Name one kid-friendly activity between Minneapolis, Minnesota and Norfolk, Nebraska.
August 13, 2012 8:45 AM   Subscribe

Taking a road trip with a 6 year-old and an 8 year-old around Labor Day weekend. Unfortunately, it must end in Norfolk. Looking for ways to make it fun for the kids. Open to quick stops or day+ diversions, happy to drive out of the way if the cost/benefit is there as the time-line is open-ended. Thanks for any suggestions!
posted by LowellLarson to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Best answer: Can't give specific suggestions, but I have been looking forward to using these two websites before my next road trip: OnTheWay and Roadtrippers.
posted by sa3z at 2:51 PM on August 13, 2012

We just got back to Rhode Island from the Twin Cities: our round-trip roadtrip -- with a detour up to Lake Vermilion -- with four kids (ages 4 to 13) went better than we expected.

We spent one night at a hotel/resort that has its own waterpark attached, and it was worth it to us to let the kids take a long break. We went to the Great Wolf Lodge in Ohio (and here is one in the Dells you could hit), but there seem to be a few chains like this. GWL lets you enjoy the waterpark the entire day you check in and the day you leave until like 9PM, which was pretty great.

We filled two small storage tubs with stuff to do while on the road: coloring pages, construction paper, colored pencils, Color Wonder pages, pipe cleaners, cheap tin foil (and they really played with it!), and preprinted pages for Battleship, license plate bingo, and some other pen-and-paper games. These got used a lot, which was a gratifying surprise.

We printed out instructions for a ton of word games (Detroit To Tokyo, Fortunately/Unfortunately, etc.), but we only did each of these a couple of times in fifty hours of driving.

We let them watch one video most days (when we drove more than six or so hours), and usually they played games on the DS/iPad for a while.

I put together a fifty-page book about the states through which we were passing, in the hopes of one of the kids caring, but no one did. Oh, well.

We were in a new car, and that made my wife tense about spills, but the kids were very clean.

My SiL did a big car trip last winter and said that she got her kids to do an hour of "quiet time" each day after lunch. We were skeptical about this, but it actually worked. Playing quiet, New Age-y music on the car stereo helped.

We shared the driving, and whoever wasn't driving made an entry in the car journal. We also had each of the kids make a couple of entries -- drawings, notes, whatever they wanted.

We stopped every two hours to pee, switch drivers, and run around. We spent anywhere from seven to maybe twenty minutes, with longer stops for a picnic lunch each day. Not all states offer rest stops as nice as Ohio's (I m looking at you, gross Indiana), but we usually found a good place to eat and run around.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:57 AM on August 14, 2012

(Shoot, I misread Norfolk as being in Virginia. I am an idiot. Still, the point remians that there seem to be bunch of these hotels with waterparks along the interstates)
posted by wenestvedt at 9:58 AM on August 14, 2012

Response by poster: Shoot, I misread Norfolk as being in Virginia. I am an idiot.

Actually, I am the idiot for not getting the Nebraska part nearly as prominent as it should have been. Thanks for your input!
posted by LowellLarson at 11:46 AM on August 21, 2012

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