Kids Vacation Carousel Rides  - California Kid Vacation


Kids vacations should include a carousel ride, if you can find that magic, painted pony. There's nothing more spellbinding than the sound of lively carousel music as a child rides up and down while the carousel spins round. Some really old-fashioned carousels allow you to try to reach out and grab a brass ring, a hold over from the carousel rides offered in the early days of carousels.

Kids on vacation especially enjoy carousel rides but anytime to ride a shiny, painted artificial pony is a treat.


Here's something of interest from a recent study about what children want to do most on vacation with their folks. Kids' top activity for a vacation is to sit down with their parents and share a meal, according to Peter Yesawich of Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell.


Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and family members looking for some fresh ideas to entertain the kids simply need to look to the California beaches. Look at the museums. Visit the theme parks, the zoos, aquariums and enjoy all the wonderful things California has for kids to explore.  As we travel the California coast, we find kids' activities in nearly every city.


So what California vacations for kids are proven? For the little one growing out of baby-hood, Disneyland is OK but not real impressive to a child until he or she reaches about two and up, at least from what we found. We used to take toddlers to the Magic Kingdom and they mainly wanted to dawdle in the flowers, watch the swans on the Sleeping Beauty Castle moats and drink sugary-soft drinks, then take naps. After some point, the magic truly kicks in and you'll have a huge success on your hands by taking the youngsters to California Adventure and Disneyland. In Southern California you'll also find Knotts Berry Farm Camp Snoopy is made for kids. Another very popular theme park is Legoland in Carlsbad. It is ideal for young children up to the age of 9.  They even feature, "What to do when you are 2." Moms report that they offer the nicest restrooms and changing stations they've ever experienced. That's impressive for a parent, no doubt.


Throughout the State of California there are many great theme parks, train rides and even some swing sets on beaches in Ventura, Santa Barbara, Ocean Park near Lompoc and a few other spots. The California beaches are always popular for kids vacations. Kids can play in the sand, ride bicycles, build sand castles and even learn to surf if they swim. 


One of our favorite train rides in the entire state is located at Big Trees in the mountains above Santa Cruz. The steam engine beach train leaves Felton or Santa Cruz and returns. It's a fairly slow moving train providing an enjoyable, open air ride that's memorable. Kids absolutely love it.  Then you can enjoy the Santa Cruz Boardwalk with rides, games, food and the beach. It was made for kids.

Aquariums are always a crowd-pleaser for children. At California beaches you'll find aquariums on the pier in Manhattan Beach, at San Pedro, Long Beach, Monterey and the big SeaWorld in San Diego. See the aquariums & zoos.


Where should you stay?  Most hotels now offer adjoining rooms but when you travel with kids you usually end up in the same room for safety, convenience and cost. You can always order up extra cots wherever you go. Sleeping is seldom difficult. Several of our favorite kids hotels and resorts are in San Diego and Anaheim. In San Diego, Town & Country has three or four swimming pools and cabanas where kids just seem to enjoy themselves to no end.  At the Hilton Tennis and Beach Resort, there are pools, the beach, arcades, bike paths, a huge public park next to the hotel and even fireworks shows visible at night from SeaWorld across Mission Bay. At Disneyland Resort, a very fun hotel is the Grand Californian Resort designed in Craftsman style. Many rooms overlook the theme park. In the hotel itself, there are character breakfast events and kid menus galore.  We attended a corporate conference there and the adults attending said the place was "too young", not appropriate for their function. It tends to be designed for kids so if you are looking for fun accommodations, check it out, along with the Disneyland Hotel, the standard for D-Land fun.


We could go on for days about kids and the things to look for or avoid. But part of the family journey is seen through the eyes of a child. You either learn to leave the kids at home in places like Napa Wine Country where many lodgings ask you to NOT bring kids, or you have the time of your life traveling with the little ones.

Today's standard for family travel is the cruise ship experience. On our first cruise ship trip last year, the kids on board had been on more cruise ships and knew more about cruise travel than we could catch up with.  California features cruises out of San Diego, Long Beach, San Pedro and San Francisco.  Those vacations are extremely popular and loads of fun. But we are land fanatics and prefer the small boat rides, beaches and day trips so the kids don't freak out, especially when they are young. The older children and teens however are very cruise savvy and seem to love cruisin the California coast to Baja Mexico.