Our neighbors have started a tradition of planning two vacations every year - one trip to the beach and one educational trip. The educational trip is always fun - this year they went on a cruise and signed up for all of the learning expeditions, so they learned how to snorkel and identify reef fish! The more I thought about that, the more I liked the idea of planning a vacation with purpose, and started to come up with a fun list for the future.
1) Washington D.C.
I have very fond memories of this city - I had so much fun exploring with my Aunt Barbara one year (she lives near D.C.), and I also have great memories of a middle school field trip there. There is so much history and so many museums, as well as fun things to do. I would also love to incorporate some day trips, like to Monticello. This city will be a slam-dunk to visit once the girls are old enough to appreciate it!
Steve and I have traveled to London, Paris, Venice, Florence, and Rome. We are SO excited to take the girls eventually - we think it is a fantastic experience to get out of your cultural comfort zone, see different countries, taste different foods, and experience new languages and people. We also loved seeing all of the historical churches and buildings and museums, and it is fun working together as a team to plan itineraries and navigate foreign cities. I also greatly enjoy trying to learn some of the basic language and phrases.
I have never been to Hawaii but am looking forward to going. I love how our country has states that can be so radically different from the others, and I think Hawaii would have a lot of fantastic things to learn and experience. Snorkeling and scuba diving and surfing would for sure be on the list, as well as hiking to the volcanoes and dancing at a luau.
I have had several friends visit Yellowstone Park recently and have had nothing but positive things to say about it. We intend to take the girls camping often for weekend trips in the near future, but I would love to do a couple of weeks of camping in one trip, and increase our knowledge of basic survival skills, first aid, plant and animal identifications, navigating skills, etc. Not to mention tons of hiking and sight-seeing and star gazing away from the city lights. We used to learn a bunch of things like this at church girls' camps when we were growing up, and they were always some of my favorite things to learn even if I rarely got a chance to use them!
This one would take some serious frequent flyer mile hoarding but I would LOVE to take a family trip to Australia. I love the thought of exploring major metropolitan cities one day, and then taking a tour of the Outback and feeling like we are in a completely different world. We have friends who have visited Australia (and friends that live there!!) and always say how excited they are to go back some day.
What places would be on your top list of educational vacations? I am sure I will think of a million more places - I hope these girls are ready for some traveling!