Top 10 Places Kids Should See

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Parents wanting well-rounded kids are looking at summer travel experiences that go beyond a trip to the beach. So ShermansTravel set out to make finding educational and entertaining options easier by compiling a "Top 10 Places Kids Should See" list. All the locales chosen are in the U.S., and the website says they are ideal for kids of all ages. Here's the list (in no particular order):

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

The country's first national park has more than 300 geysers including "Old Faithful," 290 waterfalls and its own Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. And there are buffalo, eagles and other creatures galore. Plus, the park has attractions from hiking to horseback riding.

Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, New York City

"No visit to New York City is complete without a trip sailing past Lady Liberty," Shermans says, but they recommend that combining the trip with a stop at neighboring Ellis Island "packs the iconic image with new meaning." Kids will like the computerized Passenger Record in the Main Building, which lets you trace ancestors that came through the island on the way to a new life in America.

San Diego Zoo, San Diego

With some 4,000 rare and endangered animals, the San Diego Zoo is world famous. Kids and their parents can see pandas and koalas, polar bears and hippos. There are also special programs throughout the year that include interactive offerings and Zoo Sleepovers.

Fenway Park Baseball Game, Boston

The oldest operating ballpark is also the kid-friendliest. "Fenway's small size means there's no bad seat in the house,' Shermans says. The most popular seating section is above the "Green Monster.' Tours of the park are also available when the Red Sox are not in town.

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Glaciers cover more than a quarter of this 3.3-million-acre park, and cruising along the coastline you'll not only encounter ice and the amazing sight of glaciers calving but marine life including humpback whales, orcas, and sea lions.

Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral

The final shuttle launches are this fall, and the liftoffs from Kennedy of Discovery and Endeavor are expected to draw crowds. But any time the Visitor Center offers lots of attractions to entertain kids including a shuttle launch simulator, astronaut encounters, behind-the-scenes tours and hands-on exhibits.

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

The Grand Canyon is one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World, spans 277 miles and is close to a mile deep in some areas. According to Shermans, it's "a place every kid should see." In addition to the amazing scenery and abundant wildlife, there are also activities including hiking, biking, whitewater rafting and riding mules.

The Smithsonian, Washington, D.C.

Memorabilia celebrates "everything from rock stars to astronauts," Shermans says, making the Smithsonian Institution a must-see in the nation's capital. There are actually 19 museums and zoos including the National Air and Space Museum, where airplanes dangle from the ceiling and exhibits include lunar rocks. Plus, kids can learn to make paper planes.

Walt Disney World, Orlando

Sure the park offers Mickey, Minnie, et al, but is also holds Epcot Center, where 11 countries are recreated in the World Showcase. Hollywood Studios "brings Tinseltown to life with backstage shows," according to Shermans, and the Animal Kingdom celebrates Mother Nature.

Willis Tower, Chicago

Known previously as the Sears Tower, this re-named skyscraper is the Western hemisphere's tallest, and offers "vertigo-inducing views." Kids will enjoy the birds-eye look at Chicago from the Skydeck, especially through the high-powered telescopes, and activities that include a scavenger hunt.

Photo of Old Faithful, Fran Golden
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