Hands-on experiences, where children get to take part in activities instead of just watching them, make travel infinitely more meaningful for children (and for adults, too). Many museums and attractions feature interactive computer exhibits, but if you want to step up your family travels for kids, look for places with more active involvement.
Living History Villages
Authentically restored homes and workshops in living history villages such as Old World Wisconsin and Indiana’s Connor Prairie Living History Museum engage children with activities such as grinding corn, churning butter and spinning wool. Learning these old-time skills in period surroundings allow children to step back into history and understand how people lived and worked.
Children’s museums are filled with hands-on activities, of course, but many traditional museums also include special areas and programs to engage children. History museums may have period clothing children can try on, and art museums often have hands-on programs.
The Metropolitan Museum in New York offers free Start with Art at The Met programs, encouraging children to create their own artwork. Many other art museums have children’s labs. Every child entering Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts, receives a bag of art supplies to use in the museum’s inviting studio, where they are surrounded by creative ideas and materials.
Local Cultural Experiences
Hands-on experiences for kids are not limited to museums and attractions; a little research can uncover family activities exploring cultures wherever you travel. For example, in Venice, Italy, children can learn about the traditional art of mask making and create their own original mask to take home. In Florence and other Italian cities, your family can learn to make pizza in a local home.
As the new year quickly approaches, family travelers are busy making lots of plans for a year of great travel and a healthier 2024. And what better way to combine the two than with a beautiful hike through nature at one of California’s most beloved state parks?
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.
Last month, Comfort Hotels, part of Choice Hotels brand, unveiled its first Rise & Shine prototype, a game-changer for family travelers seeking safe, comfortable and fun stays on the road. The new Rise & Shine was revealed in the opening of Comfort Inn & Suites in Mountain Grove, Missouri, located near Mark Twain National Forest.
When the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., sent its three pandas to China in November, it left only one other U.S. zoo with these fascinating animals. Families now must travel to Atlanta to see pandas, but even those will soon return to China.
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.
If you haven’t heard of Light & Nine, you’ve been missing out on great travel gear designed by a mom with kids in mind. The line of duffels with side shoe compartments, roller bags, backpacks and garment bags come in fun colors including Blossom Pink and Bistro Green. Made from easy-to-care-for perforated materials, they also come with Nimix characters and motifs, so your small travelers can customize their travel gear with movable/removable icons ranging from race cars to rocket ships, skateboards to paper dolls, rainbows to unicorns.