100 Places That Can Change Your Child's Life: From Your Backyard to the Ends of the Earth

100 Places That Can Change Your Child's Life: From Your Backyard to the Ends of the Earth


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Kids who learn to travel will travel to learn. National Geographic Traveler Editor Keith Bellows sends you and your children globetrotting for life-changing vacations that will expand their horizons and shape their perspectives. What you won't find inside: predictable itineraries and lists of landmarks and events. Instead, you'll get evocative, slice-of-life experiences and age-appropriate ideas that illuminate place and culture.

Each chapter of 100 Places That Can Change Your Child's Life plumbs the heart of a special place-from the Acropolis to Machu Picchu to the Grand Canyon-all from the perspective of insiders who see destinations through a child's eyes. You'll meet actor and travel writer Andrew McCarthy, who tours the suqs of Marrakech with his seven-year-old son; photographer Annie Griffiths, who shares the miraculous migration to Mexico of the monarch butterflies; Tom Ritchie, who has guided countless children and parents to Antarctica for more than 30 years; the waterman who knows where to see the ponies of Assateague in the true wild; and countless others who are cultural treasures, great storytellers, and keepers of a sense of place.

Packed with ideas to supplement the travel experience-foods, music, films, and carefully curated lists of kid-friendly activities and places to eat and stay-this inspiring book is the perfect trip planner to excite children about culture and the unique magic the world has to offer.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781426208591
Publisher: National Geographic
Publication date: 02/05/2013
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 6.88(w) x 8.32(h) x 0.72(d)

About the Author

Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, KEITH BELLOWS has launched 30 magazines, television, and radio properties and has lectured around the world. He is editor-in-chief ofNational Geographic Traveler and project leader of Learning2Go, an innovative program he developed to bring children and parents together around travel as a learning tool. A graduate of Gordonstoun School in Scotland and Dartmouth College, Bellows has appeared regularly onThe Today Show and Good Morning America.

Read an Excerpt

Grand Canyon
Eons in a Rock Sandwich
For too many kids, seeing the Grand Canyon—277 river miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and a mile deep—is just an hour spent staring out over the abyss, posing for photos, and jostling with other tourists for prime viewing spots without ever dipping a single sneaker below the rim.
Yet, below the rim, says botanist and wilderness skills expert Mike Masek, is precisely where kids need to go to begin to appreciate the Grand Canyon’s natural, geologic, and historical wonders.
“The Grand Canyon is not just an object to be seen, it is an experience to relish for a lifetime,” Masek explains. “Each child should spend time hiking below the rim. The immensity of the canyon makes people think big. While this is rewarding, the true nature of the canyon comes alive upon closer inspection.”
Taking a day hike or participating in a ranger-led hiking program gives kids the chance to safely examine little treasures they would miss from the rim, like the fossils in the rock layers, lizards basking in the sun, and desert wildflowers and wild- life, Masek adds.
“As they are walking down the trail, have the kids stop and look back up to see the work that went into building the trail,” he advises. “Point out the transition from one rock layer to the next. Encourage them to think about the different body responses they experience when descending and climbing.”
Both Masek and Flagstaff-based wilderness guide and forester Brad Ball suggest taking the South Kaibab Trail to Cedar Ridge, a three-mile round-trip hike that’s appropriate for kids, yet still offers a 360-degree view of the inside of a canyon.
“What’s unique about this trail is that it follows a ridgeline, while most of the other trails follow fault systems,” says Ball. “This creates these classic panoramic views. Plus, it is         the right length for kids—they could hike down and back up in about three hours—and it’s a maintained trail, so it is moderate by Grand Can- yon standards. Below the rim, the Grand Canyon is a pretty rugged place, so you have to keep that in mind when visiting with kids.”
The iconic Grand Canyon experience is the overnight mule ride down to the Colorado River; riders must be at least four feet seven inches tall and weigh less than 200 pounds. The ride can be physically taxing, especially in the heat of summer.
As an alternative, Ball suggests taking one of the National Park Service–sponsored North Rim one-hour or half-day mule rides designed specifically for kids age seven and up. In addition to being accessible to children, the trips typically are avail- able on the day of arrival, unlike the overnight treks, which can fill up more than a year in advance.
Grand Canyon naturalist guide Jake Slade says the key to making any Grand Canyon visit memorable for kids is choosing activities that match the child’s natural interests.
“The first time I came here I was 12 and I was bored out of my mind,” he recalls. “Now I live here, because as an adult I was able to get down into the canyon and explore. So if your child is interested in science and nature, or loves to hike or ride bikes, or maybe is interested in history or Native American culture, there are resources here to facilitate experiential learning in that area.”
Before you visit, Slade suggests browsing the Grand Canyon Field Institute (GCFI) programs that will be offered during your stay. The GCFI, a non-profit partner of the national park, supports education, the arts, research, and other programs for kids age six and up. The single-day “Meet the Canyon” class can be scheduled in advance and customized to fit a family’s specific interests and fitness levels.
Although Slade agrees that the Grand Can- yon is best experienced below the rim, he encourages parents also to walk with their kids along the Trail of Time, a paved, interpretative South Rim trail starting just west of the Yavapai Geology Museum in the Grand Canyon Village area. The geologic time line leads backward in one-million-year increments toward the oldest rock in Grand Canyon, 1,840 million-year-old Elves Chasm gneiss.
“We humans are pretty egotistical about time, and a long time to us isn’t a long time for the Grand Canyon,” says Slade. “The time line represents 2,000 million years of Earth history, and is a good visual to give kids a better idea of what one million years really means. When kids understand how old these rocks are and how the canyon was made, it all starts to make sense.”
Because summer at the Grand Canyon typically is hot and crowded, wilderness guide Ball suggests a spring (mid-March to mid-April) or fall (mid- September to late October) visit to give kids a cooler, quieter environment for that life-changing initial encounter.
Although most kids can identify the Grand Canyon in a photo, says Masek, no child can begin to understand the place until he or she visits: “No previous experiences can prepare children for the canyon. It really cannot be compared to anything else. The mind quits working in the usual way, and becomes mesmerized, not so much by the thing that is the canyon, but by the experience.”
• Although fossilized reptile footprints are visible on many surfaces throughout the Grand Canyon, no fossilized reptile bones have ever been discovered here.
• The Grand Canyon’s oldest rocks, located at the bottom of its inner gorge, are nearly 1.8 billion years old. That’s more than one-third of the age of the Earth itself.
A Grand Canyon Journey: Tracing Time in Stone by Peter Anderson (1997): This overview of the multibillion-year geological history of the canyon begins by profiling rock layers at the canyon’s rim and continues downward to the valley floor. Interspersed is information about the flora, fauna, and early human inhabitants.
“Hey Ranger!” Kids Ask Questions about Grand Canyon National Park by Kim Williams Justesen (2007): Both educational and entertaining,
this book offers answers to questions children ask rangers at the Grand Canyon every day. Ready-to-color illustrations accompany its text.
Hopi Katcina Songs & Six Songs by Hopi Chanters, produced by Smithsonian Folkways (2010): A collection of songs first recorded by Jesse Walter Fewkes, head of the Bureau of American Ethnology and Archaeology. The tunes were performed at Hopi ceremonial events held during his visits to Hopi reservations.
Music of the Grand Canyon by Nicholas Gunn (1995): Drawing on both New Age and traditional Native American influences, this album’s original compositions feature melodies performed by master flutist Nicholas Gunn, synthesized nature sounds, distant chanting, and tribal rhythms played on electronic percussion.
• Hiking the Grand Canyon, TUA Outdoors: www.tuaoutdoors.com
Using this iPhone app, navigate the Grand Canyon’s network of hiking trails. With maps, trail descriptions, day hike recommendations, and climate and weather information, it eliminates the need to weigh down your backpack with easy-to-crumble paper brochures.
• Kids Can Travel: www.kidscantravel.com
This website offers suggestions for kid- friendly accommodations, restaurants, and hiking and rafting trips.
• National Geographic Kids Grand Canyon Brainteaser: www.kids.nationalgeographic.com
Before your trip, have your kids take the Grand Canyon Brainteaser quiz on this website’s geography games page.
• Grand Canyon Association: www.grandcanyon.org
This not-for-profit organization works to support research and educational programs of the national park; its site has an events listing and park news page that are both worth a visit.

