of the Gods is home to a world-class Visitor & Nature Center where you and your loved ones can enjoy interactive exhibits and HD movies. To enjoy a meal while you soak in amazing views, grab a table in the park’s glass-enclosed café or on the open-air terrace.

From the moment you arrive at Garden of the Gods, you’ll wonder how much natural beauty can be present in one place. It’s that very beauty that inspired the area’s original surveyors to give the park its name back in 1859. When they happened upon the area that’s now a designated National Natural Landmark, one of the surveyors proclaimed the park a fit place for the gods to assemble, and that the perceived beer garden was to be named Garden of the Gods.

America the Beautiful Park Fantasy Playground

If you want to spend a day enjoying some fresh Colorado air, you should take your gang over to America the Beautiful Park Fantasy Playground. Once you arrive, you can enjoy stretching out in a hammock, or you can challenge your family members to contests with spinner bowls and turntables.

As you tour the grounds, you’ll come across various pieces of art that are deliberately interactive. These artworks are referred to as Quirks, and they’re the products of nearly 100 students who attended Bristol Elementary, Columbia Elementary, Globe Charter, and Washington Elementary schools. Each Quirk has its own life story that you can read as you make your way through the park.

If your kids are full of energy, you can try to wear them out a bit by taking them along one of the park’s easy walking paths. For a more robust outdoor adventure, you and your kids can explore Pikes Peak Greenway Trail or Midland Trail. When it’s time for lunch or an early dinner, you can set things up on one of the conveniently located picnic tables in the park’s pavilion.

Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center

A world-class museum located in Woodland Park, the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center is a must-visit for anyone who is captivated by dinosaurs. When you step into the museum, you’ll be transported back in time to the Cretaceous period, when dinosaurs, prehistoric marine reptiles, and pterosaurs ruled the land. As you make your way through the museum, you can read about each specimen’s discovery and view graphics that will help you better envision each one as a living being.

During your visit, make sure you check out the museum’s working fossil laboratory where you can see paleontological finds being freed from rock as they’re carefully restored. You should also take your kids to the children’s area where they can dig out fossils in the dig box, read books, and create their own dinosaur.

Guided tours of the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center are included with the price of admission. The tours run throughout the day, and they last about one hour. If one of your children’s birthdays falls on a date during your family vacation in Colorado Springs and you don’t want to celebrate at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, you may want to celebrate the occasion at the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center. The museum offers several affordable birthday packages.

Red Rock Canyon Open Space

Adjacent to Manitou Springs and located on the western side of Colorado Springs is Red Rock Canyon Open Space. This park occupies 1,474 acres of mountain land. The park consists of various ridges and canyons that offer many opportunities for family pictures and enjoyable activities. Hiking, climbing, biking, jogging, and horseback riding are just some of the fun things you and your family can do when you visit the vast park.

In addition to trails, Red Rock Canyon Open Space has an educational piece of sedimentary geology that’s more than 240 million years old. The park also has several picnic areas, which make it convenient to share a family meal in a wonderfully natural environment.

If you visit Section 16 in the park, you’ll see that the sediment is truncated by the Ute Pass Fault. At that spot, you’ll also notice that the surrounding geology changes suddenly, shifting to rocks that are much older than their neighbors. Given the park’s varied terrain, you can see a wide range of plants and wildlife as you make your way through Red Rock Canyon Open Space.

May Natural History Museum

A popular, kid-friendly stop that’s been around for decades, May Natural History Museum is an enduring roadside museum that’s been wowing children for generations. Situated at the bottom of the Rocky Mountains, the museum is home to one of the largest private collections of insects in the world. For more than eight decades, the museum’s founder James May crossed the globe to find more than 100,000 specimens of bugs, insects, and other “creepy, crawly” things.

All in all, the museum has more than 7,000 insects on display. Here are some of the insects your kids will have the chance to see during a visit to the May Natural History Museum:

  • Beautiful butterflies
  • Tropical spiders
  • Strange beetles
  • Deadly scorpions
  • And so much more!

Even if you don’t have a particular interest in bugs or insects, a visit to the May Natural History Museum is still worth it. The founder’s story alone makes a visit worthwhile. John May was self-made, and he had two grown men working for him by the time he turned 13 years old. Working for 16 – 18 hours a day and always striving to quench his constant thirst for knowledge, May started his museum by displaying his father’s exotic collection in tents and pavilions.

In 1947, May made the concrete blocks for what is now the May Natural History Museum. To support the museum’s further construction and operation, May opened a campground. The May family still operates a local campground that’s called The Golden Eagle Ranch. If you’re vacationing on a budget, a stay at the May family’s campgrounds is a good way to keep the cost of your accommodations reasonable without forcing you to go without modern amenities like complimentary Wi-Fi.

Ghost Town Museum

Despite its name, Ghost Town Museum isn’t known for its paranormal activity or ghost sightings. Instead, the museum is celebrated for preserving the Wild West that dominated the Pikes Peak area from 1858 through 1891.

During those years, people made their way to Colorado to mine for gold. As more and more prospectors landed in the area surrounding Pikes Peak, encampments morphed into small towns brimming with fortune seekers. By the time gold was found in Cripple Creek in 1891, the area’s gold fever and frontier spirit had dissipated, with many abandoning the towns that were created to support the gold rush.

Ghost Town Museum was founded in 1954 to preserve tidbits of Colorado’s Old West heritage for generations to come. The “town” is housed in a historic structure built by the Colorado Midland Railroad back in 1899. As you walk through the museum, you’ll enjoy an authentic Wild West experience while you view period buildings and artifacts.

While there’s plenty to see at Ghost Town Museum, there are also a lot of things to do. For starters, you can try your hand at churning butter. You can have a picnic on the grounds, play an antique arcade game, take a shot in the shooting gallery, pan for real gold in the seasonal panning areas, and enjoy old-timey sarsaparilla as well. To learn more about Colorado’s gold mining years, you and your family can watch a short film during your museum visit.

Penny Arcade — Manitou Springs

Nestled just off Main Street, the Penny Arcade should be your destination if you’re looking for fun things to do in Colorado Springs. The Penny Arcade is where you’ll find antique and more modern arcade games that are perfect for players of all ages. While some games still cost only a penny to play, most cost more than one cent.

When you arrive at the Penny Arcade, you’ll see that the amusement park consists of several buildings. Each structure houses its own unique set of games, and every building has a different look and feel as a result. In addition to games like Skeet ball, pool, DDR, and pinball, the Penny Arcade has some small electronic rides that are appropriate for younger kids.

Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad

Are you planning a family vacation in Colorado Springs between late May and Labor Day? If so, you should put “visit Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad” on your to-do list. This attraction is where you and your family can take a round-trip ride on a steam locomotive that’s way more than 100 years old. During your ride on the train, you’ll pass Cripple Creek’s southern out, the old Midland Terminal Wye, and a few historic mines. Your adventure will even take you over a reconstructed trestle.

Train rides launch every 70 from the attraction’s 1894 depot. The depot is home to a gift shop where you can buy unique gifts for the entire family.

During your four-mile train trip, a narration will run so you can learn about the area’s rich gold mining history. Every trip lasts about 45 minutes, during which you’ll enjoy all the beautiful colors and features of the surrounding landscape. If you have younger children, a visit to Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad is an affordable attraction because kids under three years of age can ride the train for free.

Bear Creek Regional Park and Nature Center

Do you want to enjoy the outdoors without having to travel outside of Colorado Springs? If that idea appeals to you, it’s wise to head over to Bear Creek Regional Park and Nature Center. This multi-use park sprawls over hundreds of acres that are home to Bear Creek, meadows, ponderosa pine forests, scrub oak thicket, and a vast array of wildlife.

In addition to its natural splendor, the park has miles and miles of trails that are great for walking, biking, horseback riding, jogging, and hiking. Its numerous trails aren’t the only amenities you’ll enjoy when you visit the park. Here are some of the additional amenities that will be available to you at the park:

  • Archery range
  • Equestrian course
  • Bear Creek Dog Park
  • Two tennis courts
  • Volleyball court
  • Playfields
  • Charmaine Nymann Community Garden
  • Horseshoe pit
  • Pavilion

When you visit Bear Creek Regional Park, make sure you check out the nature center. The nature center has some cool interactive exhibits that will teach your kids about nature. Depending on when you visit, you may want to sign your children up for one of the center’s nature camps, birding classes, or working beehive demonstrations.

Memorial Park

Memorial Park is another great option if you want to enjoy the outdoors without having to leave the city. A sprawling piece of real estate, Memorial Park has three trails that vary in length:

  • Prospect Lake Fitness Trail, 1.25 miles
  • Criterium Trail, 0.6 miles
  • Perimeter Jogging Trail, 2.2 miles

The park has a long list of amenities that are sure to impress and entertain. Biking, skateboarding, and roller skating enthusiasts typically flock to the park’s sought-after velodrome. Many people find themselves at the Mark “Pa” Sertich Ice Center taking public ice-skating lessons at various times of the year.

Some of the park’s other features include:

  • Aquatic center
  • Fitness room
  • Play area
  • 15 football/soccer fields
  • 12 tennis courts
  • Three softball/baseball fields
  • Picnic area
  • Pavilion
  • Horseshoe pits
  • Three playgrounds
  • Multi-play court
  • Concession center

If you’re going to make a family reunion or a work event part of your vacation and you want an outdoor venue, consider hosting your function at Memorial Park. The park’s pavilion is available for rent as are the playgrounds.

Dr. Lester L. Williams Fire Museum

Does one of your kids aspire to become a firefighter when they’re older? If that’s the case, you should take your family to the Dr. Lester L. Williams Fire Museum, which is located inside the headquarters of the Colorado Springs Fire Department.

Dr. Williams served as the local fire station’s Fire Department Physician beginning in 1953 while simultaneously running his own medical practice as a urologist. The good doctor took his relationship with the fire department quite seriously, and he began collecting fire department artifacts almost immediately after his appointment as Fire Department Physician.

Prior to his death, Dr. Williams specified that he wanted his vast collection to be used to create a firehouse museum. In addition to the things Dr. Williams collected during his lifetime, the museum’s collection includes items donated by the doctor’s family members who were also firefighters.

