Travel destinations, techniques and reviews targeted towards the baby boomer.

Top 10 Places I Have Been from a 12 Year-Old

Lisa Niday - Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Top ten lists gained their fame on David Letterman's show, but have you ever thought about your top 10 list of where you have traveled? This column was inspired and partially written by my grandsons. Wyatt suggested I write a top 10 places to go this summer column. I thought the two grandsons should be contributors. The two of them each came up with top 10 lists and then I added mine. In the process, we determined we needed two lists. One where we want to go and the other where we have been. Clearly this will be different based on our ages, but nonetheless informative.

What I'm hoping is that it inspires you return to a favorite destination or an idea for your top ten list of places to visit. This exercise really gave us something fun to do and gave me some travel ideas to for the summer. It's fun to mix going back to fond places with some of the new locations you might want to visit. I find as you age your experience at a place you have been previously can be more invigorating. We would love to hear your top ten places you have been as it might offer us some options for our top ten places we haven't been. 

David Michael's Top Ten Places He Has Been

A little background, he is 12 years old and camps a lot. He is in boy scouts as well, but we have done a few family vacations too.

10. The Olympic Training Center-Colorado Springs, Colorado

David Michael: I think this is amazing I took a tour of it and it is way cool. I love it. I wrestle so this was very cool for me to see where the Olympians train. 

Lisa: You can't go wrong with Colorado Springs. There is so much to do and see in this town. Pikes Peak, the North Pole, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Garden of the Gods, just to name a few.

photo of kissing camels at Garden of the Gods

"Kissing Camels" just one of the many red rock sculptures you will see at Garden of the Gods.

9. The Rocky Mountains-Colorado 

David Michael: I love going camping and fishing, this is the ideal place to do it. It is great!

Lisa: I can't argue with this logic. I loved it so much I had planned on retiring here but decided why wait. I moved here in 1985 and have never regretted it.

8. New Mexico

David Michael: This place is so much fun. I love it!  It has good fishing and lots of trees. It's truly the land of enchantment. 

Lisa: I love to visit here and the southwest spirit of Santa Fe and Taos can't be beat. Food, architecture and art are amazing here.

photo of hummingbirds in New Mexico

David took this photo of the hummingbirds at our cabin in New Mexico. A small sliver of the New Mexico wildlife.

7. San Diego Zoo

David Michael: This zoo is much better then most zoos. They have a bigger variety of animals. They give bus tours and have cool sun bears.

Lisa: He's right. I took his mother when she was a child and felt it was world class and certainly on our last visit with the grandkids, I would still concur. If you're in San Diego there is lots to do including Sea World, but don't miss the opportunity to go to the zoo.

photo of sun bear at San Diego Zoo

One of the infamous, sun bears, David Michael loved at the San Diego Zoo.

6. Science Spectrum, Lubbock Texas

David Michael: This was a fun, interactive museum where you did things rather than just read about it. It is great for little kids.

Lisa: I was amazed. I had lived in Lubbock for years and never found this one, until we needed a place to "chill" in the hot Texas weather. If you are ever in the area, it is definitely great for kids of all ages.

photo of David Michael climbing the rock wall at the Science Spectrum

David Michael doing a little rock climbing at the Science Spectrum. It really allowed the kids "to do" versus just looking.

5. The Alamo, San Antonio, Texas 

David Michael: This was a good opportunity  to learn about some Texas history. Lots of fun! They have many relics and give a great understanding of it all.

Lisa: I'm originally from Texas, and I don't think you can be from Texas and never have visited the Alamo. This wasn't my first visit, but it helped bring the history of this event to life for the grandkids.

photo of 3 grandsons at the Alamo

The 3 grandsons, Codee, David Michael and Wyatt, at the Alamo. Although we did this trip 4 years ago, they still remember it fondly.

4. Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch-San Antonio, Texas

David Michael: This was amazing  because I had close encounters with wildlife that I had only previously seen in zoos behind fences. If the animals are hungry they will walk right up to your car and eat the food you bought at the beginning of your tour. Best part, this is a drive through, not a lot of walking, so if you have really young kids or even disabled travelers they can still have a great time. Beware animals can and will bite, they advise you to put the food outside of the car, not inside!

Lisa: This was truly memorable for the kids. I couldn't remember the name of the park but the kids could. We had a giraffe get a little too friendly, but it was great because it petrified their mother.

photo of a zebra at the wildlife park

Some of the wildlife we saw at the park.

3. Knotts Berry Farm, Anaheim, California

David Michael: This was a fun place to go it was like an amusement park, but was more old timey because they were selling jam and making horseshoes. They do have some modern day rides.

Lisa: When I took the grandkids this was my first trip to Knotts Berry Farm. I had heard great things about it from my father. It was a much less hectic time than Disneyland so it slows the pace to even out the vacation a bit.

photo of 3 grandsons at Knott's Berry Farm

The three boys at Knotts Berry Farm. 

2. Sea World-San Antonio, Texas

David Michael: This place is very interesting. It is much like Disneyland, but has a more zoo environment. It's a great learning experience, you can see the animal shows and feed them. You can ride the rides and play in the water park or see the amazing 3D movie, it's your choice. If you go in the summer, it is very hot.

Lisa: His mother went with her grandparents the first year, Sea World San Antonio opened and has never forgotten it. It is a nice blend of education and amusement. Best time of the year to visit is the spring or fall.

photo of David Michael feeding the dolphin at Sea World

That's David Michael feeding the dolphin. He really loved this as did his mother. The other boys were a little afraid.

1. Disneyland-Los Angeles, California

David Michael: This was a blast and lived up to my hopes. Before you go, you should download a line monitor app for your phone because the lines can get long.

Lisa: I've never met a child or adult who didn't like Disneyland, after all it's the happiest place on earth.

photo of David Michael and his dad at Disneyland

David Michael with his dad at Disneyland.

The next column will feature his brother, Wyatt's top 10 places he has been and finally I will list my top 10. Please share your list with us as well.

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