By ND Tourism

In North Dakota, school children take North Dakota studies as part of the fourth- and eighth-grade curriculum. But why limit their learning to the traditional classroom? An automobile can serve as a mobile classroom, where children and adults can have fun and learn a little bit more about legendary North Dakota at the same time.

ND Tourism has compiled a list of 15 best places throughout the state that are interesting to both kids and adults. They range from state museums to zoos to national parks and each has a unique component that blurs the line between fun and learning.

Collections at the North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum cover everything from prehistoric creatures to the future of energy in the state. A gallery of photos introduces visitors to prominent Native Americans who played a role in shaping the unique cultural history of the state. Other similar museums include the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Washburn, Cowboy Hall of Fame in Medora, Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center near Williston, Pembina State Museum at Pembina, and National Buffalo Museum at Jamestown.

Statewide forts and historic sites enhance the message of how we all came to be here. Zoos in Minot, Bismarck, Fargo, and Wahpeton exhibit animals that call North Dakota home and some that come from around the world.

Alas, not everything has to be a learning experience. Sometimes kids—and adults—just want to have fun.

Sometimes they just want to play in the water. In the summer, there are lots of outdoor options, including lakes, rivers, pools, and Raging Rivers Waterpark in Mandan.  During the winter, escape the cold at Splasher’s of the South Seas in Grand Forks. You can find many other indoor and outdoor waterparks in the state.

Sometimes kids just want to get dirty. Let them get absolutely filthy looking for T-Rex at one of the annual fossil digs conducted by the North Dakota Geological Survey. It’s “Jurassic Park,” but in a good way.

Sometimes they want to go, go, go. Turn them loose on a hiking and biking trail and you will spend the better part of a day twisting and turning; riding or walking up and and down the hills. Don’t tell them it’s good for them; let them realize it when they hit the sack that night back at the hotel, yurt, camper, or tent.

Sometimes they want to go for a boat ride. The Lewis and Clark Riverboat awaits in Bismarck,  while Lake Sakakawea, Devils Lake, and countless other rivers and streams beckon with whopper walleyes, northern pike, and perch.    

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