If you want to plan a family vacation with wow factor, look no further: Picking a hotel with one of the following kid-friendly attractions will earn you major points with your kids. And with activities this fun, you just may end up acting like a kid yourself.
Cartoon character interactions: For young children, getting to meet a favorite cartoon character or puppet can be a magical experience. At Beaches Sandy Bay and Beaches Boscobel in Jamica, kids can engage in singalongs with Elmer, Zoe, and Grover from Sesame Street; Lilo and Stitch host breakfasts at Disney’s Polynesian Resort; and kids can dine with characters like Mary Poppins, Alice, and Cinderella at Disney’s Grand Floridian.
- Hotels: Beaches Sandy Bay, Jamaica; Beaches Boscobel Resort and Golf Club, Jamaica; Disney’s Polynesian Resort, Orlando; Disney’s Grand Floridian, Orlando; Universal’s Royal Pacific Resort, Orlando
Roller coaster: A roller coaster — at a hotel? Yes, that’s right; while you’re getting your adrenaline rush at the craps table, your kids can get theirs at the New York, New York Hotel roller coaster in Las Vegas.
Dolphin experience: You and your kids can get up close and personal with some of the world’s most playful creatures at several hotels around the globe. Interactions can include rubbing the dolphins’ rubbery skin, posing for a kiss, and going for a dorsal fin ride.
- Hotels: Half Moon, Jamaica; The Kahala Hotel and Resort, Oahu; Atlantis Paradise Island Resort, the Bahamas
Water parks: Hundreds of resorts around the world feature a water slide or two in their pool complex, but a few exceptional properties take it to a whole new level. For example, the Aquaventure water park at the Atlantis features two slides with vertical drops over 50 feet, a mile-long lazy-river pool, a tube that gushes past sharks, and a plethora of other scenic slides. The Grand Wailea water park in Hawaii includes four waterslides, whitewater rapids, caves, a lazy-river pool, rope swings, and a “water elevator” inside a man-made volcano.
- Hotels: Atlantis Paradise Island Resort, the Bahamas; Grand Wailea Resort Hotel and Spa, Oahu; Nickelodeon Suites Resort, Orlando; MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas; Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, Orlando; Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas; Beaches Boscobel Resort & Golf Club, Jamaica; Hilton Hawaiian Village, Oahu
Animal habitats: A handful of hotels on Oyster host a wide range of exotic animals, including penguins, lions, monkeys, giraffes, sharks. These animal habitats are so impressive we wrote a whole blog post just about them.
- Hotels: Hilton Hawaiian Village, Oahu; MGM Grand, Las Vegas; Kahala Hotel and Resort, Oahu; Paradisus Palma Real, Dominican Republic; Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas; Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando; Half Moon, Jamaica; The Mirage, Las Vegas
Trapeze lessons: Free trapeze lessons from real-life circus performers are available at two Viva Wyndham resorts in the Dominican Republic.