Eco-friendly family adventures don’t have to require hiking boots and camping gear. Be it Paris, Portland or The Hague, cities around the world have evolved to better protect the planet while suiting the needs of urban travelers. These tips will inspire explorers of all ages to go green while on the road—and have a great time doing it.
Raise the (Green) roof
Instead of the usual trip to the zoo or national park, surprise the family by taking them to new heights on a rooftop farm. Tour newly opened UF002 De Schilde, a 13,000 square-foot greenhouse in The Hague and the largest urban rooftop farm in Europe. There, your sprout will learn the ins and outs of rooftop farming while picking out freshly harvested goodies for a picnic.
Take tots on two wheels
Exploring a new destination via bike is one of the best ways to see a city from the viewpoint of locals—while showing kids how fun it can be to lighten their carbon footprint. Consider using public, self-service bicycle sharing systems that make it easy and affordable (often free for the first 30 minutes!) for tourists to get around town.
Among the most popular bike share programs—which now operate in hundreds of cities across the globe—are London’s Santander Cycles, Paris’s Vélib’, Barcelona’s Bicing and the Hangzhou Public Bicycle system in China.
Make green all-inclusive
Hotels have also caught on to the latest bike travel craze. In fact, it’s often the hallmark of a eco-friendly property when a hotel rewards its guests for eschewing car dependency. One of the many laudable green perks of Kimpton Hotels is its complimentary fleet of cruisers, which can be taken out in all 33 cities where the hotels are located.
In fact, you can make your green trip planning less time-consuming by booking a stay at an environmentally-conscious hotel, where concierges are full of great eco-insights on the best farm-to-table restaurants, secret parks and public transit hacks you won’t find in the guidebooks. After all, when you’re traveling with kids in tow, the more convenient it is to be green, the better.
One reliable way to locate an environmentally-conscious hotel is through the Green Engage program at InterContinental Hotels & Resorts. This innovative system empowers each hotel to measure its environmental impact and reduce energy use by up to 25 percent each year.
Eat a mindful meal
After a full day of sight-seeing, kids’ bellies will be hungry. Take them to a farm-to-table restaurant for eco-friendly meal. Apps like Clean Plates and Seafood Watch make it easy to pinpoint the best sustainably-minded eateries in the area. That’s a big plus when you’ve got famished kiddos tugging at your sleeves.
Of course, restaurants known for their environmental efforts make the job easy. Whether you indulge in a farm fresh meal at La Table du VII at Hotel Indigo Paris-Opera or enjoy a delicious intimate smorgasbord at Table 40 at InterContinental Miami, sustainable meals are a great opportunity for kids to learn more about their destination by experiencing locally-grown ingredients.
Geek out at the museum
Entertain kids with a day of eco-education. Most major cities around the world have a science museum, which can be resources for teaching kids about everything from climate change to alternative energy. At the Science Museum in London’s South Kensington district, admission is free and an exhibit on an ultra fuel-efficient, hydrogen-powered racing car is bound to hold their attention.
At the Deutsches Museum in Munich, the Oceanography exhibit shows kids how the seas influence our climate and valuable food sources. After experiencing Gothenburg’s Universeum, which features a new, four-story rainforest exhibit featuring 80-foot-high suspension bridges and more than 600 different species of flora and fauna, kids will be begging you to take them to the Amazon jungle for the next vacation.