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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Evanston, Illinois
    Posts
    12

    Default Rocky Mountain to Chicago, with two toddlers, at the end of a road trip...stop where?

    Hi,

    This summer, with my wife and kids (a four month-old and a three-year old) we are going from Chicago to Yellowstone (via Worthington, MN, Wall Drug, Mount Rushmore, Custer, Cody), Grand Teton and Rocky Mountain National Park, and then back to Chicago. The idea would be to do the last piece of the trip in three days-two nights, getting to Chicago at the end of the third day. So, given that the kids are likely to be tired at that point (kind of dates 14-16 of the whole trip), where would you suggest to stop on the way to Chicago from Rocky Mountain National Park?

    Thank you,

    Fernando

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    At about 1030-1050 miles, doing that trip in 3 days will be nice and easy. Are you looking for things to do or do you just want to know what cities would space the 3 days pretty evenly? Or both?


    Donna

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Lots of routes and places to choose from.

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum.

    I am assuming you are starting in Estes Park, which could make North Platte and Des Moines as nicely breaking up the journey. Depending of course on where in Chicago you will be heading, and assuming you want to only take the interstates. There are however, numerous routes you could take. Get out a good paper map, and see just which takes your fancy. There are routes through the Sandhills areas of Nebraska and scenic routes through IA and IL. With the time available, you might find it beneficial as well as interesting to take some of these lesser driven road.

    Lifey

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Evanston, Illinois
    Posts
    12

    Default

    Hi, thanks for your feedback.

    DonnaR57, I'm looking for both things. As this will be the last part of the trip, everybody will be tired, so I'm looking for places where to stop during the day, do walk and do interesting/fun things, and places where to stop to sleep and space the trip as evenly as possible, but willing to sacrifice how evenly the trip is distributed if there are some places that my daughter would really like.

    Lifemagician, yes, we'll be starting in Estes Park. With respect to Chicago, we are really going to Evanston, so to the northern suburbs. I think that, as I said before, our goal is to make that part of the trip as kid-friendly as possible, so it would be great to know of any attractions that could help focusing their attention "outside" the car.

    Fernando

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    I'd say a stop at the Omaha Zoo would be close to a must stop. It's considered one of the world's best, and it would about perfectly break up that second day.

    Have you checked out RTA's Map Center? I think there are a few more things that it will pop up along this leg that could be interesting for your family.

    With kids this young, don't underestimate the power of just stopping at a city park for some playground time as a great place to break up a trip.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Evanston, Illinois
    Posts
    12

    Default

    Thanks Midwest Michael! I didn't know that one. It seems great.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    My kids at that age also loved any of the fast food play yards -- McDonald's, Burger King ... whoever had them.



    Donna

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default

    Really can't beat a swing, a ball and a city park, when it comes to little ones, like yours. So long as there is somewhere for Mum to sit and feed the baby. Life is so simple at that age.

    Lifey

  9. #9

    Default

    While not a complete list, this is helpful to find children's museums along the way:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of..._United_States

    Also, almost every town has a school, and most schools have a playground - you're usually allowed to use school playground when school is out, so if your travels are when most are on summer break, they're a good option. I'd also say the majority of towns have public parks - some large, some small, but they're also a good stop to let your three year old run off some energy!

    I try to time driving when the kids are most likely to nap - so try to be close to, or at, a destination to start the day doing something, then have lunch, drive when they're likely to nap....stop again before dinner, play, then dinner, then drive again in the evening to wrap up the days driving and be at or near something in the morning.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Evanston, Illinois
    Posts
    12

    Default

    RahRah, thanks for the link and the advise.

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