Lesson in Fun

Photo of a group of children having fun during cooking class with a chef

This summer take the family off the beaten path and check out some great locations and activities that you can do together as a family. Take a look at some of these great ideas to keep those inquiring minds engaged.

One of the best places to learn about American history is Boston, Massachusetts. The Freedom Trail and Boston National Historical Park are free educational destinations where you can plan ahead for tours; see The Kids Guide to Boston for other sightseeing ideas whether you’re with little ones or college hunting teens. Philadelphia is another great city for history. Independence National Park is a spread out urban ‘park’ that conserves Independence Hall (where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were debated) as well as the Liberty Bell, Betsy Ross’ house and more; there are several free tours scheduled on weekends. Philly is popular with teens, too, and both cities have great local cafes for stops between the history lessons.

Every family will probably visit at least one museum this summer, so let’s show our kids the ways women have contributed and made a difference in our history. If you are visiting Jamestown Settlement in Virginia’s Historic Triangle, for example, highlight the real story of Pocahontas, who helped ferry food to the starving English settlers in Jamestown and was considered a sign of peace for helping John Smith avoid execution. In New York’s Hudson Valley, you can visit Eleanor Roosevelt’s house Val-Kil, the only National Historic Site dedicated to a first lady. It’s located on the estate that was the home of Franklin D. Roosevelt in Hyde Park, N.Y. The Georgia O’Keefe Museum in Santa Fe, N.M., showcases not only one of the most significant artists of the 20th century, but also offers insight into the way she used the world around her to inspire her work.

2018 marks the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination, a time to revisit that momentous event. Museums and historic sites around the country are putting the civil rights struggle in context for 21st century kids, from the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC to the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Kansas. In Alabama, visit the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail, the Birmingham Civil Rights and the Freedom Riders National Monuments, and Montgomery’s new Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice commemorating slave history. In Jackson, Mississippi, the new Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, the first state-funded civil rights museum, has won high marks for honestly telling the story of the struggle for civil rights and the continuing efforts today. It offers interactive exhibits and stories from people who fought for civil rights in Mississippi.

Food tours are a great way to introduce kids to a new culture whether you are in Athens, San Francisco (try Wok Wiz Chinatown Walking Tours) or London. Whether you have a child that enjoys decorating sugar cookies or you are an adult trying to perfect your coq au vin, odds are there is also a local cooking class at your travel destination. Sites like Cozymeal.com pair local chefs with visitors who want to learn how to prepare dishes. For authentically Italian pizza, check out the family-friendly cooking tours in Italy by Cooking-Vacations and those in Paris with La Cuisine Paris. Here are five ways to make food a fun part of vacation.
COLLEGE TOURING Leave the little ones behind and opt for some one-on-one time with your high school junior or senior. Stay in a B&B near the campus you want to tour so you can collect some intel from locals. Try not to cram too many schools into one trip and check out resources like GoSeeCampus.com, a free website offering an online college trip planner for high school students and parents.

We would be remiss not to mention one of the most profound experiences you can have and that is taking your family to the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust (LAMOTH). The museum has a two-fold mission that has remained constant since its inception in 1961: commemoration and education.
Commemoration-LAMOTH dedicates itself as a primary source institution, one that commemorates those who perished and honors those who survived by housing the precious artifacts that miraculously weathered the Holocaust.
Education- LAMOTH provides free Holocaust education to the public, particularly students from underfunded schools and underserved communities. We are committed to providing opportunities for dialogue with Holocaust Survivors, who are the living embodiment of history.
No matter what excurison, day trip or longer vacation you may plan. The fact that you are learning together as a family… well that is something that can’t be beat.



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