A 1926 Ahrens Fox Pumper, an 1896 Champion Wagon, a fire belt display, a firefighter memorial statue, and an 1898 Metropolitan Steamer are just some of the things you can see when you visit the Dr. Lester L. Williams Fire Museum. Don’t forget to pick up a souvenir in the gift shop when you visit the museum!

Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cog Railway

Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cog Railway is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Pikes Peak region of North America. Since 1891, Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cog Railway has been the world’s highest rail track and the longest cog railroad on the face of the globe.

When you visit this attraction, you can take a train ride up to Pikes Peak, which stands proudly at 14,115 feet above sea level. During your journey to the summit, you’ll see different habitats, waterways, and canyons.

Rebuilt over the last three years, Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cog Railway now offers an all-new experience for eager guests to enjoy. Riding the train to the top of America’s Mountain isn’t the only thing you can do when you visit. You can also go zip lining. Ten zip-lines located in South Cheyenne Canyon will take you across Seven Falls and over cascades of water that crash into the box canyon below.

You can also visit Manitou Springs and book a stay at The Broadmoor, which is considered one of the most unique resorts in the world. For a more intimate experience with nature, consider a stay at Cloud Camp, which rests 3,000 feet above The Broadmoor. 

No matter where you stay, you should visit Seven Falls before you leave. Seven Falls is a series of waterfalls located between the towering Pillars of Hercules. Just 224 steps separate you from hiking trails and boutique shops when you visit the falls’ banks.

Colorado Springs Scavenger Hunt

One of the most fun things you can do in Colorado Springs is to embark upon a scavenger hunt within the city’s limits. Our Colorado Springs Scavenger Hunts will take you to popular attractions and help you find hidden gems.

The Let’s Roam app will lead you and your family on a tour around Colorado Springs. As you progress along your journey, you’ll encounter attractions you might otherwise have overlooked. Why not purchase tickets for a scavenger hunt today?

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best way to tour Colorado Springs with my family?

There’s so much to see in the Centennial State! Use this list of family-friendly things to do in Colorado Springs to set your itinerary. Then, download the Let’s Roam app and choose a scavenger hunt.

Does my family need to worry about altitude sickness in Colorado Springs?

Although the city is at the base of the Rocky Mountains, it sits at 6000 ft above sea level. If you’re planning family fun in Colorado Springs, allow some time for all of you to adjust to the altitude.

Are there any kid-friendly parks in Colorado Springs?

There are multiple kid-friendly parks in Colorado Springs, including the Garden of the Gods, America the Beautiful Park, Red Rock Canyon Open Space, and Bear Creek Regional Park and Nature Center.

Family Fun

The Best Family-Friendly Things to Do in Nashville


Planning a family vacation is different from planning a trip involving just adults. For a family vacation to be successful, you have to pick a destination that has plenty of kid-friendly things to do and see. Whether you live in Tennessee or somewhere else, you needn’t look beyond Nashville for a great family-friendly vacation destination.

Family Adventures Are a Scratch Away

If you’re looking for ways to make the most of family time, look no further than “Adventures From Scratch: Family Edition.” Uncover a new challenge whenever you want to explore, enjoy some excitement, or just be together at home, in Nashville, or anywhere!

See Nashville on a Scavenger Hunt

When it comes to getting around Nashville to see all of the city’s amenities, there are several fun options available to you. Signing up for an app-led scavenger hunt is one of those options. Let’s Roam has pre-planned tours of Music City, three of which are great for families visiting the city with children.

Some kid-friendly scavenger hunts we’re put together include:

Must-See Kid-Friendly Attractions and Amenities

Nashville earned the nickname “Smashville” thanks to the dominance and sometimes rough-and-tumble nature of its professional hockey team, the Nashville Predators. The Predators play at Bridgestone Arena, which is one of the busiest multi-purpose venues in the world.

From NHL games to concerts, comedy shows, and more, there’s always something going on at the arena. To get your Nashville family vacation off to a good start, buy tickets to a family-friendly show during your stay in Music City. Just be sure you purchase your tickets in advance because shows and events at the arena often sell out quickly.

Of course, there are plenty of other things to do and see in Nashville. Music City is ripe for both indoor and outdoor sightseeing, and the city doesn’t have a shortage of amenities that will interest kids of all ages.

Grand Ole Opry

The Grand Ole Opry bills itself as “the platform that connects artists and fans to the music they love” and “the show that made country music famous,” and rightfully so. For nearly 100 years, the Grand Ole Opry has been home to country music’s humble beginnings, its evolving growth, and its bright future.

You can catch a live music radio concert in the gallant hall. The show is just 45 minutes long, which will prevent kids from getting impatient or bored. You’ll appreciate the venue’s church pew seating because it will allow your children to move around freely in their seats.

Before or after the show, you may want to sign up for a tour of the facility. Guided tours kick off with an immersive experience featuring husband and wife duo Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood. You can hang out backstage, visit dressing rooms where world-famous musicians have prepared for upcoming performances, and even stand in the world-renowned circle.

Nashville Children’s Theatre

Established in 1931, the Nashville Children’s Theatre is the oldest kids’ theatre in the United States. The theatre has trained generations of aspiring kid actors and continues to put on a full calendar of live performances every year.

Acting classes culminate in fantastic performances that allow trained, professional child actors to demonstrate their skills to the delight of audience members. In addition to its performances and acting classes, the theatre offers programs to educate kids about the autism spectrum.

If your children get bitten by the “acting bug” when you visit NCT, don’t worry! You can sign them up for virtual acting classes year-round. The theatre also gives your children the chance to participate in some fun-filled activities virtually. From breaking codes to solving mysteries, saving a far-off galaxy, and more, your kids can do them all through the theatre’s digital programs.

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Also referred to as the “Smithsonian of Country Music,” the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum pays homage to all things related to country music and its storied history. The facility has a large collection of county music memorabilia, state-of-the-art galleries, event halls, classrooms, and a fun-to-explore gift store.

The institution’s main exhibit is named “Sing Me Back Home: A Journey Through Country Music.” This exhibit takes visitors on an odyssey that explores the history, voices, instrumental sounds, faces, and legendary tales related to country music and its ever-increasing popularity. In addition to other noteworthy exhibits, the museum has a CMA Theater and the Taylor Swift Education Center. The Museum is also home to CMF Records.

Honky Tonk Highway

If you’re making a list of the best family-friendly things to do in Nashville, you should put “visit Honky Tonk Highway” near or at the top of your list. Honky Tonk Highway is littered with a wide array of places where you and your family can enjoy some live music, including AJ’s Good Time Bar, Alan Jackson’s Bar, Savannah’s Candy Kitchen, and Whisky Row Gastropub.

While some establishments are adult-only at night, most of them welcome families with kids during the day. If you’re going to let your kids stay up past their bedtime, you and your children will still have a great time along Honky Tonk Highway after the sun goes down because some places let kids in after dark, and overflow tunes will keep you entertained as you stroll along the sidewalks.

Nashville Shores Lakeside Resort

It may seem strange to put a resort on a list of fun things to do in Music City, but it’ll be more understandable once you’re familiar with two of the property’s amenities. The first one is the Treetop Adventure Park and the second is Nashville’s largest waterpark.

Treetop Adventure Park

Treetop Adventure Park gives visitors the chance to explore the outdoors as they’ve never done before. The park features 100 challenging obstacles, which include:

  • Tarzan swings
  • Ziplines
  • Hanging cargo nets
  • Wobbly suspended bridges
  • And more!

Groups start their adventures every hour on the hour starting at 10 am. Since it takes a while for people to cover the four large courses in the park, the last daily group departs the starting point at 2 pm. The park asks visitors to fill out their virtual waivers before they arrive and requests that they arrive at the starting point at least 15 minutes before their scheduled start times.


After you work up a sweat at Treetop Adventure Park, you can cool off at the nearby waterpark. This park has multiple slides, including Mega Mayhem, which is a fun, thrilling family raft ride that’s over six stories high. The park also has a wave pool, Kowabunga Beach, and a huge treehouse and playground. If you want to relax at the park, consider renting one of the available cabanas.

Centennial Park and the Parthenon

Located near Nashville’s border on West End and 25th Avenue North, you may have to travel a bit to get to Centennial Park if you’re accommodations are on the other side of the city. Centennial Park is a large outdoor space that occupies 132 acres. The park has a slew of amenities, which include:

  • A sunken garden
  • An arts activity center
  • An event shelter
  • Sand volleyball courts
  • Exercise and walking trails
  • A bandshell
  • Lake Watauga
  • A dog park
  • An arts center

In addition to those amenities, Centennial Park is home to the iconic Parthenon, which is a full-size replica of the Parthenon located in Athens, Greece. The Parthenon has a statue of the goddess Athena Parthenos that stands tall at 42 feet. Confederate veteran William Crawford designed the structure and it was constructed way back in 1897.

Today, the Parthenon is an art museum. The museum’s permanent collection is maintained on the lower floor and it includes paintings by American artists from the 19th and 20th centuries. During the summer, the Parthenon’s steps serve as the stage for various Greek-themed plays like “Medea” by Euripides and “Antigone” by Sophocles.

You have to pay a modest entry fee to go inside the Parthenon. Entering Centennial Park, enjoying its varied amenities, and watching the summertime plays reenacted on the Parthenon’s steps are all free.

Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage

Known as the people’s president, Andrew Jackson and his wife Rachel once owned The Hermitage, which is located about 10 miles east of Nashville. While it’s outside of Music City, The Hermitage is worth the short ride it will take to reach the grounds if history, architecture, and beautiful landscaping are of interest to you.

Now a museum, The Hermitage offers an intimate look into the lives of its former residents. Exhibits and various displays offer glimpses into the history of the property and the former president’s lifestyle and interests.

When you visit the grounds, make sure you check out the monument where Rachel and Jackson are buried. Jackson had the monument built for his wife after she passed away suddenly in 1828, and he joined her there in eternal rest two days after he passed away on June 8, 1845. The tomb is located in the garden, which was Rachel’s favorite place, and it’s built to look like one of the Greek temples seen on the Telemachus wallpaper Jackson’s wife had selected for the home’s entrance hall.

The Hermitage offers several types of tours, including:

  • The Hermitage by Wagon Tour
  • Lantern Evening Tours
  • Tulip Grove Tours

You can also participate in various programs and events that run throughout the year. Given the former president’s relationship with wine and whiskey, it should come as no surprise that tastings are regular events at the property. Vintage Baseball, Painting with the President, and Jackson’s Library Card Virtual Book Club are additional things you may want to sign up for.

