When the kids are on summer break, things like summer reading and day camp can help reinforce the lessons they learned during the school year. But getting your little ones interested in summer education can sometimes be an uphill battle. Turning your family vacation into an opportunity to get hands on with learning can help. From aquariums and nature trails to U.S. history, pick the educational family vacation idea that’ll interest your kids most and let the learning happen naturally:
Become a Junior Park Ranger in the Smoky Mountains
Head to Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains, where you can introduce the kids to the area’s diverse wildlife and Southern Appalachian mountain culture. For kids between the ages of 5 – 12, there’s a Junior Ranger program at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Pick up a booklet at one of the park’s visitor centers, have fun completing the activities, and then stop back in to receive a badge. The area also has a number of kid-friendly hiking trails to introduce your little ones to the art of exploring. Find a rental cabin with amenities like game rooms and in-home theatres so everyone can relax during downtime.
Tour Charleston, One of America’s Most Historic Cities
Charleston, South Carolina is one of the country’s oldest cities, making it the perfect place to teach your kids about America’s beginnings. Stand on the site of the first shot in the Civil War, tour an antebellum mansion, climb aboard a World War II aircraft carrier, or enjoy a carriage ride down Charleston’s cobblestone streets. Educational tours in Charleston will likely tie into what they’re studying in school. Stay nearby in a beach rental home on one of Charleston’s Islands so you can soak up the city and the sand while you’re vacationing.
Discover Fossils from the Ice Age in Snowmass, Colorado
The Snowmass Ice Age Discovery Center in Snowmass, Colorado features treasures of the ancient past, which were discovered in 2010 when the Denver Museum of Nature and Science made its largest-ever fossil excavation, “Snowmastodon.” At the center, you can talk to the on-site paleontologist, view the collection of fossils and replicas, and learn more about the exciting discovery that uncovered more than 35,000 bones spanning 52 species of Ice Age animals – one of the state’s most significant fossil discoveries. To feel at home, find a mountain condo, many of which offer access to amenities like pools and fitness centers.
Help Save the Sea Turtles on the Emerald Coast
Head to Northwest Florida’s Emerald Coast, and learn about the area’s diverse marine life. The Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center teaches visitors about the importance of sea turtle conservation and marine ecosystems. Kids will love the hands-on experiences from touch tanks and animal encounters to sensory stations and arts and crafts. Nearby, you’ll find the Panhandle Butterfly House where the little ones can learn in a completely interactive setting. Find a beach home or condo that can be your family’s home base while you explore.
Relive the Olympic Games in Park City, Utah
Built for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, Utah Olympic Park in Park City is a dynamic facility dedicated to developing and growing participation in Utah’s winter sports. It houses one of only four sliding tracks in North America, six Nordic ski jumps, a Winter Games museum with interactive exhibits and displays, and a range of adventure activities. Take a guided tour to learn about the area’s Olympic Heritage and then take the ride of a lifetime on the Comet Bobsled (available in summer too). Stay nearby in a rental home or condo, and take advantage of having multiple bedrooms and a kitchen while you’re away.
Start planning your family’s getaway by browsing destinations and rentals here.