Frommer's 500 Places to Take Your Kids Before They Grow Up Paperback – 28 Jul 2009
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From the Back Cover
Frommer′s 500 places to take your kids before they grow up 2nd Edition 500 Great Reasons to Say,"Are We There Yet?" This bestselling guide takes you across town and around the globe to 500 of the most exciting places on earth. With more than 40 new destinations, this revised edition is packed with things to see, do, and explore—from the Painted Desert (United States) and the cave homes of Coober Pedy (Australia) to a camel safari (India) and Dracula′s Castle (Romania). Complete with hotel information, age recommendations, Web sites, and more, this guide provides the advice you need to plan a trip the whole familycan enjoy—and remember for a lifetime. Places to Go & Things to Do Around the World The natural world: awesome vistas, flora, and fauna Offbeat attractions: weird and wacky fun History: from ancient wonders to modern marvels Rides and thrills: bobsleds, dogsleds, andeverything in between Art and architecture: galleries, buildings, andmonuments Science: space centers, natural history museums,and more Sports: halls of fame and sporting events
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Top Customer Reviews
The writers seem to lean heavily on the experience of others who just happened to visit a certain place or country, which gives the whole book a very random feel. It is obvious that it is impossible to take up "all" great places in the world, but some choices just make no sense (To take up Stone Mountain in Georgia and not ANY of the great game parks in Africa is just odd).
On top of this, the descriptions with the different locations are not very helpful. Each place has some basic information that you can find in any guidebook or on wikipedia (making it, yet again, clear that the writers have not been there), but no real information on what it is like to visit the place with a (small) child. Ok, there is an age indication - without the rather useful explanation WHY this place is or is not ok for a 4-year-old (is it too dangerous? not allowed?).
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The positives are that the author provides good detail for each area with tips and tricks, good hotel, airport and contact information, and age ranges. There are some very unique groupings which make for an interesting read.
The negatives are that is it is an unrealistic travel guide for the average family, the "Why They'll Thank You" is weak, and it still didn't help me decide what to do next summer!
We've been lucky enough to have visited 97 of the places with our kids, now aged 15 and 20. It's been a blessing to us to be able to visit places like Thailand, which is wonderful, and the Great Barrier Reef and indeed Mount Fuji and Hiroshima. People in Japan take many kids ages 8 to 10 to the muesum at Hiroshima; it's a fantastically well done museum about a topic that every kid--and adult--should understand. The only one of the places that really didn't give us much of a thrill was Agate Fossil Beds in Nebraska. My guess is that the authors HAD to pick something in Nebraska. We just used the book to pick #97 which was the Spy Museum in Washington DC -- a great spot we hadn't heard of.
The only reason I don't give this book 5 stars is that it really could benefit from a geographical cross-reference. Many items do offer a list of items nearby which is helpful.
So maybe it is easier to take kids to Disney World, but think about these places too. A terrific book to think about for a lifetime of travel with your family.
When I received the book and began flipping through it, the first thing that I noticed is that this book is definitely not geared to a particular audience other than people traveling with children. Having traveled the world for work early in my career, I had a pretty good idea what it costs to travel to Asia, Europe, and most of the Western Hemisphere. The first thing that I noticed is that the trips ranged from very cheap with easy access to the insanely expensive requiring extensive planning.
Flipping through the pages, I counted about 30 of the destinations that I have been to. I spent a good portion of my childhood living in one of them and over 10 years of my adult life living very close to a handful of others. What the author describes of the destinations seems relatively accurate. I spent my childhood in SE Alaska (Scouting Alaska's Inside Passage in the book). The author's description of utilizing the Alaska Marine Highway system (ferry boats) is excellent. However, no where did it seem to mention that many times the ferry terminals tend to be out on the middle of nowhere. The Juneau ferry terminal is a bit less than 15 miles from downtown Juneau and around 1 to 2 miles from the nearest bus station. Personally, I would not have found this to be a nice surprise if I was traveling with kids and no car. Throughout SE Alaska, the terminals are varying distances from the downtown areas. While a person could always call a cab, it seems that a cautionary note would be in order. It made me wonder if places I am not familiar with would have similar issues. Calling a cab in Alaska is a simple affair for an American, but the same person may not know a safe way to travel in Zimbabwe, Ecuador, or Peru.
When I read the book, while I found it interesting, it seemed to go incredibly slow. Each attraction is given a page or two that outlines what the attraction is, a short history of it, advice on hiring guides and transportation, and many times tips that will help maximize the experience and save time by directing you to the highlights of the attraction. The book is divided into 17 chapters of attractions, each chapter divided into sub chapters. The topics cover most interests that range from animals, nature, ancient civilizations, wars, holy places, science attractions, sports, and amusement parks to name a few.
The book can be a great asset for the rich and not so wealthy alike. There are tons of great ideas that can be tailored to any family. While I would not rely on the book as the sole source of information for a destination, it is a great starting point. If you are looking for a list of Disney knock-offs, this is not going to be the best book. If you are looking for destinations you may not have been aware of (some in your own backyard), then the book is definitely worth a look. Many destinations will be out of your reach financially. Other destinations made me question if the kids would really value the experience. However, flip through the suggestions and you will find something great for you and your family.