Armchair Travel Is the Perfect Way To “See” The World Without Leaving the Comfort of Your Own Home. The World Is Massive and Hardly Anyone Is Able to See Every Corner of The Earth. This Armchair Travel Guide Is A Perfect Family Travel Activity!
Physical travel may not always be possible. Yet, as parents we want to be able to educate our kids about the different cultures, cities and cuisines of destinations that may be so far from our normal. Technology has fortunately allowed us to do more armchair travel as we are more digitally connected to the world. It’s also a great way to work out what sort of places your kid might like to travel to or what fascinates them.
This is a stay at home travel guide for you kids, written for kids. Mum and Dad, if you wish to come along, you are more than welcome to do so!
Are you kids ready to come on a 26-day journey with us as we virtually travel to 26 cities from A to Z which includes a digital travel activity of exploration and discovery for each destination? Let’s go!
TRAVEL TIPS YOU WILL FIND:
- A FOR AMSTERDAM
- B FOR BEIJING
- C FOR CAIRO
- D FOR DURBAN
- E FOR ESPOO
- F FOR FLORENCE
- G FOR GEORGE TOWN
- H FOR HOUSTON
- I FOR ISTANBUL
- J FOR JERUSALEM
- K FOR KUALA LUMPUR
- L FOR LONDON
- M FOR MOSCOW
- N FOR NEW YORK CITY
- O FOR ORLANDO
- P FOR PARIS
- Q FOR QUEBEC CITY
- R FOR REYKJAVIK
- S FOR SYDNEY
- T FOR TAIPEI
- U FOR ULAANBAATAR
- V FOR VENICE
- W FOR WASHINGTON D.C.
- X IS FOR XI’AN
- Y FOR YOKOHAMA
- Z FOR ZAGREB
A FOR AMSTERDAM
Fun facts about Amsterdam: Amsterdam is located in the Netherlands in Europe. It was once called Holland and can you guess what people from the Netherlands are called? Netherlandians? Hollanders? Nethers? Nope…. They are called Dutch. Now, go Google why they are called Dutch and come back and let me know because it’s got me all confused.
Amsterdam is a city built on canals and they actually have more canals than they do in Venice. Another cool Amsterdam fact is that it has more bicycles than there are people and every year, they have to fish out about 12,000 bicycles that have fallen into the water!
You will notice that houses in Amsterdam are tall and skinny and that was because they needed to try and cram more people into a small space and real estate was a precious commodity. Not only are they tall and thin, they also lean forward. Yes, the buildings are not straight. This is because in the old days, these buildings were both where they lived as well as the fact that they are shops. They use and still do, hoist up goods on the outside of the building to the floors upstairs and because they didn’t want to damage the facade outside, buildings were designed to lean forward!
Armchair Travel Activity: One of the most famous Dutch people in all of history is painter Vincent Van Gogh. In Amsterdam, there is an entire museum dedicated to his works and you can do a virtual tour of the Van Gogh Museum.
B FOR BEIJING
Fun facts about Beijing: Beijing is the capital of China and is located in the North of the country. Beijing is an ancient city dating back many thousands of years and over time, the name of this city has changed 16 times!
The population of Beijing is around 21 million people. And did you know that the most popular surname in Beijing is Wang? About 11% of the people who live in Beijing have this surname. Can you work out exactly how many people have that surname? Wow, right?
Beijing is home to the largest palatial complex in the world with 90 palaces and courtyards and over 8700 rooms. The Forbidden city is basically the largest palace in the world. And most importantly, Beijing is famous for the Great Wall of China of which about 600 km or 370 miles of the wall can be found in Beijing alone. To work out how long that is, work out how many laps of a 400 m track and field oval that is.
Armchair Travel Activity: Take a virtual hike of the Great Wall of China and get to know some gobsmacking facts. Did you know it is over 21,000 km long in total? Even the distance from Sydney, Australia to London, UK is only about 18,500 km!
C FOR CAIRO
Fun facts about Cairo: Cairo is the capital of Egypt in Africa. As you know, Egypt is the home of pyramids, around 138 of them to be exact. Pyramids were built many thousands of years ago as a burial place to the Pharaohs and as they believed strongly in the afterlife, it was a monument that was created to ensure they would ascend and succeed after death. Hence you will also find great treasure buried with the Pharaohs so they would be rich in their afterlife too. This however has given rise to many tomb raiders, wishing to get a hold of all that treasure.
