Childhood was a time when, for many of us, a bad day involved nothing more serious than a skinned knee or a sick goldfish. Though being a kid wasn’t always fun (most of us are probably happy that homework and pimples are behind us), it certainly was simpler.
Thus, in celebration of those good ol’ days when nap-time and the tooth fairy still existed, here’s a list of vacation ideas that will have your inner child jumping for joy:
1) Summer Camp for Adults
Ah, summer camp. Two weeks of s’mores, mosquito bites, popsicle-stick art and . . . Jello shots. Wait. What?
For those who didn’t get their fill of summer camp the first time around, you can relive the joys of talent nights and campfire sing-alongs at one of a dozen adult summer camps across the United States.
Just don’t go expecting capture the flag and supervised swim lessons because the itinerary at these grown-up-only camps caters to the 18-and-over crowd with courses in race-car driving, wine making, yoga and ballroom dancing.
One camp in New Jersey even offers a course in Zombie Survival.
Summer camp ain’t just for the kiddies anymore. Sign up for a week away at an adult-only ice skating, tennis or even space camp. Photo by MattHurst.
2) Tree-House Hotel, Oregon
Called a “treesort,” this 16-treehouse hotel an hour west of Medford, Oregon, has everything your inner child could want: Tarzan-like swings, secret forts, Indian Jones-worthy swinging bridges, 40-foot high platforms, a horse stable and even a zip line.
Live in your childhood tree-house. Photo by grampymoose.
3) Schoolhouse Restaurant, Connecticut
Built in 1872, this one-roomed school in Cannondale Village, Connecticut, may seem like an odd location choice for a French-fusion restaurant whose menu consists of such grown-up-only dishes as foie gras (duck liver) and octopus.
And if the chef’s awards or an appearance on Martha Stewart Living is any indication, the food is far tastier than anything you’d find in a school cafeteria.
School may not be in session at the School House Restaurant, but it might provide a cute trip down memory lane. Photo by Laissez Fare.
4) Hello Kitty Hotel, Taiwan
At the 2,000-square-foot 3-bedroom Hello Kitty mansion /hotel in Hsinchu, Taiwan, everything is Hello Kitty-themed—from the kitty-shaped pastries to the uber-pink hotel room to the costumed Hello Kitty housekeeper.
Should you find all of the Pepto Bismol-colored cuteness a little hard to stomach, don’t worry, the Hello Kitty mansion also serves Hello Kitty liquor.
It’s Hello PINK at the Hello Kitty hotel in Taiwan. Photo by joanneteh.
5) Gum Wall, Seattle
Deep in the heart of downtown Seattle, in a dark alleyway under Pike Place Market, lies The Market Theater Gum Wall.
The gum wall’s history dates back to 1993 when, in naughty schoolboy and girl tradition, theater-goers fell into the habit of sticking their bubble gum to the wall behind the Market Theater.
Though the theater’s owners tried to have the gum removed, they gave up in 1999 after market officials declared the wall a tourist attraction.
You won’t get in trouble for sticking your gum to the Market Theater Wall in Seattle. Photo by KWDesigns.
6) The Pineapple Garden Maze, Oahu, Hawaii
For children of the 1980s who grew up watching The Labyrinth and Goonies, a three-mile maze on the tropical island might be the perfect combination of adventure and nostalgia.
The Pineapple Garden Maze in Oahu, Hawaii, is one of only a few permanent botanical mazes in the United States. Made of 14,000 tropical plants that stretch over three acres on the Dole Pineapple plantation, the maze earned the title of “World’s Largest Maze” in 2008.
Enjoy some pineapple juice while trying to work your way through the maze. Photo by Logan Sakai.
7) Smurf Village, Juzcar, Spain
Though legend has it that it’s impossible for a human to find the Smurf village without being accompanied by a smurf (or smurfette), an exception has been made for the Smurf Village in Southern Spain.
The Smurf Village was born in 2011, when all of the buildings in the town of Juzcar, Spain, were painted blue in celebration of the release of the film The Smurfs.
It took 4,000 liters of paint for the production crew to Smurfify the town’s buildings, churches and even tombstones. Though producers offered to repaint the town back to its normal white, the townspeople declined.
And no wonder. During the first six months of its incarnation, the Smurf Village attracted 80,000 visitors. The year prior? Just 300.
Step into a childhood cartoon favorite, the Smurf Village in Spain. Photo by manuelfloresv.
8) I Hate Perfume Store, Brooklyn, New York
Wander into the CB I Hate Perfume store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and you may feel as though you’ve traveled back in time to third-grade art class. Rubber Cement, Crayon and Play Doh are just a few of the dozens of oddball scents on sale.
But if smelling like Play Doh isn’t your speed, you can relive summer vacation with Suntan Lotion, Rubber Inner Tube, Wet Lawn and Leather Baseball Glove or take a trip through memory lane with My Birthday Cake or The First Snow.
And then there’s the most kid-friendly scent of them all—Doll Head.
Would you want to wear a scent called “Play Doh”? Or what about “Leather Baseball Glove”? Those are just two of the child-fun scents at the CB I Hate Perfume store in Brooklyn, New York. Photo by katerw.
9) Museum of Childhood, London, UK
Explore how society’s view of the role of childhood has changed over the last 400 years or take a nostalgic look back on your own childhood at the Museum of Childhood in London.
This 140-year-old-museum features toys, books, games and clothing from the 1600s until today and has everything from Cabbage Patch Kid dolls and GI Joe action figures to a nearly five- hundred-year-old board game that once belonged to the children of King George III.
The Museum of Childhood in London, England, isn’t a museum FOR children, but rather, about them. Photo by Conservation By Design Ltd.
10) Mermaid Parade, Coney Island, New York
Every June, a Coney Island not-for-profit organization hosts the Coney Island Mermaid Parade.
In celebration of Coney Island pride and artistic self-expression, participants throw fruit into the sea as an offering to the gods and then march down the street dressed as mermaids, neptunes, sea creatures and, according to the event’s official website, “the occasional wandering lighthouse.”
Revisit your childhood dream of becoming The Little Mermaid with the annual mermaid parade, New York. Photo by Jane Plantain.
Where would you go to re-visit your childhood? Let me know in the comments below.
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Main photo: Smurf Village by cinefilo.