ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
72°
Broken Clouds
H 83° L 67°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    72°
    Current Conditions
    Broken Clouds. H 83° L 67°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day Created with Sketch.
    79°
    Afternoon
    Sct Thunderstorms. H 83° L 67°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    78°
    Evening
    Cloudy. H 83° L 67°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Travel
12 best kid-friendly destinations
Close

12 best kid-friendly destinations

12 best kid-friendly destinations
Photo Credit: AP
With the Washington Monument in the background, cherry blossom trees began blooming despite cold temperatures in Washington, on Thursday, March 24, 2011. The National Cherry Blossom Festival, which runs from March 26-April 12, commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Tokyo to Washington, D.C.

12 best kid-friendly destinations

When traveling with toddlers, tweens, and teens, the trick is picking the right destination. Somewhere that offers hands-on activities, inspiring history, and even an animal or two can turn the dreaded “When will we be there” into “Where will we go next?”

It's a great big world out there, and packing up your little ones for a jaunt-whether it's to a nearby city, neighboring state, or across "the pond"-can be daunting. But when it comes to traveling with kids, all destinations are not created equal. We've covered our share of hot travel spots in the U.S. and Europe and we've found that those cities and landmarks that are best for family travel have a few things in common: Accessibility, a nice mix of indoor and outdoor activities, and a certain ineffable "wow" factor that you'll know when you see it on your children's faces. Here, a dozen of our favorite family-friendly destinations.

 

 

COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG, VA

Everyone in this living-history site likes to play dress-up, and visitors are no exception. At the Great Hopes Plantation-a re-creation of the town's original 1700s farm-a stash of old-timey accessories await, from tricorne (three-pointed) hats for boys and shifts and mop caps (bonnets) for girls. The costumes come in handy in the field, where kids can perform 18th-century household chores, such as picking bugs off potato crops, fetching water from the well, or hoeing the soil, that are likely to make clearing the dinner dishes seem like a breeze by comparison. Great Hopes Plantation can be accessed through regular admission tickets. Upcoming events for 2013 include a celebration of Presidents' Day, an exhibit dedicated to historic keyboard instruments (such as colonial-era harpsichords), and Painters and Paintings of the South, opening in March. (history.org, adults from $22.95, children from $11.50, under six free).

 

WASHINGTON, DC

Everybody knows the National Mall is the place to be in D.C., right? But how about riding the streets of Washington, D.C., including the Mall, in a boat on wheels? Set in a WWII-era amphibious vehicle, the 90-minute D.C. duck tour covers both land and sea. The first leg hits the history-packed National Mall-look for the 19-foot-tall Lincoln Memorial, the Capitol building, and the Smithsonian museums-and then switches to a scenic river trip. Highlight: The boat pauses at Gravelly Point, a park located just a few hundred feet from the runway at D.C.'s Reagan National Airport, so you can watch roaring planes take off and land (trustedtours.com, adults $31.50, kids 11 and under $16.20). Don't miss hour-long tours of the U.S. Capitol, offered Monday through Saturday, and it's best to reserve a spot on one of these popular tours in advance (visitor center entrance at First Street and East Capitol Street, N.W., visitthecapitol.gov, admission free). And at the National Museum of American History, you'll find countless artifacts from the nation's history, including the exhibits The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden and Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863, and the March on Washington, 1963 (1400 Constitution Ave., N.W., americanhistory.si.edu, admission free).

 

LONDON

Thanks to literature and film (think Sherlock Holmes, Peter Pan, and a certain young wizard), American kids already associate London with mystery and discovery. And the city doesn't dissapoint. Archaeologist (and mother of six) Fiona Haughey leads two-hour trawls along the muddy banks of the River Thames. (Once so polluted that city residents avoided going near the river, the Thames is now alive with healthy fish-and tour boats!) Previous searchers have taken home Elizabethan pipes, Tudor tiles, and even horse teeth (walks.com, beachcombing walk $12, all ages). For young history buffs, the Tower of London is an unforgettable experience, where you can ogle the 23,578 gems known as the Crown Jewels, take a Yeoman Warder tour that includes hair-raising stories from the tower's history, spot the six ravens who make the Tower their home and, according to legend, whose presence assures the continuity of the kingdom, and of course let your curious-and bravest-kids explore the interactive prisoners exhibit about the people who lived and died in this most iconic of prisons (hrp.org.uk, adults $33, children $17).