The largest pyramid is the Pyramid of Giza. It stands around 480 feet tall and for 3800 years, it was the tallest man-made structure in the world! To truly understand how tall that is, the average height of humans are around 5.4 feet. You do the math! The pyramid was made from 2.3 million blocks of rock weighing 5.9 million tons. Till this day, no one can explain how the pyramids were built.
Armchair Travel Activity: Egyptian hieroglyphs were the formal writing system used in Ancient Egypt. It consists of about 1000 different characters. We only have 26 letters in the alphabet so learning hieroglyphs would have been challenging! If you’d like to know how to write your name in hieroglyphs, check out this website.
D FOR DURBAN
Fun facts about Durban: Durban is located on the east coast of South Africa. It is the 3rd largest city in the country, it has the busiest port and largest shopping centre in South Africa and believe it or not, it has the highest population of Indians outside of India!
Durban is famous for the annual Sardine Run and by Sardine Run I don’t mean everyone dressing up as fish and running a marathon! Every year between June and July billions of sardines migrate from the nutrient rich Agulhas Bank to the coast of KwaZulu-Natal, where Durban is located. This migration is absolutely stunning to see and is an ecological and diver’s dream. What makes it stunning is that when a mass migration like this occurs, predators follow. The 2 most common predators that feed on sardines are the dolphin and the Cape gannet bird. They then form as the best indicators for humans as to the fact that the migration has begun. You will also then find sharks, whales and seals as they jump on the bandwagon for a feeding session.
Armchair Travel Activity: The Sardine Run is an amazing natural phenomenon that many travellers want to be part of. Here is a video from a South African travel vlog that shows you this incredible experience.
E FOR ESPOO
Fun facts about Espoo: Espoo is located in Finland, Europe and is the second largest city in the country. This city is all about the outdoors and there are plenty of things to do in Espoo. You can climb the high rope trail in Karhunpesä estate, zip line over the forest pond, you can play frisbee golf in the snow and there are plenty of bike trails for all you cycling enthusiasts.
Espoo is home to Nuuksio National Park and in the winter, it is absolutely magical. As Lake Haukkalampi freezes over, you can traverse across it and feel like you’re the only people in the world! Nuuksio hiking trails are very accessible and the forest is easy to navigate. Enjoy making snow angels and go sledding too. While you’re there, go visit the reindeer farm and meet grouchy old Oscar. Feel free to feed him some lichen so he’s not so hungry!
Armchair Travel Activity: Visit Espoo TV has many cool short clips to show you all the amazing things you can do in Espoo. Let me know which was your favourite.
F FOR FLORENCE
Fun facts about Florence: Florence is located in Northern Italy and is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It is also a city where many illustrious people were born including famous painters and sculptors like Michelangelo (famous for the Statue of David and the Sistine Chapel) and Leonardo da Vinci (famous for the Mona Lisa). If you don’t know what they look like, perhaps you can do some research.
Apart from having one of the most beautiful and famous churches in the world, it is also the birthplace of some cool things. Pinnochio came from Florence. Collodi published his book over a hundred years ago. A hundred years before that, the very first piano was invented in this city too. Bartolomeo Cristofori developed it from the harpsichord. But the most important invention of all, way back in the 16th century was the gelato! Yes……ice cream! Gelato in Florence is a must and you don’t need an excuse to try every single flavour it has to offer.
Armchair Travel Activity: There is no better place to learn about Renaissance art and the Medici family than Uffizi Gallery. Its collection is world class and a significant museum. Take the virtual tour and enjoy the online exhibits. No Uffizi tickets required!
G FOR GEORGE TOWN
Fun facts about George Town: George Town is located in the north of the western peninsula of Malaysia, in the state of Penang. It is close to the borders of Thailand and it is a haven for foodies. If you like to eat, this cultural melting pot of cuisines is the right place for you.
There are many things to do in George Town including going on a trishaw ride through the markets, visit the ghost museum, pay respects at Kek Lok Si temple, take the funicular up to Penang Hill for a great view of the city and visit a colonial Peranakan mansion so you can see how they use to live. George Town murals are some of the most famous street art in the world. Graffiti is not to be tolerated in Malaysia but Penang street art is a collection of 50 beautiful murals depicting local life.
