Make firelies, Lego or even Paul Bunyan the center of your next trip for unexpected fun.
Fun comes in unexpected ways. If you need a change from the usual camping trip or city scene, check out these trips with a twist.
Build something aboard an MSC Cruise ship
Kids of every age group can join in a Lego Experience Day while sailing through the Caribbean or the Mediterranean, or between destinations in South America. From playpen action for those under 3 to building challenges for older kids, construction has never been more fun. Kids can compete to build vertical structures up a specially created wall or tap their creative resources to create masterpieces.
Participants end the day as certified Junior Master Builders. New ships, debuting in 2017, will feature specially designed and expanded play areas developed in cooperation with the LEGO group.
Soak in historic Colorado hot springs
In aptly named Steamboat Springs, Colo., more than 150 geothermal bubbling springs soothe tired muscles after a long hike or a day of skiing. The centrally located Old Town Hot Springs offers swimming pools, a fitness center and a waterslide for kids.
Just 7 miles from town, the Strawberry Park Hot Springs offers a unique experience, with hand-built stone pools of varying temperatures, tepee changing rooms and a natural environment. Children are welcome during the day.
New this year, Steamboat and four other premier hot-springs destinations in the western part of the state — Chaffee County, Pagosa Springs, Ouray County and Glenwood Springs — have partnered to form the Colorado Historic Hot Springs Loop. Via this 720-mile road trip adventure, you’ll be introduced to 19 facilities offering unique features including vapor caves, hot pots and travertine formations.
Bond with Bunyan Lovers in Eagle River, Wis.
Find out why Paul Bunyan continues to be a big deal during the annual Paul Bunyan Fest honoring the super-size lumberjack. Expect more than 80 arts and crafts booths, live music, chainsaw demonstrations and heaping helpings of food fit for hungry folks at the Paul Bunyan Fest. Work off the oversized eats with a hike, bike tour, kayak outing or fishing. The event is held in August each year.
Focus on fireflies in Bucks County, Pa.
Board the Firefly Express and let lightning bugs light up your night. Families relish a narration of Eric Carle’s “The Very Lonely Firefly” along with other themed activities during the open-air train ride.
By day, float down the Delaware River, ride bikes on the Delaware canal path or indulge your toddlers with a day at Sesame Place. Stroll through Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve or learn about the state’s founder, William Penn, at his original plantation, Pennsbury Manor.
Pick your own locally grown treats at Shady Brook Farm or take advantage of Food Truck Thursdays to sample regional fare.
Experience the outdoors from inside in Memphis, Tenn.
Enter a 32-story steel pyramid, set on the banks of the Mississippi River, and explore a cypress swamp complete with 100-foot cypress trees, an 84,000-gallon alligator habitat, water features and aquariums with more than 1,800 fish at Big Cypress Lodge. Learn about the history of waterfowl and wetlands conservation, visit the archery range or check out the ocean-themed bowling alley.
Take the country’s tallest free-standing elevator to the Lookout, where you can savor 360-degree views of the Mississippi and the Memphis skyline from an observation deck or enjoy Southern comfort food in the restaurant. Stay in themed lodge rooms, where you’ll wake up in the morning not sure whether you are still in Memphis.