Green Theme Parks – With so many kid-friendly choices for vacations, it is difficult to choose.
Narrow the playing field by choosing a green theme park for your next family vacation.
It is great news for the kids: green theme parks do exist!
If you’re considering a theme park vacation this holiday season or in the new year, eco-conscious families have many to choose from.
Before you go, research places so you can stay in an eco-friendly hotel too.
No matter where you go or where you stay, remember that every earth-friendly decision you make yields big dividends!
Get your kids involved too.
Green Theme Parks
Even while still at home, families can help Universal go green by participating in social media projects at Green is Universal, a site dedicated to everyday green solutions.
At the parks (both in California and Florida), guests can recycle their glass and plastic, choose organic menus, and opt for compost-able, disposable dinnerware.
Universal Orlando’s vehicles now use alternative fuels that include B-20 Biodiesel in diesel-powered vehicles and E-10 Ethanol in all gasoline vehicles.
Universal Studios tickets are easy to order online before arriving.
Universal Studios, Orlando is one of the most popular theme parks in Florida and the US, attracting over 6 million visitors every year.
The Florida theme park is made up of four properties, each with a separate and distinct theme Universal Studios® Florida, the really popular Islands of Adventure®, City Walk Orlando and Wet ‘n’ Wild Orlando.
The latest and hottest attraction is the Harry Potter theme park in the Islands of Adventure.
Come the holiday season and the queues to enter are really long.
You could spend up to 45 minutes in the hot sun just to get Universal Studios tickets, Florida.
But fortunately, there are other ways to easily buy the tickets without having to go through the hassle of spending hours in line.
Standing in lines can not only be a problem when you have kids, but the tickets at the gate are also more expensive.
Booking Your Tickets In Advance
So what is the solution?
Well, simply buy your Orlando Theme Park tickets in advance!
You can buy them online, at self-service ticket vending machines, or from your travel agent.
Many travel agents offer discounted ticket prices for entry to theme parks as part of their packages.
Shop around; you could get a really good deal.
When buying your tickets online, you can find many different options and deals.
For instance when you buy your tickets on the official Universal Resort website you can save $20 off the gate price on all multi-day tickets, or tickets that include unlimited admission.
Some packages offer complimentary entry to the park, their dining areas with a wide range of eating choices, and you also get free parking with these tickets.
You can also save time by printing out your tickets at home at go directly to the front of the line at the park’s gates!
Another option is your hotel – since you have to book your hotel rooms in advance, anyway, find a hotel that offers these tickets as part of their package.
If they don’t, they will more than happily arrange to get them for you or you could pick them up at the hotel’s front desk.
Check around and shop online and you can definitely get the best out of your trip to Orlando and make your dollar go a long, long way.
The Disneyland Resort
Disney parks have ‘made the magic more sustainable’ at Disneyland by converting the five railroad trains that circle the property to a soy-based bio diesel.
Other green endeavors: the Mark Twain Riverboat burns a blend of cooking oil; succulents and native plants that require minimal water populate the landscape.
You will also find recycling cans throughout the resort.
All those treats along Main Street?
They’re created in an eco-friendly central bakery that utilizes Energy Star-rated equipment.
It keeps waste out of landfills by recycling products such as expired baked goods and leftover dough for livestock feed.
Walt Disney World
Not only are the WDW theme parks practicing sustainable measures similar to Disneyland Resort’s, but their corporate side has gone green, too.
Disney’s conservation of paper and paper products in their offices is industry-leading.
Many of their resort properties have earned hotel environmental awards as well.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is known for their wildlife conservation and participation in the Wildlife Conservation Fund.
The sweetest place on earth got sweeter.
Hershey Entertainment and Resorts have become dedicated to energy conservation, recycling and waste management, wildlife and habitat protection, and environmental education.
Hershey Park’s environmental policy statement demands that suppliers be green as well.
The Hotel Hershey is Silver Leed Certified.
SeaWorld San Diego
SeaWorld is an known for their commitment to wildlife conservation.
In addition, SeaWorld parks take measures for sustainable park practices.
Plastic bags are not sold in SeaWorld gift shops, and food waste is recycled whenever possible.
All seafood served in the park is sourced from sustainable fisheries, including the food the animals eat.
And manure waste is recycled into park fuel.
Pay extra attention as you travel to one of these destinations.
You will probably notice other earth-friendly practices that set them apart from other destinations.
Visiting one of these green theme parks is a great way to teach your family about the importance of conservation and recycling.
Will you be visiting one of these green theme parks?
Which is your family’s favorite?
Ways to Appreciate Nature While Traveling
When kids have seen, felt, and interacted with nature firsthand, they’re much more likely to relate to the natural world and strive to protect it as they get older.
Living in the Pacific Northwest, I have ample opportunity to expose my kids to wilderness in our region.
However, the great thing about the outdoors is how accessible it is, wherever you are.
Teaching kids to appreciate nature while traveling is… well, natural!
