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Kid-Friendly Ninja Museum Opens at Historic Japanese Castle

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 04/18/2019, 10:45 PM

A new museum in Japan shines a light on the shadowy history of ninjas, and, via kid-friendly interactive exhibits, gives visitors a chance to hone their own ninja skills.  Opening April 20, the museum is located on the grounds of Odawara Castle, a 15th-century landmark about 80km (50 miles) southwest of Tokyo. The site is easily reached from that city by a short train ride, along the same route th...

Dollywood's New Expansion, Open in May, Is Its Largest Ever

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 02/25/2019, 7:00 PM

Dolly Parton's Dollywood amusement park—located in the foothills of Tennessee's Great Smoky Mountains, where the country icon grew up—is opening its largest expansion ever this spring. The 6-acre, $37-million Wildwood Grove is a new themed land that will have 11 guest experiences, including 6 rides.   Parton worked with the park's creative team to come up with a distinctive quality for the area,...

Mascot Hall of Fame Ready to Rev Up Crowds Near Chicago

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 02/12/2019, 12:00 AM

Original Phillie Phanatic Dave Raymond founded the Mascot Hall of Fame in 2005 to pay tribute to professional and college sports teams' costumed crowd pleasers. The enterprise started out online-only, but after a five-year, multimillion-dollar project, there's now a brick-and-mortar-and-faux-fur building in Whiting, Indiana, on the southern shore of Lake Michigan, about a 45-minute drive from dow...

NYC's New Museum of Optical Illusions Wants to Blow Your Mind

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/19/2018, 9:00 PM

Remember that day in fourth grade when your teacher distributed photocopied handouts of M.C. Escher prints, figures that appeared to be differing sizes but were actually the same, and drawings of ducks that, on closer inspection, were also rabbits?  The new Museum of Illusions in New York City is two floors of that, with the added benefit—crucial in the age of Instagram—that guests can put them...

Plans for Cartoon Network Cruise Being Drawn

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 02/01/2018, 1:30 PM

The first fully immersive Cartoon Network cruise ship is currently in the works. We'd like to tell you the plans are being cooked up in Dexter's Laboratory, but in fact the project is a joint effort of the Turner company, which owns the animation-dominated cable channel, and the Singapore-based Oceanic Group.  Dubbed the Cartoon Network Wave, the 11-deck, 2,000-passenger ship will have colorful ...

Kids Won't Be Allowed on Virgin's Cruise Line

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 11/07/2017, 10:00 PM

When Virgin Voyages launches its first cruise in 2020, you can be sure of one thing: There won't be any kids on board.  At a keel-laying ceremony last week, company CEO Tom McAlpin announced that bookings from passengers under 18 will not be accepted so that the ship can supply a "more elevated and premium experience," reports Travel Weekly.   The move, dubbed "Adult by Design," is part of an in...

Rental Car with Upholstery for Kids to Color On During Road Trips

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 08/22/2017, 12:00 AM

On long car trips, many parents end up becoming the highway equivalent of cruise directors, arranging an endless program of games and activities designed to keep their restless passengers from staging a mutiny. Hertz UK is helping out those beleaguered drivers with a brand-new offering: a rental car with special upholstery for kids to color on. Dubbed the Colouring-In Car (complete with superfluo...

Airline Adds Kid-Free Areas on Flights

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/14/2016, 4:00 AM

IndiGo, a budget airline based in India, has added designated "Quiet Zones" to its flights, banning children under 12 from sitting in rows 1 to 4 and 11 to 14. (As on most airlines, kids are also excluded from exit rows.) The idea is to provide a little calm for customers traveling sans rug rats—though let's be honest: any squalling infant worth his formula has the lung capacity to belt pa...

Dollywood Adds Calming Room for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 07/05/2016, 11:30 PM

Theme parks—which are basically shrines to sensory overload—can be overwhelming for kids with autism spectrum disorders. All those noises, lights, and crowds can be downright debilitating if you're especially sensitive to them. For those young park-goers, Dolly Parton's Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, has introduced a special "calming room" where kids with autism spectrum disorders can ch...

Study Proves It: Museums Change Lives

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 04/04/2016, 4:00 PM

  Hard to believe that no one had looked into this before, but now someone has: Exposing your kids to museums will enrich them forever. A few high-powered museums, including New York's Whitney and Los Angeles' Museum of Contemporary Art, wanted to know whether their youth programs were valuable. So they got together and commissioned a study. As Smithsonian reports: "They recru...

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