Real-World Places From Your Child’s Favorite Books
by Crystal Ponti
For children, not much compares to the feeling of getting lost in a favorite book. Whether it’s traveling to Narnia or skipping down the yellow brick road to Oz, books take our children to places they never dreamed possible. While some of the places are imaginary, many settings in kids’ books are based on real-life destinations.
Imagine the look on your child’s face if that cherished story came to life. The places below will give your child an opportunity to live “inside” their favorite books. They also make ideal family vacations.
“From The Mixed-Up Files Of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler”
by E.L. Konigsburg
After Claudia Kincaid and her younger brother, Jamie, run away from their home in Greenwich, Connecticut, they take up residence at New York City’s 186,000-square-meter Metropolitan Museum of Art. While trying to solve a mystery involving a statue of Michelangelo, the duo hides in bathroom stalls, bathes in fountains, dines at automats, and even sleeps in Marie Antoinette’s bed, which you can see during a tour.
Although some aspects of their wild adventure are now buried in history (you won’t find an automat if you try) there is still a world of wonder awaiting kids of all ages at the Met, the largest art museum in the United States. New York City also happens to be the infamous home or destination of many other beloved book characters. Look for Eloise at the Plaza, James and his giant peach in Central Park, or Shadowhunters hiding in plain sight.
“Harry Potter” series
by J.K. Rowling
Children who grew up on the “Harry Potter” novels and movies will always be wizards-in-training in a corner of their hearts. Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, has kindly obliged them by creating The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This includes Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Hogsmeade, the Hogswart Express, a ton of additional rides, and unlimited opportunities to spend money on Harry Potter-themed merchandise. There are also Harry Potter theme parks in Hollywood, California, and Osaka, Japan, and various standalone attractions at other theme parks all over the world.
“Make Way for Ducklings”
by Robert McCloskey
Mrs. Mallard was convinced that the pond at Boston Public Gardens would be the perfect place for her family to live. But how can she get all eight ducklings, and herself, there safely through the busy streets of Boston? A trip based on this beloved children’s book would make an ideal getaway for the whole family.
The Public Gardens of Boston were the first public botanical gardens in America. Lush with rich and unusual plants, your family will love the Lagoon, the array of monuments and fountains, and the Swan Boats, which have been in operation for more than a hundred years. While in the history-rich city of Boston, your bookish kid might also like to visit the Orchard House Museum where Louisa May Alcott wrote “Little Women” and Plimoth Plantation, where Clementine, from the popular series of the same name, goes on a school vacation.
“Misty of Chincoteague”
written by Marguerite Henry and illustrated by Wesley Dennis
Every year, wild horses living on Assateague Island on the Virginia coast are herded and swum to nearby Chincoteague Island, where they are then sold. The annual “pony penning” event gave inspiration for Marguerite Henry’s 1947 book “Misty of Chincoteague.” Some locals believe the first ponies were survivors of a shipwreck. Experts uphold that these incredible feral horses are more likely descended from domestic horses that escaped sometime in the 17th century.
Either way, you and your family can still experience the awesomeness of this annual event on the last Wednesday and Thursday of July. Nearly 50,000 people from all over the world come to witness this one-of-a-kind auction and show. There’s also a museum with seasonal events and exhibits.
Children’s Classics by a Variety of Authors
Lovers of classic children’s literature will probably go weak in the knees on their travels around England with the possibilities of taking in Kenneth Grahame’s “The Wind in the Willows” at the irresistibly-named River and Rowing Museum in Oxfordshire; an outdoor “The Wind in the Willows” wildlife garden and sculpture trail at the Hanningfield Reservoir in Essex; Winnie-the-Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood at Ashdown Forest in Sussex; the quest of a lost bear at London’s Paddington Railway Station; and the original settings of Beatrix Potter’s miniature gems such as “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” in Lancashire. Don’t miss more Harry Potter at the world famous 9 3/4 Platform at King’s Cross Station and Warner Bros. Studio Tour of London, where you and your children can see the actual movie sets.
Travel Tips from the Points Guy
HFM asked for a couple of money-saving travel tips from The Points Guy, a website focusing on rewards programs and other airline and hotel travel tips.
Points and miles from rewards programs should be looked at and valued like cash. Start by knowing what vacation you want to use your points for and then work toward that goal.
Take advantage of sudden deals like SWA’s famous flash sales on both domestic and international routes. Be prepared to act quickly — the deals don’t last long.
Even if you’re not planning on flying or applying for credit cards, you can earn points or miles without stepping on a plane. Just shop online with an airline shopping portal.
Using Google Flights’ map tool, allows you to enter your departing airport and dates, and then click around to cities around the world to find out how much a trip will cost you. Sometimes international flights — even to Asia and Europe — are less expensive than if you were to fly domestically.