 

BOSTON

Even die-hard Yankees fans have to admit that visiting Fenway Park, Major League Baseball's oldest stadium, is an exercise in Americanism: Babe Ruth pitched there! Ted Williams hit a 502-foot home run! Fenway turns 100 next year, but its features are still intact. Check them out for yourself on a guided 50-minute tour, where hands-on exploration is encouraged: You can touch the Green Monster (the park's 37-foot-tall left-field wall), peek into the dugout, poke around inside the press box, and even walk across the baseball diamond, depending on how friendly the grounds crew is feeling that day (mlb.mlb.com, Fenway Park tours, adults $12, kids 3-15 $10, seniors $11). Boston is also, of course, the epicenter of America's Colonial history. Who needs a social studies book when the Freedom Trail lets you learn about Colonial history as you walk in its footprints? For example, from June through November, you can learn from an 18th-century ship captain while parading around Boston's waterfront on the 90-minute Pirates and Patriots tour, led by an actor in 1770s naval garb, focuses on maritime history and introduces the scrappy, ship-raiding characters that inhabited the city's North End during the Revolutionary era. Stops include the aptly named Long Wharf, once the longest in the world and the center of Boston's colonial shipping industry, and Griffin's Wharf, site of the 1773 Boston Tea Party. (thefreedomtrail.org, Pirates and Patrios Tour runs from June through November, adults $12, kids 6-12 $7).

 

BERLIN

While the German capital may not spring to mind as a must-see for families with children, this sprawling metropolis has become one of the best places on the continent to have-and be-a kid. Beyond its vibrant art and food scene (you may find no better breakfast in all of Europe), Berlin offers two things that will not only entertain the young ones, but may bring out the kid in you, too. About half a million Berliners take to their bikes each day, so you'll be in good company on one of Berlin on Bike's rentals. Choose from city, touring, and trekking bikes, all of which come with rear baskets. Even the kids can get a set of wheels, with three sizes of smaller cycles as well as child seats and trailers (reserve in advance) and helmets for all. A free route planner on bbbike.de helps you map paths through the city based on your desired speed, road surface, and the availability of designated bike lanes, of which Berlin has some 400 miles (berlinonbike.de, $13 for 24 hours). And, of course, Berlin has a "zoo story" as well. Built on the site of the 18th-century pheasantry that once supplied fowl to the King of Prussia's royal kitchen, the 168-year-old Zoological Garden was Germany's first zoo and, with 17,727 animals, has one of the most diverse populations in the world. Savvy visitors will want to sync their trips with the feeding times of their favorite animals (pandas at 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., penguins at 1:45 p.m.), or splurge on a private, 20-minute visit with a single species, complete with zookeeper Q&A. And be sure to keep an eye out for the zoo's newest arrival, Kathi, a baby hippopotamus born in October (zoo-berlin.de, from $29.50 for a family ticket, private tours an additional $107)

 

PHILADELPHIA

In addition to the excellent ranger-led tours of Independence Hall (where both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were adopted), a less serious but equally entertaining adventure awaits visitors. Acquaint yourself with the spirits of America's founding fathers on Philadelphia's Ghost Tour, a 90-minute, candle-lit stroll that winds past landmarks like Independence Hall; the Powel House, which hosted George and Martha Washington's 20th wedding anniversary celebration; and the 238-year-old City Tavern, John Adams's former watering hole. A cape-wearing, lantern-carrying guide points out "haunted" graveyards (St. Peter's Cemetery) and reports sightings of Benjamin Franklin, who's said to roam the city's streets. The best part: All the ghost stories are based on documented accounts, which makes them all the more spooky (ghosttour.com, adults $17, kids 4 and up $8). Once your kids' appetite for real-life thrills is whetted, head over to the world-class science museum, the Franklin Institute, for hands-on activities that teach science in a fun way, including teachng anatomy with a stroll through an oversize human heart (fi.edu, adults $16.50, children $12.50). The Please Touch Museum continues the hands-on theme, with kids learning music at the Rainforest Rhythm exhibit and exploring child-size environments (pleasetouchmuseum.org, $16).

 

SAN FRANCISCO

Shiv collections and cramped jail cells don't exactly sound kid-friendly, but they offer a glimpse into Alcatraz, America's most notorious island prison-and the National Park Service is all for bringing younger ones for a visit. Hop a ferry from San Francisco's Pier 33 and stroll the damp, gray halls of the maximum-security pen, which housed criminals like Al Capone and George "Machine Gun" Kelly from 1934 to 1963. (You can even get behind bars in one of the cells, if you dare.) Don't miss the audio tour, which was updated in 2007 when former inmates and guards recorded their memories of doing time at "the Rock." If you're feeling brave, take the night tour, which lets you roam the prison after dark. Browse our favorite budget hotels in San Francisco. Alcatraz Cruises is the official carrier for tours to Alcatraz Island (alcatrazcruises.com, adults 12-61 $26; kids 5-11 $16, 4 and under free). In SF's gorgeous Golden Gate Park, the California Academy of Science is more like a combo zoo, museum, and classroom, including a planetarium, aquarium, 40,000 live animals, a rainforest exhibit, and natural history exhibits such as dinosaurs and other fossils (calacademy.org, adults $29.95, kids 12-17 $24.95, kids 4-11 $19.95).

