1. Renaissance Festival
If you like history, delicious food, reenactments and costumes galore, the renaissance festival is for you. Tickets run about $14 per person, though coupons and discounted rates are frequently available. Children under 12 get in free on “kid’s weekend,” which is usually the opening weekend of the festival.
Families enjoy the renaissance festival because it is an outdoor fair. There is no need to worry about spills, crying babies, or boredom. In addition to traditional renaissance period food and drinks, the fair also offers a variety of games and children’s activities, including ring toss games, a dunk tank, and a giant slide. The renaissance festival also offers animal rides, such as ponies or elephants.
Renaissance festivals offer a variety of shows for all ages, including juggling, ballet, theatrical performances, and live music.
When the weather is sunny, pack a picnic lunch and head off to your local zoo. Children will enjoy walking around and learning about different types of animals, while parents will enjoy the scenery and wildlife. Some zoos offer special petting zoos for younger children that include zookeepers who teach brief classes each day about pet and animal care. Petting zoos usually feature a variety of small farm animals, such as goats and lambs, that are child-friendly and comfortable being pet.
Zoos also feature snack stands or dining areas where families can eat picnic lunches or purchase a meal. Some zoos offer other child friendly attractions. The San Francisco zoo, for example, offers a brief train ride that enables children to see the entirety of the zoo from the comfort and excitement of a locomotive. Most zoos have a daily schedule of special events that families can stop and watch, such as animal feedings or training periods.
Some zoos offer free admittance, while others charge a fee for entrance.
3. Children’s Museum
If your children are full of energy, creative, and easily excitable, visit a nearby children’s museum for an afternoon. Children’s museums vary in size and type, and range from small, single activity rooms, to multi-level buildings full of excitement for all ages.
Children’s museums are designed for children of all ages and feature interactive, learning based activities. MY Museum of Monterey County, for example, offers an agricultural exhibit where children can experiment by “planting” corn and strawberries, then harvesting the plants. Port Discovery of Baltimore, on the other hand, offers a giant climbing maze for older children and a small, toddler-friendly room for younger kids. Port Discovery also offers a variety of knowledge exhibits, such as a time traveler, ancient Egypt, and mystery room.