From going on a llama hike up a mountain to learning about space or the marine life, these learning vacations are amazing options for an alternative summer vacation everyone in the family will enjoy, including the grandparents.
By Jan Ross
Budding astronauts at Space Camp at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center (Courtesy Space Camp)
Summer family vacations are definitely about fun, but there’s no reason why those trips can’t incorporate a little learning at the same time. Plan a trip that will be interesting for all the different ages in your family and, for a better learning experience, spend time talking about the trip and the activities before you go. Reading books together and watching movies about the location and activities would be especially helpful. Check out these interesting locations for a family vacation you will be talking about for years.
Take a llama hike at the High Hampton Inn with kids. Llamas might be the last thing you would expect to see at this family friendly resort in the mountains of Cashiers in North Carolina, but they have been charming visitors for several years now and our grandson loved interacting with them. Schedule a llama hike for your entire family and spend an afternoon with these gentle and interesting animals. As you stroll around the beautiful grounds of the resort and hike up Rock Mountain and the Cherokee Campground leading your llama, your guides will tell you all about llama behavior and how they came to partner with the High Hampton Inn on this fun and educational activity.
Become a budding astronaut at Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. Our kids loved visiting this location years ago and anyone who is interested in space will love Family Camp with kids. The weekend will be a great experience where everyone will spend days testing out flight simulators, learning to build rockets, monitoring mock shuttle launches, and learning what it is like to fly through space with no gravity. Not only a wonderful and fun family vacation, this experience gives kids an introduction to science, technology, engineering, and math. Meals and lodging are included and this is truly and out-of-the-world experience!
Teach the kids how to play golf at Crystal Mountain. (Courtesy Crystal Mountain)
Learn to play golf at kid-friendly Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville, Michigan. Crystal Mountain’s Youth Golf Academy programs have been recognized by Golf Magazine as one of the Top 25 Golf Schools in America. But if you are interested in lessons for beginners, the resort also offers 2 Day Mini-Camps where kids can learn the fundamentals of the game and family golf nights where families can participate in an open clinic, play with appropriate tees for all levels, and then enjoy hot dogs and chips for a family-friendly lunch.
Sea Turtle release at Wild Dunes Resort (Courtesy Wild Dunes Resort)
Learn about Marine Biology at the Wild Dunes Resort. Amenities for kids abound at this wonderful beach resort hidden away on the Isle of Palms in South Carolina, so hop on a pontoon boat for Marine Biology Youth Day for a day of adventure. Spend the day learning all about the marine creatures in the area. Watch the friendly dolphins, explore the area, go crabbing, catch some animals to put in the touch tank and learn about, and collect a variety of seashells.
(MORE: Educational Benefits of Traveling With Young Kids)
Cooking class at the Savory Spoon Cooking School (Courtesy Savory Spoon Cooking School)
Cooking Classes at the Savory Spoon Cooking School in Door County, Wisconsin. For kids 7 – 13, this class would be great for those budding chefs! Kids meet at Hidden Acres Farm to tour, taste, and harvest organic produce. Then they will head to the Savory Spoon to learn how to prepare and enjoy their fresh veggies for lunch. Students will learn about organic farming practices, basic knife skills, kitchen safety and cooking techniques, and everyone will leave with some wholesome, healthy recipes.
A summer family vacation is a great time to relax and learn a little something at the same time. Make your plans today!
Jan Ross contributed this to MiniTime. She writes for a variety of venues, both print and online, and often travels with her photographer husband.