Armchair Travel Activity: Watch this super cool video of 2 travellers searching the streets of George Town for Penang street art. How cool are they? Leave a comment below and let me know which was your favourite mural and why.
H FOR HOUSTON
Fun facts about Houston: Houston is located in the state of Texas, in the USA. It is the 4th largest city in America and has about 2.3 million people. Around 145 languages are spoken in this fair city which just goes to how multicultural Houston is. Houston has an underground pedestrian tunnel system connecting 95 city blocks which means you can pretty much navigate the city without having to surface to the top!
This city is also known as The Big Heart as back in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina, the city opened their doors and became a refuge for over 150,000 people from New Orleans. The Big Heart is also home to NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Centre so if you’re a space addict, this is your kind of place! If you don’t know who Lyndon B. Johnson is, time to educate yourself.
Armchair Travel Activity: Houston Zoo is a popular attraction and no better way to check in on its residents than through the Houston Zoo webcam. The Houston Zoo webcam allows you to see the giraffe being fed lettuce, watch the rhinos roll in the mud and flamingos floating next to the waterfall.
I FOR ISTANBUL
Fun facts about Istanbul: Istanbul is located in Turkey and it is one of the oldest cities in the world with artefacts as old as 8000 years were discovered by archaeologists. The coolest thing about Istanbul, that no other city in the world possesses is that it lies on 2 continents. Yup, Istanbul is located both in Europe and Asia with two thirds of the population on the European side. Can you imagine yourself standing at the point where one leg is in Europe and the other leg is in Asia? Why don’t you try and find out exactly where in Turkey that would be?
Turkey is a Muslim country and Istanbul has many as 3,113 mosques. The most spectacular mosque is the enormous Hagia Sophia which you would be surprised to learn that it was first built as an Orthodox cathedral back in 537. It wasn’t until 1453 that it was converted to the mosque we know today.
Istanbul also has the oldest and largest covered market in the world. The Grand Bazaar covers 64 streets and over 4000 stores. Here you’ll be able to find spices, tea and coffee. Speaking of coffee, did you know that back in the 17th century, coffee was known to be a stimulating drug so it was illegal and punishable by death? Don’t think I want to get my head chopped off!
Armchair Travel Activity: Have a look at this short and easy to follow Hagia Sophia tour.
J FOR JERUSALEM
Fun facts about Jerusalem: Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and is one of the most ancient cities in the world. It is also an extremely holy city for 3 main religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
According to Jewish tradition, Jerusalem is where God told the patriarch Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, to Him. At the site of the sacrifice, the Jews built a Temple and the Temple Mount is a popular place to visit. The Western Wall is a part of the Second Temple and Judaism’s most sacred shrine.
Around 33 CE, Jesus died in Jerusalem. Many monasteries, convents, and shrines mark events in the life of Jesus and in the formation of the Christian Church. The Bible also indicates that he performed many miracles there. Many people make their religious pilgrimages to Jerusalem to visit these holy sites.
Jerusalem is Islam’s third holiest city, after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. Prophet Muhammad had initially selected Jerusalem as the direction Muslims should face during prayer. Muhammad is said to have gone up to heaven from a stone now covered by a golden-domed shrine called the Dome of the Rock, which his located on the Temple Mount.
Armchair Travel Activity: As you can see, Jerusalem is an incredibly holy place and there is so much to learn about it. For a quick synopsis of its complex history, watch this easy to follow video entitled Jerusalem: 4000 Years in 5 Minutes.
K FOR KUALA LUMPUR
Fun facts about Kuala Lumpur: Kuala Lumpur or KL, is the capital and largest city in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur is home to a diverse mix of ethnicity including Indian, Malay, and Chinese and has a population of about 18 million. In this city you’ll find kid friendly attractions such as Aquaria KLCC, Sunway Lagoon water theme park, Zoo Negara and hands-on science museum Petrosains.
Kuala Lumpur is home to the tallest twin buildings in the world, the Petronas Twin Towers. The buildings are 88 storeys high and on the 41st and 42nd floors, the buildings are joined by a 58 metre-long, double-decker Sky Bridge. Would you cross it? I have jelly legs so I doubt I’d make it across!
