Which is the best place for travelling with children? The portal Budget Travel did a survey to find out 10 best places in the United States of America to go to on a family trip.
1. Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California
The Golden Gate Bridge is one of those quintessential American icons, equal parts eye candy and engineering lesson. The famed bridge is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2012-there will be fireworks and a festival on Memorial Day weekend-and is expected to draw more than ten million visitors throughout the year.
2. Arches National Park, Utah
This national park is especially convenient for families whose kids may be too young for a strenuous hike. It only takes a couple hours to drive past many of the park’s 2,000 brawny, pink sandstone arches. Park entrance fee is $10 per vehicle; bike or foot entrance is $5.
3. The Field Museum, Chicago, Illinois
Across its nine acres of floor space, the Field showcases giant robot wolf spiders, 23 Egyptian mummies, and the biggest Tyrannosaurus rex fossil ever dug up, in one of the broadest arrays of natural wonders under one roof. The collection of dioramas hold a dizzying array of species, from African lions and giraffes to Arctic penguins and polar bears, and it’s a favorite childhood fantasy to slip inside one of the magical timeless worlds. Kids 12 and under can dress up like animals, dig up dinosaur bones, and explore a pueblo home at the Crown Family PlayLab. Adults from $15; kids 3-11, from $10.
4. SeaWorld San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas
SeaWorld has many hands-on programs, putting visitors up close and personal with some of the park’s inhabitants (including a behind-the-scenes tour with the penguins). In May 2012, the new water park Aquatica was opened with a set of educational thrill rides; expect rafts sailing through grottos with stingrays and a “zero gravity” area that simulates weightlessness. Other new attractions include Sesame Street Bay of Play (opened in 2011), a three-acre space with educational activities for young children, and the animal encounter show “One Ocean” in which orcas and trainers illustrate educational lessons about the fragility of the environment. Adults, from $59.99; Kids 3-9, from $49.99.
5. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
At this Hawaiian park, visitors watch—at a safe distance—as hot lava spills into the Pacific, where it bursts into particles later pulverized by the waves into black sand. The park is home to two of the world’s most active volcanoes, and rangers will bring you down into the lava tubes (subterranean caverns formed by hardened molten rock) and maybe even play you a tune on a ohe hano ihu, aka the Hawaiian nose flute. Park entrance fee is $10 per vehicle; bike or foot entrance starts at $5.
6. Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Birmingham, Alabama
US civil rights history is chronicled at this Birmingham museum, which places the ’50s and ’60s in a context that today’s children can understand. There are compelling artifacts on display to illustrate segregation such as a set of “colored” and “white” drinking fountains. The exhibits don’t gloss over the tragedies of the civil rights’ era, and include the story of four young girls killed in a bombing at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, right across the street from the museum. The galleries do include hopeful notes, including a video recording of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Adults, $12; kids, grades 4-12, $3.
7. Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico
At sunset, spectators gather at an amphitheater in this national park in southeastern New Mexico to wait for bats to fly. Predictably, a swirling dark cloud of the flying mammals funnels out the cavern and swoops above, where it splinters apart into groups heading to the nearby Pecos and Black River valleys. This rare natural show makes Carlsbad Caverns stand out from other national parks, especially to impress kids. Entry fee: Adults, $6; kids under 15, free
8. Mount Rushmore, South Dakota
Even the most jaded teen will be wowed by the colossal busts of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln at this national park in the Black Hills of Keystone. The visitors’ center has exhibits on the 14-year journey to complete the monument, which was finished in 1941 after 400 workers dynamite-blasted the granite peaks to carve the faces. There is also info on how the four great leaders depicted guided our nation through tricky times. Free; parking permit, $11.
9. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York
Where else in the U.S. can you see an ancient Egyptian temple, a Ming Dynasty garden, and one of the world’s largest collections of Vermeers all under one roof? The Met covers a 14-acre space in Central Park, yet this cavernous space is only large enough to show a sliver of its full collection of art and artifacts. Children can easily learn about our nation’s history from early colonial times through the Civil War and into the modern era via iconic paintings, including Emanuel Leutze’s famed depiction of General George Washington crossing a near-frozen Delaware River during the Revolutionary War. Adults, suggested donation of $25.
10. Hoover Dam, Nevada
An engineering wonder about 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas, this dam supplies 20 million residents of California, Nevada, and Arizona with water and provides hydroelectricity to 1.3 million customers. No written description truly captures the visceral effect of peering out over the parapet at the top of the dam and looking down at the Colorado River, racing along 700 feet below. More than 1,200 feet wide at the top, this all-concrete wonder was the largest dam in the world when it was completed in 1936 (it was one of many public works projects intended to help lift the country out of the Great Depression). A bypass bridge opened in 2010 and provides fabulous photo opportunities for pedestrians. Experts lead walking tours that will thrill future engineers. Adults, $11, Kids 4-16, $9.