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sep 30 2015

Fall Weekend Getaways Your Kids Will Love, Too


Take the kids to Colonial Williamsburg this fall. They'll love it!

(Courtesy of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation)

This article was written by Hallie Lavine and originally appeared on Yahoo Travel.

Now that school’s back in session you can breathe a sigh of relief—and contemplate how to keep the rug rats entertained over long weekends and mini breaks. We’re here to help. These are 10 awesome autumn excursions guaranteed to be educational and fun (for the whole family!).

Historical Boston

Even if your kid detests history class, he or she will be enthralled by the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile, red brick road that takes you past historic churches, burial grounds, and even Paul Revere’s house so you can learn the story of the American Revolution and beyond. You can explore on your own, or you can take a 90 minute tour led by 18th century costumed guides. (For the easily bored, there’s a Pirates and Patriots version and also a Pub Crawl version.) Tickets are just $12 for adults, $6.50 for children. Once that’s over, it’s a quick walk to the Boston Tea Party Museum, a floating museum that has live actors and interactive exhibits (including allowing your little ones to toss tea into the harbor). Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for children. If your kids are yearning for more historical re-enactments, drive an hour out of the city for an overnight getaway at Sturbridge Village, an 1830s New England living history museum. Tickets are $24 for adults, $10 for kids. Otherwise, consider the whale watch at the New England Aquarium. You’ll have to shell out a tad more dough at $49 for adults, $33 for children ages 3-11. Or check out the many interactive exhibits at the Boston Children’s Museum. It’s $16 for all ages. 

Related: Get Your Kids Ready for School: Amazing Educational Trips

Family space camp

Does your little guy pretend to be Buzz Lightyear? Consider booking the whole family at U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. You’ll go on simulated mission training and operations, learn how rockets are constructed, and get a crash course in on-site space history. One highlight: the 1/6th gravity chair, which simulates walking on the Moon, and the Manned Maneuvering Unit, which simulates astronaut spacewalks outside the shuttle. The jaunt will cost you $449 per person for three days, $499 per person for four days, with meals and lodging included.

Colonial Williamsburg

There’s no shortage of educational opportunities at this living history museum and historic district, which includes Revolutionary War reenactments, hands on opportunities at brick-making and digging for artifacts, and even dressing up as soldiers or undercover Colonial spies. You can easily spend two days here, then head over to historic Jamestown, which recreates life in the 1607 settlement, or visit one of the three plantations. Seven-day ticket pass for all is $89 for adults and $41 for kids. Balance it out with a day at nearby theme park Busch Gardens, where your littles can participate in the Animal Ambassador program and learn about the lives of critters ranging from eagles to wolves and foxes.  

Sleepover at the Smithsonian

Bring your sleeping bag and flashlight and head over to one of three Washington D.C.’s Smithsonian museums—American History Museum, National History Museum, or the National Portrait Gallery—for an evening of entertainment that includes a nocturnal tour, craft activities, and various educational games. At night’s end, you “camp out” in the museum. The cost? $135 per person for kids ages 8-12. The next day, check out the National Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and the National Zoo, where you can say hi to three world famous pandas and stop by the Kid’s Farm, where children can groom donkeys, goats, alpacas, and hogs.

Related: Tuck in Your Favorite Animals at These Zoo Sleepovers

Digging for dinosaur bones

The casino capital of the world also gives a great glimpse of what life was like when dinosaurs roamed the earth. The Las Vegas Natural History Museum boasts a prehistoric life gallery of critters who once roamed the Nevada deserts, including a 35-foot-long Tyrannosaurus Rex that lowers its head and roars, a Triceratops, Ankylosaur, and the giant marine reptile, ichthyosaur. The Nevada state museum offers a Dino summer special through September 20, which features an animatronic Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops, a Jurassic Park-style jeep journey through a virtual dinosaur world, and the opportunity to dig up life-sized dinosaur bones. Then hop in a car and drive either to Red Rock Canyon for a hike to check out fossilized Dinosaur tracks, or to Tule Springs to see Ice Age fossil beds—both are less than 20 miles away. Finish up with a visit to the Historical Techatticup Mine, the oldest, richest and most famous gold mine in Southern Nevada and a 45 minute drive from Vegas. ($12.50 for adults, $7.50 for kids.)

