Better than many of the current flock of “places to go before …” 500 Places to Take Your Kids Before They Grow Up by Holly Hughes and Julie Duchaine makes a sensible point: there are some places that you can visit that your kids might enjoy the most while they are still kids, and it seems to me that it is worthwhile to make a list of these.books, Frommer’s
Instead of the regular doomsday information in books like 500 Places to See Before They Disappear (also from Holly Hughes, incidentally, who obviously loves lists), this guide has a good selection of tourist sights across the globe that are suitable to travel to and enjoy with children. The places are divided into seventeen different categories, so that traveling families can pick out the themes that best suit the interests of their children and family, such as animals, science, medieval times, sports, and so on.
Each destination listing has a page or more of information, including the age range for which it is suitable, a detailed description of what to see and do there, contact details and website information, how to get there and usually a hotel recommendation too, and finally, a snappy “why the kids will thank you” one sentence summary. At the end of the book, maps show the various sights by continent to help you with trip planning or just trip dreaming.
Frommer’s 500 Places to See Before They Disappear by Holly Hughes is another in a long list of “must see” books doing the rounds of the the travel shelves in the last few years. This one says it is intended for eco-tourists who are keen to visit places that are affected by environmental change or by a lack of preservation, and covers 500 sites that are both natural and man-made.
There are nine chapters in this book, dividing the 500 places into categories like mountains, ruins, architecture and water. Famous spots like the Grand Canyon, the Amazon rainforest and Machu Picchu feature, but there are also lesser known places like the El Fuerte de Samapiata fort in Bolivia and the Mabi Forest in Queensland, Australia. There’s a big bias towards American sights with many of the 500 sites to be found within the 50 states.
Each entry gives a good description of the place involved, plus a paragraph or two on why this site is endangered and what is being done to help preserve it. To finish off, there are also hotel recommendations.
Of course, the question is clearly whether such a book should exist or not. If these 500 places are in danger of disappearing, is it really a good idea to encourage tourists (even eco-friendly ones) to go traipsing off to visit them?
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