Roadtripping through the Midwest can feel like being lost in an ocean of prairie. The coffee cups are long empty, you’ve got the song “Let it Go” from “Frozen” running in a loop in your brain and everyone has to use the potty — but at different times. As the captain of your prairie ship, maybe you should call a timeout to get the wiggles out at one of these awesome attractions. Read on to find the best pitstops for your midwest road.
1. Tick Tock Escape Games (Kansas City, Kansas)
Trying to escape the car is nothing like trying to escape a billionaire’s den or an Egyptian pyramid. Test your family’s intellectual stamina and teamwork at Tick Tock Escape Games in Kansas City, Kansas. Tick Tock is considered one of the best escape rooms in the area because of the elaborate puzzles and family-friendly atmosphere. Plus, music and tech elements add an extra dimension of fun without cheesy scare-factors like handcuffs or blood. Book for $30 per person.
2. Chicago Children’s Museum (Chicago, Illinois)
There are many things you can do in the Chicago area, but consider making a special detour for the Children’s Museum. Visitors can climb around and hide in a schooner or tree house, build a fort, fish in a river and even make art. Open 10am-5pm daily, until 8pm on Thursdays, and until 7pm on weekends. Admission is $14 per person.
3. Little House on the Prairie (Independence, Kansas)
A trip through the midwestern plains would not be complete without a nod to the adventures of Laura Ingalls Wilder as written in her iconic books. At the Little House on the Prairie Museum, visit the original land where Laura Ingalls and her family lived in a one-room log cabin. Period furniture, Charles’ hand-dug well, the historic Wayside Post Office, and the Sunnyside one room schoolhouse can all be enjoyed at this quaint site. Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for children.
4. Cincinnati Union Terminal (Cincinnati, Ohio)
A shining example of Art Deco style, Cincinnati’s Union Terminal is one of the last great train stations ever built. It is the largest half-dome in the western hemisphere and features beautiful mosaic murals and several fascinating museum exhibits, including Star Wars and the Power of Costume through October 1, 2017 (adult admission is $24, admission for children 3-12 is $16).
5. Conner Prairie Living History Museum (Fishers, Indiana)
Let’s face it: your family rushes through dinner. You speed on the way to school, work and soccer practice. And you are constantly attached to a screen. Conner Prairie is an opportunity to truly experience multi-generational learning in a fun, interactive environment. The living history museum features a classic 1836 village, blacksmithing and carpentry exhibits, classes, and even a balloon voyage. Open hours are 10am-5pm during the summer. Admission is $17 for adults and $12 for children ages 12 and under.
6. Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium (Omaha, Nebraska)
Nothing breaks up the monotony of a four-door sedan quite like exploring a replica of the African grasslands, complete with feeding giraffes, brushing Pygmy goats, and hanging out with a family of elephants at the Omaha Zoo. The zoo also features an IMAX theater, butterfly pavilion with hundreds of free flying butterflies in a tropical environment and the world’s largest indoor desert under a glazed geodesic dome. Open hours are 9am-5pm during the summer. Admission is $19.95 for adults and $13.95 for children 11 and under.