Are you heading out on a road trip this summer through the United States? Maybe you plan to be in the car for many hours and want the kids to pass the time in comfort, but you’re not quite sure you want them buried in the DVD player watching cartoons for 6 hours at a time. Why not turn their DVD time into some supplemental learning time about the area you are planning to visit?
Here are some great movies that will help your family learn a little about the local area attractions that you plan to visit on your next road
Washington, D.C. , New York or Philadelphia
If you are heading to our nation’s capitol, you have some great movies that talk about the historic landmarks. Of course, Hollywood is not going to portray every museum and historical event in completely accurate settings, but you will be exposed to some of the locations and people who make their mark in the area.
Night at the Museum: This adventure takes place after dark in the New York City Museum of Natural History. Viewers of all ages can get excited about Roman History, Atilla the Hun as well as the early pioneers and explorers like Lewis & Clark and Sackagawea. Because of this movie kids are begging to tour this museum on their next visit to New York City.
Night at the Museum: Smithsonian: This great movie introduces the family to the massive collection of artifacts housed in the Smithsonians. There are many references to exhibits that have cultural and historical significance. Because the movie is also very entertaining, kids won’t realize they have actually learned a lot about the characters that had a part in our nation’s history. Before this movie, most people had no idea that the Smithsonian was just one museum. Now it’s common knowledge that this is actually a series of 19 museums and galleries.
National Treasure: This Nicholas Cage movie features the Declaration of Independence and references many of the historical landmarks in Philadelphia including Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.
Niagara Falls is well represented by Marilyn Monroe in the 1950s classic Niagara the comedy Bruce Almighty as well as the Alfred Hitchcock favorite Vertigo.
Planning to visit Mt. Rushmore?
National Treasure 2 spends a good segment of time with the characters exploring Mt. Rushmore. What a great way to help kids (and adults) learn what state Mt. Rushmore is located in as well as the Presidents who make up this amazing landmark.
Learning American history
There are movies that use real American history as the springboard for their plot. Consider The Great Locomotive Chase if you are traveling through Chattanooga, Tennessee area or the Disney Revolutionary War movie Johnny Tremain if you plan to visit Valley Forge.
One of the most famous movies of all time Gone with the Wind does a great job introducing you to the important characters of the Civil War.
Route 66: Anyone with children has seen the animated new classic Cars. This cartoon takes you on a journey down Route 66 in the Midwest and out to California. You are introduced to some of the most famous natural landmarks in the area. You can do a little research at the Route 66 News website to learn more about the real facts behind the movie.
Whether you plan to travel to San Francisco and tour Alkatraz or Chicago to visit the famous tower, take the time to do a little research before you go and you will probably be able to find a great movie to help introduce your family to the characters, history and landmarks of that city or state.
What’s your favorite travel movie? I’d love to hear!