Another really famous place to visit in KL is Batu Caves. This is a 400 million-year old limestone hill with a 100-year old temple incorporated within it. The cave is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India, and is dedicated to Lord Murugan (perhaps you can find out more about Lord Murugan. He was super fascinating!) To reach the temple at the top you have to climb 272 steps. Oh, and beware of the monkeys stealing your food!
Armchair Travel Activity: Watch family travellers Wheres the Jones head up to the Petronas Twin Towers.
L FOR LONDON
Fun facts about London: London is the capital of the UK and one of the best destinations in the world for kids of all ages. Not only is it fun, it has an incredible amount of fascinating facts such as the fact that Wimbledon is the oldest tennis tournament in the world, it’s the only city to have hosted the summer Olympics 3 times, the London Eye is the largest Ferris wheel in the world and that London zoo is the oldest zoo in the world.
The list goes on for tourist attractions like Buckingham Palace where you can watch the changing of the guards, Big Ben, catch a show in the West end, check out the British Museum, get some toys in Hemsleys Toys or go for a stroll at Hyde Park. Eating and shopping are all great attractions too from Regent Street to Brick Lane, you’d be spoilt for choice. Google all these places so you can see what they look like.
The singular most gobsmacking place to visit in London is of course the Harry Potter Studios. Many people think this is a theme park but it’s not. This is actually where they filmed the movies. You’ll see how they created the sets, did all the makeup and overcame issues as the movies progressed. It’s the coolest place ever!
M FOR MOSCOW
Fun facts about Moscow: Moscow is the capital of Russia and the largest city in Europe. Do you know what a person who lives in Moscow is called? Take a guess and I’ll let you know when you get to the bottom.
This city is famous for Red Square, the Kremlin (the world’s largest medieval fortress) and St. Basil’s cathedral and a must visit when you are in Moscow. These places all have an incredible history and you should look them up and learn about them.
There are some other cool facts about Moscow for kids that you may be interested in. Moscow has the world’s largest university building, their metro trains run more regularly than in any other metro in the world with intervals between trains at peak times of only 1.5 minutes, it has the biggest library in Europe and it has the largest number of billionaires in the world according to Forbes.
Oh, a person who lives in Moscow is called a Muscovite.
Armchair Travel Activity: Check out a virtual view of the Red Square. Tell me what you see.
N FOR NEW YORK CITY
Fun facts about New York City: New York City is located in North eastern USA. It is mostly built on the three islands of Long Island, Manhattan, and Staten Island, making it the largest cities in America, has a population of over 8 million, making it the most densely populated cities in America and about 800 languages are spoken, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world.
There are many famous things in New York City and I would be filling pages after pages if I listed them all. But here are some highlights. Time Square is one of the world’s most recognisable entertainment spots with over 50 million people visiting it each year. It is also home to the Statue of Liberty and did you know it was a gift from France? It was not sculpted in the USA. Broadway is in New York City and here you will be able to find every musical under the sun. And let’s not forget this is where Freedom Tower is located, where the twin towers once stood before the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
Armchair Travel Activity: I didn’t even get to mention the amazing museums of which The Metropolitan Museum of Art is so significant. Check out #metkids website which was made for, with and by kids. Kids can hop on the time machine and check out all their videos.
O FOR ORLANDO
Fun facts about Orlando: Orlando is located in the state of Florida in the USA. I’m sure you all know what Orlando is famous for but let’s check out some facts about this city before we talk about it. The city of Orlando has more than 100 lakes and has over 100 parks which gave it its nickname “City Beautiful. The most beautiful lake is Lake Eola which has a fountain that is the “official” symbol of the city. The lake is there as a result of a massive sinkhole and is 80 feet deep!
Orlando has the world’s largest MacDonald’s and the building is 3 storeys tall, about 19,000 square feet and is open 24 hours a day. Many movies have also been shot in Orlando such as Transformers, Apollo 13, 2 Fast 2 Furious and Ocean’s 11.
Alright, let’s get to why Orlando is so famous. It is home to a cluster of the world’s most famous theme parks which drew in over 75 million visitors last year, making it the most visited city in all of the USA. Here you’ll find Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld and Legoland, just to name a few. Have you been to these theme parks? Which was your favourite ride?
