Solvang, the picturesque Danish village just outside of Santa Barbara, is known for giving visitors to the California coast a unique experience. From Danish architecture and handicrafts to artisanal foods and local wines, Solvang is a great place for family travelers to spend anywhere from a few hours to several days exploring the village’s unique blend of California and Danish heritages.
At Christmastime, the fun goes into overdrive with holiday events like the month-long Julefest and Cowboy Christmas, bringing holiday magic to Santa Ynez Valley. Throughout the month of December, SYV Horseback Rides welcomes guests to experience the North Pole at River View Park, where guests find the stables transformed into a rustic winter wonderland with fun holiday activities for the whole family.
The festivities include a range of free and paid activities. Admission, which runs $20 for adults and $14 for children aged 3–14 (children under 3 are free), includes a punch card with five punches. Each paid attraction uses a differing number of punches, such as Santa’s Petting Zoo (three punches), Christmas Carnival Games (one punch per game) and the Tipsy Ornament Horseback Challenge (12 punches). Additional punch cards can be purchased, and some activities award prizes to winners, such as the Jr. Reindeer Games Obstacle Course Challenge.
Free activities include the Mechanical Horses, Tiny Tots Barn Play, Decorating the Courtyard Tree and Finding “Cowboy the Elf.” Guests can also write letters to Santa, watch the North Pole Live Cam and shop in the North Pole Mercantile. On Saturday evening, families can enjoy live music.
Cowboy Christmas runs weekends (Friday–Sunday) until Dec. 18 and then daily until Dec. 23. The event is ADA accessible and food and drinks, including alcoholic beverages from Santa’s Speakeasy, are available. There will also be plenty of hot chocolate to keep you warm in the evenings while you get in the Christmas spirit by the bonfire.
Tickets can be purchased at the door when there is space available, so it is best to purchase your tickets online ahead of time. You will also be asked to complete an Agricultural Waiver prior to admission, so be sure to bring that along as well.
As the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school, United Airlines already hit a major milestone, and now the carrier celebrates another important — and historic — step as the inaugural class of United Aviate Academy pilots graduates, leading the next generation of aviators. The 51 students in the graduating class were majority, at 80 percent, women and people of color — another stride toward United’s goal of training 5,000 new pilots by 2030 with half women or POC.
Huntsville, Alabama, is one of those destinations helping define the family-friendly vacation. Home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, the city is lovingly nicknamed Rocket City thanks to its history of always reaching for the stars. This is where you’ll find Space Camp, where kids and families can take part in various programs at the world’s largest space museum, U.S. Space and Rocket Center.
Through Dec. 31, family travelers can enjoy the most unexpected thing in Florida: a white Christmas. The Now Snowing in Celebration festival in Kissimmee, Florida, embraces winter traditions for both locals and visitors. Free to visit, families will love heading to the town built by Disney.
United Airlines is in the midst of a major initiative to modernize its fleet over the next several years. After first announcing the plan in 2021, planes fitted with United’s signature interior are finally beginning to appear across the airline’s narrowbody fleet of Boeing and Airbus planes. United flyers are sure to notice these enhancements from the moment they step on board: Each new or updated plane sports remodeled seats, seatback entertainment screens for everyone, Bluetooth connectivity and more, all adding up to a better experience on every journey.
Let family travels take you to one of these stunning aquariums around the United States. Recently, Aquarium Store Depot analyzed TripAdvisor reviews containing words such as beautiful, breathtaking and picturesque for 175 public aquariums across America. Each aquarium ranked based on the percentage of reviews to determine the most eye-catching aquariums.