 

NEW YORK CITY

Between 1892 and 1924, more than 17 million immigrants passed through Ellis Island; today, their descendants account for 40 percent of Americans. Go on a hunt for your ancestors at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, where for $5 you can search through millions of records to find the exact date your relatives sailed into the Port of New York, as well as which ship they were on and whether they traveled with other family members. (Bonus: copies of the documents are yours to keep.) And don't miss the construction of the Peopling of America Center, which cost $20 million to build and is slated to open in 2012. The new space focuses on U.S. immigration from 1955 (when Ellis Island closed) to the present, and houses interactive multimedia exhibits, like a touch screen that reflects demographic changes in American cities over time (ellisisland.org, adults $37.95, children $18.95, children under 5 free). The American Museum of Natural History is a magnet for kids of all ages, with its iconic "dinosaurs in the attic"-featuring some of the world's best reconstructed dinosaur skeletons-and colossal blue whale model suspended from the ceiling of its hall of marine life (amnh.org, $19).

 

SAN DIEGO

With more than 4,000 rare and endangered animals representing 800-plus species and subspecies, the San Diego Zoo is one of the most diverse in America. But its coolest attraction-literally-is the Polar Bear Plunge, which has reopened after a $1 million makeover. Aside from permanent polar residents Kalluk, Chinook, and Tatqiq, new features include a snow den you can burrow into (the snug space mimics where female bears birth their cubs); a helicopter used on actual Arctic explorations that invites climbers into the cockpit; and the Experience Wall, where zookeepers open the glass panels surrounding the bears' habitat, letting them sniff at visitors through wire mesh (sandiegozoo.org, ages 12 and up $40, ages 3-11 $30). SeaWorld San Diego continues the wild theme of this Southern California city, allowing kids to have a Dolphin Interaction, Shark Encounter, splash along one of its many thrill rides, and of course take in one of the park's legendary sea mammal shows (seaworldparks.com, adults $78, children $70).

 

BARCELONA

Families visiting Barcelona for the first time often report that the city has a fairytale, made-for-children quality about it. That, no doubt, is thanks to the imaginative artists who have helped make the extraordinary place that it is. La Sagrada Famlia, architect Antoni Gaud's famous basilica, is as stunning as people say, but it's one of Barcelona's most popular attractions, so you'll want to arrive when it opens, at 9 a.m. (sagradafamilia.org, $11). Then wander the alleys and hidden squares in the Barri Gatic, or Gothic quarter. Xocolateria La Xicra, on the Plaa de Sant Josep Oriol, makes a decadent chocolate con churros (hot chocolate with doughnut-like sticks for dipping). Next, head to Museu Picasso, in the La Ribera neighborhood, to learn how the master's famous Blue Period came about during his stay in Barcelona in the early 1900s (museupicasso.bcn.cat/en, $8).

 

NIAGARA FALLS, NY

Sure, your grandparents honeymooned there, but the majestic waterfalls straddling the U.S.-Canada border are worth a 21st-century trip. Ever wonder what it's like to be a rubber ducky in a massive bathtub? Sign up for the Cave of the Winds tour, which begins after you change into a complimentary yellow poncho and sandals (trust us, you'll need 'em). After riding an elevator 175 feet down into the Niagara Gorge, you'll stand on the Hurricane Deck, where you'll be drenched by the tropical-storm-like spray from the 181-foot Bridal Veil Falls, where the water falls at a rate of up to 68 mph (niagarafallsstatepark.com, Cave of the Winds operates May 1-Oct. 25, adults $11, kids 6-12 $8, 5 and under free).

 

ST. AUGUSTINE, FL

Swashbucklers, hoist your sails and head for the artifact-packed St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum. This is the only place in the world to display an authentic pirate's treasure chest (property of Captain Thomas Tew roughly 400 years ago), plus a 19th-century Jolly Roger flag and an original "Wanted" poster with a 500-pound sterling reward for the capture of pirate Henry Every, dated 1696 (thepiratemuseum.com, adults $12, children under 5 free). St. Augustine's historic district, founded in 1565, is a mecca for history buffs and window-shoppers alike, built around a central plaza that is the oldest public park in the U.S., the district includes St. George Street, a pedestrian walkway with museums, restaurants, and shops. Cannon-firing demonstrations take place Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at the Castillo de San Marcos fort (nps.gov/casa, adults $6, children under 16 free).