Armchair Travel Activity: Time to have some fun and explore Walt Disney World Resort through its virtual tour!
P FOR PARIS
Fun facts about Paris: Paris is located in France, Europe. It is known as the most romantic city in the world and has a population of 2.2 million. I’m sure you all know that Paris is home to the Eiffel Tower. What you may not know was that when it was built, it was never intended to be permanent and was supposed to have been removed after the 1889 World Fair and that everyone hated it and thought it was an eyesore. The Eiffel Tower has 1665 steps if you are fit enough to climb them to the top!
Some other cool facts include, there are no stop signs in the entire city, there are more dogs than children, there is a person whose job is to count all the trees of Paris of which the last count stood at 470,000 and that the French Army still use carrier pigeons just in case of an emergency. There are 3 replicas of the Statue of Liberty and if you remember when we were in New York City, I mentioned that it was a gift from France. The largest statue in Paris is on an island in the middle of the Seine and she looks towards her sister all the way in America.
By the way, do you like eating snails? They are super popular in France! Research what that dish is called and let me know.
Armchair Travel Activity: Who knows the name of the most famous museum in the world? Yes, it’s called the Louvre. Did you know that it took 666 years to build it? This art museum holds about 35,000 works of art and apparently it would take you 10 months to go through them all. Well luckily, they have really cool virtual tours so you can check out all the artwork at your leisure.
Q FOR QUEBEC CITY
Fun facts about Quebec City: Quebec City is located in the Canadian province of Quebec. Do you know what the official language of Quebec is? If you said French, you would be right! French is the official language of this province and approximately 80% of its residents speak French as their first language.
Some other interesting information include the fact that Canada produces 70% of the world’s maple syrup and Quebec produces 90% of that 70%. That’s a lot of maple syrup! Quebec is also famous for a dish called poutine. Have you tried it before? It’s a dish with French fries, gravy and cheese curds.
Some of the things to do Quebec City for kids include taking a ride on the funicular, taking some Instagram worthy pictures of the Chateau Frontenac which is the most photographed hotel in the world, take a ferry ride on the St Lawrence River and go and check out Montmorency Falls.
Armchair Travel Activity: Did you know that Montmorency Falls is higher than Niagara Falls?? What?? I know! That’s insane! What’s even cooler is that you can actually zipline across Montmorency Falls. Check out this video!
R FOR REYKJAVIK
Fun facts about Reyjavik: Reyjavik is the capital of Iceland and only has about 130,000 residents. In fact, all of Iceland only has a population of about 357,000. Iceland is an island close to the Arctic circle. About 11% of the country is covered in glaciers. Did you know that the ice of the glaciers can be up to 1,000m or 3280 feet?? Iceland is also covered in volcanoes, more than 20 to be exact. It also has many waterfalls, hot springs, geysers and mud pools.
Some popular things to do include taking a bath in the geothermal spa, Blue Lagoon, drive out to see Gullfoss waterfall, watch the Storkkur geyser erupt every few minutes, go whale watching and of course, see the Northern Lights.
Armchair Travel Activity: The Icelandic language is incredibly complex as it still uses Old English. It therefore has 32 alphabets. If you’d like to see if you can pronounce them, check out this video.Want to embark on some Armchair Travel with your kids? Here is a comprehensive A-Z city list for the next 26 days! #armchairtravel #socialdistancing #responsibletravel Click To Tweet
S FOR SYDNEY
Fun facts about Sydney: Sydney is located in the state of New South Wales in Australia and it’s the largest city in the country. It has the world’s largest natural harbour, over 100 beaches and has been inhabited by indigenous Australians for at least 30,000 years.
Some of the best things to do in Sydney with kids is to head to Taronga Zoo to meet see some native Australian animals (let me know in the comments below what some native Australian animals are), climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge if you’re old enough, head to Luna Park and get on some rides, jump on a Sydney harbour cruise and check out Bondi beach. Of course, you can’t forget to visit the iconic Sydney Opera House. Did you know that 15,500 light bulbs are changed every year at the Sydney Opera House? I’m not sure I would like that job!
