Ultimate Family Travel

Pack up the family because Travel Channel is counting down the best family adventures, from a $100 tangle with alligators to a $57,000 Titanic voyage.

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A harp seal pup lounges on the ice of the White Sea in Russia. 960 1280

  

A monkey shelters its baby from heavy snow in Yamanouchi, Japan. 960 1280

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A giant panda cub plays in the snow with his mother at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, DC. 960 1280

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A polar bear cub falls in the snow as his mother passes by in the Moscow Zoo. 960 1280

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A baby penguin plays among a group of adults. 960 1280

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A Sichuan Takin calf stands beside her mother at Berlin's Tierpark Friedrichsfelde Zoo. 960 1280

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An Amur tiger (aka Siberian tiger) licks her cub at the Royev Ruchey Zoo in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. 960 1280

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A female macaque leaps to her baby at a park in Guiyang, China. 960 1280

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Twin polar bear cubs play in the city zoo in St. Petersburg, Russia. 960 1280

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A harp seal pup rests on an ice floe in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada. 960 1280

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Audubon Aquarium of the Americas (New Orleans)

Audubon Aquarium of the Americas (New Orleans)

A young visitor looks at a 400,000-gallon water tank filled with stingrays, sea turtles -- and 17-foot-long sharks! They’re all part of the Gulf of Mexico exhibit at the <a title="Audubon Aquarium of the Americas" href="http://www.auduboninstitute.org/visit/aquarium" target="_blank">Audubon Aquarium of the Americas</a> in New Orleans. The aquarium showcases aquatic life throughout North and South America. 960 1280

Stephen Saks/ Lonely Planet Images/ Getty Images  

Texas State Aquarium

Texas State Aquarium

There he goes! This little guy is one of 2 Atlantic bottlenose dolphins -- Shadow and Kai -- at the <a title="Texas State Aquarium" href="http://www.texasstateaquarium.org" target="_blank">Texas State Aquarium</a> in Corpus Christi, TX. Visitors can see the dolphins above water … and below, courtesy of an underwater viewing room that features a 70-foot-long window.  960 1280

Philip Lange/ iStock/ Thinktsock  

Ripley’s Aquarium (Gatlinburg, Tennessee)

Ripley’s Aquarium (Gatlinburg, Tennessee)

In the heart of the Smoky Mountains you’ll find <a title="Ripley’s Aquarium" href="http://www.ripleyaquariums.com/gatlinburg" target="_blank">Ripley’s Aquarium</a>. The facility in Gatlinburg, TN, is home to 10,000 sea creatures, representing more than 350 individual species, such as giant stingrays, snappers and some very large sharks -- as long as 13 feet! 960 1280

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies  

North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher

North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher

It’s only fitting that the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher should be located near … Cape Fear! You and the kids will encounter plenty of fear-factor moments: Touch a live shark, discover North Carolina’s fiercest predator and come face-to-face with an alligator … if you dare. 960 1280

NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher  

Baltimore National Aquarium

Baltimore National Aquarium

You’ll find these yellow tang fish at the <a title="Baltimore National Aquarium" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/destinations/baltimore/photos/best-of-baltimore" target="_blank">Baltimore National Aquarium</a>. Since it opened in 1981, the aquarium has garnered an astonishing collection of sea life: 16,500 specimens representing 660 species.best-aquariums-in-us-north-baltimore-national-aquarium 960 1280

Richard Cummins/ Lonley Planet Images/ Getty Images  

Oregon Coast Aquarium

Oregon Coast Aquarium

Wow, are we underwater, Dad? It’ll feel like it as you and the kids journey through this underwater tunnel at the <a title="Oregon Coast Aquarium" href="http://www.aquarium.org" target="_blank">Oregon Coast Aquarium</a>. Cool views like this help explain why the facility in Newport, OR, has been ranked one of the top 10 aquariums in North America by <i>Coastal Living</i> magazine. 960 1280

Oregon Coast Aquarium  

Aquarium of the Pacific (Long Beach, CA)

Aquarium of the Pacific (Long Beach, CA)

This 5-acre site in Long Beach, CA, is home to the <a title="Aquarium of the Pacific" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/video/aquarium-of-the-pacific" target="_blank">Aquarium of the Pacific</a>. The little ones will enjoy plenty of interactive fun: Kids can pet sharks and stingrays, and feed nectar to parrots known as lorikeets. 960 1280