Earth Day for kids should be every day.
Families can enhance nearly any type of travel experience with nature activities for kids ranging from extreme wilderness tours to simple nature walks.
The following are our favorite ways to experience nature while traveling with kids:
Sleep in nature
Even if you’re not on a camping trip, you can still sleep outdoors, or close to it.
While on a road trip or traveling between major cities, do your hotel budget a favor and look for a camping alternative.
No need for full camping gear.
Leave the tent and sleeping bags at home, and move into a different kind of shelter for the night.
For example, many state parks and private campgrounds offer nightly stays in yurts, cabins, or even tee pees.
They’ll include beds (and sometimes bedding), plus bathrooms (private or shared), and plenty of outdoor space.
Even if you’re back on the road the next morning, your kids will have benefited from outdoor space and recreation for the night.
Kayak or river raft
Kayaking and rafting are great ways to see your destination in a way not available from the road.
On a recent trip to Central Oregon, a location we felt we knew well, we discovered a set of lakes accessible only by kayak that we have never seen before.
Families can start on still lakes and rivers.
Most locations include a guide who can help you get started.
Look for a tour company that offers excursions for a few hours if you have beginners in your group.
Pick ‘family floats’ with kids under age five.
Kids dig kayaking and river rafting because it’s more exciting than hiking, with the same exploitative benefits.
Our top kayaking and river rafting adventures have included a family float along the Deerfield River in Massachusetts with Zoar Outdoor.
We also enjoyed kayaking Vancouver Island Canada’s Ucluelet Harbor with Majestic Ocean Kayaking.
Seek out botanical gardens and nature preserves
A botanical garden can serve as a family’s oasis in the middle of a busy city.
When young children tire of city touring, head to a local botanical garden or Japanese Tea Garden to learn about local flora and fauna, listen to the peace and quiet, and relax in the grass.
Botanical gardens often offer a family entrance rate to save you money or a flat rate per vehicle.
Some allow outside food for picnics.
A few of our favorites: the Chicago Botanical Garden, Atlanta Botanical Garden and the International Rose Test Garden of Portland, OR.
If your destination lacks a botanical garden, find a nature preserve.
Hint: look for the big green spaces on Google Maps!
Nature preserves will often teach your kids about local wildlife and community conservation efforts.
Usually free, these locations will benefit from a small donation upon your departure.
Many outdoor resorts, including ski resorts and off-the-beaten-path ranches, now offer horseback riding.
For roughly the cost of a round of golf or a spa treatment, you can introduce your kids to the cowboy (or girl) lifestyle for a few hours.
We love horseback riding while on vacation because it accomplishes two important goals: fun family time in a memorable way and the chance to see more of the outdoors up-close.
As a bonus, tour wranglers are often experts on their destination, giving you the scoop on everything from local wildlife to the best burger in town.
Our favorite horseback riding operations have included those at Brasada Ranch in Oregon and Blue Sky Ranch in Utah.
If you don’t own a bike, buying a mountain biking is an expensive way to enjoy the outdoors if you are not going to enjoy it regularly.
However, they are surprisingly affordable to rent for the day at most local bike shops, on vacation or at home.
Because you can’t always mountain bike on pedestrian trails, it’s important to pick up a cycling trail map where you rent your bikes.
If you want to go extreme, try gravity-based mountain biking at a ski resort in the summer.
It’s one of the activities our family have enjoyed most in the past few years.
Appreciating Nature While Traveling
Some of your most memorable moments may be spent on a nature excursion or taking time to explore a local park.
No matter where you travel, it’s likely that at least one of the above activities will be available to you, helping you introduce your kids not only to the joy of traveling, but the joy of caring for the earth.
What outdoor activities do you encourage in your kids, whether at home or while traveling?
What has been your most memorable outdoor experience?
Eco-Friendly Family Breaks in Europe
Thinking of traveling to Europe with your family?
Here we discuss and recommend some of the best eco-friendly family breaks in Europe that you can enjoy.
These are filled with fun activities and will also enable you to be eco-friendly.
It will be a good way to teach kids about how their actions create an impact on the environment.
Eco-Friendly Family Breaks in Europe
Eco-Friendly Family Holiday in Malta
If you are looking for a luxurious destination in Malta, the first thing that you have to do is to look for places with ECO Certification.
The government launched a national program in 2002, which has the main goal of recognizing hotels that have been actively pursuing green initiatives.
Some of the best places to consider include Grand Hotel Excelsior, Corinthia Hotel St George’s Bay, Hilton Malta, and The Palace Malta.
There are many ways by which you can have an eco-friendly way of enjoying Malta.
Ask the kids to ride a bike on your way to a specific destination.
Share a van with other tourists if you are visiting a specific place.
See the Olive Grove, an excellent opportunity to gain environmental awareness.
Visit Dingli Cliffs and enjoy the natural greenery.
Go rock climbing, trekking, and snorkelling.