Frist Art Museum

Like The Hermitage, the Frist Art Museum is a National Historic Landmark. Located at 919 Broadway in Nashville, the museum occupies what was once a U.S. post office building which shows off an unapologetic Art Deco style.

The non-collecting institution gives visitors the chance to see rotating art exhibits that display all sorts of artistic works. Similarly, the museum encourages kids to be hands-on in the interactive, art-making space known as the Martin ArtQuest Gallery.

While adults have to pay a modest fee to enter the museum, kids under 18 can experience the space for free. The Frist Museum has Free Family Days throughout the year and whole families can visit the museum for the price of just one adult on the second Monday of every month.

On Family Days, your kids can enjoy trilingual storytime in the Martin ArtQuest Gallery, where stories are told in English, Spanish, and sing language. Due to COVID, your kids will have to enjoy storytime online for now. Just like the museum’s website should be your destination for virtual storytime, you should also navigate to that site for how-to videos for art projects your kids can do at home.

There’s no reason to pack snacks before you visit the museum. The Frist Art Museum Café has a kid- and family-friendly menu that includes sandwiches, pizza, chicken fingers, salads, corn dogs, and yummy dessert items.

Cheekwood Estate and Gardens

Built as the residence of Leslie and Mabel Cheek back in 1929, Cheekwood Estate and Gardens became a museum and botanical garden that opened to the public in 1960. The estate is one of the most striking samples of the American Country Place Era that you’ll come across anywhere. Cheekwood Estate and Gardens occupies 55 acres that are landscaped to maintain an idyllic look and feel.

The 30,000 square-foot museum is home to a permanent art collection that includes about 600 paintings and around 5,000 prints, photos, and sketches. When you step into the gardens, you’ll see a vast array of local flora that will take your breath away. If you walk along the Carrell Woodland Sculpture Trail, you’ll see 15 sculptures crafted by artists from around the world.

Approximately 300,000 people visit Cheekwood Estate and Gardens every year, and the museum boasts a membership list of around 19,000 households. You may want to consider signing up for a membership because it will grant your kids access to the museum’s Tots! Program. With the on-site Tots! program currently suspended, the museum is sharing some fun things parents and kids can do, create, and explore at home on its website.

If you visit the museum on a Tuesday morning, your kids can participate in Storytime. Storytime is perfectly timed to keep everyone’s attention, with each session lasting just 15-20 minutes. Sessions start at 10 am, 10:45 am, and 11:30 am, and they’re held outside in the aptly named Bracken Foundation Children’s Garden. Storytime is weather permitting, so it will be canceled if it’s raining. Be sure you get to the site early because seats are occupied on a first-come, first-served basis.

Nashville Zoo at Grassmere

The Nashville Zoo at Grassmere is for kids of any age who love animals. Nearly 3,000 animals from over 350 different specials live at the zoo, including amphibians, birds, fish, mammals, reptiles, and arthropods.

Attractions aren’t in short supply at the zoo. Your family members can enjoy personal experiences with select animals by visiting Critter Encounters, Lorikeet Landing, or Kangaroo Kickabout. You can take a tour of the Grassmere Historic Home and learn some of the stories the historic home has hidden between its storied walls. The Soaring Eagle Zip Line, the Wilderness Express Train, and the Wild Animal Carousel are perennial favorites among the zoo’s visitors.

Do your kids have some extra energy to burn off? Take them over to the zoo’s Jungle Gym. The Jungle Gym has more than 66,000 square feet of excitement and fun for all your family members.

Before you visit the Nashville Zoo, you can arrange for your family to take a Backstage Pass Tour. Depending on the timing and length of your trip, you may also want to sign your kids up for a camp, class, or overnight experience at the zoo. In addition to its in-person programs, the Nashville Zoo has some online programming you can register your kids for, such as ZooTots-to-You and Zooniversity for At-Home Students.

Adventure Science Center

Adventure Science Center is designed to get kids interested in science. The facility is a non-profit museum that’s home to more than 175 interactive, themed exhibits. With 44,000 square feet of floor space, the museum also has the following attractions:

  • 75-foot Adventure Tower
  • The Sudekum Planetarium, which has a 63-foot dome
  • 15,000-foot Space Chase
  • BodyQuest a Mini-Med Center
  • A farting slide
  • Tinker Lab

With much to see, do, and experience at the Adventure Science Center, it’s advisable to reserve the better part of a full day to explore the museum. Even if it’s raining on the day you devote to visiting the Adventure Science Center, you should still make it a point to check out the museum’s Galactic Gardens. When you do, you can see the museum’s Rain Garden, the Galactic Gardens Mural, a Phases of the Moon Engraving, and the Cornerstone Financial Credit Union Amphitheater.

Percy Priest Lake

Percy Priest Lake should be your destination if you’re interested in doing some fun things outside. The 42-mile like is located just ten minutes from downtown Nashville. If you need to recharge, you can use the short car ride over to the man-made reservoir named for Congressman Percy Priest to do some of Let’s Roam’s suggested 20 short and effective meditations.

The reservoir has shorelines in three counties, including Wilson, Davidson, and Rutherford. More than 18,000 acres of land surround Percy Priest Lake. Most of that land is dedicated to preserving and managing local flora and fauna, but select spots allow for outdoor recreation. Here are some of the family-friendly activities you can engage in during a trip to Percy Priest Lake:

  • Hiking
  • Mountain biking
  • Picnicking
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Fishing
  • Boating

Tennessee Central Railway Museum

Named after the Tennessee Central Railway, which operated from 1902 until 1969, the Tennessee Central Railway Museum shows off multiple diesel-electric locomotives along with a sizeable collection of train cars, engines, and railroad-related memorabilia.

Occupying what used to be a freight depot, the museum allows visitors to take a ride on a train that traces its origins back to the 1950s. If you sign up for the ride, the train will take you through a portion of breathtaking Middle Tennessee.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best ways to see Nashville with family?

If you’re wondering how you’ll see all the best spots in Nashville, why not try a scavenger hunt? These app-led walking tours will lead you to the best landmarks and you can pause and resume at will!

What are the best kid-friendly activities in Nashville?

Let’s Roam has published a list of family-friendly things to do in Nashville. For some impromptu fun anywhere, uncover one of the 50+ activities in Adventures From Scratch: Family Edition.

Where can I find adventurous family activities in Nashville?

Two of the best places for family adventures in Nashville are the Adventure Science Center and Nashville Shores Lakeside Resort. If you’re taking a road trip, don’t forget the travel games!

Family Fun

The Best Family-Friendly Things to Do in Chicago


The Windy City is home to so many wonderful things to see and do with kids, it can be hard to imagine fitting them all into one family vacation. It can be difficult to see and do everything unless you’re planning to make turn your vacation into a lifelong adventure. Whether you’re planning a quick trip or an extended stay, this list of the best family-friendly things to do in Chicago should help you navigate your way to the top spots!

Scratch Off Unique Family Adventures

Plan a great day out (or in) with the whole family using “Adventures from Scratch: Family Edition.” Scratch to uncover a new challenge any time you crave some quality time together in Chicago, or anywhere. With over 50 activities, this book will keep you entertained for a while. Spark your sense of adventure with kid-friendly fun!

Fun Things to Do with the Kids in Chicago

For many parents, looking for fun things to do in Chi-Town is synonymous with looking for the best family-friendly things to do in Chicago. Luckily, you don’t have to look too hard for amenities and attractions that will pique the interest of even your fussiest mini-me.

Chicago Street Art

With its professional sports venues, breathtaking lakefront views, mesmerizing architecture, and much, much more, The Windy City is known for a lot of things. With over 40,000 square feet of street art dotting buildings across the city, Chicago is also widely celebrated for its public artwork.

For the most part, the city’s street art resides in three well-known, bustling neighborhoods, Pilsen, Milwaukee Avenue, and the South Loop. We encourage you to use our guide to Chicago street art to limit the chances that you’ll miss one of the city’s most well-known public pieces.

Lincoln Park Zoo

The Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the last free zoos in the United States. Occupying 35 acres along the shores of scenic Lake Michigan, nearly 200 animal species call the zoo their home. The zoo is also home to more than 1,200 plant species that make the facility’s landscape come alive with color. As you tour the arboretum, you’ll likely come across some turtles, fish, frogs, and native birds, so tread lightly.

The zoo offers several self-guided tours, including the following:

  • Must-See Highlights Tour
  • Big & Furry Tour
  • Weird & Wonderful Tour
  • Green & Leafy
  • Little Explorers Tour

As you learn about the zoo’s programming, you’ll quickly realize the facility has some laudable camps for kids. The zoo’s in-person kid camps include:

  • Summer Conservation Camp
  • Winter Break Camp
  • Spring Break Camp
  • Summer Zoo Crew

Lincoln Park Zoo also has some virtual programs for kids, such as a Virtual Spring Break Camp. If you have several kids you want to enroll in the zoo’s camps, you may want to become a member of Lincoln Park Zoo. As a member, you’ll earn a 15 percent discount on all camp registrations you make for the members of your brood. You’ll also get discounts when you enroll your little ones in other youth-oriented programs hosted by the zoo.

If you’re planning a special event like a family reunion or a family-friendly function for work, such as a destination holiday bash, you should consider hosting the affair at Lincoln Park Zoo. The zoo has multiple event venues that can accommodate large, medium, and small groups with nature as the backdrop. If you don’t want to limit your function to one space, you can rent out the entire zoo for your group to enjoy.

Maggie Daley Park

A tribute to one of Chicago’s first ladies who shared the park’s name, Maggie Daley Park rests on 20 acres of prime real estate in the heart of the Loop. Take a walk across the park’s BP Pedestrian Bridge and let your kids try their hand at mounting the climbing wall under the watchful eyes of park employees.

When they’re done, turn them loose on one of the most epic playgrounds they’ll likely ever encounter. The park’s Play Garden is divided into three themed sections. First up is the Slide Crater, where your children can cross bridges and slides to move between two towers. Your kids can wander along a path that will enable them to explore all the trees and fauna in the Enchanted Forest. A visit to the playground’s Watering Hole is a good way for your kids to cool off on warm days.

