May - June 2011 | Back to Archives

Field Trips?

School's out, but that doesn't mean learning has to stop for the kiddos


Recent research backs up something many traveling families know intuitively: Travel just may be the best education of all. These nine new, fun-packed summer tours and getaways for families - to places near and far - can turn your unsuspecting kids into blossoming experts in everything from American History to Zoology.

Click here for a photo gallery of these journeys.

Tombstone, Ariz.

What you'll discover: Step back into the 1880s at Arizona's newest guest ranch. Apache Spirit Ranch, modeled on a Western town, offers up riding lessons and rides through Cochise Stronghold. When not off exploring the Wild West, the family can take part in Native American workshops (ever wanted to send smoke signals or build a hand drum?), evening campfires, and cowboy sing-alongs.
Booking details: Five-day, all-inclusive stays start at $925 (children under 6 years old stay for free).
More info: 877-404-7262;

Barcelona, Spain
What to expect:
This year, Adventures by Disney has made the Med more educational by bundling cruises with land-based mini-adventures. Before setting sail on your Disney cruise (, you and the kiddos can spend four days exploring Barcelona's incredible architecture with tours of La Sagrada Família basilica; Montserrat, a Benedictine monk retreat embedded in the mountainside; and Pueblo Español, a Spanish village built for the 1929 International Exhibition.
Booking details: Add a four-day city tour to cruises that depart June 15 and 26; July 6 and 17; and Aug. 10, 17, and 24. Add-on costs $1,799 for adults; $1,619 for children ages 4-11.
More info: 888-272-0571;

Lesson plan:
Discover marble papering, try your hand at Turkish rug weaving, and learn about making baklava from a master when you book Turkey: A Cultural Adventure, an Istanbul-based trip with the well-regarded Abercrombie & Kent. The kids will love the cool factor of sleeping in a cave-hotel and shopping in a Turkish bazaar, while you'll enjoy floating down the Bosphorus and visiting the stunning Terrace Houses in Ephesus. Other highlights include exploring the underground city of Kaymakli and an optional hot-air ballooning excursion over the ancient landscape.
Booking details: Eleven-day tours begin June 17 and July 15. Starting at $6,310; from $2,500 for children under 12.
More info: 800-554-7016;

Lesson plan:
You could say that Classic Journeys' newest Bryce, Zion, and Grand Canyon Family Journey rocks. The itinerary includes mountain biking through Bryce's red-rock canyons, hunting for fossils, traveling by mule deep into the Grand Canyon, and boogie-boarding down sand dunes at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. Local guides will explain the region's geology, geography, and history in this high-energy adventure.
Booking details: Six-day tours depart July 3 and 31 (flexible departure dates also are available). $2,795 for adults; discounts start at $250 for children up to age 16.
More info: 800-200-3887;

Haida Gwaii, British Columbia
What you'll discover:
Humpback whales and ancient villages are just the beginning when it comes to Maple Leaf Adventures' new family trips to Haida Gwaii. Sail a 92-foot schooner through the archipelago of islands that have been called "Canada's Galapagos" and idle away the long summer days exploring tide pools, hiking through rain forests, and marveling at towering totem poles. All while learning about the thriving native culture that has called Haida Gwaii home since at least the last Ice Age.
Booking details: Nine-day voyages depart July 30 and Aug. 8. $37,225 for six to eight passengers; includes gourmet meals and beverages, shore excursions, instruction, and gear.
More info: 250-386-7245;

Patricia, Alberta
What to expect:
New this summer, Dinosaur Provincial Park adds luxury camping units sporting private riverfront views. In a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, kids 14 and older can work with an experienced paleontological technician, learning how to excavate dinosaurs never before seen by human eyes. Younger kids also can get their hands dirty while learning about fossils at the new half-day camp.
Booking details: Comfort Camping Units, available beginning in August, cost $100 per night; two-day digs start at $500 per person.
More info: 403-378-4344;

Lesson plan:
On the Lewis & Clark Expedition, which is both a history tour and an adventure, you and the kids will run rapids, visit historic sites, and hike through limber pines while canoeing along the same trail taken by the two famous explorers. Award-winning ROW Adventures recently pinpointed the expedition's Eagle Creek campsite, and this summer's new itinerary will include an in-depth exploration of that area, as well as hiking through a newly discovered slot canyon.
Booking details: Five-day trips depart June 27 and July 4, 19, and 26. $1,435 for adults, $1,245 children under 17; includes safari-style camps each evening.
More info: 800-451-6034;

New York City
What to expect:
Tauck Bridges, one of the leaders in guided travel, just added an intimate insider's view of New York to its offerings. Family Fun in the Big Apple delivers the city in kid-size bites - with informative stops at Ellis Island, the American Museum of Natural History, and Chinatown, as well as oh-so-New-York meals at the Carnegie Deli and in Little Italy. Highlights include a behind-the-scenes visit to Broadway followed by a theater performance.
Booking details: Six-day all-inclusive trips begin June 26; July 3, 17, and 24; Aug. 7, 14, and 28; and Dec. 22. Starting at $2,765 ($100 discounts for children 12 and under).
More info: 800-788-7885;

Costa Rica
Lesson plan:
Beaches, volcanoes, and jungles are the backdrop for Conserving Costa Rica, a luxury volunteer vacation with Hands Up Holidays. Learn about the workings of a coffee plantation, discover the coastal wetland jungles, and raft down the wet-and-wild Pacuare River - all the while getting good glimpses of Costa Rica's incredible wildlife. Highlights include assisting at an animal rescue center (think kinkajous, macaws, monkeys, peccaries, and sloths) and, for added cost, working with a biologist at the jaguar preserve at the Pacuare Lodge (
Booking details: 14-day trips start at $3,490 (15 percent discount for kids under age 10) and can be tailor-made for your family.
More info: 201-984-5372;

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