Visiting historic sights, those places where an important event happened or places significant to America’s story, can be more for kids than a day’s diversion. There are teaching moments in these places, opportunities for even young children to find connections to the past. When they do connect, these experiences stick with them and enrich their understanding of their heritage.
Even small historic sites usually have some special outreach to children — exhibits, a worksheet or pages to color, a treasure hunt. We were recently at Brandywine Battlefield in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, where the small visitors’ center had an entire room filled with period clothes to try on, tools to use, uniforms, artifacts and reproductions kids could touch, handle and try. Our kids were fascinated by how things worked and how tools and technology changed; it appealed to their curiosity.
Sometimes it takes a little effort from parents — and even a little reading up beforehand — to draw connections between the past and our kids’ experiences. Other times all it takes is a few questions, like what kind of games do you think girls played dressed in those long skirts? Or what would it be like to travel and live in a covered wagon?
Look for some incident or some historic figure that will capture a child’s attention. It doesn’t need to be a significant event or famous person, just something that piques their curiosity or sense of humor. It wasn’t America’s history, but our girls will never forget Carisbrooke Castle on England’s Isle of Wight for the window where the overweight King Charles I got stuck while trying to escape. Incidents like this bring a place to life and a little advance research may turn up the perfect story. Many historic attractions have special pages on websites designed for home-schoolers or young visitors where you can download brochures, apps, maps and treasure hunts designed for kids.
Often you can relate a place or event to something they learned or will study in school, and you’ll be surprised how actually being some place will stick. Our teen was able to tell her history class the famous painting of Washington Crossing the Delaware got it all wrong, because she had seen the river herself at Washington’s Crossing Historic Park in Pennsylvania, and seen replicas of the actual boats.
Look for small things, quirky details and side stories that will connect them to the bigger picture. Focus on things kids can identify with — how people lived, how they dressed, what they ate, what schools were like, what toys they played with, how things worked (our girls were always fascinated watching the water-powered saw mill at Old Sturbridge Village saw logs into boards).
Trips to historic sites don’t need to feel like being in school; if you keep the experience interesting, kids probably won’t even realize they’re learning something.
Overshadowed by nearby Portland and overlooked by tourists bound for the popular coastal towns of Camden and Boothbay Harbor, Brunswick is not on the radar of most family travelers in Maine. But couples looking for a cozy getaway will find fine dining, antiques, art and quiet streets for strolling, many lined by distinguished homes and well-kept gardens.
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.
Not quite ready to say goodbye to summer? If the weather is forcing you to head indoors, you can still take advantage of a few opportunities to splash around in the waves, without even being that far from the beach — thanks to the world’s largest indoor beachfront waterpark, which opened this summer in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Halloween is right around the corner, which means its time to start making plans for spooky and scary stops for having fun with the family this fall. New York’s Cayuga County is always a fun visit for family travelers, but if you plan on being in the area this October, you will definitely want to explore its haunted history with some choice spots along New York’s Haunted History Trail. This curated list of haunted and spooky stops throughout New York features incredible locations showcasing the perfect combination of the state’s beautiful charm and fascinating history.
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.