Friday, October 16, 2009

Frommer's 500 Places to Take Your Kids Before They Grow Up

Are we there yet?” It’s the refrain that’s been echoed in countless cars and trains as parents shuttle their restless children on the perennial family vacation. But Frommer’s® 500 Places To Take Your Kids Before They Grow Up, second edition (Wiley; September 2009; $19.99 paper) by Holly Hughes reveals how traveling with children can be as exciting as scaling Mount Kilimanjaro. In fact, exploring “Africa’s Great White Mountain” happens to be one trip this book shows you how to do with your kids in tow. This second edition has 10 percent more international destinations than the first edition and an entire chapter devoted to fun sports locations, from the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY to Olympia in Greece.

Whether you discover an old favorite to visit in a new way, or come across an idea so fresh you need an atlas to pinpoint your destination, every listing is accompanied by helpful family-friendly lodging recommendations, contact information, and other suggestions that will make the planning of your expedition as smooth and informed as your vacationing. Here, the author of the book (also a mother to three children) shares a few more tips she picked up while traveling to many of the book’s destinations:
  • Do your homework before you go, and make your kids do theirs, too! What’s the fun of visiting California’s Pinnacles National Monument if you don’t know about the geology that formed it? Getting the scoop on the sights you’re seeing makes them more fun for you, and brings them to life for your kids. So encourage them to get familiar with their destination beforehand—have them read “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” before they see Beatrix Potter’s cottage in England’s Lake District, for example—and they’ll be that much more engaged in the vacation.

  • Follow your child’s lead. If your children are history buffs, they’re not going to jump for joy when you announce the next family vacation is whale-watching in Quebec. That’s why this guide is organized by category—if touring Paris’s sewers was a hit this year, you can revisit that chapter to find out how you can explore the catacombs of Rome next time.

  • Some things are better left unseen. Leaving something for next time is the smart choice if your kids are bored, hungry or tired (or all three). The book outlines shortcut strategies to accommodate kids’ abbreviated attention spans. Visiting the Prado in Madrid? Bring this guide’s shortlist of the paintings that are sure to entrance your children. Trekking Yosemite National Park? Bypass the crowds for a quiet mountain meadow instead that you and your family can experience without any flashing cameras, save your own.

  • Sit down and stay awhile. Maybe it’s the Chaucerian atmosphere of Canterbury, England, that fascinates your kids long after you finished touring the cathedral. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, may look like little more than farmland to you, but to your kids who are studying the Civil War, it may represent one of the most dramatic moments in American history. Whatever it is that enthralls them, slow down and let them drink it in. To help you figure out how to pique your children’s interest, this guide pinpoints those special moments that your kids will remember.

  • When in Rome… Or the Bronx. Or South Dakota. Wherever you are, experience the location as the locals do, whether that means taking in a Cape Cod League amateur baseball game or ambling through local churches in Venice. This book shows you how to do it.

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