Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Ten Places to See Before You're Ten

Travel and Leisure magazine has produced a list of ten places kids should see before they are ten. Having both children and a love of travel, this kind of list is right up my alley. (If an alley is a geographical entity, have I mixed my metaphors? Care.)

Here's the list:

1. The American Visionary Museum, Baltimore
2. Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia
3. Ellis Island, New York
4. Niagara Falls, New York
5. The Sears Tower, Chicago
6. The Grand Canyon
7. Disneyland, Anaheim, California
8. Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles
9. Muir Woods, Marin County California
10. Monterey Aquarium, Monterey California

One nice thing about this list is that it could be done in two family vacations. One to the west coast for the Grand Canyon and all points California, and the rest on a loop south to Virginia up through Baltimore, over to Niagara and home to Wisconsin through Chicago.

One bad thing about this list is that with the exception of the Sears Tower in Chicago, and sort of Niagara Falls it completely ignores us here in 'flyover country'.

The other place I'd have put on this list is Any Foreign Country. Any. My kids' passports show pictures of little babies, which cracks up the much older and wiser 5 and 7 year old travelers. Foreign travel teaches kids that America is not the center of the universe. They will meet people who don't share the same cultural values, for good or for ill. It opens up their thinking in ways that travel within the United States can't.

George Bush and Sarah Palin didn't do any foreign travel until they were in their 40's. Barack Obama traveled all over the world before he was ten. Just sayin.

So what are your suggestions for places my kids should see before they are ten? I'm just wondering.


Anonymous said...

Oh, boy, have we failed our kids.

The best trip (well, the only vacation actually) we ever took was to DC. It's a great place for families. Lots of free stuff to do and most of educational and fun.

Fran said...

DCup and Mathman have not failed the children- just not yet left the country! Hardly a failing unless it is done willfully - a la Palin and Bush.

Hmmm- I think that pretty much anywhere that is not here is a good start.

One great gift of going abroad is the sense of history that we just can't get here.

And you are so right about how this is not the center of the universe... and so much less so now.

Well I would always offer up simple trips, although not cheap these days, like London. So much history and a lot of fun and easy enough to do.

But really anywhere - anywhere that can open a mind and a heart is a good thing.

I just asked my 12yo stepdaughter about her travels... She went to Germany and Switzerland with her mom and stepfather last year. She said she liked the mountains and the food and that everything was "kinda different and cool" from here.

The Cunning Runt said...

I'd say an American Indian reservation in the desert Southwest, which made more of an impression on my adolescent psyche than the adjacent Grand Canyon.

Jess Wundrun said...

dcup no, you have not failed your kids. Just through your family they've seen all different parts of the country. Plus, they don't need to leave the house to be open-minded - they have you and mathman to spar with!

franiam Your stepdaughter should get a job with the Cliffnotes people!

cunningrunt Now that you mention it, getting lost near Cabrini Green did alot more for me than the visit to the Sear's Tower!

Dr. Zaius said...

I've been to Disneyland, and I went on all of the rides, including "It's a Small World". That proves that I have foreign policy experience!

Claire said...

I'd add DC to the list, they should see the Capitol Building, White House, and Supreme Court. I'd also add any beach destination so that they see the ocean, and Colonial Williamsburg could be replaced by Boston or Philadelphia.

Comrade Kevin said...

Northern New Mexico, particularly Taos.

dguzman said...

I agree with Runt that a reservation would be a far more impressive experience for the li'l Wundruns. Even a nature lover like me was kinda bored at the Grand Canyon when I was a kid; I wanted to see the Indians.

Also--yo, where's the birding, man? Either Pittsburgh's National Aviary OR the Everglades would work for this.

Splotchy said...

I went to the the St. Louis Arch as a kid, though I don't remember it very well. It's sort of a Sears Tower thing to do, I suppose.

I think Millenium Park in Chicago would probably be more enjoyable/memorable to visit with children, but it's not iconic as the Sears Tower (not yet, at least).

Hey, shoot me an email at the address listed on my profile. I have a comix story idea for you, wanted to see if you would be interesting in drawing it.

Dean Wormer said...

D.C. isn't on that list.

It should be #1.

The Smithsonian. The Washington Monument. Arlington. The White House.

Kids should see all that stuff imho.

Randal Graves said...

Bah with all your 'real world' history crap.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio!