Denali National Park & Preserve, Alaska
The trailhead for the newly rebuilt Triple Lakes Trail in Denali National Park & Preserve is steps from the visitor's center, so even the laziest hikers can make it to the great Alaskan outdoors. But push yourself (if you can) to the outer reaches of the 8.6-mile hike. That's where you'll find the namesake lakes that attract trumpeter swans, horned grebes, muskrat, moose, and the occasional grizzly. You'll also cross a 130-foot suspension bridge over rushing Riley Creek and hike along ridges that look up to Pyramid Mountain. Seven-day park permit $20 per vehicle.
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Like most spectacular national parks, the Grand Canyon is plagued by spectacular traffic. Not at the paved Hermit Road Greenway Trail, which skirts nearly three thrilling miles of the South Rim and is off limits to cars. You can rent a bike trailside in one of five frame sizes and Burley Bee trailers for the under-8 set. From $10 per hour.
Dinosaur Hall, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
In the public imagination (and in prehistory), Tyrannosaurus rex has always loomed larger than life. The new Dinosaur Hall at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, which opened July 16, brings the mythic monster down to size. Three sizes, actually. The 14,000-square-foot space—twice as large as the museum's former dino display—was built to show off the three growth stages of a T. rex: a 10-foot baby, a 20-foot teenager, and an appropriately imposing 30-foot adult. The alpha beasts are in good company: The museum's skeleton crew includes 17 other full-body specimens (many rarely displayed) and more than 300 fossils. 900 Exposition Blvd.; adults $9, children 4 and under free.
NASCAR Hall of Fame, Charlotte, N.C.
Feel the need for speed? Get behind the wheel of one of the 15 racing simulators at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. You'll start your engine, shift gears, and maneuver through a virtual track, all while competing against other drivers in a race projected on a 50-foot video screen. Win or lose, you still get a victory lap around Glory Road, a replica of the 33-degree banked turns of the Talladega Superspeedway and the display area for the museum's 18 historic cars (including the 1939 Ford Coupe that Red Byron drove to win the first NASCAR race). There's also a pit-crew challenge to see how fast you and your family can jack up a car, change a tire, and refuel. 400 E. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.; adults $20, children 4 and under free.
St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum, St. Augustine, Florida
Swashbucklers, hoist your sails and head for the artifact-packed St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum (12 S. Castillo Dr., adults $12, children under 5 free). This is the only place in the world to display an authentic pirate's treasure chest (property of Captain Thomas Tew roughly 400 years ago), plus a 19th-century Jolly Roger flag and an original "Wanted" poster with a 500-pound sterling reward for the capture of pirate Henry Every, dated 1696. Across the street, cannon-firing demonstrations take place Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at the Castillo de San Marcos fort (1 S. Castillo Dr., adults $6, children under 16 free).
Musical Instrument Museum, Phoenix, Arizona
Bang a gong, play an African talking drum, or form an Indonesian gamelan band at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix. The 12,000-piece collection contains noisemakers from every country—and at least one from an international superstar (a Steinway piano John Lennon once owned). Best of all, you can hear each one, either in audio and video recordings, a weekly concert series, or in the Experience Gallery, where museumgoers can play dozens of exotic items. (We've got dibs on the sneezewood xylophone from Mozambique.) 4725 E. Mayo Blvd., adults $15, children 5 and under free.
Citygarden, St. Luis, Missouri
Forget monkey bars. At Citygarden, Saint Louis' coolest playground is cleverly disguised as an art park, with 24 climbable, crawl-able, slide-able sculptures by contemporary masters including Keith Haring, Jim Dine, and Mark di Suvero spread over three acres. There's also a 40-foot-long waterfall, 102 computer-controlled spray jets, and a 7' x 14' LED wall that screens art films, video installations—even the occasional family-friendly flick at the holidays. Free admission.
Dalí Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida
Touring the Dalí Museum's new waterfront home is like stepping inside one of the artist's trippy, drippy dreamscapes. A concrete cube with a glass dome that seemingly melts down its side, it houses an impressive three-story corkscrew of a staircase, 96 surrealist oil paintings (including The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory), and more than 1,300 watercolors, sketches, sculptures, and objects. The whole affair is surrounded by the Avant Garden, which includes a hedge labyrinth and a vertical, mist-soaked orchid wall. 1 Dalí Blvd., adults $21, children under 6 free.
Moab Photo Workshop, Moab, Utah
You'll need to develop some fortitude for this one-day photo boot camp in canyon country. Class runs from dawn to post-dusk to take advantage of the exceptional light, but then there's the payoff: frame-worthy images of red earth and rock formations, not to mention techniques and tips you can use in less spectacular surroundings. Photo pro Bret Edge takes each beginner-level group (no more than five folks at a time) to three locations each day, places like Dead Horse Point State Park, Mesa Arch, and Balanced Rock in Arches National Park. Instruction covers composition, depth of field, aperture and shutter speeds, and the basics of filters and tripods. Photo workshop $250, including breakfast, park admission, instruction in the field, and image critiques.
Wanderlust Festival, Bondville, Vermont
You'd think that achieving inner peace would be enough for one long weekend, but not at Vermont's Wanderlust Festival. A spin-off of a Tahoe-based retreat, the four-day workshop (June 23-26) is built around a serious yoga program, with intensive instruction by 30 of the world's top gurus. Once you've attained your desired level of tranquility, you can shift your heart rate into high gear -- with muscle-shaking, arm-balancing classes and alfresco live-music performances. Bonus: Attendees get unlimited gondola access for meditative hikes on Stratton Mountain. From $34.50 for a music-only day pass to $450 for four days of all-access activities.
Trong những chổ này, có vài chổ đáng đi. Grand Canyon- đi hụt năm ngoái. Dinosaur museum, chắc sẽ kết hợp với Ripley's khi sinh nhật thằng Nì. Musical Museum, có lẽ chờ khi sang thăm Đào, nhưng mà chưa chắc đã enjoy, ngoài cô nhỏ và mẹ. Utah, khi có dịp sẽ ghé ngang. Ngoài ra thì nhà mình cũng không keen lắm mấy nơi vườn tược, tượng đài, especially hai cha con nhà hắn. :(