A quarter-mile skating ribbon encircles the climbing wall. During wintry months, the ribbon gets covered in ice so people can go ice skating along the ribbon’s gentle curves. When it’s warm, visitors can walk, jog, or rollerblade along the skating ribbon. The skating ribbon has a surface that slopes slowly, so skaters can coast for a bit.

Shedd Aquarium

Whereas visiting Maggie Daley Park is one of the free things your family can do in Chi-Town, the Shedd Aquarium does require visitors to pay a modest fee. Given what you’ll experience inside one of the world’s largest aquariums, the cost of admission is well worth it.

When you enter the aquarium, you’ll encounter fresh and saltwater aquatic creatures from all over the world. Here are some examples of the marine life you’ll see:

  • Beluga whales
  • Sharks
  • Bluegills
  • Stingrays
  • Sea otters
  • Sea lions
  • Penguins
  • Sea stars
  • Reptiles
  • Birds
  • Jellyfish
  • And a whole lot more!

The Shedd Aquarium offers some personalized experiences to make your in-person or virtual visit to the facility even more memorable. If you want to sign your family up for one of the aquarium’s experiences, consider these suggestions:

  • Penguin Encounter
  • Touch Experiences
  • Stingray Feeding
  • 4-D Experience
  • Virtual Penguin Encounter
  • Virtual Shark Feeding Tour
  • Virtual Sea Otter Encounter

If you won’t have time to visit Shedd Aquarium during an upcoming getaway to Chicago, signing up for a virtual encounter is the next best thing. You can also see what’s going on at the facility by using the live cam on the aquarium’s website.

With there being so much to see at Shedd Aquarium, it’s wise to devote an entire day of family fun and exploring at the facility. You don’t have to worry about bringing snacks to get your family through a day-long stay at Shedd Aquarium. Rather than burdening yourself with that hassle, plan to grab a bite to eat in the Bubble Net Food Court located on lower level 1 by the tide pool, sea otters, and the Sick Family Lakefront Terrace.

Oz Park

Nestled comfortably behind Lincoln Park High School is Oz Park. This 14.4-acre fun zone is named after the author of “The Wizard of Oz” L. Frank Baum. Why did Baum have the honor of having a city park named after him? Because he was once a resident of Lincoln Park, of course!

As you probably guessed from its name, Oz Park is an homage to “The Wizard of Oz.” The park features sculptures of some of the film’s notable characters located throughout. Older kids typically enjoy taking a turn on the park’s tire swing. Little kids who are new to walking have fun in a dedicated area that has an appropriately sized slide, a climbable wooden train, and some smile-inducing rocking animals.

While the park’s playground is on the smaller side, it still has a wooden castle and a maze. Kids have fun climbing, running across bridges, peeking through windows, and more when they visit the well-maintained play area.

Garfield Park Conservatory

Located at 300 N. Central Park Avenue, the Garfield Park Conservatory is one of the largest buildings of its kind in the world. The conservatory features approximately 120 plants that represent about 600 species.

Unlike some other city attractions, the Garfield Park Conservatory has free admission and it’s open 365 days per year. While admission is free, the conservatory does request that visitors make a donation when they enter the space.

When spring and summer roll around, it’s wise to take a stroll through the facility’s outdoor gardens, which sprawl over 12 acres. Doing so will be an immersive experience that will delight your family’s collective visceral senses.

The Garfield Park Conservatory is heralded for its family-friendly programming. From beekeeping tutorials to composting classes, goat yoga, and more, you can participate in them all by visiting the conservatory. If you’re looking for some adult-themed programming, you should plan a trip to the conservatory on the inaugural night of the city’s annual Chicago Craft Beer Week because the conservatory is the host site for the event that jumpstarts all the fun.

Original Rainbow Cone

With its original store located in Chicago’s South Side, a trip to Original Rainbow Cone is a must for anyone who travels to The Windy City with kids. Since 1926, Original Rainbow Cone has been delighting customers with dazzling ice cream cones, yummy banana splits, thick milkshakes, and other indulgences.

In recent years, the shop has added a second location in Lombard, Illinois and it has started operating four food trucks. You can track the location of the eatery’s trucks on the shop’s website. If you’re going to celebrate something special during your stay in Chi-Town, you can rent one of the trucks.

Once you get a taste of what the Original Rainbow Cone serves up, you’ll want to have its tasty treats over and over again. Now you can enjoy the shop’s delicious desserts from the comfort of your home, long after your Chicago area family vacation has drawn to an end. The shop has partnered with to ship its sweet treats to locations throughout the United States.

Museum of Science and Industry

The Museum of Science and Industry is housed by a structure that was originally built for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. The museum is located at 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive. As you’ll see from the museum’s many exhibits, the facility emphasizes interactivity throughout.

One of the institution’s more noteworthy exhibits is a U-505 German submarine. While you can walk around and observe the sub for free, you’ll need to pay to take a guided tour of the vessel. The 25-minute tour’s fee is an add-on to your paid admission to the museum.

If want to see what it was like to live in The Windy City way back in 1910, you’ll want to check out the Yesterday’s Main Street Exhibit. This exhibit has cobblestone streets and simulations of notable structures like Walgreen’s Drug Company and the Chicago Post Office.

Do you want to see what it’s like to be in a tornado? You simply have to visit the Science Storms Exhibit to do so. Would you like to work your way through a maze of mirrors with your kids? Head over to the Numbers in Nature Exhibit and have at it. If you just want to sit back and watch some educational films, you and your family can catch a flick or two in the museum’s five-story Giant Dome Theater.

The Field Museum

The Field Museum was originally founded to be the home of all the anthropological and biological artifacts collected for the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. Since then, the institution’s collection has grown to include approximately 40 million artifacts and specimens. Despite having more than 350,000 square feet of permanent exhibition space, the museum can only publicly display about one percent of its total collection.

Over 150 scientists work for the museum. Some labor in the Fossil Prep Lab to free fossils from rocks that have held them captive for millions of years while others travel the globe for answers to questions involving earth, the life forms it supports, and the world’s cultures. In essence, the Field Museum exists to explore, examine, and explain the wonder of life on the planet earth.

When you enter the Field Museum, you’ll be greeted by a cast of the skeleton of Máximo, who was a 122-foot-long titanosaur that lived in Argentina over 100,000 million years ago. Since Máximo’s skeleton is a fabrication, you and your kids can touch it and literally feel the dinosaur’s bones.

If you’re even remotely familiar with the Field Museum, then you’ve probably heard of the institution’s ever-popular resident, Sue. Sue is a T. rex who’s continuously drawn attention from museum visitors for years. Discovered in Faith, South Dakota in 1990, the T. rex’s remains are named after the woman who discovered them, Sue Hendrickson. After Hendrickson’s discovery, it took a team of six 17 days to extract Sue’s remains from the earth.

Despite the femininity of the skeleton’s name, Sue’s sex is unknown. What is known about Sue, is that the T. rex reached the upper end of its life expectancy, approximately 28 years. During an adolescent growth spurt, Sue gained up to 4 ½ pounds per day, reaching full size at the age of 19. Sue’s origins date back to the Cretaceous period, which was around 67 million years ago.

Of the 30+ T. rex fossils found to date, Sue is the largest and most complete relic. The museum has 250 of the estimated 380 bones that would have made Sue’s skeleton complete. Sue is the most celebrated Tyrannosaurus rex ever discovered, and she’s the most expensive fossil ever bought at auction, boasting a final price tag of $8.4 million.

When you visit the Field Museum, consider upgrading your pass to a Discovery or All-Access Pass. By doing so, you’ll be able to watch 3D movies that have some fantastic visual effects. To offset the cost of the upgrade, consider visiting the museum on one of its admission-free days.

Chicago’s Navy Pier is the place to go for some genuine family fun. The pier is home to an array of eclectic retailers, fantastic eateries, and all sorts of entertainment options. Once you’re there, you may wonder why you’d ever want to leave.


The shops at Navy Pier are so diverse, it’s unlikely that you won’t find exactly what you’re looking for no matter what it might be. Clothes, accessories, handmade collectibles, and more are all readily available at Navy Pier.

Here are some of the retailers that have an established footprint at Navy Pier:

  • Art-K-Texture
  • Bowwowz & Meowz
  • Cotacachi Handy Craft
  • Fashion Bazaar
  • It’s Sugar
  • Magnetic Attraction
  • Making History Chicago
  • Navy Pier Store
  • Oh Yes! Chicago
  • The Neighborhood Urban Gift Shop
  • This SOCKS!


Whether you want to grab a Chicago-style hot dog and eat on the go or you want to enjoy an upscale dining experience, you’ll find an eatery at the Navy Pier that will cater to your tastes. Given the blend of restaurants at the pier, the Navy Pier truly is the best place to get a taste of everything that the Chicago food scene has to offer, including the city’s widely celebrated deep dish pizza.

If you’re looking for dining suggestions, here are a few eateries that you may want to consider:

  • America’s Dog & Burger
  • Beat Kitchen
  • Big Bowl Chinese Express
  • Big City Chicken
  • Billy Goat Tavern
  • Frankie’s Pizza by the Slice
  • Giordano’s
  • I Dream of Falafel
  • Navy Pier Beer Garden
  • Offshore Rooftop & Bar
  • Potbelly Sandwich Shop
  • Original Rainbow Cone
  • Tiny Tavern
  • Xurro

Visitors who are 21 years old or older are allowed to walk around the Navy Pier with adult beverages. Multiple restaurants have take-out windows where you can purchase food and drinks, including alcoholic beverages, on the fly.

Cultural Attractions

Navy Pier is where you can visit several of Chi-Town’s most beloved cultural attractions in one place. Those attractions include:

  • Chicago Shakespeare Theater
  • Chicago Children’s Museum
  • East End Plaza
  • Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion
  • Navy Pier Beer Garden
  • Peoples Energy Welcome Pavilion
  • Photogenic
  • Polk Bros Park
  • The Crystal Gardens

Park Rides and Games

Navy Pier’s Pier Park is where your family can enjoy some exciting rides. You can start your visit to Pier Park with a ride on the historic carousel. Next up, you can jump on the Centennial Wheel and enjoy views of the surrounding area from almost 200 feet in the air while you’re on the Ferris wheel.

