Cities are filled with attractions and experiences for kids, making them prime destinations for family travel. A few tips can take the stress out of a city visit and make it a vacation for parents as well as kids.
Don’t Plan Too Much
Choose a few attractions instead of trying to see everything, and don’t plan too much in one day. If the city has an outstanding zoo, for example, plan to explore it at a relaxed pace, stopping for snacks and drinks and taking part in all hands-on activities. There are no prizes for seeing the most attractions, so spend time enjoying each one at a child’s pace.
Choose Museums Carefully
While most city museums feature exhibits and programs to engage children, some do it better than others. Large art museums usually do, but you can expect most kids’ limit to be two hours at the most before they want more action. Science museums and children’s museums are more likely to engage children longer with a variety of hands-on experiences.
Natural history museums can be fascinating for children, especially if there are dinosaur exhibits. And look for museums you will only find in that city, such as Atlanta’s puppetry museum or, for older kids, the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum. But don’t expect any of them to keep kids engaged for more than half a day.
Use Public Transport
Don’t underestimate the fascinations of trains, subways and trolleys for kids. Even though two destinations may be only a few blocks apart, hopping onto a bus or streetcar can save a lot of steps for little legs, and provide an exciting experience for kids. Better yet, if the city has a hop-on-hop-off tourist trolley, take advantage of it to get a once-around tour, then use it to get from place to place.
Know Where the Parks Are
Most cities have large parks where kids can run off steam; many of these feature playground equipment, and, in the summer, splash parks. Search the city name and “playgrounds” to find one close to you. Most have benches where you can rest your feet while watching the kids have fun.
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