Traveling with children in the USA can be both educational and fun.
Make learning actually come to life at these nine thought-provoking, engaging, educational destinations.
1. MoPOP, Seattle, Washington
The Museum of Pop Culture, or MoPOP, bills itself as a “leading edge, nonprofit museum, dedicated to the ideas and risk-taking that fuel contemporary popular culture.” The museum, formerly known as the Experience Music Project, was founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and designed by architect Frank O. Gehry by using pieces of electric guitars to build the early model.
Exhibits include the art of fantasy, horror cinema, video games, science fiction literature and costumes. It also has the largest collection in the world of rare artifacts, handwritten lyrics, personal instruments and original photographs celebrating the music and history of Seattle musicians Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix. Most children these days don’t know about those musicians.
Exterior of the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle
2. Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, New York
Spend the day playing the in waves at the ocean shore or listening to accordion players and guitarists. When they play familiar tunes, the crowd will come alive and sing along. A block in from the boardwalk is Brighton Beach Avenue, which is nestled under the elevated train. Part of the charm is the frequent rumbling of the train above. The street is filled with colorful fruit stands and little markets that offer all kinds of pickled treats and foreign candies.
3. A New Orleans Airlift Project, New Orleans, Louisana
This collective of artists share the mission to “collaborate to inspire wonder, connect communities and foster opportunities through the creation of experimental public art.” They are probably best known for their musical architecture projects that began with an idea to build a house that could be played like an instrument.
Street musicians in the French Quarter in New Orleans
4. Millennium Park, Chicago, Illinois
Spend a day here to take in Chicago’s unique skyline, play in the fountains, explore the gardens, take selfies at the giant silver "Cloud Gate" sculpture that is shaped like a bean and see a concert at the Frank O. Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion.
The "Cloud Gate" sculpture, known as "The Bean," at Millennium Park in Chicago
5. Pacific Coast Highway, California
Show them the beauty of the open road. Rent a camper van or an RV and drive up or down the Pacific Coast Highway together. Take your time, stop often, watch whales and sunsets, and sleep just feet away from the Pacific Ocean.
Bixby Bridge along the Pacific Ocean coastline in California
6. Honk! Festival of Activist Street Bands, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Political marching street bands take the streets at the three-day Honk! festival. Neither you nor your children will be able to resist the urge to dance.
7. International Folk Art Market, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Since beginning in 2004, this market has hosted more than 750 artists from 91 countries, and it’s the world’s largest exhibition and sale of work by master folk artists. Artists take home 90 percent of their earnings to invest back into their communities.
Jewelry made by Native Americans among wares available for purchase in Santa Fe
8. The Northern Lights
There are several places in the northern USA where you can see these magical night skies. Your best bet is to try in the fall when skies are darker and the weather is still warm. Idaho, Michigan, Maine, Minnesota and Alaska are known for having some of the best spots to catch the aurora borealis.
The Northern Lights aglow over Alaska
9. Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
For more than 700 years the Ancestral Puebloans and their descendants lived and flourished here. Mesa Verde National Park has over 4,000 known archeological sites. After living on top of the mesa for nearly 600 years, they began construction of the cliff dwellings, the main attraction of this site.