Pete Starman/ The Image Bank/ Getty Images  

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Did you know that corals are animals, not plants? Your kids will learn these and other facts at <a title="Monterey Bay Aquarium" href="http://www.montereybayaquarium.org" target="_blank">Monterey Bay Aquarium</a>’s Coral Reef Kingdom. See them ooh and aww at the colorful ocean homes where these tiny animals live in colonies. Also check out the aquarium's other attractions, including stingrays, jellyfish and sea otters. 960 1280

Doug Steakley/ Lonely Planet Images/ Getty Images  

New England Aquarium (Boston)

New England Aquarium (Boston)

These brave kids stick their hands in the “touch tank,” as stingrays glide through the clear shallow water. Kids (and adults) can touch various species of sharks and rays at Boston's <a title="New England Aquarium" href="http://www.neaq.org/index.php" target="_blank">New England Aquarium</a>, including cownose rays, southern stingrays and coral catsharks. 960 1280

Brian D Cruickshank/ Lonely Planet Images/ Getty Images  

The Florida Aquarium (Tampa)

The Florida Aquarium (Tampa)

Reach out and touch someone. Kids get a thrill as an underwater diver presses his hands against the glass tank at the <a title="Florida Aquarium" href="http://www.flaquarium.org" target="_blank">Florida Aquarium</a> in Tampa, FL. The large, 250-square-foot facility is home to more than 20,000 aquatic plants and animals from around the world. 960 1280

Richard Cummins/ Lonely Planet Images/ Getty Images  

John G. Shedd Aquarium (Chicago)

John G. Shedd Aquarium (Chicago)

You’re looking at one of the largest indoor aquariums in the world. The <a title="John G. Shedd Aquarium" href="http://www.sheddaquarium.org" target="_blank">John G. Shedd Aquarium</a> in Chicago houses more than 5,000,000 gallons of water in which 25,000 fish (and counting!) make their home. 960 1280

Charles Cook/ Lonely Planet Images/ Getty Images  

Georgia Aquarium (Atlanta)

Georgia Aquarium (Atlanta)

How’s this for big: The <a title="Georgia Aquarium" href="http://www.georgiaaquarium.org" target="_blank">Georgia Aquarium</a> in Atlanta contains between 100,000 and 120,000 fish and other sea creatures. One of the biggest reasons to visit is to see the aquarium’s whale sharks -- it’s the only institution outside of Asia to house this particular shark species. 960 1280

Barry Williams/ Getty Images  

Tennessee Aquarium (Chattanooga)

Tennessee Aquarium (Chattanooga)

Come face to face with sharks at the <a title="Tennessee Aquarium" href="http://www.tnaqua.org/Home.aspx" target="_blank">Tennessee Aquarium </a> in Chattanooga, TN. The sand tiger shark (pictured here) may look menacing but it’s not usually a threat to humans. Unless, of course, you engage in some spearfishing -- fortunately, not an option at this aquarium! 960 1280

Stephen Saks/ Lonely Planet Images/ Getty Images  

Mystic Aquarium (Mystic, CT)

Mystic Aquarium (Mystic, CT)

Let’s shake on it! You’re looking at one of New England’s only beluga whales. Learn all about this amazing marine mammal -- which hails from the Arctic and is known for its eye-catching all-white color -- courtesy of the <a title="Mystic Aquarium" href="http://www.mysticaquarium.org" target="_blank">Mystic Aquarium</a>’s Encounter program in Mystic, CT. Don waterproof gear and wade waist-deep into the Arctic Coast exhibit with the whales and trainers. 960 1280

MyLoupe/ Universal Images Group/ Getty Images  

Waikiki Aquarium (Honolulu)

Waikiki Aquarium (Honolulu)

Just what makes a fish a fish? Find out at the Waikiki Aquarium, the third oldest aquarium in the US. At the aquarium’s very official Fish School, kids as young as 5 can learn all about the many critters of the sea and their amazing adaptations to their environment. Don’t worry, though, it’s not all learn and no play -- the class includes a scavenger hunt among the exhibits. 960 1280

Waikiki Aquarium  

Newport Aquarium (Newport, Kentucky)

Newport Aquarium (Newport, Kentucky)