Armchair Travel Activity: Sydney Harbour Bridge was opened in 1932 and it is the widest long-span bridge and tallest steel arch bridge in the world. Best of all you can actually climb it! Have a look at this video of kids doing the bridge climb.
T FOR TAIPEI
Fun facts about Taipei: Taipei is located in Taiwan or as it’s officially called, Republic of China. This is not to be confused with the People’s Republic of China. Taiwan at present is not recognised as an independent country but still a part of China. Only the Holy See and 21 other countries in the United Nations recognise Taiwan as an independent country.
Now, for some fun facts. As part of their schooling life, all students from pre-school to high school take a nap after lunch. Shall we move to Taiwan? Garbage trucks in Taiwan play classical music, Beethoven’s “Fur Elise”, so that people know the garbage trucks are coming and they have to bring their garbage out. Taipei also had the tallest building in the world from 2004 to 2009. Taipei 101 was the first building in the world to surpass 500 m as it stands at 508 m. By the way, their elevator is so fast, it can take you from level 5 to level 89 in 37 seconds!
For all you foodie kids, did you know bubble tea was invented in Taiwan? Based on personal experience, it really is more delicious in Taiwan! Anyone been to a dumpling restaurant called Din Tai Fung? They have restaurants all over the world. Din Tai Fung is from Taiwan and famous for their paper-thin dumplings. Taipei is very famous for their night markets. Their largest night market, Shilin night market has over 500 food stalls! By the way, Google Taipei’s poop café. Eeewww!
Armchair Travel Activity: The Shilin food market is out of this world. This video will show you all the interesting things you can eat!
U FOR ULAANBAATAR
Fun facts about Ulaanbaatar: Ulaanbaatar is the capital of Mongolia. This city is home to 45% of the country’s population, has an average annual temperature of -0.4C (32F), making it the coldest capital in the world and it is one of the highest cities in the world as they are 1,350 metres (4,430 ft) above sea level.
Much of Mongolia is occupied by a plateau with the Gobi Desert to the south. 40% of the population are still nomadic and are constantly on the move. They live in a traditional Mongolian ger or yurt, which are homes they can move with them. As nomads on the Steppes of Central Asia, they are prolific eagle hunters and herders. They are also expert horsemen and women.
The famous conqueror Genghis Khan is from Mongolia and he founded the Mongol Empire. He invaded much of Asia and parts of Europe and in 1206, his empire became the largest connecting empire in history. Do some research on Genghis Khan and find out what some of the good things he did were.
Armchair Travel Activity: Living in a Mongolian ger or yurt would be so cool! Here’s a great video that documents that experience.
V FOR VENICE
Fun facts about Venice: Venice is located in Northern Italy and has a population of around 280,000. Venice is a completely unique city because it is built on 118 small islands, separated by 150 canals and uses over 400 bridges to cross these canals. To get around, Venetians either take a ferry, private boat, water taxi or gondola. Cars are not permitted in Venice. In fact, cycling, skateboarding, and roller-skating are banned in Venice.
Did you know that Venice is sinking? Yup, it sinks a few centimetres annually and eventually the city will be completely underwater. Not to worry though, the Italian government is doing all they can to prevent this so you can still enjoy Venetian attractions including St. Mark’s Square, St. Mark’s Basilica, the Grand Canal, Rialto Bridge, Bridge of Sighs, Santa Maria della Salute, and Doge’s Palace.
By the way, do you know who Marco Polo is? If you don’t, look him up. Tell me what you learnt in the comments below.
Armchair Travel Activity: With only 3-4 Gondola licenses granted each year, it is very hard to become a gondolier. To be a gondolier, you have to attend gondola school which includes subjects like the study of a foreign language, history of Venice and of Venetian art. After that you have to do the training course, pass an exam of competition, do an apprenticeship for 6-12 months and then take another practical exam in front of 5 judges. Phew! Check out this video.
W FOR WASHINGTON D.C.
Fun facts about Washington D.C.: Washington D.C. (District of Columbia) is the capital of the USA and known as the Nation’s Capital. Washington D.C is steeped in incredible history and is of course home to the White House, Smithsonian Institute and the Library of Congress which has 168 million objects, making it the world’s largest library. Washington D.C. is also where you’ll find the National Archives where the original Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights is on display.