You can team up with your family members to make your way through the 4,000 square foot Amazing Chicago’s Funhouse Maze, where over two million guests have gotten lost to date. Take your family over to the Amazing Chicago’s Atomic Rush Game for some real fun. In this game, each family member will pick a color and chase it around the play area. The more times you catch your color, the more points you’ll accumulate.

Amazing Chicago’s Time Freak is a great game for kids of all ages. This game requires participants to compete against the clock while they push buttons as they become illuminated. The more buttons you push in the allotted time, the more points you’ll earn.


Do your kids love fireworks? If so, you’ll want to plan a trip to Chicago’s Navy Pier on or between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend. Between those holidays, the Navy Pier puts on a fireworks show every Wednesday and Saturday night.

Public Art Center

Stretching nearly one mile into Lake Michigan and now in its second century of existence, Navy Pier has evolved into the home of a thriving public art center. The artwork on display at the pier includes permanent, seasonal, temporary, and special exhibitions involving sculptures, objects, design, and functional works.

Navy Pier’s permanent art installations include:

  • ‘P” sculptures
  • Bob Newhart statue
  • Captain On The Helm
  • Crack the Whip
  • U.S.S. Chicago anchor

Performance art and artistic performances are common at Navy Pier, and some of them are rather unexpected in all the right ways. Annual events like SOFA CHICAGO feature beautiful works of art that are too big to be housed anywhere but the pier’s Festival Hall.

Both aspiring and established artists are welcome to show off their artwork at Navy Pier. There is no fee to view the displayed artwork as the displays are meant to make art accessible to everyone and reflect the pier’s physical space and purpose.

Willis Tower

Located at 233 S. Wacker Drive, the Willis Tower was once known as the Sears Tower. Controversially renamed in 2009 after the building was purchased by Willis Group Holdings Ltd., the tower is still the second tallest building in the United States and the 12th tallest building in the world, stretching 1,454 feet into the air. Representatives from Willis Group Holdings Ltd. often refer to Willis Tower as their Midwest home even though Blackstone purchased the structure in 2015 for a whopping $1.3 billion.

Willis Tower occupies two blocks of urban real estate in downtown Chicago. The building’s Skydeck famously opened in 1974 and it attracts over 1.7 million visitors every year. After it underwent a renovation in 2009, the Skydeck reopened featuring The Ledge. The Ledge consists of four glass boxes that hang out off the 103rd floor of the tower.

If you’re brave enough to step into one of the boxes, you’ll be able to enjoy top-down views of The Windy City from 1,353 feet in the air. It’s a view you simply cannot get anywhere else in Chicago.

Even if you lack the courage to step out onto The Ledge, you can still enjoy unbelievable views of Chi-Town and surrounding areas from the Skydeck. On clear days, visitors can see as many as four states over as many as 50 miles. For even better views of the city’s skyline, try to visit the Skydeck when it opens in the morning or when the sun sets so you can see the skyline against a dark sky. It’s really a sight to behold, and it makes a great backdrop for selfies and family photos.

360 Chicago

If you haven’t had your fill of views of the city’s skyline even after you visit Willis Tower, 360 Chicago should be your next destination. Located 1,000 feet up from the street on the 94th floor of an iconic building that was once known as the John Hancock Center, you’ll find 360 Chicago.

As its name implies, 360 Chicago boasts panoramic views of Chi-Town’s skyline. When conditions are right, visitors can see for 55 miles. 360 Chicago offers wonderous views of Lake Michigan and the city below.

If you want an interactive experience with the streets below, sign up for a TILT ride. This attraction tilts people outward to allow them to stretch out over Chicago. While TILT changes users’ viewpoints of the city, it’s not for the faint of heart.

360 Chicago has interactive displays available in seven languages that aim to educate visitors about Chicago’s colorful neighborhoods and their respective histories. If your stomach starts to growl, you can saddle over to the café to grab a bite while your family continues to enjoy breathtaking views that go on for miles in every direction.

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago

While you’ll have to make a short trip outside of Chicago to Schaumburg, Illinois to visit LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago, it’s totally worth it if you have young kids or you’re simply a fan of LEGOs. LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago is in The Streets of Woodfield shopping center on N. Martingale Road, and it occupies 30,000 square feet of retail space.

When you enter the space, you can visit MINILAND, meet some LEGO characters, catch a show in the LEGO 4D Cinema, or embark on a Kingdom Quest. If you’re game, you can participate in one of the center’s daily building workshops.

You don’t have to worry about bringing snacks with you because the center is home to the LEGO Café, which serves adult- and kid-friendly fare. Don’t forget to stop by the LEGO store to pick up some literal building blocks your kids can use to create things long after your visit winds to an end.

With so much to do and see at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago, it’s wise to devote at least half a day to your stay there. It’s also a good idea to buy your tickets and reserve a time for your visit well in advance online. Even though you may still have to wait in line for a few minutes, you won’t have to wait as long if you plan your visit beforehand. Once you’re inside, you can remain at the center for as long as you like until closing time.

Are you wondering how you can keep your kids entertained during your drive over to LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago? You can dazzle them with your keen sense of humor with our list of 30 funny riddles that will keep your kids in stitches during your trip to Schaumburg.

The 606

The 606 was made from an abandoned stretch of railway track. The 2.7-mile path takes people by some key attractions, such as:

  • Logan Square
  • Humboldt Park
  • Wicker Park
  • Bucktown

Walking, jogging, or riding a bike along the path is a great way to explore Chicago’s North Side. As you make your way along the path, you’ll see various art installations and some fabulous parks like the two just mentioned, so you may want to pack a picnic lunch you can enjoy with your family in one of the path’s well-maintained outdoor areas.

Millennium Park

For more outdoor family fun, head over to Millennium Park on E. Randolph Street. The 24.5-acre park is the host site for free concerts and some of Chicago’s biggest annual festivals like the Chicago Blues Festival and the Grant Park Music Festival.

If you like art, you’ll love the park’s public art installations, with the most popular figure being Anish Kapoor’s “Cloud Gate.” Affectionately nicknamed “The Bean,” Kapoor’s work is a reflective artwork that has been captured in a near-endless number of selfies and family photos.

While you’re at Millennium Park, be sure you make your way over to Jaume Plensa’s Crown Fountain. The fountain is a must-see because it has multiple screens showing rotating faces of Chicagoans spewing water throughout the day every five minutes. The park is also home to an alfresco restaurant appropriately named the Park Grill, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, and footbridges that will take you to the Chicago Art Institute and nearby Maggie Daley Park.

While visiting Millennium Park is free, visitors must adhere to some new rules that were put into place due to the pandemic. For the time being, visitors can only enter the park through the following points of entrance:

  • Michigan Avenue and Madison Street
  • Michigan Avenue and Washington Street
  • The BP Bridge that leads to Maggie Daley Park

Guests need to wear a mask throughout their visit and remain at least six feet away from strangers and other groups. Gatherings of 10 or more people are not currently permitted in the park. People who sit on the Great Lawn are required to use the pre-marked circles for social distancing purposes.

Available Transportation Options in Chicago

Just like Chi-Town has plenty of amenities and attractions, the city has a variety of ways you can get around town. To see as much as possible in a single day, you may want to book a bus or segue tour. If you want to explore the city and surrounding areas at a more leisurely pace, you can use the city’s public transportation to get around. Alternatively, you can make arrangements for a taxi or jump on the city’s water taxi to get from one location to another.

Some visitors choose to rent a car during their stay in Chicago. While that’s a fine idea, too, parking is sometimes expensive, and the streets get rather crowded during peak traffic hours. Whether you’re renting a vehicle or you’re traveling to The Windy City in your own automobile, you can use apps like ParkChicago, ParkWhiz, and SpotHero to reserve and pay for parking spots in advance of your arrival.

Built on a grid, Chicago is an easy city to explore by foot or bike. If you’re going to rely on your own physical power to venture through the city, we recommend you sign up for one of our Chicago app-led scavenger hunts. These hunts will take you to places you might overlook if you didn’t sign up for one of them. We have several family-friendly hunts that will acquaint you and your kids with Chicago, including:

  • Chicago Loop Scavenger Hunt
  • Chicago’s Magnificent Mile Scavenger Hunt
  • Ghosts of the Chicago River
  • A Day at the Zoo Scavenger Hunt
  • Adventure at the Lincoln Park Zoo
  • An Explosion of Color, Culture, History, and Talent

Frequently Asked Questions

Where’s the best family-friendly sightseeing in Chicago?

You shouldn’t have trouble finding family-friendly things to do in Chicago. Check out some Windy City street art, go on a scavenger hunt, explore Navy Pier, or visit LEGOLAND Discovery Center.

How can I entertain the kids in Chicago?

Navy Pier’s Pier Park is fantastic for kids! Or make sightseeing more fun with a scavenger hunt. You could also make your own fun using an interactive book like Adventures from Scratch: Family Edition!

What are the easiest ways to get around Chicago?

There are various ways to get around the Windy City. Book a bus or segue tour, rent a bike, or use public transportation. A wonderful walking tour option is using Let’s Roam’s scavenger hunt app!

Family Fun

The Best Family-Friendly Things to Do in Las Vegas


While there are various reasons why Las Vegas earned the nickname “Sin City” back in the Diatribe era leading up to the 1960s, the city has changed a lot since then. In recent years, the city has somewhat belied its sinful reputation for gambling, risqué pleasures, and over-the-top indulgences in favor of a family-friendly approach to the city’s much-needed tourism industry.

Rather than over-promoting its storied history as the Gambling Capital of the World, the city now rests its laurels on its reputation for being the Entertainment Capital of the World. The city’s relatively new identity as a kid-friendly destination has cemented Las Vegas as a family-friendly vacation destination for families with kids of all ages.

Are You Ready for an Adventure?

You don’t have to wait for a trip to Vegas for your next thrill! Enjoy unique experiences when you take Adventures From Scratch: Family Edition wherever and whenever you roam. You could even uncover challenges while enjoying some time at home with your loved ones. Grab a copy and scratch off your next adventure!

Kid-Friendly Attractions and Activities

When you visit Las Vegas, you’ll find family-friendly things to do and see along The Strip, throughout the metropolis, and beyond the city’s borders. Some of these attractions and activities qualify as must-see or must-do things while others are worth seeking out if you happen to be in the area. The city’s list of the best family-friendly things to do in Las Vegas includes both free and fee-based activities and attractions, making it easy to find things that will fit within your budget.

