Dresden dazzles with Rococo and Baroque splendor, as it did when it was the royal city of the Saxon kings. It’s easy now to see why it was known as The Jewel Box, but until the 1990s the city still lay in rubble from a World War II bombing. For older children, there is history to be learned here, of the war and 40 years of oppression behind the Iron Curtain. Wherever you go there will be stories of the 1945 bombing that leveled the old city, and children will hear these told without rancor by local guides. They will also hear about the city’s rebuilding, told with pride and gratitude for the international support.
Begin in the imposing church that dominates the old town. The spectacular Baroque original was one of Europe’s most beautiful churches before it was almost completely leveled by bombs. The stones from its ruins were numbered and stored, and after the reunification of Germany in 1990, the entire church was reconstructed, incorporating about 4,000 of the saved stones in their original places. Try to spot these on the outside of the church, and imagine what it must have been like to reconstruct this giant jigsaw puzzle. Take an elevator to the dome for views over the city and down into the massive interior.
Forget dusty cabinets of artifacts. One of Europe’s richest museums, it is also one of the most modern in its displays and interpretation, with descriptions and labels in English. There are treasures to fascinate everyone: opulent royal clothing from three centuries ago, glittering jewels, intricate gold work, suits of armor and exotic art in the Turkish Room. The most famous room — the replica of the fabled Green Vault — is sure to bring wows for its precious gemstones. Kids are welcome to snap all the pictures they want, and the modern cases with non-reflective glass assure good results. Be sure to see the courtyard, where the intricate designs on the stones are hand-carved into the surface in a rare Renaissance method known as sgraffito. Get really close to some of the lower stones to show your kids the engraved lines.
The Great Garden Zoo and Railway
In the Great Garden, a large park near the center, the Dresden Zoo houses more than 1,700 animals in spaces that closely replicate their native environments. Favorites are the koalas, the red kangaroo and the Humboldt penguins. Also in the park is the Sommerpalais, built in the 1600s, one of the earliest Baroque palaces in Germany. Kids will love riding on the Parkeisenbahn, a three-mile-long miniature railway staffed by children. Check for frequent concerts and performances held in the park.
Don’t laugh. Not only does this museum exist, but it has a great interactive children’s museum. The focus is on health and the human body, and kids can experiment with the five senses through play stations and other hands-on exhibits. A sound maze challenges them to identify different noises, a room of mirrors expands their concepts of vision and the sense of touch is explored in a darkroom. Ask for the “Discover Your Senses” flyer in English when you enter the museum. The exhibits are designed for ages 4–12.
Step into the hull of a ship to discover 1,000 years of ships and boats, told through the people who sailed on them, and follow travel from horse-drawn vehicles to trains, cars, motorcycles and airplanes. Hands-on exhibits encourage kids to design and race their own ship and replicate the flight experience. For younger kids, the highlight is a 3,500-square-foot model railroad, where 26 locomotives wind through a landscape of miniature half-timbered villages. Because of the model’s age, it runs only limited times: Tuesday and Friday 11 a.m., Wednesday and Thursday 4 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
With cooler weather and fall colors on its way, it’s time to plan your fall family travels. Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort PA Wilds in Mansfield is the perfect destination, and with both scary and not-so-scary events, kids and parents alike can celebrate the festive season with trick-or-treating, fall crafts, fun with the Yogi Bear characters and more.
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.
Oktoberfest is not all about beer. Although beer does play a major role, many of these German-themed fall festivals include activities fun for the whole family. You don’t need to travel to Munich to enjoy the oom-pah bands, lively dances, colorful Bavarian dress and traditional German foods; you can find them in almost all regions of the United States this October. Here are some good choices for families:
Rome is a city full of musts for visitors. You must visit the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps. And the list goes on, all the way down to trying gelato. No trip to Rome would be complete without the obligatory sweet treat, and for good reason. Gelato is delicious, refreshing and it comes in every flavor you can imagine. But while you can find it just about everywhere you turn in the Eternal City, it’s important to know not all gelatos are created equal. The city is brimming with fakes, and once you know how to tell the difference, not only will you see the fake stuff everywhere, but you will also refuse to settle for less than authentic.
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.
Looking for a unique, fun and educational activity for the kids during your next family travels? Well, Kidzania has you covered. Located in Dallas, Texas, this city is not only built for kids but also run by kids. It’s unlike any other entertainment parks; in Kidzania, kids learn useful knowledge, skills and experiences, all while having the chance to be independent.