Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Places Every Kid Should Visit

I came across this list of 10 Places Every Kid Should See. I didn't see a single one of them as a kid. The list includes: The Grand Canyon, The National Mall, Redwood National Park, Ellis Island, Niagara Falls, Yellowstone National Park, Colonial Williamsburg, Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve, Independence Hall, Alcatraz Island. I've still only been to two of those (Yellowstone and Redwood). I am glad to see that half of the places are natural sites and the other half are historical.

And while many families in America live within a few hours of at least one of those places, others do not. The closest site to where I live is almost 1000 miles away. It would take a lot of driving and even more money to see them all. Someday I'd like to, but it probably won't happen while my kids are young.

So, instead I propose my own list of places every kids should visit. Most are free or very cheap. Most should be within a short trip of your home. All provide great opportunities to give the kids a new experience and a fun time.
  1. A different library than your usual one.
  2. Your local historical site or museum. Even most small towns have one.
  3. A state park. Be sure to take in a naturalist program if they have one.
  4. A campground where the kids can spend a night in a tent (no RVs; preferably a state or national park--not a commercial campground).
  5. A Great Lake or ocean. At least a lake to go swimming in (something that's non-chlorinated). While there, be sure to show them how to skip rocks.
  6. An art museum. Many have scavenger hunts for the kids to do.
  7. A local sporting event (non-professional). We've lived near high schools where we got to see rugby and field hockey played (for free!)--sports you don't often get to watch on TV.
  8. A small town. Banter with the locals and enjoy home-cooking at the local cafe. Try and go when the local festival is happening.
  9. A farm. Teach the kids where food really comes from--and all the hard work that goes into it. Enjoy the "simpler" life.
  10. A nursing home. It may be uncomfortable for some kids to visit, but it brings great joy to those who live there, and it's a wonderful opportunity to teach kids about the value of older adults. Plus, they've got great stories to share.
What would you add or change?


  1. Well, yes. That one was obvious. And a Threshing Bee. Preferably at the same time.

  2. Along the same lines as a local sporting event (non professional)...how about a local performing arts event? Community theater, music events, high school performances, etc.

  3. Definitely, Maria. Should have gotten that one, too. We always hit some Lake Harriet concerts in the summer & we've gotten free tickets to the Children's Theater and Family Orchestra events.