AdventureDome Theme Park

Whether you have young kids or teens, a trip to AdventureDome Theme Park is a must during any family vacation in Las Vegas. This five-acre indoor amusement park has more than 25 rides and attractions that range from kid-friendly to better update your will before riding.

The park’s family-friendly rides include the Circus Carousel, B.C. Bus, the Ferris wheel Drifters, and Road Runner. More mature toddlers may want to try out Frog Hopper and Thunderbirds. Thrill-seekers have a variety of rides to choose from, including:

  • Canyon Blaster
  • El Loco
  • Canyon Cars
  • Sand Pirates
  • NebulaZ
  • Disk’O  
  • Inverter
  • Sling Shot
  • Chaos
  • Lazer Blast

When your gang is ready to take a break from the park’s exciting rides, you can play classic arcade games or do some interactive activities like play miniature golf. Alternatively, you may want to catch one of the park’s free clown shows that run throughout the day or you might want to take a seat in the 4D theater to watch a kid-friendly movie with your brood.

There is no fee to enter Adventuredome Theme Park, but you do have to pay to try the rides and other amenities. To keep things on the affordable side, it’s advisable to purchase Ride-All-Day wristbands for your group if you plan to play arcade games for a considerable length of time or try out rides multiple times.

Adventuredome Theme Park is easy to find once you’re in Sin City. Make your way over to Circus Circus and look for the giant pink dome behind the hotel and casino to find the indoor theme park.

Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden

You can enter the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens through an opening that’s located across the lobby from the Bellagio’s front desk. The conservatory rests below a 50-foot glass ceiling that has beams, made with sculpted green metal consisting of oxidized copper, arranged in floral patterns.

Both horticultural and engineering teams tend to all the plants that occupy the 14,000 square-foot botanical garden. The arrangement of the plants and all the ancillary props changes in concert with the seasons and select holidays like the Lunar New Year. When the teams change the design every season, they aim to repurpose as much of the relocated and displaced plant material as they possibly can.

When you visit the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Garden, you’ll see more than 30,000 flowers and plants resting in garden beds specifically designed to represent earth, fire, water, and wind. Stepping into the conservatory is like stepping into a rainforest that’s bustling with life and beauty. The expertly curated “Eco: A Season of Earthly Awareness” was made to demonstrate MGM Resorts’ global commitment to fight climate change.

There is no admission fee to enter the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Garden, and visitors are welcome around the clock. If you’re looking for a breathtaking, relaxing setting to take family photos or selfies, the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Garden should be your destination.

Bellagio Fountains

Once you wrap up your stay in the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Garden, you can step outside to check out the casino’s amazing fountains. The Fountains of Bellagio are described as the “most ambitious, complex water feature ever conceived.” If you stay and watch one of their shows, you’ll likely understand why Bellagio makes that claim.

The Fountains of Bellagio include more than 1,000 fountains that stretch out over more than 1,000 feet of real estate. Depending on the particular show you observe, you might see the fountains send water soaring as high as 460 feet in the air. Fountain shows are enhanced by music and lighting effects, making them even more entertaining.

You don’t have to pay a fee or even be a guest at the Bellagio to watch a Vegas show. Every show is unique in various ways, so there’s always a new experience in store whenever you watch the Fountains of Bellagio do their thing.

The Fountains of Bellagio perform every 30 minutes from 3 pm until 8 pm Monday through Friday. On those same days, the fountains put on a show every 15 minutes from 8 pm until midnight. If you’re in Vegas during a weekend or on a holiday, you can see the fountains in action every 30 minutes from noon until 8 pm. Nightly shows on those days run every 15 minutes from 8 pm through midnight.

Do you want to see the Fountains of Bellagio as you explore Vegas with your family? We encourage you to sign up for our app-led Las Vegas Scavenger Hunt: Film Locations in Fabulous Las Vegas. This popular hunt will take you past the fountains as well as some other iconic locations that have made their way onto the big screen over the years. Sign up for this fun-filled 4.2-mile scavenger hunt today!

Fall of Atlantis Show

If you just can’t get enough of water shows, you should head over to Caesars Palace to check out the free Fall of Atlantis Show. This brief show only lasts 11 minutes, but every moment the show continues is a sight to see. Fall of Atlantis is a dramatic display thanks to some special fire effects and a few looming nine-foot-tall animatronic figures.

The water show at Caesars Palace restarts every hour on the hour. If you happen to be shopping at The Forum Shops, you should make it a point to watch Fall of Atlantis.

Home of the Greatest Entertainers in the World

While you’re at Caesars Palace you may want to catch a show. The casino proudly bills itself as the “home of the greatest entertainers in the world.” Shows are held in The Colosseum, which looks a lot like the real thing when you look at its brightly lit exterior from The Las Vegas Strip.

Usher, an eight-time GRAMMY Award-winner, is currently a resident performer at Caesars Palace as is music icon Morrissey. Other headliners like Sting, Van Morrison, Reba, Brooks & Dunn, and Journey have performed at The Colosseum or are scheduled to later this year. In addition to concerts, The Colosseum hosts comedic shows and theatre-in-the-round performances like Absinthe. It’s worth noting that Absinthe is not a kid-friendly production unless your children are adults.

If you want to buy tickets to a family-friendly show at The Colosseum, it’s wise to do so in advance. While you might get lucky with a last-minute purchase, a lot of shows sell out pretty quickly and tickets from third-party sellers can be pricey.

Downtown Container Park

Downtown Container Park is an open-air shopping center constructed with repurposed shipping containers. The park is home to a string of amenities for kids, including a Treehouse Playground, a 33-foot slide, and a NEOS playtime system.

Visitors won’t be disappointed with all the boutique stores, eateries, and entertainment options at Downtown Container Park. Retailers include:

  • Art Box
  • Athena’s Jewelry Box
  • House of 1,000 Pins
  • KRP Boutique
  • Las Vegas Magic Shop
  • Live at Your Own Pace Clothing Co.
  • Sugar Chop Candy & Gifts
  • Ziggy’s Art Studio

When you visit Downtown Las Vegas, you’ll have a variety of dining options available to you. Here are a few of the eateries you may want to try out:

  • Bin 702
  • Downtown Terrace
  • JoJo’s Jerky
  • Mob Pie
  • No.1 Boba
  • Oak & Ivy
  • Pinches Tacos
  • Waffelato

Live entertainment is an ongoing thing here! Catch a show while your kids play in The Playhouse. Shows are held on the park’s main stage, and they often include live concerts, movies, and more.

Shark Reef Aquarium

When you visit Las Vegas with kids, you should put “visit Shark Reef Aquarium” high up on your list of places to visit. Located at the Mandalay Bay Resort, Shark Reef Aquarium has 14 exhibits that feature more than 2,000 sea creatures, including sharks, stingrays, crocodiles, piranhas, exotic fish, and endangered sea turtles.

As you walk down the tunnel, marine life will swirl all around you in spectacular fashion. Shark Reef Aquarium enables onlookers to view a higher concentration of unusual, exotic sharks than they’d ever be able to view in one place out in the wild.

The aquarium’s touch pool is a must-visit for children who know how to interact with animals. Younger children might need some close supervision if they’ve yet to master their grip strength or they’re prone to splashing.

Shark Reef Aquarium is open daily from 10 am until 6 pm. Entry tickets are good for a one-hour window, with the last tickets being sold for the hour between 5 pm and 6 pm. During peak times, the Aquarium has been known to sell out of tickets, so it’s wise to buy a ticket and reserve the date and time you plan to visit in advance online.

If you just can’t lock down the time you’re going to visit the aquarium, you can purchase an ANYTIME ticket. The aquarium only has a limited number of ANYTIME tickets available for a given day, so act fast if this option appeals to you. With an ANYTIME ticket, you simply have to schedule the day of your visit and you can arrive at any hour on the hour during the aquarium’s operating hours to go inside. Just remember, the last timed entry is 5 pm every day.

Big Apple Coaster & Arcade

If you want to take your family fun up a notch, make your way over to the New York-New York Hotel. That hotel is home to the Big Apple Coaster & Arcade. The roller coaster snakes around the New York-New York Hotel, and it reaches speeds up to 67 miles per hour. This ride isn’t for the faint of heart as it has an opening drop of 144 feet, a drop of 203 feet further into the ride, and an eventual heart-stopping 180-degree twist.

Like the Shark Reef Aquarium, the Big Apple Coaster has timed ticket entry to better manage capacity. With that in mind, it’s advisable to reserve your visit date and preferred time in advance. The time you choose is good for the two-hour window you select online, but you must be in line no less than 30 minutes before that two-hour window expires.

To avoid having disappointed kids, you should know that riders must be at least 4’ 5” to ride the Big Apple Coaster. You should also know that the coaster’s hours of operation and availability are subject to change due to weather conditions and other circumstances.

If your children aren’t tall enough just yet or the coaster can’t run because of inclement weather, your whole family can still have fun in the Big Apple Arcade. The arcade offers visitors the chance to play video games and try their hand at some carnival games.

Are you thinking about tying the knot during your family vacation? If so, you can take the plunge as you literally do the same aboard the Big Apple Coaster while traveling at nearly 70 miles per hour. Getting married is always exciting, so why not up the ante even more? Contact New York-New York for further details.

Flamingo Wildlife Habitat

As you may have guessed given the hotel’s name, the Flamingo Hotel is home to the Flamingo Wildlife Habitat. The habitat sprawls over 15 acres and it offers an escape from all the buzz Las Vegas is known for. As you walk through the habitat, you’ll see beautiful streams, waterfalls, turtles, fish, and, of course, some exotic birds.

Here are the birds you might get to see when you visit the habitat:

  • Chilean flamingos
  • Ringed teal ducks
  • Sacred ibis
  • Brown pelicans

The Flamingo Wildlife Habitat is open seven days per week, from 7 am until 8 pm. There is no entry fee to visit the habitat, and you don’t have to make a reservation to visit.

High Roller Observation Wheel

When you make your way over to Las Vegas Boulevard, you can’t help but notice the High Roller Observation Wheel. At 550 feet high, the wheel instantly grabs an observer’s attention. Located at The LINQ Hotel, the High Roller Observation Wheel offers some of the best views of The Las Vegas Strip and beyond.

