Budget Travel

29 Essential Places Your Well-Traveled Child Should Not Miss

Chicago's Field Museum is part of the city's lakefront Museum Campus and has nine acres of floor space to display a broad array of natural wonders.

Dioramas at the Field Museum feature African lions and giraffes as well as Arctic penguins and polar bears.

The Field Museum's Tyrannosaurus rex, known as Sue, is the largest complete fossil of her kind.

It only takes a couple hours to drive past the 2,000 brawny pink arches of Utah's Arches National Park.

One of the main draws of Arches National Park is watching the sun play off the natural sandstone formations.

The U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, includes the Davidson Center for Space Exploration and the orginal Space Camp.

The star attraction at the Davidson Center for Space Exploration is a restored version of the famous Saturn V rocket.

Aspiring astronauts can suit up and feel the gravitational yank of lift-off via the simulator at Space Camp.

Even the most jaded teen will be wowed by the colossal busts of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln at South Dakota's Mount Rushmore.

The visitors' center at Mount Rushmore has exhibits on the creation of the monument as well as the presidents whose faces are immortalized in granite.

Maine's Acadia National Park may be small in relation to other national parks, but it has granite peaks, forest paths, and a scenic beach.

Rangers at Acadia National Park lead free hikes to explore the varied terrain and see the diverse wildlife.

Acadia National Park is located where the Cadillac Mountains meet the Bay of Fundy.

Boston's Museum of Science sits right on the Charles RIver.

The cosmos feels closer to earth at the planetarium at the Museum of Science.

The Museum of Science's planetarium includes a theater with a full-dome video and audio system.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is home to two of the world's most active volcanoes.

Rangers at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park take visitors down into the lava tubes, subterranean caverns formed by hardened molten rock.

The imposing Metropolitan Museum of Art covers 14 acres of land in New York City's Central Park.

The collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art includes an ancient Egyptian Temple, a Ming Dynasty Garden, and one of the world's largest collections of Vermeers.

The extensive Egyptian art collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art includes a statue of Pharaoh Amenemhat II, who reigned from 1919 B.C. to 1885 B.C.

Rangers are on hand to lead tours of the caves at New Mexico's Carlsbad Caverns.

Adventurous kids will enjoy crawling through passageways or making rope-assisted descents through curtains of stalagmites at Carlsbad Caverns.

The Big Room is the largest cave at Carlsbad Caverns and could fit 6.3 football fields.

Experts lead walking tours along the pedestrian bridge at Nevada's Hoover Dam.

At more than 1,200 feet wide at the top, the Hoover Dam was the largest in the world when it was completed in 1936.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum, located in Springfield, Illinois, includes a 40,000-square-foot museum that houses historical artifacts, a theater, and a recreation of the log cabin Lincoln grew up in.

The Plaza at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum includes figures of Lincoln and his family and a recreation of the south portico of the White House.

Kids can dress up in period costume in Mrs. Lincoln's Attic at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum.

San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge is equal parts eye candy and engineering lesson.

Take a walk along the pedestrian path of the Golden Gate Bridge for astonishing views of Angel Island, Alcatraz, and Treasure Island.

Social studies class comes to life at the National Museum of American History, located on the Mall in Washington, D.C.

The collection at the National Museum of Amerian History includes the inauguration gowns worn by the First Ladies.

Hands-on activities at the National Museum of American History include adding giant stars to an 1813-style garrison flag.

Alabama's Birmingham Civil Rights Institute chronicles our nation's civil rights history and puts the '50s and '60s in a context that today's children can understand.

Exhibits at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute include a recreation of a segregated lunch counter.

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute uses compelling artifacts and exhibits that don't gloss over the tragedies of the civil rights' era.

The U.S. Capitol Building: Just one of the many sights to see on an amphibious tour of Washington, D.C.

View of the National Mall from the Lincoln Memorial.

Grand Canyon and Yellowstone Fall at Yellowstone National Park.

One of the breathtaking sunrise views you can catch at Yellowstone National Park.

A geyser errupts, spreading a rainbow on a sunny day at Yellowstone National Park.

Don't forget to stay in character: Staff at Colonial Williamsburg dress and act as if they were living in that era, and they encourage visitors to do the same!

The Governor's Palace at Colonial Williamsburg.

Not exactly the cheap seats, this is the view from the Legend's Box at Fenway Park in Boston.

Get down (but not dirty) at a Boston Red Sox night game at Fenway Park.

Blessings and curses: The Red Sox finally broke the famous "Curse of the Bambino" in 2004, ending an 86-year streak of losing the World Series.

One of the gorgeous sunset views of the Grand Canyon you can take in while on a horse-drawn wagon ride.

Don't look down! The 4-year-old Skywalk juts 70 feet beyond the Grand Canyon's West Rim and sits 4,000 feet above the Colorado River.

An autumn view of Thomas Jefferson's Monticello Estate.

The dining room at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello estate.

Don't forget your poncho! Maid of the Mist offers tours of the floor of Niagara Falls.

View of Niagara Falls.

A topiary elephant greets visitors at the entrance to the San Diego Zoo.

Get up close and personal with the planet's largest bear at the San Diego Zoo.

Take Philadelphia's Ghost Tour and get to know the spirits of America's founding fathers during a candlelit tour through landmarks like Independence Hall, pictured here.

Find your inner patriot with a stroll through Independence Mall in Philadelphia.

The Great Hall at Ellis Island holds historical associations and memories for millions of American families.

The Ellis Island Ferry shuttles visitors from Battery Park in Manhattan across the Hudson River to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

At Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve in Idaho, 618-foot lava field, formed by volcanic eruptions 15,000 years ago, is the ultimate moon-surface simulation.

These craters in Idaho are about as close to walking on the moon as you can get without leaving Earth's atmosphere.

Take a guided tour down Boston's Freedom Trail, led by actors portraying the people who actually through lived the Revolution.

With 125 shops and 21 restaurants, Faneuil Hall makes the Freedom Trail both lively and educational.

A view of the famously (almost) inescapable Alcatraz Prison in the San Francisco Bay.

You're welcome to roam the halls of Alcatraz Prison at night...if you dare.

Cinderella's Castle in Walt Disney World in Orlando, still as magical as ever.

The Walter E. Disney's red coaches wait at Main Street USA Station.

Adventure comes alive in Disney's Animal Kingdom, where visitors can have up-close encounters with the park's inhabitants.

Hidden Beach in Redwood National Park, California, is accessible via trail from the Trees of Mystery in Klamath.

Although hollowed out by fire, this giant coastal redwood tree in Founders' Grove continues to survive and grow.

From breathtaking national parks to natural wonders, bridges, dams, and museums that make learning a blast, these are America's top must-see destinations for kids!

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