9 Amazing Worldwide Driving Destinations for Kids (And Grown Up Kids)

From sweet shops to outer space, pirates to dinosaurs, wizards to winter fun; we don’t think there’s a better guide to unique kids destinations in the world.

The wonderful world of Haribo is situated in the German city of Bonn, also the home of both the President and Chancellor of Germany. Photo by vauvau via Flickr.

HARIBO

Bonn, Germany

If you and your kids are hooked on Haribo then feel free to burn rubber on the autobahn and hit Gummy Bear central where the world’s leading sweet company started. Here you will find a large supermarket absolutely packed with everything Haribo have to offer. No other sweet shop comes close. You name it, they’ve not only got it, they probably invented it. (Remember to pack a toothbrush and toothpaste and book the dentists for three months after).

HASTINGS PIRATE DAY 

Hastings, East Sussex, UK

If your child is a fully-fledged Jack Sparrow wannabe there can be no better destination than Hastings at the end of July. Just 90 minutes drive from London will take you to the seaside town on their annual attempt to smash their own Guinness World Record for Pirate Gatherings.  Last year over 14,000 people assembled in skull and cross bones, thigh length leather boots, eye patches and tri-cornered hats and next year the numbers are sure to swell. The streets are lined with Long John Silvers, parrots on shoulders and cries of ‘Hahhaaa me hearties.’ And there’s a full programme of events to take part in or watch. Kids will be bewitched by a town full of pirates.

KENNEDY SPACE CENTRE VISITOR COMPLEX

Florida, US

“Houston we have a problem, we’re never going to tear the kids away.” If Space is your final frontier then this is the last stop before the moon. Not only do they have real rockets in the garden they have the largest rocket ever made, plus a chance to touch real moon rock and meet genuine NASA astronauts, not to mention enjoy IMAX cinemas and an interactive Angry Birds experience.

 

The famous Kennedy control centre. Photo by alans1948 via Flickr.

THE CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF INDIANAPOLIS

Indianapolis, US

This place rates itself as the best children’s museum in the world and has also been voted one of America’s top ten museums. Reasons to go there include Dinosaur Central at the Dinosphere which houses the largest collection of dinosaur fossils in the country. Plus there’s the largest permanent installation by the world’s leading glass artist Dale Chihuly in the Fireworks of Glass. Throw in the largest water clock in America and you’ve no excuse not to be on the highway and heading to Indianapolis.

THE LARGEST MINIATURE RAILWAY IN THE WORLD: MINIATUR WUNDERLAND

Hamburg, Germany

Let’s talk facts. It took 500,000 working hours to build this amazing miniature world where 900 trains drag 12,000 wagons around tracks through countryside panorama representing Scandinavia, Europe and America. If you’re a model train afficionado, this is Mecca. The attention to detail is amazing – beaches, penguins, firebreathers and fire fighters – all walks of life exist here. Only in miniature.

NATIONAL FOOTBALL MUSEUM

Manchester, UK

With two of the world’s richest football clubs in terms of wealth and history it’s no surprise that the number one football or soccer museum in Europe is based in Manchester, England. The space features six floors of football fanaticism ranging from photographic exhibitions, cinemas, Hall of Fame events and a fantastic shop. Pretty much anything you could want in football is here.

Miniatur Wunderland: the vast miniature world is split into seven sections, the only fictitious city being Knuffingen. Photo by bstrasser via Flickr.

HARRY POTTER LOCATIONS

Various Locations, UK

London has a permanent Harry Potter World but to truly experience the wonder of the film jump in the car and head to locations in Northern England and Scotland. On the West Highland train line between Fort William and Mallaig is the viaduct where the flying Ford Anglia lands in The Chamber of Secrets and you can take a Hogwart’s Express style steam train across it. Elsewhere Glencoe and Glen Nevis offer stunning landscapes you’ll recognize as the locations for Quidditch matches. Heading south to Northumberland, you’ll find the amazing Alnick Castle, one of the first key locations in the first film. Nearby Durham Cathedral is one of many locations used to represent Hogwarts.

PEZ VISITOR CENTRE

Orange, Connecticut, US 

If you like your sweet bricks dispensed from extremely collectable big headed mini-machines then follow your nose and drive to the Pez Visitor Centre at the actual candy factory where they make them. No other sweet has such a unique packaging history and this is the place to be for everything you need to start or finish your own Pez dispenser collection.

DAVOS

Klosters, Switzerland

Never has the phrase “it’s all downhill from here” had such a positive meaning. The Davos Sledge is the number one Sledge in the world and where better to buy or try them out than in their hometown of Klosters in Switzerland. Here you can build a whole holiday around the idea of flying downhill very fast with loads of laughs and a sore bum – or simply show up for the day and enjoy the winter sports museum.