When you set off to travel with kids often there are some iconic tourist destinations that you think of first when deciding where to go. Places like Disneyland, the Eiffel Tower and the Tower of London. No doubt these destinations are all places your kids would love and they will be memorable holiday
But what about those iconic destinations that don’t necessarily jump into your mind straight away? What about taking your kids to visit a tourist destination that packs in more than just the destination itself?
Need a few ideas?
Check out our choice of three iconic destinations that we just know your kids will love:
Camping in a big USA national park.
How many kids can say they’ve camped at the Grand Canyon, Yosemite or Yellowstone National Park? A camping trip is a huge opportunity for kids to learn about nature, cooking, the USA itself and various interesting wildlife they might be lucky enough to see. When you have to lock up all your food so you don’t attract a bear, or see a raccoon walk right through your campsite, you can discuss with your children the impact of humans on rural areas. Majestic waterfalls present opportunities to explain how water is recycled from rain and snow and where it goes once it is used.
The USA is an amazing country of contrasts and there’s no better way to explore it than getting out into it’s national parks.
Snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef and staying on an island.
The Great Barrier Reef is one iconic destination that you absolutely should not miss. Spread over 2300 kilometres and housing some species that exist nowhere else on earth, the Great Barrier Reef is an amazing educational destination. There’s nothing quite like diving on the Great Barrier Reef.
Staying on Hayman Island, located within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, will allow you to access everything this amazing area has to offer without having to travel too far each day. Kids will adore swimming amongst the 1500 species of tropical fish. A search for Nemo can be a great opportunity to discuss the number of fish that are in the ocean and the things that can contribute to their well-being. Bring a tropical fish book and see how many you can spot. Conservation is a great topic for kids to learn about and what better way to learn than to see what is at stake first hand. There are so many opportunities here, from learning about how to take better care of the planet to simple lessons like just loving being outside and enjoying nature.
Elephant conservation in Thailand.
Volunteering in Thailand to care for elephants is an iconic adventure trip that might just be the most memorable experience of your kid’s lives! There are many stories of elephant sanctuaries that aren’t as kind to the elephants as they should be. Searching for the best opportunities is a great chance to involve your children in understanding why one experience is more nature-friendly than another. And when you actually get there to bathe and care for the elephants your kids will understand why it’s so important to preserve these majestic creatures.
Not sure how to find an elephant conservation program that actually has the best interests of elephants at heart? Choose parks that don’t have elephant shows where elephants perform “tricks” like playing soccer or painting. These aren’t natural behaviours. The elephants performing these tricks go through hours of training to learn these. Also, an elephant ride might sound fantastic but those saddles are really terrible for the backs of elephants. Most elephants in Asia that are ridden, with or without a saddle, have gone through a completely inhumane process called the crush that allows them to be ridden. It’s nothing like breaking a horse, it’s torture. Try to find a park that allows you to volunteer, interact or observe elephants that allowed to be … well elephants! It’s much more rewarding. Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai is one that I highly recomment.
When you let your kids experience more than just the usual tourist destinations, you allow them to see and learn things they might not normally be exposed to. Theme parks are fun but the really memorable experiences come from experiences that allow kids to have multiple experiences.