by Erin Gifford
Guided sightseeing tours are a great way for you and your kids to get your bearings in a new city before taking off on foot. If you can, look at the route ahead of time and make note of attractions, historical sites and museums you want to spend more time exploring after the guided tour.
Look for tours that will engage your kids and keep them entertained while learning. Also, try to stick with tours that last no more than 60 or 90 minutes. We all know that kids have limited attention spans and will be ready to finish the tour before you are. Here are four great tour ideas for kids.
- Kid-Focused Guided Tours
It’s absolutely worth it to pay extra for a sightseeing tour that caters to children. Many use props, maps and costumes to keep children engaged and entertained. Context Travel offers a number of family programs in cities around the world, including Rome, New York and Tokyo. Many of these tours feature hands-on activities, like scavenger hunts.
You’ll also find many tour companies that offer private family tours in just one city, like Paris Muse, which offers engaging family walks and museum quests. The guides constantly engage children, asking them questions to encourage them to think about what they are seeing. Another to check out is French Quartour Kids in New Orleans, which offers guided walk tours in New Orleans for children as young as four.
- Bike Tours
Nearly every major city offers sightseeing bike tours. Check out Bike and Roll in Washington, DC for daytime and nighttime guided tours of the city. They even offer children’s bikes, tandem bikes and bike trailers for small children. Alternatively, rent a bike on your own and explore a city like New York. There are loads of Citi Bike locations around town with bikes available for rent.
Bike tours aren’t limited to big cities. Sign up for an easy cycling tour of the Everglades with Naples Bicycle Tours in Southwest Florida. Ride among rare and endangered plants, like native orchids and towering palms. Keep your eyes open and you may also spot diverse animals, such as minks and otters, even Florida panthers. It’s a fun and active way for kids to see the local flora and fauna.
- Open-Air Trolley Tours
Take a 90-minute hop-on, hop-off trolley tour with Old Town Trolley Tours, which offers sightseeing tours in many cities around the country, including Boston, Savannah and Key West. Even better, book a tour through a travel resource, like CityDiscovery, at a pretty good discount. This is always a bonus when traveling as a family and you need to purchase multiple tickets.
Guides with Old Town Trolley Tours are very knowledgeable and it’s a nice way to take a break and learn about the history and landmarks of a new city. Another great option is an open-air double decker bus, like those offered through StarLine Tours in California. Look for multiple routes enabling you and your family to see and explore different areas of town during your visit.
- Factory Tours
Factory tours are a fun way for you and your kids to learn how favorite foods and products they use everyday are made. Check out include Hershey’s Chocolate World in Hershey, PA, which recently unveiled a reimagined chocolate-making tour to include a live host and the meet and greets with Hershey product characters (and don’t forget to go to ride the rides at Hersheypark next door).
Or, head to York, PA, which is known for its factory tours, including Synder’s and Utz, even Harley-Davidson. In fact, there are so many factories to explore that York hosts Made in America Days every June to allow visitors to see how everything from violins to pretzels to bath fizzies are made. Such a fun idea.
(Photo Credit: Family tours article)
Erin Gifford is a Washington, D.C.-based travel writer and founder of Kidventurous, an award-winning family travel resource. Her writing can also be found on TravelChannel.com, TravelAge West and Fodors.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Kidventurous, connect with her on Facebook or get the latest tips and tricks for traveling families at http://www.kidventurous.com.