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Travel

Family vacations offering more than sights to see

A family enjoys a waterfall at Arenal Hanging

A family enjoys a waterfall at Arenal Hanging Bridges in Costa Rica. Photo Credit: Alamy / Kevin Schafer

Travel offers the potential for a sensory feast. On your next trip, encourage family members to do more than just see the sights. Here are five ways to deepen the experience.

1. WHAT DO YOU SMELL? Colorado is filled with farmers markets, street fairs, carnivals, sulfur hot springs, a pine forest and fragrant rose gardens, all of which offer an opportunity to sniff something special. Do certain aromas evoke a memory from a previous experience? Notice how different members of your family respond.

INFO localharvest.org, colorado.com

2. WHAT DO YOU HEAR? Encourage the kids to close their eyes and tune in to the sounds of Costa Rica. Is that the whistle of a train in the distance? Listen intently to the traffic noise in the capital of San Jose, waves crashing on a rocky shoreline or an unfamiliar bird chirping in the rain forest.

INFO visitcostarica.com

3. HOW DOES IT FEEL? From the topsy-turvy thrill created by riding a roller coaster at one of Six Flags’ amusement parks, to the sensation of that first step into an unfamiliar landscape, each member of your family is bound to feel something new. Who feels tired? Or hungry? Or even homesick? Talk about it.

INFO sixflags.com

4. MAY I TOUCH? From petting zoos and tide pools to dolphin encounters and turtle sanctuaries, travel offers your family the opportunity to reach for the unexpected. Discuss the options ahead of time, particularly when young children are on board. Spiny cactus and colorful coral might look interesting, but close contact isn’t advised.

INFO aza.org

5. WANT TO TASTE IT? Travel provides the ideal opportunity to encourage kids to expand their culinary range. Talk about the origins of different ingredients and why many are unique to different regions of the world. Seek out small local establishments where it might be possible to learn about food preparation or even talk with the chef or proprietor. From curry and coconut to bok choy and barbecue sauce, there is a story to accompany every flavor you’ll sample.

INFO opentable.com

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