January 22, 2018

FamilyFun Awards: 50 Most Fun Places for Families


san diego zooIt’s hard to believe that next Friday is the last day of the school quarter, but what’s even more difficult to believe is that there’s only one quarter left before the end of the school year. Have you begun to make summer plans?

If you’re just now realizing that summer break really is just around the corner, pick up the April issue of FamilyFun magazine. Inside you’ll find the results of their annual Travel Awards where their readers picked the best animal attractions, science museums, state parks and more. In fact, they packed 50 of the most fun places for families in this issue. Take a look at some of the highlights:

henry doorly zoo penguins

Top 5 Animal Attractions

Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium (NE)
Located in Omaha, this zoo is ranked #1 in the world by TripAdvisor, so it’s got to be good. I also highlighted Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium as the one thing you must do with kids in Nebraska.

St. Louis Zoo (MO)
We’ll be spending a day or two in St. Louis this summer, so we may need to swing by the St. Louis Zoo to consider adopting a baby colobus monkey, if nothing else.

Monterey Bay Aquarium (CA)
Try a Summer Nights Seashore Sleepover or take a behind-the-scenes tour to learn more about sharks, sea otters or jellyfish. There are also special family tours well-suited for the youngest guests.

Georgia Aquarium
We visited the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta last summer and I can’t agree more. The hand-on activities are fantastic and the Dolphin Tales show is practically a Disney musical production.

San Diego Zoo (CA)
There’s so much to see and do at the San Diego Zoo. Plus, the weather is fantastic year-round. Spend time with camels, giraffes and elephants. Get there early for Breakfast with Koalas.

national museum of natural history

Top 5 Science Museums

National Museum of Natural History (DC)
I’m a big fan of the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. They have fantastic exhibits on everything from mammals and dinosaurs to gems and the solar system. Plus, an IMAX theater.

National Air & Space Museum (DC)
Another fabulous museum, get there early to take in a planetarium show, an IMAX movie or to climb aboard a flight simulator. Kids can also play with dozens of gadgets that teach the principles of flight.

Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (IN)
The world’s largest children’s museum, your kids will love exploring five floors of interactive exhibits that cover science, culture, history and the arts. Also, look out for hands-on science labs and a carousel.

Museum of Natural History & Science (OH)
Located in Cincinnati, the Museum of Natural History & Science is one of three museums popular with school-age children that make up Cincinnati Museum Center. Also, look out for OMNIMAX Theatre.

Center of Science & Industry (OH)
Just down the road in Columbus, COSI has so much to offer children from planetarium shows and National Geographic movies to loads of hands-on activities and children’s labs.


Top 5 Tourist Towns

Sanibel (FL)
Consistently rated as a top spot for families, you’ll find beautiful beaches and a nature preserve, as well as plenty of ways to get active outside from biking to snorkeling to shelling.

Gatlinburg (TN)
Just down the road from Pigeon Forge, I imagine we’ll stop in during our summer road trip. The gateway to the Smoky Mountains, you’ll find plenty of family attractions and live entertainment, too.

Savannah (GA)
I spent a long weekend in Savannah in November, and while not kid-friendly in the traditional sense, we found there was a lot to do for kids from trolley and riverboat rides to a stop at Leopold’s for ice cream.

St. Augustine (FL)
It’s been a few years now since we visited St. Augustine, but it’s a great side trip from Orlando. Take a trolley tour, visit the Fountain of Youth and explore the Castillo de San Marcos.

Wisconsin Dells  (WI)
Like waterparks? You’re in luck. Wisconsin Dells is the self-proclaimed Waterpark Capital of the World. You’ll also find ziplines, boat tours, scenic walks and train rides.

For the full list of award winners, head to the FamilyFun website.

Photo Credits: Kimberly Vardeman (San Diego Zoo), BRivey (Henry Doorly Zoo), angela n (National Museum of Natural History) and Jeremy T Hetzel (Sanibel)

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