Mid-West

Mall of America's Most Amazing Attractions for Kids of All Ages

Mall of America, located in the heart of the American Midwest in Bloomington, Minnesota, is nothing short of an indoor entertainment epicenter for kids. Sure, it has over 500 stores, but there’s way more to do than just go shopping at the country's largest mall (so big that it requires its own zip code: 55425).

From Chicago’s iconic Willis Tower to the Harley Davidson museum in Milwaukee, the Midwest is full of fun, interesting, and educational things that kids and their parents will love. Mall of America might possess a more commercial feel than some of the area's other travel destinations, but it also likely offers the most entertainment per square foot (5.4 million square feet to be exact) with some of the most popular kids' characters and brands on hand, including Lego, Nickelodeon, American Girl, and Paw Patrol. There's an indoor amusement park, aquarium, arcade, mini golf, and so much more, all within just a few minutes of the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport.

Read on to check out our list of the top 25 amazing things that kids of all ages can do at Mall of America.

Best Family Travel of 2018: Great Cities, Beaches, Hotels, and Memories

Our Mommy Poppins families really traveled this year! We scoped out some amazing cities with our kids in tow, from New Orleans to Santa Barbara, up to Vancouver and over to Chicago.

There were some epic science museums to explore, Christmas towns to make us cheery, gorgeous beaches, fun at amusement parks, and of course, a slew of entertaining family-friendly resorts, from Mexico and the Caribbean to Los Angeles and New England ski resorts.

So if you’re planning your next family vacation, take a look at our favorite destinations from the last year, including these warmer climates for February or spring break. In each profile, we highlight the most kid-friendly activities and events and let you know what to skip with toddlers or what to see with the teens.

25 Fun Things to Do in Jackson Hole with Kids

Old West charm? Check. Rugged natural beauty? Check. Toss in four seasons of family-centric fun, and Jackson Hole is an ideal place to introduce kids to the American West. Our extended family—including eight kids between the ages of 3 and 13—went to this postcard-perfect Wyoming valley situated south of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park over the summer. But we're already dreaming of returning in the winter for ski and sleigh-ride adventures. 

To quote my 6-year-old during one action-packed July day that started with a zip on a "cowboy coaster" and ended with a moose sighting in the backyard of our rental house: "There's just too much to do in Jackson Hole!" To help guide little cowpokes and parents, we've handpicked 25 special activities that will see you through both warm and wintry weather in Wyoming.

For a Mountain West adventure in a more urban setting, read our guide to Denver. Happy trails!

Top 10 Christmas Towns and Villages That Absolutely Sparkle

When it comes to the best places to visit for Christmas as a family, there are plenty of holiday travel options. You can head to Rome and Vatican City to soak in the religion of it all. Vienna, beautifully drenched in festive lights, boasts first-rate Christmas markets and concerts. Head north to Lapland, Finland, to visit Santa’s official hometown. Or, if you want to lie beneath Christmas-lit palm trees, a Caribbean vacation might do the trick.

Yet, some of the best Christmas towns and bedecked Christmas villages are actually right here in the US, offering those traveling with small kids a way to save on money and time. These local destinations go all out for Christmas with unique holiday light shows, special performances, and plenty of opportunities to meet with Santa Claus.

Read on for some of our favorite Christmas vacation ideas for those looking to get into the holiday spirit in a big way, from New York City to Williamsburg, Virginia, to Newport Beach, California. Find even more ideas in our Family Travel Guide.

20 Easy (But Gorgeous) Hiking Trails To Do with Kids and Babies

By Shanti Hodges

Looking for a hiking trail near you? Great walking trails top our picks for fun summer activities and fall outings with kids. A hike is an opportunity for quality family time, exercise for kids, and of course, discoveries small and large, from bugs to waterfalls.

These getaway-worthy, family-friendly hiking trails are just a sampling of my favorite trails, highlighted in my new book, Hike it Baby: 100 Awesome Adventures with Babies and Toddlers. As founder of Hike it Baby, a nonprofit dedicated to helping families get on the trail with kids, I’ve been fortunate enough to sample nature trails across the country, including at our best national parks and campsites, and even those extra-special, smaller local parks that often offer the best hikes for toddlers and families with little kids.

Now I’m sharing 20 of my favorites, from Connecticut to Florida to Washington state, that are perfect for your next day trip or family vacation. Most are easy loop paths, but I’ve included some moderate trails and top destinations, such as Mt. Rainer and the Badlands. Many of these hikes are FREE, too. The list also highlights family-friendly perks like bathrooms, and benches for a rest or a nursing mom.

30 Things To Do in Milwaukee with Kids

John Steinbeck once wrote that Wisconsin is full of surprises, and the state's largest city, Milwaukee, is no exception. With a cosmopolitan feel and midwestern charm, and just an hour and a half drive north of Chicago (plus one of the easiest airports you'll ever travel through), families looking for a new vacation spot should put Milwaukee high on their consideration list the next time they're planning a trip.

Check out our list of 30 fun and interesting things to do with kids in Milwaukee (plus five bonus spots if you're willing to drive a little outside the city). Whether you're looking for the arts or the sciences, a great day outside, soaking up the sun on the shores of Lake Michigan or a fun day in, sampling some of the country's best frozen custard, you'll find something for everyone in the family in Milwaukee.

Amazing, Kid-friendly Features at these Airports Make Family Travel Way Better

There are all sorts of things to look forward to when we travel, but the airport is not generally one of them. If flying with kids conjures up images of agonizing lines, stressful bathroom visits, and long walks down grimy hallways with cranky toddlers, maybe for your next trip you should try rerouting through one of the airports below. These 10 US hubs have all gone the extra mile to make an airport into a destination kids will remember as part of the adventure. If your trip starts, finishes, or lays over at one of our favorite kid-friendly terminals, you can look forward to play areas, interactive exhibits, rides, and more to keep ahead of the turbulence.

25 Things To Do in Cincinnati with Kids

Cincinnati, Ohio hits the highbrow and lowbrow sweet spot for families. It may be referred to as the Queen City, but there are no regal airs in this utterly unpretentious town.

Proud of its working-class roots, Cincinnati forges into the 21st century with plenty of innovations. Its compact core makes it ideal for walking and an eagerly anticipated new streetcar route opens in September, connecting its diverse outlying neighborhoods with the vibrant downtown. Nature lovers can bask in Cincinnati's leafy parks just minutes from the city center. Pro sports are a big deal, with baseball’s Reds and football’s Bengals leading the charge, but families with an interest in history and the arts have also come to the right place.

To help families get the most out a visit to Ohio's Queen City, we've pulled together a carefully curated list of things to see and experience with kids. For more stateside family vacation ideas, be sure to check out our United States Family Travel Guide.

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