National Zoo and Aquarium Month on June, 2023: Attractions for family with 2 young energetic teenagers traveling next month to London?
June, 2023 is National Zoo and Aquarium Month 2023. Zoo and Aquarium Month - Brown Originals Celebrate National Zoo and
its a bit how-long-is-a-piece-of-string without knowing their interests & genders... but i'll have a go : ) avoiding the zoo/aquarium type places, which are similar anywhere, here are some quintessentially londoney/ english things...
eating~ while they cant yet drink, your children CAN accompany you to pubs. we have great gastro pubs serving incredible meals, w indoor & outdoor seating. Some are old, & very scenic inside. i always felt soooo grown up when our parents took us when i was younger. super excitement : ) cool, unusual way to see a real slice of london/english life. gastro pubs are more like resturants than american bars, in daytime /early eve. <- this site has excellent guides to everything, not just food. ranging from very expensive to hearty sandwiches, english to asian, healthy to fatty, something to suit everyone!
Those London Things~ start off in trafalgar square. at the top is the national, & national portrait galleries- free entry w many famous paintings. the square has some great photo ops~ the huge column in the centre, flanked by enormous sculpted lions. from there you can walk south, / get a bus, & head to parliament. there are several red phone boxes on the way, the most scenic being the one on the corner near to big ben, the bell tower and clock of the houses of parliament. huge, historic buildings in the area abound. from trafalgar squ you can take a routemaster bus (red, double decker old ones, which you can hop on/off the back of, as they move) public transport, so no extra cost. nice places along the route to see. always sit on the top deck of any bus, to see more! changing of the guard, nr buckingham palace. london eye, but book in advance.
shopping~ inevitably. oxford st, regent st, covent garden are in the middle of town, & major shopping areas. in back streets around them are cooler, funkier, smaller places, esp in soho. topshop on oxford stis huge, male & female, w some v cool stuff. primark is cool, v. v. cheap. covent garden is near by, w street performers too. between them is the theatre district; billy elliot is about a teen, war horse started off in theatre here, w amazing mechanical horses~ both are excellent. there's loads of theatre, of all kinds & sizes, ballet & opera too. if youre being educational, the globe is a copy of the origional shakespearian one (w plays on). the proms is a daily classical music festival, tickets £5 upwards, inc some teen/child orchestras & shows. camden market might be fun for them.
gore, horror & history~ london dungeon. not thrilling for over 14s, really, but your two, if they like gore, might enjoy it. there is also the nearby Clink museum, filled with 'fun' stuff on ancient torture etc
near-ish by, but over the other side of the river, is the City of London (the financial district). yes, i know, this sounds completely, mind numbingly dull~ but there are loads of cool cobbled streets with occasional medieval buildings sandwiched between modern high rise. cool contrast to wander round. back over the river, at borough market, a huge farmers market with lots of baked etc goods~ better than subway! the natural history & science museum are across town, but side by side. very interactive, masses of dino/space/tech stuff. older, gory-ier~ the tower of london. tower bridge is next to it, looks like this when open~ royal greenwich observatory~ the centre of time (greenwich mean time is here) is s. london, w science, astronomy stuff. cool naval history nearby.
proper run around outside things~
parliament hill, hampstead heath. nice to walk over, lovely views, popular kite flying spot. it, & other bigger parks, have free & pay events~ nature, photography, history etc. just google.
riding~ hyde park (huge, in the middle of london) has stables.
swimming~ nice, public open air pool~ oasis, covent garden. also swim outdoor in river at the serpentine hyde park, or the mixed pool at hampstead heath. buy bread, cheese, hummous etc & have a picnic. drinking outside is fine; you'll see people with bottles of wine & sandwiches after work in the sunshine : )
Philly Zoo, is it worth the price?
So your total is $63, not really a lot when you consider it.
First if you belong to AAA, remember to use the discount at the gate.
If you compare it to comparable things, you'll realize the price is actually quite reasonable. The National Aquarium in Baltimore costs $29.95 per person. The aquarium in Camden is $19.95 per person. And for a day at an amusement park, like Hersheypark or Dorney, will cost you over $35 per person.
Plus you can easily spend all day at the Philadelphia Zoo.
However, if you are a cheapskate, check out the National Zoo in Washington. Admission is free, but there is less to do there, and it's always extremely crowded.
Alaska backpacking: Chilkoot Pass vs Denali National Park?
I've hiked both of those areas, backpacked some in and Around Denali and done a LOT of hiking around the Kenai Peninsula.
For the "oh-wow" factor, Denali wins. Nowhere else in North America can you see a 20,320 foot mountain. Nowhere else in the world can you see a mountain rise 18,000 feet from it's base. Nor can consistently see so many large critters anywhere else without being in a zoo (or maybe the semi-tame stuff in Yellowstone). You're sure to see Dall sheep, Caribou and Grizzlies. Possibly also moose, wolf, fox, and golden eagles. Denali also wins for connections. Fly in Anchorage and drive 250 miles. Or hitch. Or take the train. Or fly into Fairbanks and drive 150 miles.
Skagway is harder to get to. You can drive there off the Alaskan highway but that 1500 miles or so from Seattle. Of Fly to Juneau or Gustavus and take the Alaska State Ferry. Or fly Whitehorse (Yukon Territory) and rent a car.
An advantage (or disadvantage) to the Chilkoot is that it is a TRAIL. In Denali, you pull a permit for an AREA and then crash through the willow bushes and over the braided streams however you decide. So if you want to meet other people and don't want to deal with routefinding - the Chilkoot. If you want to leave it all behind and feel like you're in the middle of nowhere all by yourself - Denali
I agree with the other poster that the Resurrection Trail is much easier (physically, logistically). About a 90-mile drive from Anchorage, the northern portion is 40 miles long (Hope to Cooper Landing). Crossing the Sterling Highway in Cooper Landing lets you take it another 35 miles south to Exit Glacier out of Seward. (But the last 15 miles hasn't been maintained and has at least one tough river crossing). I do each of those as a day hike, but I lean heavily towards high-mileage outings. They are each more reasonable 3-5 day trips. You'll see other people but not a lot (until you get a few miles from Cooper Landing. I've hiked 25 miles on it before seeing another person. There are forest service cabins that you can reserve (6 months in advance and the trick is to be on-line THAT night, 6 months in advance. A 12' x 15' cabin with cut wood, wood stove and bunks is a lot nice place to wait out some rain than a backpacking tent. Some are on lakes and one or two of them are equipped with boats.
Food, lodging, attractions:
Denali: It's a National Park! For good reason. Lodge, visitor's center, interpretive programs, etc. Outside the park you can also river raft, buy souveniors, or stay in upper-end hotels.
Chilkoot: Skagway is a cute town to look around in for a day. Whitehorse is more interesting to me. If I were going to/through Skagway, I'd book passage on the State Ferry and sightsee in various SE AK towns on the way there or back.
Resurrection Trail: You can raft the Kenai out of Cooper Landing or find a room to rent. In Seward, there is a great aquarium and day cruise of Kenai Fjords National Park. Continuing on to Kenai would let you try for salmon. Going to Homer would give you great views, art galleries, halibut charters, and sea kayaking options. Several good resturants too.