Sharks, sharks and more sharks! Sand tiger, sandbar, whitetip, blacktip reef and zebra -- see these intriguing shark species glide above your head in Newport Aquarium’s underwater tunnel. Also explore the aquariums additional attractions, such as the Jellyfish Gallery, Frog Bog (home to 20 species of exotic frogs) and Gator Alley, where visitors can stare into the eyes of Tut, their Nile crocodile. 960 1280

Kentucky Tourism  

New York Aquarium, New York

New York Aquarium, New York

See these cute black-footed penguins at the New York Aquarium, located on Coney Island. As the oldest continually operating aquarium in the US, the aquarium holds no shortage of marine mammals and aquatic life, from sea lions, otters and walruses, to cownose rays and moray eels.    960 1280

Julie Larsen Maher/WCS  

Downtown Aquarium Denver

Downtown Aquarium Denver

Yes, even mermaids live at the aquarium … or at least put on a good show. At Downtown Aquarium Denver, see live mermaid performances in the Under the Sea exhibit. Also check out the aquarium’s exhibits spanning barrier reefs, rainforest, wharf and desert habitats. 960 1280

Downtown Aquarium, Denver  

Downtown Aquarium Houston

Downtown Aquarium Houston

Houston’s 6-acre Downtown Aquarium is home to a veritable who’s who of aquatic animals: Electric eels, nurse sharks and stingrays are among the 200 diverse species of underwater life found here. In between exploring exhibits like the Louisiana Swamp (yes, alligators live here) and the Rainforest, unwind at the aquarium’s Dive Lounge. 960 1280

Downtown Aquarium Houston  

Thunder Dolphin

Thunder Dolphin

Not only does this coaster — located at Tokyo Dome City — have a wacky name, but it features some very bizarre elements, including an interesting “thread the needle” move at the top of a building and a pass through the center of a giant Ferris wheel. The coaster tours the shopping mall area and then twists and dives around the midway before heading back to the station. 960 1280

Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images  

The Bullet

The Bullet

The Bullet at Selva Magica in Guadalajara, Mexico, is a shuttle loop folded in half to take up less space. This bizarre ride starts with a backward launch and hits speeds of over 50 mph, reaching the strongest G-forces in any vertical loop. There is almost no straight track in the entire ride — in fact, even the station is twisted! This coaster has traveled the world, having been in Germany, Austria, England and Florida, and has now found permanent residency in Mexico.  960 1280

Selvea Magica  

Gravity Max (The Tilt Coaster)

Gravity Max (The Tilt Coaster)

One of the wackiest roller coasters is located at Lihpao Land in Taiwan. The Gravity Max, also known as the Tilt Coaster, is the world’s first coaster to feature a true 90-degree drop and the world’s only tilt coaster. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Hundeprutterutchebane

Hundeprutterutchebane

When it comes to purely wacky coasters, this ride at Denmark's BonBon Land makes the top of the list. In English, Hundeprutterutchebane means “the dog fart coaster.” BonBon Land is a kid-friendly amusement park filled with fun, humorous rides. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Great Wall of China Toboggan Ride

Great Wall of China Toboggan Ride

Do you want to see the Great Wall by roller coaster? Well, you most certainly can! Ride enthusiasts can travel about an hour north of Beijing to Badaling, where they can board a (relatively slow) roller coaster that takes them to the top of the Great Wall. After visitors are done sightseeing, they can take another ride back down. This is the best way to see one of the great wonders of the world! 960 1280

Peter Charlesworth/LightRocket/Getty Images   

Driving Coaster: Vanish

Driving Coaster: Vanish

Located at Cosmoworld in Yokohama, Japan, Diving Coaster does just as its name implies. This coaster creates a splash as it dives underwater through a man-made lagoon. It's both visually awesome, and quite the fun ride! 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Ultra Twister

Ultra Twister

This bizarre ride was all the rage in Japan in the 1980s through 1990s. There was a similar coaster at the Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey, but it was moved to the Six Flags' Astroworld in Houston. This unique "pipeline" coaster shuttles riders back and forth. It also features a near 90-degree drop and a series of "heart line twists." This one pictured is at Nagashima Spaland about 45 minutes from Nagoya by train. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Tranan

Tranan

Tranan is a one-of-a-kind "free fly" coaster located at Skara Sommerland in Sweden. It’s billed as family friendly, but it’s also a strange, thrill ride. The seats are aligned on the outside of the vehicle, providing riders with a 360-degree, swinging experience throughout the ride. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Euro Mir

