Planning an adventure trip with a toddler

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of April 3-9, 1997
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Choosing an outdoor education course

Planning an adventure trip with a toddler
Question: Help ...Travel destinations for a 3-year-old plus two parents besides Disney?

Laguna Hills, CA
[email protected]

Adventure Adviser: Because 5 is usually the rock-bottom age allowed on most adventure trips, you may be hard-pressed to find an attractive outdoorsy Disney alternative. But don't despair — there are ways to wiggle around this general rule. For example, consider some of the more innovative kids' programs offered at major resorts.

The Hyatt Regency Scottsdale at Gainey Ranch, Arizona, offers Camp Hyatt Kachina ($54 per day; 800-233-1234). Here your toddler can go for nature walks or do Navajo sand painting while you take day hikes or play golf.

The Club Med Sandpiper (800-258-2633), north of West Palm Beach, Florida, has three separate programs for kids age 2 to 11, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day, at no extra charge — heavenly for parents who want an uninterrupted afternoon siesta.

If fly-fishing, hiking, and mountain biking sounds more appealing than lazing on a beach, try Keystone Resort (800-468-5004) in Colorado. Kamp Keystone keeps 3-year-olds busy with nature hikes, gold panning, cook-outs, fishing, swimming, and more. Plus, kids 18 and under stay free with their parents at the Keystone Lodge or in a participating condo.

A Texas wildlife safari may be a bit rugged for Junior, but it's worth keeping in mind for next year. At the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center (817-897-2960) in Texas hill country, you can roam the range in a self-guided driving tour in search of your child's first glimpse of ostriches, gazelles, giraffes, armadillos, and 1,000 other endangered, exotic species. There's even a petting pasture where you can get up close and personal to tortoises, pot-bellied pigs, and sheep. Accommodations here are in screened bunkhouses or in your own tent, so if your kid doesn't like things that go bump in the night, you may want to hold out for a year ($55 per person, including breakfast and dinner, no children's discounts).

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