 

More From Budget Travel:

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

News

  • There is light at the end of the prolonged wet and/or cloudy spell we have been going through. As I’ve been advertising on the radio for a few days now a prolonged dry spell is expected to begin Sunday and last through next Thursday, with modest thunderstorm chances returning Friday and next weekend. By the way, from this long distance, 4th of July weather looks pretty typical for the Metro, very warm and humid with around a 30% chance of an afternoon or evening thunderstorm. But first things first. We are still in a warm very deep moist tropical air mass. And while we get to see some sun today and tomorrow, we are not done with rain just yet, nor the threat of an isolated severe storm or small, weak tornado. Listen for details on the weather today this weekend and next 5 days on the radio in my reports for updates. Or check wsbradio.com at Click on the MellishMeter on the WSB Radio homepage for my 5 day forecast in writing anytime on any digital device. Due to the tropical nature of the air in place, more heavy downpours are likely in spots late today and overnight into tomorrow and that’s on already saturated soils, so a FLASH FLOOD WATCH has been issued for all of Metro Atlanta north of Griffin. Take note that trees may fall in the wet root zones without new rain or without high wind. Also bear in mind that in tropical systems lightning and thunder is often at a minimum, even in storms capable of producing damaging straight line winds or a tornado, so you may get little or no warning. You can see what’s left of Tropical Storm Cindy and the approach of a front from the north. MID-DAY FRIDAY: FRIDAY END OF DAY: FRIDAY EVENING: SATURDAY AM: END OF DAY SATURDAY: SUNDAY MORNING: HIGHEST FLOODING RISK FRIDAY: Flash Flood Watch 2pm Friday-8pm Saturday FRIDAY SEVERE WEATHER RISK:   TORNADO WATCH UNTIL 9PM Atlanta time: The remnants of Cindy will push eastward, and interact with shear axis/weak convergence boundary through Saturday. This shear axis/weak convergence zone will slowly sag south across the metro area through Saturday, serving to focus areas of precipitation. As with any tropical system, the potential for severe weather will exist. Especially for isolated tornadoes within any rain-bands. Areas roughly along and west of the Interstate 85 corridor will have the best potential for any severe weather through tonight. However, if good heating occurs across southern areas today, an isolated severe thunderstorm is not out of the question there, too. End of day Friday predicted (simulated) radar from a couple models: A welcome change is headed our way in the long term as drier air moves into the region, with lower than normal temperatures continuing and lower than normal humidity moving in with a less than normal rain odds Sunday through next Thursday. FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER @MellishMeterWSB
  • Family and friends are preparing for the funeral for a 16-year-old killed in a crash in Cherokee County. Police said a 17-year-old driver fell asleep at the wheel on Hightower Road and traveled into an embankment and hit a tree. Mahlon Thornton died at the scene. The driver has a broken arm. Family members said Mahlon and his friend had been up all night fishing Sunday into Monday. 'They stayed up all night fishing. They were tired and they were probably going pretty fast,' said Cynthia Decker, Mahlon's guardian. Mahlon moved in with Decker three years ago. TRENDING STORIES: Sheriff reduces jail time for Georgia inmates who saved officer Police: Woman attacked at gas pump, turns tables on would-be robbers Homeowner stabbed to death during home invasion 'I'm going to miss that hug in the morning and that hug at night and that hug before he left,' she said. Deputies are still investigating the crash. 'I just want these kids to understand they're not invincible. They gotta rest. They gotta take care of themselves,' Decker said. Mahlon's parents said they forgive the driver. 'No blame, no blame. It could have easily been Mahlon driving,' said the victim's mother, Jenelle Thornton. Mahlon's funeral is Saturday in West Cobb. His family said they are finding comfort through faith. 'Our ministry has just begun because of this event. This will reshape us. We have no idea how to comprehend,' the victim's father, Wayne Thornton said.
  • A mother wanted on child cruelty charges out of Snellville has been arrested in Tennessee.  Savion Piotter already had DFCS cases pending against her in New York and DeKalb County. Snellville Police Det. Deann Green took out arrest warrants against her last week for drugging her four kids with Benadryl in an effort to control them, keeping them out of school for the last year and refusing to seek medical care for them.  When an officer showed up at her Snellville duplex with a caseworker, a 3-year-old answered the door and an 8-year-old subsequently shut and locked it in the officer’s face. Piotter skipped town with the kids before police could return with the warrant.  “I was able to ping her cell phone… and located it in Tennessee. I coordinated with Knoxville Police Department and they were able to locate her in the hotel in that area and make an arrest,” Green tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish.  The four children were placed in DFCS custody and will be brought back to Georgia along with Piotter who Green plans to extradite.  Asked why Green was able to locate Piotter when others haven’t been able to, “My big thing is to keep track of kids and make sure they’re safe and in good condition. So, I wanted to make sure they didn’t slip through the cracks,” she says.
