7 Incredible Destinations for Kids: Part 2 – The Americas

Live like cowboys and wranglers for a week, be an astronaut for a day or channel your inner Tarzan in the treetops of the jungle - Part 2 of our series on amazing holiday destinations for kids looks at some of the best the Americas have to offer.

This is Part 2 of our series on amazing holiday destinations for kids. Click here for Part 1 – Europe.

America swells with kid-tastic attractions, and we’re not just talking about mega thrill rides and water slides. Here are seven destinations in North and South America offering something extra special for young’uns.

1. Dinosaur Valley State Park, Texas


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Some of the best preserved dinosaur tracks in the world can be found in Dinosaur Valley State Park. Rangers lead tours through the Paluxy riverbed, where you can wade right up to giant footprints made by duck-billed dinos, three-toed carnivores and brontosaurus sorts. Then take a swim in the Blue Hole upstream, where more tracks line the ledge.

More info: www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/dinosaur-valley

2. Bioluminescent Bay, Fajardo, Puerto Rico


Glow-in-the-dark plankton light up the water like magic. Book a guided kayak excursion, and aim for the first tour of the evening so you can still spot tree frogs and iguanas lounging on the branches as you paddle through mangrove tunnels. Then wait for nature’s light show in the lagoon. Fish flash by like tiny lightning bolts, and the water sparkles like fairy dust every time you move your paddle.

More info: www.seepuertorico.com

3. Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida


Image by Stig Nygaard

Experience what it's like to rocket into space on the Shuttle Launch Experience flight simulator. Also take tours of mission control, have lunch with an astronaut and even train with one, preparing for g-forces and a mock journey to the International Space Station.

More info: www.kennedyspacecenter.com

4. Cloud forest of Monteverde, Costa Rica


Image by ClifB

A dream come true for budding zoologists. A walk along the treetop suspension bridges of Monteverde might include an encounter with a family of monkeys, toucans, hummingbirds, parrots or more. Also take a look at some of the many “tree house hotel” options for a really special stay.

More info: www.anywherecostarica.com/destinations/monteverde

5. Niagara Falls, New York & Ontario


Image by Artur Staszewski

Don’t underestimate the thrill of standing mere feet away from over a million bathtubs of water roaring into a void below, with vast plumes of spray boiling up hundreds of meters into the air. By day you'll see rainbows; at night the falls are dramatically lit, and there are often fireworks too! Book the Cave of the Winds tour. After changing into complimentary sandals and riding a lift 175 feet down into the Niagara Gorge, you'll stand on the Hurricane Deck, where you'll be drenched by the tropical-storm-like spray from the 180-foot Bridal Veil Falls

More info: www.niagara-usa.com, www.niagarafallstourism.com

6. Redwood National & State Parks, California


Home to the tallest, most majestic trees on earth. Amble through Lady Bird Johnson Grove, a mossy fern-covered wilderness of sky-high redwood trees, some of them 2,000 years old (kids can crawl through the hollow ones). Also keep an eye out for Roosevelt elk grazing in Elk Meadow. There are coastal trails too: discover star fish and anemones with guided tidepool walks.

More info: www.nps.gov/redw/index.htm

7. Dude Ranches, Rocky Mountains, Montana


A ranch holiday is a great family option. Live like cowboys and wranglers for a week or so in the Rocky Mountains, riding trails, herding cattle, fishing for trout and falling for the vast, wide open terrain. Many ranches cater for all riding abilities, and offer other activities if you don't take to it straight away. While you’re there, go on a ghost-town tour of abandoned mining communities – spooky, and you might even find some neglected sapphires.

More info: www.montanadra.com, www.americanroundup.com/usa/montana

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