Eco-Friendly Family Holiday in Croatia
This is one country that is gifted with an impressive natural beauty, which is why you will never run out of eco-friendly activities to enjoy during your holiday.
There are many photo opportunities in Croatia so be sure to take your camera.
One of the best things that you can do with the whole family is to book a trip sailing.
Enjoy Croatia’s calm waters while sipping locally made wine.
Tours also include visits to different farms and shops where you can buy local products, which will be a good way to show your support to the domestic economy.
Click here for more information about what to do in Croatia.
Looking for the perfect accommodation?
One of the best choices to consider is Hotel Split.
The hotel utilities solar energy to power some of their facilities and amenities, including the hot shower.
They also use LED lights, which are energy-efficient.
There is also a tank that collects rainwater and uses it to water the plants when needed.
Most importantly, all of the employees are educated on how they can be eco-friendly as well.
Eco-Friendly Family Holiday in Greece
If you plan to travel to Crete, be sure to bring the entire family to Rethymnon and visit the farm.
This is a good way for the kids to be introduced to organic farming.
More than just being educational, this is also going to be interactive as they can try farming on their own.
Visiting Gerakas, which is in Zakynthos, is also a must.
Visitors will be able to help clean up beaches and can learn about conserving marine life.
When it comes to accommodations, there is a huge selection of green hotels in Greece.
Regardless of where you are, you will most probably be able to find a hotel that meets green standards.
Sani Resort is one of the best choices.
Set in a 1,000-acre reserve, it takes pride in having a captivating natural beauty.
They have local community initiatives and partnerships to demonstrate being green.
Another popular choice is the family-friendly Domes of Elounda where some of the villas offer low energy lighting and 100% organic bed linen.
These eco-friendly family breaks in Europe will make it easy to continue your earth-friendly practices while traveling.
Spain’s Best Water Parks
Thousands flood to Spain every year to soak up the sun and enjoy the relaxed way of life, including Spain’s best water parks.
Spain is rich in culture, has wild and rugged landscapes, and enjoys hundreds of miles of idyllic sandy beaches.
It’s easy to see why Spain remains a favorite holiday destination.
Excellent roads link airports and beach resorts, vibrant cities and picturesque villages.
Reasonably priced holiday transfers means getting about to see what’s on offer is easy.
But no matter how you plan on spending your well-deserved holiday — coast or mountains — there’s one thing everybody should do for a fun day out: Visit a water park.
Not only does Spain have some of the best water parks in Europe, a few rank as the best in the world.
They’re a great day out for kids, but grown-ups get a chance to have some serious fun too, maybe more than their children.
Water parks are safe and offer a huge choice of exciting things to do.
Besides fun in the water, many have great restaurants, shaded areas, and are set in beautiful surroundings.
Although there are plenty of water parks to choose from in Spain, some do things better than others.
Away from the bustling center, Aqualandia is set against an impressive natural landscape.
Being the first of Spain’s water parks and amongst the largest on the planet, Aqualandia has a list of record-breaking attractions.
Free parking and friendly staff are more bonuses.
Set on the Costa Tropical, Aquatropic has been expanding its choice in activities for over two decades.
Not only does it have a great selection of water-based attractions, it also has a good-sized park with lots of shade for picnics and relaxing.
It may not have world-ranking status, but it has something no other water park in Spain has: saltwater.
No horrible-tasting chlorine. Hurray!
Aquapark Flamingo, Torrevieja
Here is a favorite for families with small children.
Many water parks are huge and have scary-looking rides.
Trekking around hundreds of square meters can turn a fun day out into a chore.
That’s not the case here.
Aquapark Flamingo is smaller but still offers fun choices in attractions, all suitable for little people.
It has a larger than average ratio of lifeguards too, and the cheaper entrance fee, free parking and sunbeds make up for them not allowing you to take your own food.
Costa Caribe Aquatic Park, Tarragona
Located in Costa Daurada, and part of the fun-packed PortAventura, Costa Caribe offers a unique experience in an exotic setting.
Where else can you listen to reggae music amongst 4,000 species of tropical plants whilst white-water rafting?
There’s also the usual variety of nail-biting water slides and plenty of places to relax.
Although Madrid is a landlocked city without the beaches Spain is famed for, it’s serviced by national parks and an awesome water park.
Anyone visiting Madrid during the summer months will definitely want to spend a day here.
If you tire of riding down a huge slide on over-sized rubber rings, or lazing through the jungle, you can chill out by one of the many pools or treat yourself to a secluded cabin in the VIP area.
Siam Park, Tenerife
Winning the accolade of Spain’s, Europe’s, and even the world’s best water park, Siam offers its visitors an unforgettable experience.
Situated in the south of the island, this giant playground has everything and more, including a surf school and tropical kingdoms.
It sets the benchmark for all water parks and is a major tourist attraction in itself.
Plan a trip to enjoy one of Spain’s best water parks.
With or without children, it’s sure to be a fun and memorable adventure.
Photo credit: Joao Carlos Medau