The High Roller Observation Wheel is the largest of its kind in North America and it’s one of the biggest in the world. One rotation of the wheel takes 30 minutes to complete. Passengers ride in 28 roomy glass cabins that spin one foot per second to offer guests 360-degree views of Sin City and surrounding areas.

While the High Roller Observation Wheel is meant to be a fun experience, you can make your visit to the attraction a teachable moment. The LINQ Hotel has a S.T.E.M Family Field Trip Guide available on its website that consists of a 30 – 40-minute lesson plan. The plan is meant to generate familial discussions about various topics directly related to the wheel, including:

  • Math
  • Science
  • Geography
  • Technology
  • Architectural design

If you plan to get married during your Vegas getaway but don’t want to exchange nuptials on a roller coaster, you may want to consider tying the knot aboard the High Roller Observation Wheel. The attraction offers several VIP wedding packages, so you can choose the exact experience you want to share with your partner and the rest of your family.

Similarly, the High Roller Observation Wheel should be on your list of contenders if you’re looking for a unique place to host a destination corporate event. From team building to retirement parties, holiday bashes, and more, you can’t go wrong with a corporate event on the High Roller Observation Wheel, particularly when you incorporate team-building activities planned by Let’s Roam into your function.

Eiffel Tower Experience

Have you always dreamed of visiting the Eiffel Tower? Well, you no longer have to travel all the way to France to visit the landmark. Las Vegas is home to a half-scale replica of the real Eiffel Tower. Located on the grounds of the Paris Las Vegas Hotel, the replica rises 460 feet above The Strip.

Your experience at this location starts with a glass elevator ride up to the observation deck. Once you reach the observation deck, you’ll enjoy a bird’s eye view of The Las Vegas Strip, the Fountains of Bellagio, and the valley. While the attraction is open during the day, the nighttime views are worth holding out for.

At 46 stories high, love will certainly be in the air when you visit this attraction. Widely recognized as one of the most romantic spots in Vegas, the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel is a great place to get hitched, renew vows, and celebrate special occasions like anniversaries.

Madame Tussauds

If your Vegas family vacation includes a stay at The Venetian, then you’re just one moving walkway away from one of the city’s most popular venues, Madame Tussauds. This attraction is widely regarded as the greatest wax museum in the world.

When you enter Madame Tussauds, you’ll be able to pose for pictures alongside life-like replicas of some of your favorite entertainers. From Drake to Miley Cyrus, Snoop Dog, Beychella, Elvis Presley, MARVEL superheroes, Tupac, Nicki Minaj, Evil Knievel, Muhammad Ali, and more, you can snap selfies and family photos with all of them and others.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, Madame Tussauds has reduced its maximum guest capacity to ensure everyone can social distance during their visit. For this reason, it’s wise to book your visit online in advance to ensure you’ll be able to tour the wax museum. If you think you might grab a drink at the Hangover Bar, be sure you bring a credit or debit card because Madame Tussauds relies on plastic, not cash to settle transactions.

Mirage Hotel

By booking a stay at The Mirage Hotel and Casino, you’ll put three cool amenities within easy reach. Behind the property’s front desk, you’ll find a 20,000-gallon saltwater aquarium where you can view more than 400 tropical fish. In the hotel’s lobby, you can explore an atrium rainforest. The rainforest has waterfalls, palm trees, lagoons, and mesmerizing plants.

If you walk outside the hotel, you’ll find the property’s volcano replica. The volcano erupts every night at 8 pm and 9 pm. On Fridays and Saturdays, the volcano erupts a third time at 10 pm. When the volcano goes off, you’ll see fire jetting into the air along with some smoke. Booming sound effects serve to amplify the impact the nightly show has on eager onlookers.

Helicopter Tour

For even more family fun, you should book a helicopter tour. You can take a comparatively quick helicopter tour over The Las Vegas Strip, or you can book a more extravagant and lengthy tour for your family.

To make a day of a helicopter tour, you can book a Helicopter Picnic Tour by Sundance Helicopters. The Helicopter Picnic Tour starts with liftoff at the airport. The tour will then take you over some key sights as it makes its way toward the Grand Canyon.

Here are some of the sights you’ll fly over en route to the Grand Canyon:

  • Mojave Desert
  • Hoover Dam
  • Colorado River
  • Lake Mead

Once the copter lands in the Grand Canyon, your family can disembark and enjoy a picnic lunch in one of the seven natural wonders of the world. After you explore the Grand Canyon for a bit, the helicopter will whisk you back to Sin City, where more adventures await.

Valley of Fire State Park

If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas for a day, you may want to take a ride over to the Valley of Fire State Park. About a one-hour ride outside of Vegas, the Valley of Fire State Park is the largest state park in Nevada.

Valley of Fire State Park has breathtaking points of natural beauty in every direction. To make sure you don’t miss any of the park’s most popular views, consider taking a guided tour through the park. Some points of interest you don’t want to miss include:

  • The Cabins
  • Elephant Rock
  • Rainbow Vista
  • Arch Rock
  • Atlatl Rock
  • The Beehive

Again, the sights listed above are just a few of the ones you’ll want to check out while you’re at the park. There’s plenty more to see at the Valley of Fire State Park, so make sure you dedicate enough time to see everything the park has to offer.

Bootleg Canyon Ziplines

Bootleg Canyon Ziplines is also outside of Las Vegas, but it’s worth the trip. This place has four zipline runs that stretch over the Mojave Desert. Each line can reach a top speed of 60 miles per hour. If you’ve ever wanted to soar above the desert, a trip to Bootleg Canyon Ziplines can make that dream a reality for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a family-friendly way to tour Las Vegas?

Let’s Roam has multiple Las Vegas app-led tours, including a “True Gems” scavenger hunt, a fabulous tour of film locations, and a vibrant Vegas mural art walk.

What are some kid-friendly activities in Las Vegas?

If you’re planning on visiting Nevada with the kids in tow, consider this list of family-friendly things to do in Vegas! There are unique and fun-filled indoor and outdoor Las Vegas attractions.

What are some outdoor activities my family and I can do while we’re in Vegas?

Try some family-friendly things to do in Vegas such as riding the Big Apple Coaster, seeing the peaceful Flamingo Wildlife Habitat, or exploring the Treehouse Playground at Downtown Container Park.

Family Fun

The Best Family-Friendly Things to Do in Austin


Welcome to Austin! The star of the Lone Star State has quite a lot to offer tourists and natives. There’s plenty for everyone in the family to do and see in the city. In fact, you can find free activities, budget-friendly experiences, and some unique ways to get around the city. In case you’re looking for some travel inspiration, we’ve put together a list of family-friendly things to do in Austin. These activities will prove super useful if you want to get your kids off their devices while on vacation. Get the family together, find the kid-friendly activity that you’re the most excited about, and let the adventure begin!

Scratch-Off Your Next Adventure

There’s something truly magical about sharing new experiences with your family, and there’s no better way to do it than with Adventures From Scratch: Family Edition. This interactive book has 50+ scratch-off challenges that you can try in any city, not just Austin. Enjoy some gadget-free quality time with the entire family as you uncover unique ideas and have some family fun!

23 Family-Friendly Things To Do In Austin

1. Playdate at The Thinkery

Put your family’s grey cells to use at the Thinkery, an interactive museum on Simond Avenue. This premium museum is the perfect place to enjoy some play-based, hands-on learning. At this children’s museum, you’ll be able to learn new things as you understand why and how things work. The difference between Thinkery and other places is that adults can be involved in the learning too. You’ll sit right beside your kids as you tinker with STEM games and build things from scratch. In case you’re looking to get your child interested in engineering, math, or science, this is the place to be!

2. Watching Fish at the Austin Aquarium

Dive right into the action at the Austin Aquarium, one of the largest in the sea. This haven of aquatic life has 35 huge exhibits of fish from around the world. On one side, you’ll be able to watch colorful tropical fish dart around coral reefs, while on the other, you’ll see cold-water fish swim towards their food.

Larger sea creatures like rays, sharks, and huge jellyfish swim past sea anemones and carefully placed shipwrecks. The stingray petting area will have your children squealing with joy. The best part of the aquarium is the color-changing UV area, where you’ll find bioluminescent jellyfish!

3. Learning at Pioneer Farms

Transport yourself to the heart of rural Texas at Pioneer Farms, where you’ll come face-to-face with the beauty of central Texas. This farm holds guided tours, animal petting sessions, and hay games every day for kids of all ages. You can pre-book a tour online or stroll around the property for a self-guided tour.

You can also go horse-riding, creek-hunting, and watch as expert blacksmiths forge tools of iron. Here, we recommend checking out the Girls of Grit tour, which will tell you all about the brave women of the farm and their epic adventures. You’ll also come across the history of the Tonkawa Indians and how they shaped the culture of Austin.

4. Kayaking at Lady Bird Lake

Nestled in the middle of Zilker Park, tranquil Lady Bird Lake is a haven in the middle of the city. The stark green water is a stunning contrast to the city skyline. At Lady Bird Park, you’ll find kayak and canoe rentals so you can take all the nature in. This is why this is one of our most favorite family-friendly things to do in Austin.

Originally built as a reservoir for a power plant, this manmade lake is more than 50 years old. A whopping 416 acres wide, this is the perfect place to rent a paddle and boat around. The lake connects to the Colorado River, where you can spot local birds, scurrying squirrels, and take in the gorgeous evening views.

5. Strolling through the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

If you’re a fan of nature, you’re certain to enjoy what the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center has to offer. This park is home to more than a thousand species of plants, trees, herbs, creepers, and shrubs. Spread over a modest 284 acres, we’re certain you’ll enjoy strolling through the greenery. In addition, your kids will learn all about the diversity of plants in the state of Texas.

Nature lovers are sure to spot some exotic and endangered flowers hiding in the bushes. Even if you’re not into learning the scientific names of these flowers, you’ll be blown away by the pleasant fragrance. The center also has a preschool program where your toddlers can get some hands-on gardening experience.

6. Hiking at Mount Bonnell

Mount Bonnell is definitely one of the top spots you should visit in Austin (quite literally). At a height of 775 feet, hiking Mount Bonnell will give you some spectacular views of the city. After you’re done getting some cute family photos against the skyline, you can take in the cool breeze and the history behind this Texas Historic Landmark.

The best part is that this spot is an easy hike for families. This means that nobody has to be left behind as you make your way to the top. We think you’ll love the sunset views here. Climb up to 100 steps, lay down a picnic blanket, and enjoy the views with the whole family!