Table of Contents

Foreword 5

Introduction 6

How to Use This Book 9

United States/Canada

Cape Cod 12

Nantucket Island 14

Adirondacks 16

Manhattan 18

Gettysburg 21

Chesapeake Bay 23

District of Columbia 27

Great Smoky Mountains 31

Marco Island 34

Birmingham 37

Sleeping Bear Dunes 40

Chicago 42

Mississippi River 45

Boundary Waters 48

Mount Rushmore 50

Great Sand Dunes 52

Mesa Verde National Park 54

Petrified Forest National Park 56

Grand Canyon 58

Arches National Park 61

Yellowstone National Park 63

Sierra Nevada Parks 66

Big Sur 68

Muir Woods 71

Hawaiian Volcanoes 73

Denali 76

Alaska's Inside Passage 78

Glacier Bay 80

Canadian Rockies 82

Dinosaur Provincial Park 85

Muskoka 87

Saguenay Fjord 89

Lighthouse Route 92

Avalon Peninsula 94

Caribbean/Mexico/South America

El Yunque 98

Old Havana 100

Sea of Cortès 102

Central Highlands 105

Canopy Tours 107

Antigua & Beyond 109

Galápagos 112

Amazon Basin 115

Machu Picchu 118

Rio de Janeiro 120


Iceland's Ring Road 124

West Coast 127

Helsinki 129

St. Petersburg 131

Kraków 133

Vienna 135

Austria's Tyrolean Alps 137

Ljubljana to Bled 140

Athens 142

Amalfi Coast 145

Tuscany 147

Venice 149

Vatican City 151

Rhine Valley 153

Berlin 155

Waterloo 158

Brittany 160

Paris 162

Barcelona 165

St. Ives & Penzance 168

Stonehenge 170

London 172

Edinburgh 175

Loch Ness 178

New Trim to Grange 180

Africa/Middle East

Marrakech 184

Namib Desert 186

Victoria Falls 188

Stone Town 190

Serengeti 192

Pyramids of Giza 195

Petra 198

Jerusalem 200

Cyprus 202

Istanbul 204


Tokyo 208

Kyoto 210

The Steppes 213

The Great Wall 216

Xi'an 219

Chengdu 221

Hong Kong 223

Angkor 227

Chiang Mai 229

Kerala 231

Taj Mahal 234

Galle 236

Trans-Siberian Express 238


Great Barrier Reef 242

Uluru & the Aborigines 245

Tasmania 248

Milford Sound 251

Southern Alps 254

Papua New Guinea 256

Easter Island 259

Antarctica 262

The Travel Dozen 264

Acknowledgments 266

Illustrations Credits 267

Index 268

Customer Reviews