Just about every city has a museum, and they are great places to take kids. There are tons of educational, exciting and visually stimulating things to see. Museums bring in special exhibits, so your family can take a virtual tour of ancient cultures, visit the Pyramids or learn how the Native Americans lived their day-to-day lives. Inquire about your local museum's special programs, films and presentations and build some memories as a family exploring the past.
Nothing says "summer fun" like a day at the water park! The kids will have a blast on the slides and in the pools. Most water parks have a variety of tube and body slides... some several stories high! There are wave pools, whirlpools and kiddie areas for the toddlers. You can spend a wet and wonderful day surfing, sliding and sunning.
Get a tent and get outdoors! Even if you pitch your tent no further than the edge of your own backyard, camping is a fun family adventure. Sit around your campfire eating s'mores and telling ghost stories, or identify constellations in the night sky. Snuggle up in sleeping bags and snooze in the crisp, fresh air.
Your little cowboys and cowgirls will get a kick out of a weekend dude ranch adventure, where they can saddle up and see the world from a new perspective on the back of their horse. Ranch adventure experiences gives them a look at the life of a working cowboy, from riding the range to chowing down at the chuckwagon for the evening meal.
Experienced guides take your family on a white-water adventure over roaring rivers that turn and bend and become serene as you float along, marveling at the soaring canyon walls that surround you. The action is fast and furious when the raft shoots the rapids! Not for small children, river rafting requires attention and adherence to precise safety precautions.
Biking trails and tours let the entire family get out, get going and get exercise in the beautiful outdoors, and even the smallest children can be part of the adventure in bike carriers and pull-trailers. Use your own bikes and helmets, or rent equipment locally or at your destination. Set a pace that allows everyone to keep up and stay together. There are designated bike trails in parks and beachfront areas, so map out your route and start peddling.
Another active, outdooor option for the family? Go hiking or backpacking. Inquire about balloon adventures in your area, and take your family up, up and away for a scenic, birds-eye view of the countryside.
Take a sports-loving family to training camp: football, baseball and hockey teams hold pre-season training work-outs that the public can attend, so make a day of it and see your heroes up close.
Family counselor Donna Arnold applauds these mini getaways. "Time spent relaxing together rejuvinates everybody in the family," she said. "A shared adventure is a memory that can be brought out and enjoyed again and again as a family." With the stresses of everyday life, Arnold says a little "fun time" as a family is a very healthy thing. It allows the family "time to reconnect when they get out of their day-to-day routine."