Family travel five: Engineering landmarks can inspire kids

Inspire your children's inner builder at these engineering wonders constructed with steel, glass, timber and more.

1. Brooklyn Bridge, New York. This star of movies and marathons connects the island of Manhattan with the borough of Brooklyn. Opened in 1883, it remains one of New York City's most recognizable landmarks. Walk the mile-long span on a pedestrian path, stopping to snap photos of the Big Apple from this suspended vantage point. Be prepared for the possibility of a windy crossing.

Contact: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g60827-d102741/Brooklyn:New-York:Brooklyn.Bridge.html; http://www.nycgo.com.

2. Skywalk at Grand Canyon West Park. The Colorado River flows 4,000 feet below this engineering feat on the Hualapai Indian Reservation in northern Arizona near Peach Springs. Stand on the U-shaped glass walkway that juts 70 feet from the edge of the Grand Canyon. The views are stunning. Younger children might be wary of the height; parents might try stepping out one at a time, one staying with the young one, then trading off. Families also will enjoy the Indian performances, walking trails and wagon rides available.

Contact: 702-220-8372; http://www.grandcanyonskywalk.com.

3. Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco. Join the thousands of families who have crossed this West Coast landmark on foot or bicycle since its opening day in 1937. The 1 3 / 4-mile-long route offers wonderful views of the San Francisco Bay, including Alcatraz, the Bay Bridge and the hills of Marin County. Bikers might choose to pedal into the artsy town of Sausalito, grab a drink or lunch and then return to the city via the ferry. You'll land at Fisherman's Wharf.

Contact: 415-229-2000 ; http://goldengatebridge.org/bikesbridge/bikes.php.

4. Find a covered bridge. Head to rural New England or the Midwest to share a slice of American history with your family. Made famous for many by the book and movie Bridges of Madison County, these colorful symbols of romance and country living provide a glimpse into a time when horse-drawn carriages clomped across single lane, wooden spans.

Contact: http://www.vermontcoveredbridgemuseum.org; http://www.madisoncounty.com.

5. Tower Bridge, London. Visit this city's only remaining drawbridge for the chance to capture outstanding views of such landmarks as the Houses of Parliament. Pair the outing with a stop at the Tower of London, a favorite with kids. Tower guards, called Beefeaters, tell tales of hauntings, making for a jolly good time.

Contact: http://www.hrp.org.uk; http://www.towerbridge.org.uk.

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Lynn O'Rourke Hayes is editor of FamilyTravel.com.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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