With plenty of famous sites, exciting activities, food to suit every palate and easygoing approach to life, the USA is one of the best places in the world for a family holiday. Aside from the obvious iconic landmarks and world-class theme parks, there are plenty of other reasons to visit the USA with your kids - here’s our pick of new family-friendly attractions for 2019.
New attractions at Dollywood, Tennessee
Dollywood, Dolly Parton’s theme park in Tennessee, has just launched the largest expansion in the park’s history. At Wildwood Grove
, visitors can take rides inside giant acorns at Treetop Tower and aboard a thrilling “leaf boat” on the Great Tree Swing. Even the bears are friendly in Wildwood Grove, as they let guests walk with them through their own natural habitat on the Black Bear Trail.
Valleyfair, Minnesota, gets a revamp
, in Shakopee, Minnesota, is the Upper Midwest's largest amusement park featuring over 75 rides and attractions including eight roller coasters, Soak City Waterpark, live entertainment and the Dinosaur's Alive and Planet Snoopy areas. This year, it adds new live music stages, and improvements to the nostalgic Route 76 including food. Inspired by the year when the park opened, the area features nostalgic rides including Northern Lights, return of the Antique Autos.
Get up close to flamingos Key West, Florida
At the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory
, families can ‘Flamingle’ with resident pink flamingos Rhett and Scarlett – a male and female breeding pair – during daily hour-long encounters. Participants aren’t allowed to touch the birds, instead they are encouraged to communicate and socialise with them.
Go climbing at Luna Park, New York
Coming this summer to Luna Park, the theme park at New York’s Coney Island, is the exciting Rope Circus at Coney Island
. This new includes both a ropes course and zip line. Guests can choose a route based on their age and comfort level. With heights ranging from just 20 inches for really little ones, to up to 33 feet for adults, there are ziplines for all ages.
Top attractions reopened in Washington DC
Washington DC’s International Spy Museum
has just reopened in time for summer. The only US museum dedicated to the history of espionage will reopen in L’Enfant Plaza showcasing the largest collection of spy artefacts ever publicly displayed. Next to reopen is the Washington Monument
, set to reopen to public in August 2019, when visitors will be able to get enviable views of the National Mall and downtown DC.
Take a gastronomic tour, in Virginia
Teach your kids about American history as they learn about both peanut and pork industry on the Salty Southern Route
through Southeastern Virginia. They’ll be able to understand the connections between the early British settlers and the USA as they visit communities in Suffolk, Sussex, Southampton County, Surry and more. Long associated with peanut and salt-cured hams, this visitors tour was launched to take visitors on a journey through Virginia’s picturesque southern counties to experience this tradition firsthand.
Fly high in Las Vegas, Nevada
There are four new attractions to enjoy in Las Vegas' Linq
area. First is the new 550ft-high big wheel, the High Roller from only $59, for two adults and two youth tickets (children under six ride free). Meanwhile, there are ten ziplines to fly you and your family across the Las Vegas Linq promenade at 12 stories height along the promenade in a seated or ‘superhero’ position. New to the Linq Promenade is an VR immersive experience which can place you and the kids in a 3D virtual world. Gamers use hand movements, walk, sidestep or jump to explore, or even fly, through the virtual world. Families will also love the Twilight Zone by Monster Mini Golf, a unique 10,000 sqft themed attraction with an indoor glow-in-the-dark 18-hole mini golf course.
Explore a mini San Antonio in Lego in Texas
The Legoland Discovery Center
has just opened in San Antonio and has 10 play zones, two rides, a 4D cinema and a massive Lego town. This display includes San Antonio’s landmarks, including a rotating replica of the Tower of the Americas, tiny Lego figures cheering in stands at the Alamodome, boats drifting along the River Walk and historical re-enactors at the Alamo.
Escape to Key Largo, Florida
Love an adrenaline rush? Head to Key Largo, home to the new Kingdom Escape Games which offers escape rooms and games for groups of up to eight. They include ‘Rendyth’s Revenge’ room, a live-action escape adventure in which families need to work together to complete a mission.
Ride the new Steelers coaster at Kennywood Amusement Park
Opening later this summer, the Pittsburgh Steelers bring a new themed land to Kennywood Amusement Park
, anchored by the record-setting Steel Curtain rollercoaster. The ride will offer 4,000 feet of track at 76 miles per hour, whilst navigating 9 inversions, including the world’s tallest at 197 feet above the ground.