Related: Dino Digs, Museums, and More: 10 Places to Get Your Paleo On

Maritime adventures

Head straight to sea with tickets to San Diego’s USS Midway Museum ($20 adults, $10 kids), a floating city that allows you to walk in the footsteps of 225,000 Midway sailors who served our country. Highlights include over 60 interactive exhibits, like playing on flight simulators and climbing aboard aircraft. Then head on over to the Maritime Museum ($16 adults, $8 children) which includes kid-friendly, seafaring-inspired exhibits. It has one of the world’s biggest collection of historic ships, including the world’s oldest active ship the Star of India, as well as educational excursions such as whale watching. Other non-nautical city highlights: animatronic dinosaurs at TheNAT San Diego Natural History Museum, hands-on science exhibits at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, and the San Diego Air & Space Museum, where kids can dress up as astronauts.

Connor Prairie

This interactive history park in Indiana ($16 adults, $11 kids) is a recreated 19th-century village on 200 acres. Among its highlights: an autumn headless Horseman ride, Civil War re-enactments, classes in blacksmithing, hearth cooking, and an “Indian camp” where you can recreate living like as Native Americas did 200 years ago. Once you’ve had your fill, drive to the Indiana Transportation Museum and take a spin on one of the vintage railroad trains, or the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis.

Corning Museum of Glass

A perfect East Coast weekend getaway, this museum, located in Corning, New York, in the Finger Lake region upstate, allows your kids to explore 3,500 years of glassmaking history while watching glass come to life during hot-glass demos. They’ll then make their own glass creations from ornaments to night lights. Cost: $18 for kids and adults. Afterwards, since you’re right in the neighborhood, you can pop into the Norman Rockwell Museum, or, if your kids are tuckered out, wake them back up with an invigorating hike on the Haunted History Trail or an apple-tasting tour.

Fun with sea turtles

Nesting season for sea turtles in Florida is May through October, so if you’re planning a trip to the Sunshine State this fall, your kids will love some close-up encounters with these critters. The Little Loggerhead Package at Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa includes a visit to see the sea turtles at Loggerhead Marinelife Center, while adventurous kids over age 10 can search for turtles and other marine life with the Beginners Dive Package. Acqualina Resort and Spa in Miami offers Acquamarine, a complimentary, marine biology-inspired program for kids which also includes a sea-turtle-based outreach program during the summer and early fall. But if you’re planning a Florida trip after sea turtle season, don’t fret: Acqualina offers its sea learning program all year round, while other hotels such as the Ritz Carlton in Naples has a Nature’s Wonders camp, led by a professional conservationist and featuring 11 aquariums with sharks, crabs, turtles, and eels, as well as a kid-sized lab with microscopes for budding marine biologists. All these programs are stimulating enough that you won’t feel guilty about taking some alone time to lounge poolside.

Safari at Grand Teton National Park

You don’t have to schlep your entire crew to Africa to give your kids the educational experience of a safari. Instead, book a morning or all-day trip through the nonprofit Wildlife Expeditions in Jackson, Wyoming, which offers an introduction to the wildlife of Grand Teton National Park, part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Trained biologists will point out the best viewing spots for Park critters such as elk, moose, big horn sheep, bison, mule deer, foxes, and eagles (You may even be able to see wolves hunting during the winter months!) and give your kids a crash course in ecology and animal behavior. Then, explore on your own with your kids through the park’s Junior Ranger program, where you learn about the natural world of the park on an easy 2-mile hike with a ranger. Resorts like Hotel Terra also offer in-house naturalists who can also organize smaller wildlife safaris or take your family on a nighttime stargazing tour.

oct 23 2013

Fall for Boston: 6 Great Activities

Boston's iconic Fenway Park plays host to the World Series this autumn, but the city's awesome fall activities go well beyond the beloved Red Sox.