7. Enjoying Dessert at Amy’s Ice Creams

Amy’s Ice Creams needs no introduction. This Austin favorite is always buzzing with locals and tourists alike for a scoop of some signature Mexican vanilla ice cream and tacos. There are multiple branches all around the city, so you’re bound to find something near you. In case you want to get some history while you’re at it, head over to the original location at Guadalupe. Here, you’ll giggle at the employees’ cute hats and their antics as they serve you one of their 350 ice cream flavors.

In case you have younger kids, we recommend heading over to the Burnet Road Branch because it has a playground within the premises too. A game of tag and some delicious ice cream right after—sounds like one of the most perfect family-friendly things to do in Austin!

8. Exploring Inner Space Cavern

Take the adventure underground as you check out the cool limestone formations at Inner Space Cavern. This huge natural formation was discovered by a construction worker while building a freeway. After it caught attention, it was transformed into a tourist attraction that families love. Here, you can marvel at limestone formations that are millions of years old. These rock formations are a great hands-on geology lesson for kids of all ages. While you’re there, we recommend taking a guided tour so that you can spot some special limestone formations.

P.S. Can you tell the difference between a stalagmite and a stalactite? Here’s a clue—stalactites hold on tight to the roof, while stalagmites might touch the ceiling one day!

9. Learning at the Bullock Texas State History Museum

Get a dose of history at the Bullock Texas State History Museum. Although the museum is relatively new (it was established in 2001), it gives you a fascinating insight into the last 400 years of the state’s history. As you walk through the exhibits and the artifacts, you’ll get some info about the Indians that lived before the Europeans came, and how the landscape of Texas has changed ever since. This is one of the most budget-friendly and family-friendly things to do in Austin.

Some of the exhibits are interactive; children will feel right at home with the immersive attractions. Children will love the 4D Texas Spirit Theater experience where they will sit through an amazing IMAX show of the story of the Lone Star State.

10. Ice Skating at Chaparral Ice

Where can you find ice in the middle of Texas? At the Chaparral Ice rink, of course! Formerly a mall, this location was turned into an ice skating rink much to the delight of the locals. The huge rink is a crowd-puller every day of the year, particularly on weekends.

In case you’re not too sure about skating on ice, check out the free skating arenas where you can build your skills. Depending on the time of the year, the arena also holds ice skating and hockey competitions for children, so head out for some cheering if you’re in town.

In fact, we think ice skating here should be a bucket list activity; you’ll love our family bucket list inspiration ideas!

11. Birdwatching at Mayfield Park

In case you’re in the mood to spot some stunning tropical birds, there’s no better place to be than Mayfield Park. Established in 1922, this 23-acre-large park is home to some spectacular birds from around the world. Located in the heart of Austin, you’ll feel right at home next to Indian Blue peacocks, black-shoulders, and other exotic birds of paradise. Then, make your way to a glorious period cottage that is right next to a vast pond. Your children will love looking for turtles and fish in the pond. Keep your eyes peeled for herons and ducks. The paths lining the pond are dreamy!

12. Playing Games at Dinosaur Park

Although Dinosaur Park is around 12 miles away from the city, we think the drive is worth it. especially if you’ve got some dinosaur geeks in the family. Dinosaur Park is an interactive exhibit that doubles as an outdoor museum. Here, you’ll get more than fossils and old bones.

The entire park is full of life-sized dinosaur exhibits that are scattered through a mile-long trail. After you’re done spotting some T-Rexes and raptors, make your way to the Dino Dig zone, where you can uncover some huge fossils and bones. Dinosaur Park is home to various contemporary creatures too, so you’re likely to run into lizards, rabbits, and roadrunners along the way. We love such exciting family-friendly things to do in Austin; now that’s a Texan adventure!

13. Taking Photos at the Texas Capitol

Arguably the most popular historical landmark of Austin, the Texas State Capitol building is so much more than an administrative center. Located right in the middle of Downtown Austin, the state capitol is an imposing structure that is also a National Historic Landmark. Adorned with a pink façade and soft lighting at night, this is one of the most beautiful capitol buildings anywhere in the country. Take one of the free tours available in the building to get your daily dose of interesting history and culture. Then, stroll with your family around the scenic grounds and get some photos for the ‘gram.

14. Swimming at the Barton Creek Greenbelt

Become one with nature at the Barton Creek Greenbelt, one of the hidden beauties of Austin. This creek is the best place to go hiking, swimming, or bike riding, especially if you’re with family. If you’re just getting started, we recommend beginning with the Twin Falls trail. This beginners’ trail is ideal for families with younger children. Since the trail has several access points along the Belt, you can start anywhere in the city. The region has eight miles of active hiking trails which will keep the kids busy all day.

15. Exploring Austin Zoo

This one is a no-brainer. Treat your little ones to an exciting day at the Austin Zoo, where you can come face-to-face with more than 300 animals. The most heart-warming part about this zoo is that all of the animals are rescues. With more than 100 breeds of animals at the ready, your children will have a ball of a time spotting tigers, lions, and other big cats.

There is also a petting zoo at the premises, where you can feed the animals and play with some baby animals. This is a wonderful place to introduce your children to some huge animals in case they haven’t seen any yet.  

16. Trekking at the Laguna Gloria and Nature Preserve

This is our top spot to go trekking and hiking. The national preserve is home to some pristine, untouched vegetation that will calm your mind. Meanwhile, the Laguna Gloria Museum, built in 1916, rests on a stunning lakeside villa. This means that you’ll get some breathtaking views as you marvel at the art and architecture of the villa.

After you’re done, step outside to go around the Edward Marcus Sculpture Park, which is an outdoor exhibit full of quirky, modern sculptures. Then, take a stroll through Mayfield Park to watch peacocks and other birds strolling past.

17. Picnic at Patterson Park

Traveling with toddlers can get tricky real quick, especially when they get fussy. If that is the case, look no further than Patterson Park. This comfortable park is the perfect destination for stroller picnics. Located at the heart of Austin, this park is a haven for relaxed family picnics, making it one of the most popular family-friendly things to do in Austin.

Grab a picnic basket, some fruit, and orangeade, and make your way to this luscious green park to soak up some sun. Don’t forget to take a frisbee or a skipping rope along so you can play some games too. The park also has a volleyball court and some playgrounds where you can host a friendly match. Your toddler will love playing outdoor games here.

Bonus: You can also go picnicking at Zilker Park’s Zilker Botanical Garden!

18. Jumping at Jumpolene Park

Jumpolene Park is no doubt the best location to go to if your kids are bubbling with energy. Since the entire activity is indoors, this makes the Jumpoline Park an ideal rainy day outing. At this special park, you’ll be able to hop, skip, and jump the energy away on safe premises. This indoor complex is also home to bounce houses, obstacle courses, and slides in addition to giant trampolines.

This is also a fantastic location to host birthday parties, family events, and other get-togethers with children.

19. Playing at Peter Pan Mini-Golf

What’s smaller than golf but twice the fun? Mini golf! Peter Pan Mini-Golf is a playing area that the entire family is sure to enjoy. This establishment is more than 60 years old, which means it has plenty of retro references and vintage props right alongside the modern course. The mini-golf park is home to two 18-hole golf courses, which makes it ideal for family get-togethers. This classic weekend getaway is right next to Zilker Park, making it easily accessible. We love the adorable statues of Peter Pan and the resident T-Rex (it’s almost as cool as Dinosaur Park!)

In case your kid is the artsy kind, we think you’ll love HOPE Outdoor Gallery. Formerly home to Graffiti Park, HOPE is now an outdoor gallery and conservatory that holds some of the most stunning pieces of modern art. Here, you’ll be able to look at a vibrant mix of colors, patterns, and styles. If you’re lucky, you might also run into a mural artist doing a live demonstration. In addition, you can set up your own painting stand by the grass and sketch out what hope means to you and your children. This will spark some meaningful and hopeful conversation!

21. Learning at the Austin Nature & Science Center

If you’re in the mood for some immersive learning, head over to the Austin Nature and Science Center for some hands-on learning. Located in the corner of Zilker Park, this center will have you exploring nature outdoors in the best way possible. The outdoor programs on astronomy, biology, paleontology, and geology are great for kids. Additionally, entry is free. This means that you’ll be able to go on a budget-friendly family trip and learn something new at the same time.

22. Hiking at McKinney Falls State Park

McKinney Falls State Park is truly a magical location for all families. The pristine park looks spectacular during the summer, with gurgling streams and falls gushing through. Located near Central Austin, this park comes alive during the rains. Even if you find the falls dry when you go, you’ll find water down at the pool near the hiking trail. Here, you can take a dip and refresh after you eat some picnic snacks.

P.S. This trail is not recommended for young children as the trails may be a tad complicated to navigate.

23. Exploring the Texas Toy Museum

Action figure fans unite! Whether you grew up loving action figures or your children can’t get enough of them, the Texas Toy Museum is the best place to explore these toys and collectibles. Both parents and kids will enjoy this museum, which is why we think this is one of the top family-friendly things to do in Austin.

This location is home to some of the most well-maintained vintage toys and action figures in the state. You’ll also be able to look at some old video games, studio setups, and many more. What’s more, you can play some games too!

Closing Thoughts

If you want to visit Austin with kids, we’re sure our guide will help you pick the right spots for day trips. There’s plenty to explore around the Austin area, but make sure you take some sunscreen along too. Don’t forget to carry a copy of Adventures From Scratch: Family Edition for a dose of excitement wherever you go. The kiddos will love it!

Which of these family-friendly things to do in Austin did you like the most? Give us your travel recommendations in the comments section!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some fun things to do with family in Austin?

There are lots of family-friendly things to do in Austin! If you’re on a budget, head over to Zilker Park’s Nature Center or a picnic at Patterson Park. Toy lovers will love the Texas Toy Museum.

Where can I take my kids out in Austin?

There are wonderful things to do with the family in Austin! For a night out with your crew, try Peter Pan Mini Golf. Then grab some soft serve from Amy’s Ice Creams.

Where can I find family fun in Austin, Texas?

There are plenty of parks for family fun in Austin. Try Dinosaur Park or Jumpolene Park. No matter where you go, get activity ideas from a scratch-off book like Adventures From Scratch: Family Edition!