You want your family vacation to be fun, but it would be nice if your kids could also learn during the trip. If you choose a destination with an extensive, well-preserved history, your family will experience the nation’s past first-hand. More importantly, your children will come home with a deeper understanding of their country’s history and identity.
Walk the trail in Boston, Massachusetts
Boston’s history is literally painted on its streets. The city has created the Freedom Trail, a historic self-guided walking tour indicated by a red line or red bricks in the street. The trail takes visitors from one historic location to the next. Stops include the site of the Boston Massacre, Faneuil Hall and Paul Revere’s house. If you choose to walk the trail, be mindful that sites aren’t always where you expect them to be; one famous marker is on a street median! Your children will have a great time following the trail and hunting for the metal seals that mark historic places.
Take flight in Washington D.C.
The most iconic historic destination in the nation, Washington D.C. is home to hundreds of monuments, museums and galleries. Famous monuments include the Lincoln Memorial, The Martin Luther King Memorial, and the Washington Monument. The Smithsonian collection, which is divided into 15 separate museums, is the most well-known of these generally kid-friendly museums and attractions. Your children will have a blast at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, which includes 23 galleries and such famous aircraft as the original Wright 1903 Flyer and The Spirit of St. Louis. For the child who longs to touch the stars, the museum displays the Space Shuttle Discovery. Flight captures the imagination, and its history will certainly engage your kids.
Re-live history in Oklahoma
A historical gem, Oklahoma has a diverse past and boasts festivals and monuments designed to bring that history to life. At Oklahoma City’s Red Earth Festival, held every June, you can see hundreds of American Indian artisans and performers. Thirty-nine American Indian tribes, including the Chickasaw Nation, the Cherokee Nation and the Delaware Tribe, are headquartered in Oklahoma, and their history is deeply imprinted on the state. The Chickasaw Nation has built a modern, kid-friendly cultural center in Sulphur, Oklahoma; after a visit to this center, your children will return home with a more complete understanding of Native American culture and of America’s deepest roots.
Of course, Oklahoma’s history also extends to America’s most deadly war, the Civil War. The state is home to 39 Civil War landmarks. You may even want to stop by one of Oklahoma’s many historical festivals and re-enactments. The Battle of Round Mountain Re-enactment recreates the first Civil War battle in Indian Territory. Children will be fascinated as history repeats itself right in front of them.
Travel and learn together
With planning and a carefully-chosen destination, your family’s vacation doesn’t have to stop at mere fun. Your kids can learn about history through engaging activities like exploring the Freedom Trail or watching Native American performers. In Boston, Washington D.C. and Oklahoma, the past isn’t locked into the pages of a book; history is living and breathing every day.