Summertime is upon us, which means plenty of spare time for the kids and still not a lot of spare time for Mom.
Finding ways to entertain your family can feel like a full-time job, as if you didn’t already have enough on your plate. You could use a vacation!
If a lavish two-week getaway just won’t fit your busy schedule or budget this summer, there are still plenty of hidden gems here in the Midwest that would work great for a weekend road trip. Here are some kid-friendly destinations for this year’s summertime bucket list.
Indiana Caverns Family Adventure Park, Corydon, Ind.
How many people you know can say they’ve gotten the chance to explore Indiana’s longest cave system? You and your family could have the experience of a lifetime by traveling through a piece of ancient ice age history. Take a boat tour on the underground river 110 ft below the surface level or even accept the four-hour long kayaking challenge.
This family-friendly park also offers some above ground attractions, such as escape rooms and the “Bat Chaser” zip coaster, which combines the thrill of a zip line and roller coaster as it flies over Indiana’s cave country.
Known as the “Island City,” this popular vacation spot is surrounded by over 3,000 lakes in northern Wisconsin. The relaxing atmosphere feels like an escape from reality, even if you’re only staying the weekend.
From morning nature cruises on your own pontoon to a thrilling water ski show in the afternoon, this piece of paradise is exactly what Mom needs — and the whole family will love it too.
Entertain the kids by bringing them down to Fred Scheer’s Lumberjack Show, where they can watch speed wood carving or an ax-throwing contest. Take them to the Rock Falls Riding Stable for some horseback riding lessons or hit up Settlers Mill, where you can enjoy a frozen custard and let them run wild in the amazing game room. This destination definitely has something to offer for all ages!
Mackinac Island, Mich.
A little island getaway may not be totally out of the question this summer. A short drive to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan might just be exactly what your family needs.
Venture across the five-mile-long Mackinac Bridge, head to the ferry boat and then get ready for a little slice of heaven… and fudge! Mackinac Island is world famous for its fudge, breathtaking scenery and horse-drawn carriages as the main mode of transportation. This peaceful island is full of activities that both you and the kids can enjoy, including guided fishing trips and numerous golf courses.
You could even swing by the Haunted Theatre to learn more about the island’s mysterious and spooky history!
Crown Ridge Tiger Sanctuary, Saint Genevieve, Mo.
This incredible destination might be a little bit longer of a drive, but it’s totally worth it!
The Crown Ridge Tiger Sanctuary is a nonprofit big cat rescue and educational facility that aims to educate people on the importance and history of these large felines. The sanctuary offers a variety of tours that gives your kids a chance to learn about each individual tiger, and they could even get to feed the animals a little snack.
The best part about this place is that you don’t even have to leave at the end of the day! The sanctuary also allows you and your family to spend the night in tiger territory in one of their spacious “Tiger Dens.” Your kids will love hearing the tigers roar right outside their bedroom window! Don’t worry, it’s totally safe.
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
It may be summer break, but don’t let your kids’ minds go to mush. This fun yet educational museum is known as the largest children’s museum in the world and is located only minutes from downtown Indianapolis.
At a whopping 472,900 square feet with five floors of exhibit halls, this place has something for children of all ages. From the famous Dinosphere to the World of Sports, your kids’ minds will surely be captivated.
The waterpark capital of the world is a surefire way to make sure your kids are entertained for the weekend. With over 200 water slides, roller coasters, 72 holes of mini golf, a wildlife park and a magic theatre, Wisconsin Dells is crawling with G-rated family fun that will make for some great memories.
If you’re really looking for some excitement, take the kids over to visit Mr. Marvel’s Wondertorium, a walk through a museum of everything bizarre and unusual. This crazy place features things such as shrunken heads, two-headed squirrels and even a cyclops pig! Your kids won’t stop talking about this trip for years!