Special Report

16 Trips to Take Before the Kids Go Back to School

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NASA, Cape Canaveral

It’s the 50th anniversary of the first moon walk, so why not treat the kids with a trip to the spot where the famed launch happened, Cape Canaveral, Florida. NASA’s Kennedy Space Center has created a special exhibition in its Apollo/Saturn V facility to mark the half-century milestone of the Apollo program. The Visitor Complex has a number of special events scheduled throughout August, among them opportunities to meet astronauts, take space shuttle tours and even view a rocket launch. Learn about NASA’s heroes and legends, the space shuttle program and other historical topics, and get a peek into preparations for a journey to Mars.

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Quebec, Canada

To get a taste of Old World culture without venturing too far afield, head for Quebec, Canada. It’s hard to resist the urge to explore a region with nicknames like “the Europe of North America” and “la belle province” (the beautiful province). This month Quebec’s largest city, Montreal, plays host to a variety of festivals and activities celebrating pride, tiny houses, classical music, fashion, and cuisine from ribs to kombucha. The Old Town district of Quebec City, the province’s capital, is a UNESCO world heritage site, recognized as one of the best-preserved historic sites on the continent.

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Disney Cruises

Several Disney cruises are on offer this month, from Caribbean three-nighters to a week-plus in Europe. What they all have in common is a chance to immerse yourself in Disney culture without braving the August heat and humidity (and packed parking lots) while visiting a theme park. The luxury cruises offer parades, themed deck parties and opportunities to interact with Disney characters; other entertainment includes live music and stage shows, and Disney movies–including some in 3D; most ships have fireworks displays. Pools, water slides, fitness centers and other amenities are available, as are multiple round-the-clock dining options.

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Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia

Alexander Hamilton was stationed briefly in Williamsburg during the Revolutionary War, but that’s not the only reason to take your kids to Virginia’s Colonial Williamsburg. The past seems remarkably present and relevant in this living history museum, comprising colonial era buildings staffed with crafts people and historical interpreters, each of whom is an expert in their field. Children can get involved in hands-on activities, take a ghost tour, bid on items at a public auction, and learn more about our nation’s history, including the deep ties between Hamilton and George Washington.

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Visit literary sites

Families with young book lovers can build a fun vacation around the settings of some of the great children’s classics. Countless books aimed at readers from pre-school through high school take place in Manhattan, including must-reads such as Eloise, Harriet the Spy, Catcher in the Rye and The Great Gatsby. If you’re London-bound, map out your own itinerary of places mentioned in the Harry Potter series, or sign on for a guided tour. Great Britain is also a good destination for a family with youngsters fascinated by all things Hobbit-related, though visiting the movie locations requires a longer flight to New Zealand.

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