  • A high school graduation ceremony in upstate New York ended with a brawl that injured one police officer and led to the arrest of two teenagers, the Albany Times Union reported. >> Read more trending news The brawl outside Watervliet High School in suburban Albany on Thursday night required four police agencies to respond before it was under control, police said. Police arrested 18-year-old Damion M. Walker and an unidentified teen boy, the Times Union reported. Both are charged with misdemeanor obstructing governmental administration. Watervliet Police Chief Mark Spain told the Times Union that authorities 'have no idea' what sparked the fight,  which involved more than 30 people brawling in the parking lot.
  • The death toll from twin blasts in the northwestern town of Parachinar climbed to 45 overnight, bringing the overall death toll from three separate attacks in Pakistan on Friday to 61, with several others in critical condition, officials said. Shahid Khan, a government official in Parachinar, confirmed the toll Saturday, saying residents who had been preparing to celebrate the end of Ramadan were now in mourning. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a Sunni extremist group, claimed the twin bombings at a crowded market in the Shiite-dominated town, linking them to sectarian fighting in Syria. Dr. Sabir Hussain, an official at a government-run hospital in Parachinar, said they had received 261 victims of the twin blasts, with 62 listed in critical condition. Another 12 people were killed Friday in a suicide car bombing near the office of the provincial police chief in the southwestern city of Quetta, in an attack claimed by a breakaway Taliban faction and the Islamic State group. On Friday evening, gunmen in the port city of Karachi attacked police officers at a roadside restaurant, killing four of them before fleeing, senior police officer Asif Ahmed said. Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, a military spokesman, linked the attacks to alleged militant sanctuaries in neighboring Afghanistan and promised greater border security. The two countries often accuse each other of turning a blind eye to militants. Security forces raided a militant hideout in the northwestern city of Peshawar before dawn Saturday, triggering a shootout in which three Pakistani Taliban were killed and two police officers were wounded, senior police official Sajjad Khan said. He said the militants were making bombs that likely would have been used to target holiday festivities. Khan said the identity of the slain militants was not immediately known. But intelligence officials said one of the men has been identified as a wanted militant commander linked to the IS group. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the attacks, which came just days before Eid-al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. Friday's car bombing in Quetta could be heard across the city, and shattered the windows of nearby buildings, said police spokesman Shahzada Farhat. TV footage showed several badly damaged cars and a road littered with broken glass. Hours after the attack, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a breakaway faction of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility. Later Friday, the IS group said in a competing claim that it was behind the attack, adding that one of its followers targeted the police post in Quetta, detonating his suicide belt there. It also released a photograph of the alleged attacker, identified as Abu Othman al-Khorasani. Quetta is the capital of Baluchistan province, which has long been the scene of a low-level insurgency by Baluch nationalists and separatists, who want a bigger share of the region's resources or outright independence. Islamic militants have also carried out several attacks in the province. ___ Associated Press writer Abdul Sattar in Quetta, Pakistan, contributed to this report.
  • A Nebraska woman is making an appeal to thieves who stole the Porsche tires she had built as a memorial to her late son. >> Read more trending news Angel Pike and her son Ben built the memorial in April to honor Mike Pike, who died in his sleep four years ago, KETV reported.  The stone in Pike’s front yard in Omaha reads “Our family chain is broken, and nothing seems the same; but as God calls us one by one the chain will link again.” The chain reference is ironic since all that is left of the memorial are the chains that connected the tires, Pike told KETV. The memorial is even more poignant now since Ben drowned earlier this month in nearby Lake Cunningham. “I miss my boys so much and I just feel like our little chain is broken,” Angel Pike told KETV.  “We built this memorial and we had (Mike’s) Porsche rims and tires around two that didn’t have any (rims), and so I planted plants in here.” The memorial became a sanctuary, but that was shattered one week after Ben’s death after thieves struck. “I was just numb,” Angel Pike said. “I just yelled and said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’ you know. You take one son, then you took my other son and now you took my memorial.” Pike filed a report with Omaha police, but she said she would simply like the tires returned, no questions asked. “I just want my memorial back so I can build on it for Ben, too,” she told KETV. “Just bring my memorial back.”