Soccer practice... music lessons... math tutors... play dates... Kids today are as tightly scheduled as many corporate CEO's. In the past 20 years organized sports time for children has doubled while unstructured activities have declined by 50%. That's why youngsters need down-time--just like their adult counterparts--when winter holidays and spring-break vacations come around.
"Kids may be whizzes with iPods and Xboxes, but they still get a thrill when they encounter the real-life wonders of nature," says C. Steen Hansen, co-publisher of Specialty Travel Index. "Winter vacations are the perfect time for families to see and learn something new--and do it together."
The following trips will turn kids into star performers at "show and tell":
Mexico's Sea of Cortez by Luxury Yacht: Get up-close and personal with elephant seals, dolphins, and whales from aboard the 21-guest luxury yacht Safari Quest. Attention focuses on the gentle gray whales that come to these warm lagoons each winter to mate and bear their calves. By day, families can kayak, swim, snorkel, and horseback ride into the mountains and arroyos; at night, everyone relaxes thanks to the comfort of gourmet meals and luxury staterooms. Because of its small size, the yacht is especially well suited for multi-generational vacations or charter for family reunions. [AdventureSmith Explorations; www.adventuresmithexplorations.com]