Classes have ended, textbooks have been buried under beds, and the kids are itching for an adventure! While your idea of a good time might involve sipping frozen margaritas on the patio with your feet up, the little ones won’t want to sit with their coloring books for long. Luckily for you overworked parents out there, we’ve done the research for you! No matter what your budget is or which cities are on your bucket list, we’ve got the perfect family-friendly activities to add to your list.

1.) New York City

dinosaur skeleton


Even the most jaded New Yorker would have a hard time not watching in wonder as stars dance across a dome-shaped screen at the American Museum of Natural History’s Dark Universe space show. Plus, kiddos will love to see their favorite attractions from Night at the Museum up close. From dinosaurs that stand intimidatingly tall to Life at the Limits’ lidless axolotls and rainbow-hued mantis shrimps, there’s more than enough to keep young ones entertained.

Once you’re done, fall down the rabbit hole at Alice’s Tea Cup, located mere blocks away from the museum. While grownups can nosh on a wide selection of scrumptious sandwiches and scones, little ones can indulge in a specialized Menu for the Small. You might not be able to tip your cap to the Mad Hatter, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have a tea party to remember!

 2.) Orlando



Teeming with over 5,000 aquatic animals like clownfish, seahorses, and turtles, the Sea Life Orlando Aquarium is the perfect place to take the little ones. And just last month, the aquarium introduced 192,000 gallons of sandbar shark-inhabited waters to their display habitat. From floor-to-ceiling windows to walk through tunnels, kids will be immersed in an interactive, educational experience. They’ll walk away with a greater understanding of the incredible life forms just below the surface of our oceans – without having to comb through another textbook!

Once the little ones have made a few fabulous new fins, they’ll enjoy hard-earned brick oven pizzas and a selection of street tacos from Café Tu Tu Tango, a color-soaked, art-filled, unforgettable experience. Budding Picassos will be entertained by dancers and painters creating art right in the restaurant while adults sip on fine wines and fruity sangrias. Cheers to art!

3.) San Francisco

Stephen Coburn/Shutterstock

Stephen Coburn/Shutterstock

Back in pre-Nintendo times, arcade games like whack-a-mole, pinball, and skeeball kept kids entertained for hours on end. At the Musée Mécanique, your young ones will have the chance to experience the games of yore – the 19th and 20th century, to be exact. Whether she challenges the mechanical arm wrestler or he tries his hand at the magic typewriter, there are enough games to keep even the pickiest kid entertained.

Once you’ve lead the kids to victory, watch the sun set and the city light up during a family-friendly evening bike tour. You’ll ride across piers, fields, and past major attractions like the Golden Gate Bridge, Aquatic Park, and Fort Mason. Who said vacations had to be sugar-filled and sedentary?

4.) Dallas

 Michelle D. Milliman/Shutterstock

Michelle D. Milliman/Shutterstock

The circus is in town, and this time, your young one is a featured performer (not exactly, but s/he’ll feel like one!). At the Skyline Trapeze, kids eight and up can glide through the air and learn special tricks like a real trapeze artist, while kids as young as two can participate in trial swings.

After you’ve reached new heights on the trapeze, go ahead and get your fill of theater! Dubbed “one of the top 5 theaters for children in the country” by Time magazine, the Dallas Children’s Theater features an award-winning lineup of kid-friendly shows. From now through July 12, 2015, children five and up can delve into the magical world of Flat Stanley in DCT’s National Touring Production’s The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley. This might be the one piece of theater where you don’t hear the words, “Mom, I’m bored. Can we go home now?”

These four cities are teeming with kid-friendly attractions that children and adults alike will love! Are you planning to hit New York, Orlando, San Francisco, or Dallas this summer? Are there any other cities or attractions we should know about? Tell us in the comments below!

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About The Author

Diana is a content writer for CheapOair and OneTravel. She moonlights as a magical girl.