A Europe Family Bucket List!
When we’re planning a trip to Europe – or anywhere else – we start looking for activities far in advance. If there’s an amazing festival, we want to know the best way to experience it. If there’s a wonderful guide for a walking tour, we want that person. If there’s a cooking class that sounds perfect, we want in. We don’t over-plan, but we plan wisely. If we’re going to Paris for 2-3 weeks, we’ll book three or four activities in advance.
Our standard activities fall into a few categories: cooking classes; kid-friendly walking and museum tours; kid-friendly cultural performances; and animals/nature. But we’ll also plan trips around unique events that take place periodically or are specific to one location.
So what are the very coolest things we’ve done that you can do, too? I wrote up a list for Travelocity. Three of my nine European bucket list activities are below. The full Travelocity post is HERE, and is linked from the bottom as well.
The LEGO Inside Tour
LEGO lets fewer than 200 people a year go behind the scenes of its operations, factory and Legoland park in Billund, Denmark. I heard about the Inside Tour years ago but the minimum age was seven, so I waited until my son was seven and we went. It’s seriously the coolest three days ever for kids and adults alike! Not only was going behind the scenes fascinating, but you spend time with LEGO designers and engineers and can ask them anything you want. Plus you get to shop in the LEGO employee store! Be sure to look into the tour well in advance — the ticket window for the following year is only open very briefly every fall.
Note: LEGO recently changed the minimum age for the Inside Tour to ten. So disappointed!
Falconry at Ashford Castle
Staying at Ashford Castle, we walked over to Ireland’s School of Falconry (on the castle grounds) and met up with our falconry instructor Conal. He fitted the kids with gloves and taught them the basics of hunting with Harris Hawks – basically the hawks fly away, you put food hawk food (small rodents or chick parts) in your glove and hold out your arm, and the hawks fly back to you to eat before taking off again. The falconry would have been fun anyway, and indeed there’s falconry throughout the world, but the setting put the experience over the top – walking around the castle grounds and through a forest of moss-covered trees straight out of Harry Potter was magical! The kids are still talking about it a year later, and my 11-year-old has every intention of applying to be an intern in a few years.
Climbing to the Top of the Duomo
In Europe, with all of its hilltop towns and church towers, there’s no shortage of places to climb. Florence‘s Duomo is unique, however, since you climb to the top on a narrow passageway wedged between the outer dome and an inner dome. We’re in Florence at least once a year and it’s the one activity that’s always on our list. A reservation is required. I highly recommend climbing first thing in the morning, so that you won’t have to squeeze past anyone on the way up.
Click HERE to read this post on Travelocity’s Inspire Hub. My other six top activities are listed there.