Family Vacation Ideas Catering to Your Kid’s Latest Obsession, From Dinosaur Digs to Cooking Courses

Paid moments from American Express and Delta

Children often have big dreams. Some obsess over blasting off to space; others, swimming with mermaids, zooming around a NASCAR speedway, or unearthing dinosaur bones in a far-off cave. For all of your kids’ fixations, there’s a family vacation to match. If you plan a family trip that lets your young ones live out their ultimate fantasies, you’re giving them the ultimate gift: tapping into their truest desires and planting a seed for them to grow up and make those ambitions come to life. And when it comes to travel, that’s the ultimate dream.

Here’s how to pull off a family vacation catered to the current (or upcoming) interests of your child, a trip that is sure to impress, and entertain, everyone in the family—all while allowing your kids to tap into their obsessions.

Rocket ships in Florida

Little astronauts will love blasting off to Florida’s space coast, where US space travel began in the 1960s. Along 72 miles of pristine coastline, anchored by Cocoa Beach, Melbourne, and Port Canaveral, families can witness a live rocket launch and then go straight to mission control at the Kennedy Space Centerwhere they can get up close to Space Shuttle Atlantic (and even have lunch with an real life astronaut). When it’s time to come back to planet earth, there are also surf lessons, unspoiled beaches, and a trip to the Brevard Zoo to frolic with mammals, sea creatures, and other earthlings.

A rocket in the Kennedy Space Center’s Apollo/Saturn V Center

Florida Space Coast Office of Tourism

NASCAR racing at sea

If your kiddo feels the need for speed, then consider trading the roadway for the sea. That’s right: Board a cruise with Norwegian Prima to take part in Prima Speedway, a racetrack at sea that offers a nautical NASCAR experience for drivers of all ages. It’s the world’s first three-level go-kart racetrack on a ship, and it provides little drivers with all the thrills they need to imagine themselves right into the fast lane at the Indy 500: race car engine revs, the crank of shifting gears, and the wind—okay, the ocean breeze—in their hair.

Cooking classes in Mexico, South Africa, or Paris

So your little one has cooked up a fantasy of one day winning Top Chef. Help them tap into that delicious dream with pizza-making and other cooking courses with award-winning Chef Juan Pablo Loza at the Rosewood Mayakoba, offered as part of the Rosewood Explorers family fun program. In Paris, your petit patissier can learn how to bake French bread and croissants with Sophie Family Travel, which offers a multi-city European tour designed for families with kids of all ages, from toddler to teen. And in South Africa at the One&Only Cape Town, children who signed up for a sushi-making seminar get hands-on lessons from Nobu alumni chefs, as well as personalized aprons and chef hats. It’s enough to make you want to pack your knives and stay.