Did you know that the Smithsonian actually comprises 19 museums and a zoo with 1800 different animals? It is huge so you need to know where you’d like to go. Some other fun things to do include getting involved in the kite festival, admire the beautiful cherry blossoms during Spring, check out the International Spy Museum or head to Madame Tussauds so you can take a photo with all 45 presidents.
Super cool fact: Did you know that there are miles and miles of a Senate Subway for senators and members of the House to use between their offices and the Capitol building?
Armchair Travel Activity: No trip to Washington D.C. would be complete without a tour of the White House. Check it out here.
X IS FOR XI’AN
Fun facts about Xi’an: Xi’an is a large city and capital of Shaanxi Province in central China. It was the capital city of 13 imperial dynasties and is located at the eastern end of the Silk Road. Some of the things worth visiting in Xi’an include the Tomb of Emperor Jingdi, Xi’an City Walls and the Muslim Quarter, pagodas and museums.
But the main reason people visit Xi’an is to see the Terracotta Warriors. This is the greatest archaeological find of the 20th century. In March of 1974, some local farmers near Xiyang Village were digging wells, looking for water. It was there that the farmer discovered some relic tools and uncovered one of the warriors.
Once archaeologists took hold of the excavation, they found a vast underground army of 8000 strong, 100 chariots and ten of thousands of bronze weapons. This army was crafted on an industrial scale some 2200 years ago to defend Emperor Qin, whose actual tomb remains sealed, in the afterlife. This was a ghost army, never intended to be seen by the living. The workmanship was second to none with intricate designs on everything they crafted. I have seen these warriors and they are huge!
Armchair Travel Activity: Learn more about the Terracotta Warriors with Nat Geo Kids.
Y FOR YOKOHAMA
Fun facts about Yokohama: Yokohama is located 1 hour south of Tokyo on Tokyo Bay. Yokohama has a friendly rivalry with Tokyo as they try to transform its industrial city into a modern one to compete with Tokyo. Yokohama has had a difficult past with the Great Kanto earthquake and World War II destroying the city twice. But they continue to prosper today.
Yokohama has Japan’s largest Chinatown and some believe maybe even in the world, despite the fact that they don’t have a large Chinese community. It is also the city that had Japan’s first of many things including the first newspaper, ice cream, bakery, cinema and even public toilets.
This city also has the famous Ramen museum which is a food-themed amusement park. Here you can taste ramen from all over Japan and you can order mini bowls so you can fit more in. If you’re a fan of cup noodles, you can head over to the Cup Noodle Museum and design your own cup noodles! What would your cup noodles look like? Let me know in the comments.
Armchair Travel Activity: Would you like to try and learn some Japanese? Check out this video for kids.
Z FOR ZAGREB
Fun facts about Zagreb: Zagreb is the capital city of Croatia and is the largest city in the country. It is located in northwest Croatia and along the Save river. While this city is thousands of years old, it is very young at heart with an amazing café culture. Grab a seat outside and watch the vibrant life go by and if you’re lucky there will be loads of live music, pop up markets and public events.
Zagreb has the world’s shortest funicular and only takes 64 seconds to ride. It is so short that I had trekked on foot to the top of the upper town without even realising it! In the Upper Town you’ll find some of Zagreb’s best street art, if you can find them as some are a little hidden and Lotrscak Tower where at noon, they fire a cannon every day. If ever you make it there, cover your ears. It’s so loud! Do also take note of the 200 lamp posts around the streets. They are lit every single evening by hand and this man has been doing it for over 40 years!
If you’re a museum kind of person, you’d be happy to know that Zagreb has more museums per capita than anywhere else in the world, giving it the nickname of ‘the city of museums’. They even have a museum dedicated to broken relationships.
Armchair Travel Activity: Take a short virtual tour of the city so you can see the Cathedral of Zagreb, Croatia’s tallest building and St Marks Church with the colourful tiles.
We did it! We’re now quite the armchair traveller as we have virtually visited 26 cities all around the world! That was super fun! Which was your favourite city? Please let me know in the comments below and why it was your city of choice. Well, it was fun travelling with you and I truly hope that one day you’ll be able to visit these cities in person and that you’ll remember all these cool facts you’ve learnt along the way.