This blog post was updated on May 1, 2020.
You’re retired and are enjoying your well-deserved life of leisure, but your life occasionally is invaded by your beautiful grandkids for a little chaos and fun. This summer, be that cool grandpa or grandma who knows how to have a good time by whisking away your grandkids on an adventure they won’t forget.
So whatever personalities your grandkids may have, or whatever their interests may be, we’ve got some suggestions in 5 major cities that you should try out!
Vegas is not all about having limitless drinks at the craps table. There are some amazing places that both you and your grandkids can enjoy. Start off your adventures at Downtown Container Park. This shopping and dining districts is made up of old shipping containers, and has something for every age group. Younger kids will love the treehouse area, which includes a 33-foot-tall slide, NEOS play system, and massive foam building blocks.
If the kiddos are little nerds at heart and love to discover things for themselves, then the Las Vegas Natural History Museum is the place to go. The museum focuses on children and includes exhibits like Dinosaur Mummy CSI, Treasures of Egypt, the International Wildlife Gallery, and the Marine Life Gallery.
If you know the grandkids like their chocolate (and which kids don’t?), then they’ll absolutely love to spend some time at the Ethel M Chocolate Factory, where they can check out how chocolate is made and indulge in some free samples (watch out for that sugar rush after!).
Your little adrenaline junkies can also have a blast at Adventuredrome at Circus Circus. There’re some heart-pumping rides, dangerously named El Loco and Canyon Blaster. Don’t worry – you’ll have plenty of places to relax and catch your breath if you don’t want to ride them!
For a wholesome, playful Sin City experience, take the grandkids there this summer!
If you’re planning to visit family in Los Angeles, make sure you take the grandkids out to the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium (free for kids under 12). They’ll just love the interactive experience that includes looking at tiny organisms through a microscope, seeing moon jellies, and watching the sharks being fed.
If you think kids will never find an art museum interesting, then you’ll be surprised at what’s in store at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). There’s Story Time, Korean and Chinese brushwork they can get involved in at the Boone Children’s Gallery, and of course the Metropolis II – a massive city-like structure (complete with miniature moving vehicles) made out of building blocks, Lego blocks, and Lincoln Logs. If you’re tired, sneak into the cafe for a little caffeine fix, or head into Ray’s and Stark Bar for something stronger.
Another great place to go is the Kidspace Children’s Museum, whose interactive outdoor exhibits include a lot of water and mud and are educational and fun as well. They can climb into a larger-than-life hawk’s nest or construct buildings out of natural materials, or get their hands dirty while shaping things out of mud and clay. Make sure to bring some extra clothes, towels, and water shoes because this hands-on experience will get messy!
If the outdoors is where the kids would rather be on a sunny LA day, the miniature train ride, pony rides, and carousel at Griffith Park are made just for them. Plus, they can play frisbee on the grass or run around the Shane’s Inspiration playground to their hearts’ content. While all that activity goes on, you can even find a nice shady spot and catch up on some reading.
These fun activities in the City of Angels may bring out the angel in your little tikes, so book your cheap flight to LA now!
Watching trained killer whales perform all sort of tricks will make the little ones chuckle in delight at the Miami Seaquarium. The aquarium’s alligators, sharks, penguins, and turtles will also make for interesting viewing for the kids. As an extra treat, you can spoil them with the 30-minute Dolphin Odyssey program ($44-53 per child, depending on age), where they’ll get to touch, kiss, and even ride a dolphin!
Okay, so while you might think a zoo visit is a bit average for your getaway with the grandkids, we definitely would recommend giving Zoo Miami a try. While the animals will elicit “oohs” and aahs” from the children, they’ll love splashing around at the zoo’s Fiesta Fountain (bring extra clothes!). You can top off the day by enjoying an ice cream while peddling through the zoo on a 4-person cycle.
#FlashbackFriday to “Season of the Arts”, which was made possible through a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, & allowed us to introduce more local children & families to the arts alongside community partners @nwsymphony, @fgopera @miamicityballet and @xcortada ! @neaarts #SavetheNEA #ArtsAdvocacy
A post shared by Miami Children’s Museum (@miamichildrensmuseum) on
We know kids love to act all grown up, so why not let them have a taste at Miami Children’s Museum? They can check out exhibits that are mini versions of banks, supermarkets, and construction zones. There’s also a Health & Wellness Center that teaches kids about healthy living in a fun environment and a Music Makers Studio where they can learn about music with the aid of interactive sound and light, plus much much more.
The budding little actors in your family will enjoy the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, which features shows that cater just to kids. Whether it’s a Broadway play, musical, or even a puppet show, there’ll be plenty of options to choose from. Need a break after running behind the kids? Take a breather at the Cafe at Books & Books for some food or a glass of wine.
Miami holds a lot of great surprises for the whole family, so make sure to make the most of the fun and sun when you go there!
Which child wouldn’t want to have their picture taken with the fuzzy and cute Coca-Cola Polar Bear? At the World of Coca-Cola, you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of the secret vault that holds the Coke formula, check out all kinds of memorabilia, experience a 4D show, and more. Plus, the kids will love the tasting room, where they can indulge in free samples as much as they want.
Aimed specifically at children the ages of 8 and under, the Children’s Museum of Atlanta showcases fun exhibits like the Gateway to the World, where kids learn geography with hands-on activities, and Fundamentally Food, where they learn how to farm, deliver, and fruits and vegetables. Frome June to September, there’s also an exhibit inspired by the Blueman Group, which takes a playful look at the creation of sound and music.
Home to more than 200 puppets from around the world, the Center for the Puppetry Arts also houses a large collection of puppets from The Muppets TV show. In addition to the great educational programs like building your own puppet and exploring the art of puppetry, the energetic performances are breathtaking and will amuse the kids (and even early teens) to no end.
Chock full of entertaining themes inspired by the latest LEGO toys, movies, and characters, LEGOLAND Discovery Center Atlanta has lots of hand-on play areas, a 4D theater, two LEGO-themed rides, and a LEGO Miniland. Trust us, even you’ll have fun with these world-famous building blocks!
Enjoy some true Southern hospitality with the whole family when you visit Atlanta this summer!
Chicago’s Navy Pier is home to a lot of fun options for kids and grown-ups alike. One activity you must do with the kiddos is take a ride on the pier’s iconic ferris wheel. You can also ride the Wave Swinger, and catch a performance at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, which has a lot of shows for young ones, including the Madagascar musical that is set to begin on July 13. To end your evening with a bang, don’t forget that from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend there will be fireworks on the pier on Wednesdays and Saturdays. If the summer heat gets too much, make a pit-stop at the beer garden or at one of the excellent eateries.
A free attraction that’s open throughout the year, Millennium Park is going to be a fantastic way to spend the day in the Windy City. The kids can splash around in the shallow pool of Crown Fountain or dig for worms and marvel at butterflies in Lurie Garden.
Children usually shriek in excitement at the chance to stand in the glass box of Skydeck Chicago in the Willis Tower – 1,353 feet above the ground! You’ll also get the most amazing views of Chicago to boot.
Even the tiniest tots will have fun at the Chicago Children’s Museum. There are numerous exhibits that have special infant and crawler play areas, while Treehouse Trails and Kids Town are the most popular with young visitors. In addition, kids can learn about medieval life in Once Upon a Castle, dig for T-Rex remains in Dinosaur Expedition, play a firefighter in Play It Safe, in addition to much more.
You might be a bit breathless keeping up with the grandkids in the Windy City, but that’s just one more fun reason why you should go there now!