family-friendly destinations

Family-friendly destinations from coast to coast (and right here at home, too)

If a family-friendly vacation is on your wish list for 2016, then be sure to check out parenting blog Mommy Nearest, which recently published its list of “16 Places You Need to Visit With Your Family in 2016.”

While we’re thrilled that Pittsburgh made the list—and tickled by Mommy Nearest’s reference to the Kidsburgh nickname—Renee Sklarew’s article is also a fun starting point for getting your family getaway planning underway.

Cleveland, our Rust Belt neighbor to the west, is the closest family-friendly destination on the list and is a draw for animal-loving families. The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo added four enlarged habitats, while the Cleveland Museum of Natural History just opened the Perkins Wildlife Center & Woods Garden, with species native to Ohio such as the bobcat, groundhog, bald eagle and eastern screech-owl.

Willing to board an airplane with your brood? Head to the West Coast, where the new San Francisco Museum of Modern Art opens on May 14 and the Great Wolf Lodge and Universal Studios Wizarding World of Harry Potter open in Los Angeles in April.

While some of the spots are no-brainers—like Orlando, Fla., with its new Frozen-themed ride at Epcot Theme Park—others are a pleasant surprise. For example, U.S. National Parks like Yellowstone in Montana and Wyoming are celebrating their 100th birthday this year. In honor of the milestone, families with a child currently in fourth grade (or a 10-year-old) receive a free family pass to visit any of the National Parks in 2016.

Of course, if you’re hosting out-of-town visitors to Pittsburgh, Mommy Nearest recommends heading to the Heinz History Center, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, the Duquesne Incline and the Bone Hunters Quarry at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Did someone say “staycation”?

Check out the full list of kid-friendly cities here.