Euro Mir

Euro Mir is by far one of my favorite wacky rides, and it's also completely awesome! The coaster, located at Europa Park in Rust, Germany, is a mix of a Russian-inspired techno dance party, a weird mirrored-tower structure and all on a turning roller coaster. There isn't really any way to fully describe it other than to ride it yourself. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Dauling Dragons

Dauling Dragons

Dauling Dragon in China is a wooden roller coaster with coasters on duel tracks racing simultaneously up a 90-degree incline. At the top of the incline where the coasters meet, it appears to look like riders in the train are close enough to reach over for a “high-5.” 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Maximum RPM

Maximum RPM

Myrtle Beach’s Hard Rock Park is closed, but it had one of the wackiest coasters. Maximum RPM was the only ride in the world to feature a Ferris-wheel-lift design. Is it unique and wacky? Oh, yeah! The ride was a lot of fun, and it was an efficient way for the park to save space. The coaster is still standing at the closed park, but hopefully it will find a new home someday. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Olympia Looping

Olympia Looping

This is quite possibly one of the most majestic looking roller coasters ever. Olympia Looping is a 5-loop steel roller coaster -- the world's biggest, "portable" roller coaster. It travels the German fair circuit and is one of the stand-out attractions at Munich’s Oktoberfest. This roller coaster is not to be missed. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

The Smiler

The Smiler

Alton Towers may take the prize for some of the wackiest build-up to a roller coaster debut ever. Park marketers shaved Smiler coaster logos into sheep and sold a mouth guard that could give you an instant, forced smile. So what's all the hype for? The world's only 14-loop roller coaster! It's a crazy concept, but you will be smiling at end your ride. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Outer Space Flying Car

Outer Space Flying Car

Yes, Outer Space Flying Car is the Chinese translation of this roller coaster’s real name! Located in Fisherman's Warf outside of Shanghai, this coaster features some bizarre and wacky roller coaster elements, including a vertical lift hill inside a metal tube and drop into a 360-degree—all at an insane coaster speed. The ride is so rough and brutal that the park requires riders to wear headgear. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Insane

Insane

Just as the ride's name suggests, this coaster’s design is insane. Located at Grona Lund in Stockholm, Sweden, Insane’s track is in the middle and seats on the side that freely spin and rotate based on the weight distribution of the riders. Prepare to spin out of control if the car is unbalanced. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

The Lost Coaster

The Lost Coaster

At Indiana Beach Amusement Resort in Monticello, IN, Lost Coaster of Superstition Mountain will take riders on a strange wooden roller coaster journey they won't forget. The journey starts with a vertical lift up a hill system and enclosed in mine cars. Riders travel through the mountain making sharp turns and other off-track attractions including a bear. The park is located about 90 minutes from Indianapolis. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Tower of Terror

Tower of Terror

This coaster at Gold Reef City in Johannesburg, South Africa, is wacky and terrifying. Tower of Terror is built like an abandoned mine shaft. Riders plummet 164 feet down at a 90-degree angle. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Takabisha

Takabisha

Talk about strange and wacky -- just look at the angle of the decent on this roller coaster at Japan's Fuji-Q Highland! At 121-degree angle, this coasted is touted as the world's steepest coaster. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Wacky Worm

Wacky Worm

You just simply cannot talk about wacky coasters without mentioning the king of all of them, the Wacky Worm. This is one of the most popular family-friendly roller coasters found around the world. At the amusement park, the Wacky Worm is a great “starter” roller coaster for young riders. 960 1280

Robb Alvey  

Alpine Coaster

Alpine Coaster

Do you want to ride a roller coaster in the cold and snow? In Park City, UT, you can race along with skiers as you descend the side of Wasatch Mountain at Park City Mountain Resort. You’ll feel as though you’re flying on this toboggan-style coaster with 4,000 feet of curves, bends and loops. 960 1280

Yvette Cardozo/Photolibrary/Getty Images   

Veil of Dark

Veil of Dark

Located at Tokyo Joypolis in Japan, the Veil of Dark is an interactive video game and indoor roller coaster. Part of the ride allows passengers to shoot at screens in front of them, and then suddenly, they are launched into an indoor, looping roller coaster. It's a strange but very fun ride! 960 1280

Dunzl/ Ullstein Bild/Getty Images