For any family of curious minds and animal-loving kids, traveling across the world or crossing the street is of equal excitement if there’s the promise of a wild creature sighting. Whether sparking your own interest in all things wild or following your animal instincts, there are plenty of family-friendly excursions your crew can take in search of a wild experience. See your favorite zoo animals in their natural habitats and appreciate a new perspective — all while planning an epic family adventure.
Let this list be your guide to wildlife sighting opportunities beyond even the kids’ wildest imaginations.
While the Galapagos Islands are known the world over for being a wildlife haven, the archipelago off the coast of Ecuador offers a one-of-a-kind experience and educational twist for all ages. Visit the Charles Darwin Research Center on Santa Cruz Island, tour the highlands to see tortoises in the wild or check out the Tortoise Breeding Center in Puerto Villamil on Isabela Island. There are, of course, many more wildlife opportunities in this region — explore a few here.
A bucket-list destination and wildlife wonderland all in one, Komodo National Park in East Nusa Tenggara Province, Indonesia, is something to behold. This UNESCO World Heritage site and New 7 Wonders of Nature locale is home to nearly 6,000 komodo dragons. The park includes 30 islands, including Rinca, Padar and Komodo, and is the only place in the world where these prehistoric lizards roam. They’re gigantic, some weighing 300 pounds and earned the dragon moniker thanks to aggression, venom and massive size.
Seeing penguins anywhere is a great time, but there’s no greater expedition than the end of the Earth: Antarctica. Traveling to Antarctica is not the simplest task, but most epic expeditions aren’t — and for good reason. For families seeking a unique getaway, G Adventures, among many others, offer expertly led tours to the polar destination. There is something majestic about the vast frozen landscape, also home to 17 penguin species, including the mighty emperor.
In keeping with the newly established bitter-cold theme, the Arctic Circle is another hot spot for incredible and unique wildlife. The Circle includes the frigid waters off the coasts of Greenland, Russia and Canada and is home to narwhals, rare tusked whales often nicknamed the unicorn of the sea. With just 80,000 left in the wild, these incredible creatures are worth the trip. With National Geographic Expeditions, guests can see wildlife, stunning frozen landscape, and maybe even the midnight sun and Aurora Borealis.
Student and youth travel marketplace StudentUniverse recently released the results of its annual The State of Student & Youth Travel Report. The report details trends of Gen Z travelers, many of whom participate in family travel.
Making travel plans can be exciting; did you know planning on how to spend time at the airport the right way can enrich the overall trip experience? As a transfer hub, traveling through Doha's Hamad International Airport is a unique experience, as waiting never feels like waiting at one of the best airports in the world.
Family travelers looking for outdoor sports in winter but feeling discouraged by the increasing ticket prices at mountain ski resorts can find a more economical way to enjoy the snow in Vermont. Although traveling along a level trail through snow-covered forests may not have the thrills of mountain skiing, it has pleasures of its own, and at a much cheaper price tag.
LEGOLAND New York Resort is about to make it easier for family travelers to move throughout the park this summer. The Minifigure Skyflyer, opening this summer and a first for LEGOLAND Resorts, offers an interactive new way to travel between themed lands.
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.
The family travel experience just got elevated at Cedar Lakes Estates, turning the traditional kids club on its head with a Home Alone-inspired twist. Located in Port Jervis in the heart of New York’s Hudson Valley, Cedar Lakes Estates sits on the grounds of a 1930s-era summer camp, offering families and kids an ultimate winter wonderland getaway.