Chicago Childrens Museum


School may be in session soon, but there’s still time to enjoy summer and get a little dose of learning while you’re at it. This week we celebrate our A-Z #welltraveledfamily challenge with M is for  museums. Whether you’re checking out great art, running science experiments, or learning more about the history of a region, there’s something for everyone when it comes time to visit city museums.

We recently spoke with The Travel Channel’s Samantha Brown about her partnership with hotel brand Embassy Suites and the Association of Children’s Museums, as part of an effort to encourage families to learn and explore cities this summer. As part of Embassy Suites pledge to help families get 300% more enjoyment out of their vacations, they’re offering surprise museum perks and VIP status for families staying at Embassy Suites during More-days at Embassy Suites properties in 18 cities across the country including Orlando, Washington DC, and San Diego. They’ll even surprise a few lucky families with free tickets to the local children’s museum!

Samantha clued us in on three tips to help you make the most of your exploration this summer:

1. Map it out. Help kids learn map reading skills by planning ahead for the places you want to visit and figuring out the best route (public transportation or walking) to get there. Many destinations involve transferring to more than one form of public transportation, so it can become a fun problem-solving exercise. “Don’t overplan [your trip],” Samantha said, “Allow your child to take you through a museum. Relax and let the day unfold in a ‘let’s discover this’ type of way.”

 2. Take a trip abroad without leaving the States. “The whole city is an opportunity to explore–you can navigate trains, learn map skills, and experience the melting pot that cities provide,” Samantha said, “Ask people where they’re from, engage them. Find a great restaurant by asking local people where they eat.” One great tip Samantha gave us was to take every opportunity to connect with someone new: “I have my best conversations in cabs. If you’re traveling with children, take the opportunity to have them ask the cab driver where they are from. It’s a great way to slowly introduce your child to celebrating different cultures.” Some cities have entire countries within them, so find out where the great neighborhoods are – Chinatown, Little Italy, etc. – and sample snacks and beverages you’ve never tasted.

3. Movin’ on up! The tallest building in the city usually offers a top-floor observatory to give kids a thrilling birds-eye view of the city from above. The lines for the tallest building may be long, so visit the second tallest building with an observatory and get an exhilarating view with less wait time. Samantha’s favorite city for exploration? “Chicago has it all.” she says. “There’s a beach, a theme park, the city and a great Midwestern attitude.”

Looking for great museums to visit?

The Children’s Museum in Seattle is where imagination comes alive, and is a great place for kids 10 and under and their families to play. One of our favorite exhibits? Dino Egg Dying, where you can imagine what dinosaur eggs looked like 65 million years ago and color your own dino eggs!

The New Children’s Museum in San Diego is the perfect place to think, play, and create. Our must-see exhibit is Trash, that draws attention to the fact that the average American produces 4.5 pounds of waste every day.

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Where are your families favorite museums? Share with us on the Facebook or tweet your tips using the hashtag #welltraveledfamily.

Ready to start the A-Z #WellTraveledFamily Summer Challenge?

What is the A-Z #WellTraveledFamily Summer Challenge and how do you play? There are roughly 13 weeks to summer, so each week, we’ll be back sharing inspiration with you to get out and travel with your family, sharing great destinations, trying new things, and finding a bit of magic along the way–each corresponding to one of the letters of the week.

Here’s how to join in on the fun using social media and blogs for inspiration this summer:

1. Develop your own A-Z #WellTraveledFamily Summer Travel Plan: You don’t have to travel far this summer to play – the A-Z #WellTraveledFamily challenge is all about getting creative this summer and exploring and reconnecting as a family. Sit down with your family and plan out your own A-Z Summer Travel Challenge. Where do you want to go? Get the kids involved and make this fun. Consider food, activities and destinations by letter of the alphabet.

2. Share your A-Z ideas and trip photos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: Have an idea for an A-Z travel experience or destination or need ideas? Share your own A-Z Summer Travel ideas and trips on Facebook and with @HipTravelMama on Twitter, Instagram your photos using the #welltraveledfamily hashtag. We’ll have some great prizes throughout the summer, so make sure you “like” us and “follow us” to play! Make sure you send them a link to this blog post so your friends know how to play too!

Most of all – HAVE FUN WITH THIS and get out and explore with your family this summer.

Photos compliments of Embassy Suites, Chicago Children’s Museum, and The New Children’s Museum in San Diego.

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