(Sean Pavone / Dreamstime.com)

There's no place like Boston in autumn. Sure, the Red Sox are in the World Series (yay!), but even when they're not, this city and its neighboring communities play host to foliage, football, spooky Halloween traditions, and outdoor activities like no other.

jun 28 2013

Catch The Tail End of One Run For Boston

One Run For Boston
(Courtesy One Run For Boston)

It's not too late to get involved with One Run For Boston, an epic three-week long 3,300 mile run from L.A. to Boston through 14 U.S. states that started Friday, June 7th, and will come to an end this Sunday, June 30th. So far the group, which started as three enthusiastic runners from the U.K. and has since grown to more than 2,000 runners, has raised more than $71,000 for those who were impacted by the Boston bombings that took place on April 15th.

apr 16 2013

Boston Is Open in Wake of Marathon Explosions

Following the explosions near the Boston Marathon finish line yesterday, the city of Boston is open for business (including Amtrak train service and flights to Logan International Airport). However, those of you currently visiting Boston, or with imminent travel plans to visit, will, of course, be directly affected by the explosions, which killed three people and injured at least 140.

mar 24 2013

The Best Ballpark Food in America

Boston's Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox, is not only an iconic stadium, but you can also get a dynamite bowl of chowder right at the park!

(Songquan Deng / Dreamstime.com)

When the 2013 Major League Baseball season opens this week, all eyes will be on the field. Well, for the first inning or so. At that point, the aroma of grilled hot dogs, barbecue sauce, garlic fries, crab cakes, and clam chowder will lure even the most diehard bleacher creatures to the food stands that line the corridors. While peanuts and Cracker Jacks remain ballgame staples, there's a world of serious eats at every ballpark in the U.S. Honestly, you can find a fantastic meal anywhere the national pastime is played. Here are our top picks for the discerning baseball gourmand.

sep 26 2012

Where Travelers Pay the Highest Taxes

Travelers to Chicago pay the highest amount of taxes per day (Courtesy jenmoretti/myBudgetTravel)

When you are setting your vacation budget, it's easy to overlook taxes as you calculate airfare and hotel rates and even reasonably priced restaurants. But a recent report may have you adding them to the budget.

The Global Business Travel Association published a report exposing the average amount of taxes travelers pay per day in 50 popular cities by factoring in local sales tax as well as taxes on car rentals, hotel stays, and meals. The most expensive cities for taxes are not a huge surprise—Chicago ($40.31 per day), New York ($37.98 per day), and Boston ($34.83 per day). Other cities in the top 10 include Minneapolis, Seattle, and Cleveland (not cities you would think of as pricy), where travelers also pay around $34 per day in taxes.

jun 29 2012

Where to See Movies for Free This Summer

Catch a free movie outdoors this summer (Courtesy kcolwell/Flickr)

Sick of paying $13 for a movie theater ticket? Grab a picnic blanket and head to one of these free outdoor movie nights in cities around the country.

New York City

The HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival, in the heart of Midtown, offers a wide variety of films every Monday night at dusk thru Aug. 20th. Get there around 5 p.m. (some people say as early as 3 p.m.) to grab a good spot, and bring some food, non–alcoholic drinks, and friends to pass the time. Highlights include The Wizard of Oz on July 2nd, Rebel Without A Cause on July 20th, Errol Flynn's The Adventures of Robin Hood on Aug. 6th, and Raiders of the Lost Ark on Aug. 20th. Here's a list of other outdoor movie events happening around the city.

may 10 2012

New York City Bike-Sharing Program To Debut This Summer

Biking in New York City just got easier. (Courtesy Smart Destinations/Flickr)

As New Yorkers, we like to think we set the trends. Yet there was one thing this city didn't have that most other major cities already feature: bike–sharing. But pack your helmets—starting this summer, locals and travelers alike will easily be able to take a two–wheeler for a spin.

aug 09 2011

TSA tests passenger behavior at Boston airport

Airport security (Courtesy eyeliam/flickr)

feb 04 2011

Which movie best represents your hometown?

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Art of the Americas Wing) (Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

Throughout the month of February, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston will play home to a film series called "Cinema and the City." The screenings will celebrate movies that are closely linked with the cities—all in the Americas—in which they are set: Vertigo in San Francisco, Do the Right Thing in New York, Chinatown in Los Angeles, City of God in Rio de Janeiro, Los Olvidados in Mexico City, All the President's Men in Washington, and The Friends of Eddie Coyle in Boston.

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